Anytime during the year is a great time to start recording the birds you see in your backyard, but if you haven’t done a birding journal yet then fall migration is a good time to start!  There’s always uncertainty and excitement during migration.  What’s going to come through today?  Maybe something you haven’t seen before!  Journal entries typically include the date, time, location, and name of the species seen, but you might also want to note any interesting behavior.  [For those who work with youth, Jr. Birder Journals are available at]  In the process of trying to make a correct identification and record information about a species, you might notice how different these birds look when they come through in the fall vs. the spring—why?  As birds wing southward to their wintering grounds, they have already completed their breeding season in the north, a period when they need their bright plumage and loud songs to establish territories and attract mates.  After nesting is over, many birds undergo a process called “molting,” when some of their feather colors may dull or change.  Fall migration can feel like a series of waves coming through your yard, and it can get very busy with the arrival of newcomers… even if they only stay for a brief visit.


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