Bird of the Month!

Each month we pick the Bird of the Month! Do you want to pick the bird of the month? If it is your birthday month, you get to let us know what you want the bird of the month to be to celebrate your birthday month. You can even share a picture you took or drew of the bird! 

May 2024: Potoo!

The May bird of the month is the Potoo. There are many species of Potoo but we could not decide just one so we are doing the whole family! Potoos are one of the weirdest birds. They are in their own order along with the oilbird but they are related to other nightjars. Their songs are a loud "waaapppp" continued by shorter "wap"s - definitely take time to listen and laugh at their sounds when you learn more about them! If you are down in the Carribean, Central America, or South America, make sure to go look for these elusive nocturnal birds that often mimic tree branches. A bird that they are not closely related to but look very similar to is the Tawny Frogmouth that lives on the other side of the world. This is an example of convergent evolution for insectivores on the wing!

April 2024: Red-bellied Woodpecker

The April bird of the month is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. The Red-bellied Woodpecker doesn't have best name - they don't really have a red belly though males do have a slightly orange belly. They are cavitiy nesters you can see in WNY all year long and one of our larger woodpecker species in the area. Don't mistake them for the Red-headed Woodpeckers who have much more red on their heads and tend to live further south (though there are a few reliable spots in our area so keep your eyes open and binoculars close at hand!). 

March 2024: Boat-billed Heron

The March bird of the month is the Boat-billed Heron! Even if these birds live in Central and South America, you can see them near here at Bird Kingdom right across the border in Niagara Falls, Canada. These strange birds have huge beaks and eyes & like last month's bird of the month (the cassowary) leave no doubt birds are in fact living dinosaurs!

February 2024: Southern Cassowary

The February bird of the month is the Southern Cassowary, a wild looking bird from New Guinea and Australia that leaves no doubt birds are in fact living dinosaurs! This huge, colorful, flightless bird even comes complete with a crest or casque made of keratin and a fearsome reputation.  

January 2024: Purple Gallinule

The January bird of the month is the Purple Gallinule! A colorful bird from the warm parts of the world to brighten up these cold winter days. These colorful birds are known to wander from time to time so keep your eyes on wetlands just in case! 

December 2023: Dodo Bird

The December bird of the month is the Dodo Bird! Dodo Birds are incredible, extinct birds. They were the largest member of the pigeon and dove family. The Dodo was 2-3 feet and could weigh up to 50 pounds. They lived in a small group of islands called the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Dodo went extinct in 1681 due to human factors like over hunting - these birds were very slow and easy to catch! 

November 2023: Dark-eyed Junco

The November bird of the month is the Dark-eyed Junco. Juncos look different from place to place you go around North America. They are cute backyard birds that you will see eating seeds that fell from your feeder onto the ground from late fall from early spring. Some even nest around here! So cute!!!  

October 2023: Common Nighthawk

The October Bird of the Month is the Common Nighthawk. The Common Nighthawk is a cool little nightjar that is uncommon in this area but you might see them at night calling. They sound kind of like the American Woodcock - they go peent too! They fly in groups over ponds or fields, just open areas in general. They are part of the goatsucker family with Eastern Whip-poor-will and Chuck-will's-widows. They come through during migration and are really neat looking! 

Sept 2023: Black-crowned Night Heron!

The September Bird of the Month is the Black-crowned Night Heron. The Black-crowned Night Heron is a cool, small heron that lives in marshes and pond edges. You can see it around here at places like Tifft Nature Preserve. We chose the Black-crowned Night Heron as Bird of the Month to share the idea of nemesis birds - nemesis birds are the ones that got away that you keep trying to find and keep missing! The Black-crowned Night Heron is club founder Sam's nemesis bird - despite repeatedly being in the right places, he keeps missing them - sometimes by just a few seconds like at Montezuma Muckrace (a fundraiser every September to benefit Friends of Montezuma Wetlands Complex - a great place to see migratory birds along the 90!). What is your nemesis bird? Let us know and we can try to go find it! 

August 2023: American Kestrel!

The August bird of the month is the American Kestrel. The American Kestrel is a cool, pretty little raptor that we can often see in WNY hovering over fields or perched on telephone wires along the road.

July 2023: Roseate Spoonbill!

The Roseate Spoonbill is a magnificent and funny bird! They usually live more down south in Florida and the Gulf Coast as well as Central and South America. But recently we've had a juvenile one hanging around in Western New York! If you want to go see it, check out Tifft or Senaca Bluff (and make sure to practice your best ethical birding behavior when you do). If you are one of the lucky ones who has gotten to see it while it is visiting, let us know if you want to share your picture and/or story! 

June 2023: Painted Bunting!

The Painted Bunting is a beautiful rainbow colored bird. We chose this bird because June is Pride Month. We wanted to recognize that by celebrating with this awesome little bird. You will find them down in the southern United States but some folks may remember the visits that occasionally turn up on local rare bird alerts! Learn more about how the birding community celebrates Pride Month with Let's Go Birding Together at https://www.audubon.org/news/lets-go-birding-together

May 2023: Cedar Waxwing!

