Big Year #4: April Update

What are the 26 new species I’ve found recently in my Thoreauvian Big Year? What spring birds can you see now in Novato? What reasonably common birds did I finally nail down after months of unreasonable elusiveness on their parts? And where are the special hotspots of our area that hide the uncommon, range-restricted, habitat-specialist birds that most casual birdwatchers don’t know about? Let me tell you.

Hawks II: Wildland Hawks

In part one of our guide to local hawks, I covered the “neighborhood raptors” – the daytime birds of prey you are most likely to see around your yard and typical residential areas. And those birds – the red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, and turkey vulture – are among our more common […]

The Birds of Novato

What birds do we have here? The following list contains birds that can be regularly found in Novato. Some are more abundant than others and some can be more easily found in other parts of the county. Uncommon and locally rare species are excluded from this list. What constitutes “rarity” is of course subject to […]

Backyard Birdsong

Why Birds Sing: Birds make many sounds to communicate. Often they will have different sounds to stay in contact, beg for food, or sound an alarm, for example. But most well known is the phenomenon of song: these longer, more complex, sometimes musical series of notes are the center of spring’s soundtrack. As temperatures warm […]

Varied Thrush

The varied thrush is the second of our two larger thrushes, along with the American robin (some outdated names include “winter robin” and “mountain robin”). But where the robin is familiar, the varied thrush is mysterious. While everyone knows robins, to most people in our latitudes the varied thrush is as practically nonexistent as the […]