The new 2022 edition of Winter Bird Highlights, which is the annual summary of the 2021-22 Project FeederWatch season is now available, providing insightful information about the abundance and distribution of the birds that visit our yards across the United States and Canada. Inside this new report, a wealth of information can be gleaned from the Regional Roundup that describes what was learned from last season’s FeederWatch counts, which includes lists of the 25 most common birds observed in each of the 7 regions, which includes Hawaii.
Start 2023 with a bang by attending one of the birding festivals being held during January, with events planned from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Morrow Bay to the Outer Banks, from Salton Sea to the Everglades! Imagine the diversity and abundance of birds that festival participants will experience, along with the variety of workshops, featured speakers, vendors, and guided field trips to area birding hotspots. All the January festivals are long-running annual affairs that attract birders from all walks of life and all levels of birding experience, so you will be in good company.
Wintering populations of birds of prey offer exciting birding opportunities across much of the United States, and now we can monitor the Winter Raptor Surveys conducted by raptor enthusiasts to collect winter numbers, distribution, species diversity, and other insights. Utilizing motor vehicles, observers follow standardized survey methods as provided by the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) within designated survey areas to provide valuable information to researchers, land management and planning agencies, and regional birding organizations.
Happy New Year! As the sun broke through a hoarfrost haze, Friday afternoon I escaped from my office to do some birding, hoping for a chance to photograph birds too. Things started slow, but after sighting 8 Sharp-tailed Grouse and a like number of Gray Partridges, a flock of 16 grouse a bit closer to the road provided incentive to try for photos as I hoped not to spook the feeding birds. Three grouse provided some closer images, and a mile farther down the road I found 4 brightly colored Ring-necked Pheasants on the edge of a snowy hillside (actually, everything was snowy).
The new generation of the Leica Ultravid HD Binoculars feature increased contrast under all viewing conditions by using prisms made from specially formulated Schott glasses with exceptional light transmission characteristics to increase image brightness and provide better color transmission. In addition to a brighter viewing image, the Leica Ultravid HD-Plus 8x42 Binoculars feature exceptionally high-quality lenses that guarantee excellent colors and contrast, outstanding image brightness and clarity, along with optimum resolution to see the details of each bird you view.
How can active birders resist trying a pair of “the most comfortable” walking shoes or hiking boots? With an appreciable sale on-going, The Walking Company offers thousands of shoes, boots, and sandals in a seemingly endless supply of styles and colors. A few standouts include the women’s Gravity Defyer Walking Shoes and the men’s Propet Ridge Walker Hiking Boots. With free shipping included on many orders in addition to sale prices, birders are sure to find just the right shoes to keep their feet comfortable and protected in the field.
Wild Birds Unlimited offers the variety of 7 EcoClean feeder models, considered to be the most advanced bird feeding products available on the market by using a patented technology that inhibits the surface growth of bacteria, mold, and other microbes. This protection won’t wash or wear away, and it uses environmentally friendly technology. WBU’s variety of EcoClean feeder models includes 3 different sizes of Tube Feeders, 3 types of Finch Feeders, and a Peanut Feeder, all of which have antimicrobial product protection built into the feeders.
The holiday break provided a 2-week window into rare birds, augmented by many birders participating in Christmas Bird Counts. Among the rare birds documented was a fantastic Third North American Record Eurasian Blackbird on the Labrador side of Newfoundland and Labrador, which also created a First Provincial Record. A First State Record Common Gull was photographed in Ohio, as was a Second State Record Prairie Falcon in Louisiana, and a Second State Record Sage Thrasher in Maine – and Maine also hosted a sighting of the Steller’s Sea Eagle!


It took many years to manage a few photos of Golden Eagles, but since Paul’s return to Dakota, Goldens that spend the winter in the Pierre area have provided a wealth of images, including this close portrait, which is a favorite to share with others.

We completed last year with some information inspired by the idea of filing and organizing your Best Photos of 2022. In that article and in others I sometimes relate that sharing your photos is an important part of bird photography. It not only shows one of your areas of interest, and highlights your abilities as a birder and photographer, but it draws attention to birds to the friends, family, and associates who may not think about birds very often. It might get them to pay more attention the next time they see an interesting bird, or when they see a bird-oriented news article or other communique. Your photos may also be inspiring to others, perhaps other birders, but also non-birders. It gives you something to talk about the next time to get together, and maybe one of your contacts will even be inspired to join you on a birding hike, or look into a local nature center or Audubon chapter event; or even to try a taking few photos of birds themselves – ya never know.

Before I became editor of The Birding Wire 5 years ago and continuing through today and beyond, when I take an exceptional wildlife photo, or a series of photos, I always enjoy sharing my good luck with a list of people I keep in touch with that can range up to about 240 especial contacts – usually via email. I often feel compelled to write a bit about the story behind the photo too, although that’s an option. Truthfully though, in addition to these kinds of email photo shares, for decades I have attached at least one wildlife photo to every email I send out – it’s my signature I guess. By sharing these photos I get a nice feeling that I’ve shared something special with someone important to me; and in many cases I think it has brightened up their day in a small way, and brought birds and other wildlife into mind.

Action photos always spark a lot of interest in the birds and the photograph itself, such as this image of a Black-necked Stilt in a territorial dispute with a pair of American Avocets in southern California.

Of course, there are many other ways of sharing photos. For many years I have produced a website where I share a wide variety of my wildlife photographs ranging from Snowy Owls to African Elephants to King Penguins and Blue Whales. Creating a website can be a rewarding activity, which not only includes displaying your photos but also includes a number of creative activities that include website design, displaying photo collages, composing titles and captions, writing a few paragraphs, selecting colors and fonts, and much more. And as you take new photos and assemble collections of images you can add new pages to your website to keep it fresh. You can visit my website at Wildlife Adventures

Another way I share photos is through my book, entitled – you guessed it – Wildlife Adventures, which chronicles 33 stories of my most memorable wildlife expeditions to all 7 continents and 44 countries. I tentatively plan to publish a second collection of articles to initiate a series of books, and already have a few articles ready to go, along with the photo illustrations. My book is available through Amazon, where you can see more information and several pages from the book at

Wildlife Adventures: 33 Exciting Wildlife Expeditions Take You Across the Nation and Around the World: Konrad, Paul: 9781482388909: Books

The iridescent colors reflected in the afternoon sun as a light breeze lifts a few feathers makes this White-faced Ibis photo a favorite to share.

Of course, there are many other ways to share your photos through social media, starting with Facebook and including other media options you wish to use. Even adding a photo to an occasional text will make it a special communique between you and the recipient. eBird also provides an opportunity to attach bird photographs, often documentary photos you take during a given outing to illustrate an eBird report. You can also post bird photos to the Project FeederWatch website, as well as review photos that other birders share.

A different way of sharing your best bird photos is to enter them in a bird photography contest. The biggest contest is the annual Audubon Bird Photography Contest, and a new contest should be announced for 2023 in coming weeks. There is an ongoing BirdSpotter Photo Contest you can check out, and you can always submit a bird photo to any general photo contest – bird photos tend to compete well. Local photo contests can be associated with birding festivals, school activities, art galleries, and community events.

The long wings of a Snowy Owl propel it forward as you look into its piercing eyes in a photo that Paul uses to welcome visitors to his personal website.

These days, I share my favorite photographs by using them to illustrate my Editor Afield articles and most Bird Photography features in each issue of The Birding Wire, along with other articles that need an illustration. And I continue to attach a photo or photos to my emails, but I hope I’ve shared some of the ways we can share our bird photographs to personalize communications, enhance your social media and other internet sites, while inspiring and interesting people in birds regularly. It’s all part of the fun, and the importance, of sharing our bird photos with others. Good luck while birding with your camera during the new year!

Article and photographs by Paul Konrad

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