There are three types of waxwings - the Cedar Waxwing, the Bohemian Waxwing, and the Japanese Waxwing. The Cedar Waxwing lives around here in the summer months. They eat mostly fruit and they have red "waxy" tips on their wings made of keratin. They also have yellow tips on their tail feathers. Banders age and sex waxwings using these features - 8 or more waxy tips means it is an adult, 6 or less means it is a juvenile. The black under the chin indicates male or female with males having more black under the chin. Look for them in groups high up in fruit trees and listen for their buzzy calls! The banding code for a Cedar Waxwing is CEDW. Learn more about waxwings on the Science of Birds Podcast - https://www.scienceofbirds.com/podcast/waxwings-bombycillidae.  

April 2023: Purple Martin!

The Purple Martin was chosen to highlight our upcoming walk at Graycliff Estates, built almost 100 years ago for the Martin family, and to showcase the growing number of Purple Martin houses being put up around the region to help conserve these beautiful birds! 

March 2023: Common Loon!

Sometimes you can hear the Common Loon out on a lake making a ghostly sound. If you are lucky you can see one of these birds and hear their cry. Loons have been spotted locallt at a bunch of our best nature areas - click here to see a local map of recent eBird sightings!  

February 2023: Bald Eagle!

The February 2023 Bird of the Month is the Bald Eagle! The Bald Eagle was raised up as awesome by young birder Amelia who has been using WNY YBC resources with a group at her local library. Thanks Amelia for suggesting our national bird as deserving special attention on the WNY YBC website!

January 2023: Snowy Owl!

The January 2023 Bird of the Month is the Snowy Owl! Snowy Owls are very pretty birds. They are some of the largest owls right next to the Great Gray Owl. They make their nests on the ground instead of in trees. They come around Western New York in winter - sometimes there are more of them, sometimes there are less. This year there seems to be less! As with so many birds, you can look for recent sightings using eBird - here is a link to the world map of Snowy Owl sightings - you can set the date range or zoom in on a location if you have a free eBird account! You can learn more about Snowy Owls and Snowy Owl research at https://www.projectsnowstorm.org/

December 2022: California Condor!

The December 2022 Bird of the Month is the California Condor! California Condors are the third largest bird in the world. Native to California and the Southwest, they were nearly extinct in the 1970s due to DDT, other pesticides, and habitat loss but now due to breeding programs there are close to 300 in the wild. WNY Young Birder founders Sam and Maisie were lucky enough to spot the juvenile California Condor pictured here at Navajo Bridge while on a trip west. Many thanks to fellow birder Anya Fineman for the picture and to the eBird app's "Explore" feature for letting us know where to look for these amazing birds!

November 2022: Wild Turkey!

The November 2022 Bird of the Month is, of course, the Wild Turkey! Wild Turkeys are beautiful - keep your eyes open along the roadside, on the trail, or even in your own backyard for these amazing birds! 

October 2022: Eastern Bluebird!

The October 2022 Bird of the Month is the Eastern Bluebird, our New York State Bird! Eastern Bluebirds are a great success story for conservation efforts across our state and country. Want to see bluebirds? Knox Farm State Park is a great place to see them! 

September 2022: Common Eider!

The Common Eider was selected in honor of WNY YBC member Phoenix's birthday - a favorite bird from a wonderful bird-filled trip to Massachusetts! Happy Birdday Phoenix and thanks for the photo and artwork!

August 2022: American Flamingo!

The American Flamingo was selected in honor of WNY YBC member Frankie LaDue's birthday - flamingos are Frankie's favorite! Happy Birthday Frankie! 

July 2022: Wood Duck!

The Wood Duck was picked because if you go out in a marsh, a pond, or even a vernal pool in the woods and you look they are probably there. You can even see baby Wood Ducks this time of year following their mama! Did you know that Wood Ducks nest in tree cavities up to 20 feet in the area and the fledglings are so well padded with down it doesn't even hurt to plop to the ground? 

June 2022: Northern Cardinal!

The Northern Cardinal was selected in honor of WNY YBC member Graham Weaver's birthday - cardinals are Graham's favorite! Happy Birthday Graham! 

May 2022: Great Blue Heron!

The Great Blue Heron is truly one of our most impressive local birds and leaves little doubt that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs! A number showed up through the mist on our walk at College Lodge yesterday adding to the other-worldliness of the foggy day.  

April 2022: Kinglets!

The Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets were chosen as bird of the month in honor of migration and because they are the number one most common bird we have banded in two weekends of bird banding visits to Powdermill Avian Research Center and Braddock Bay Bird Observatory

March 2022: American Woodcock!

We picked the American Woodcock because our March wander was all about woodcock and we even saw them! Also, they are amazing :) 

Learn more about this awesome birds: