Birdwatching is a relaxing hobby for many, and New England boasts an array of stunning species, both large and small. Whether you’re going on a family camping trip or your kids will be spending their free time at summer camp, you can have some fun watching for some of the area’s native birds. Here are just a few to get your birdwatching journey started.
4 Birds to Look for While Camping in New England
1. Great Blue Heron
As the largest heron in North America, this bird stands at 3 feet tall with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet. It has bluish feathers covering most of its body and long, thin legs and a straight, yellowish-orange bill, making it easy to feed on small aquatic prey, such as fish, frogs, lizards, insects, and shellfish. When the weather cools in the fall, great blue herons migrate south, so summer camp is the perfect time and place to watch for them.
2. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird in the Northeast. At just 3 to 4 inches tall, it’s about the same weight as a penny. They have a long, pointy bill and the males feature the ruby-colored throat, while females have a gray or white throat. Hummingbirds collect nectar from brightly colored flowers and eat insects. They beat their wings as much as 50 times per second and never walk on the ground, though they perch on a branch briefly.
3. Red-Tailed Hawk
Red-tailed hawks range in size from 18 to 25 inches in length and 2 to 4 pounds in weight, with a wingspan of about 4 feet. The majority of a red-tailed hawk is a combination of dark and light brown and cream, but they have a dark band across their bellies and a distinctive, rust-colored tail. Females are larger than the males and use their sharp talons to grip small prey like rodents, fish, and reptiles. It’s common to see red-tailed hawks in pairs, and they have a distinctive, high-pitched screech many mistake for eagles.
4. Snowy Owl
The snowy owl is easy to recognize with its thick white plumage. The males are completely white and females are white with dark markings. The snowy owl typically preys on small mammals like mice and rabbits but may also hunt seabirds and fish. To better hunt prey, they can rotate their head 270 degrees. They are known to dive-bomb predators and migrate as far south as Oklahoma in winter.
Kids at summer camp may find birdwatching a fun experience as they learn to identify birds based on both their appearances and their behaviors. For more exciting activities, get in touch with Camp Walt Whitman. This New England sleepaway summer camp offers countless opportunities to explore the outdoors and connect with nature. Visit their website for more information on their programs or call (800) 657-8282.