Birding Albany NY

Local resource for birding in Albany. Includes detailed information on local businesses that provide access to bird feed, bird watching and birding societies, as well as advice and content on local birds.

Albany Public Library
(518) 427-4300
161 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY
William K Sanford Town Library
(518) 458-9274
629 Albany Shaker Road
Loudonville, NY
Watervliet Public Library
(518) 274-4471
1501 Broadway
Watervliet, NY
Bethlehem Public Library
(518) 439-9314
451 Delaware Avenue
Delmar, NY
North Greenbush Public Library
(518) 283-0303
141 Main Avenue
Wynantskill, NY
Menands Public Library
(518) 463-4035
4 North Lyons Avenue
Menands, NY
Rensselaer City Library
(518) 462-1193
810 Broadway
Rensselaer, NY
Guilderland Public Library
(518) 456-2400
2228 Western Avenue
Guilderland, NY
East Greenbush Community Library
(518) 477-7476
10 Community Way
East Greenbush, NY
Cohoes Public Library
(518) 235-2570
169 Mohawk Street
Cohoes, NY

ABCs of Bird Watching

TIP - Watch for images three-across in this section. Roll your mouse over the image to see the name of the bird.

There are two, distinctive segments of the hobby of bird watching.

  • There are those that feed and watch birds in their backyard.
  • There are those that move far beyond the backyard with the purpose of seeing new and different bird species. There is no element of feeding birds in this segment.

In combination, over 50 million Americans watch and feed birds, expending over $20 billion each year in the process. Download the latest report for detailed information.

Wildlife Watching in the U.S.: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006 .

Bird feeding

Bird feeding represents the larger of the two groups. It can be enjoyed by anyone, and can be as simple as spreading seed on the ground.

As interest in the hobby grows, a variety of feeders and feed can be added to attract more species. Birdbaths are easy additions that attract a larger diversity of species than just feeding birds.

As bird identification becomes more important, binoculars and a field guide become a valuable aid.



The second segment is now known as birding . Those that participate in the hobby are birders.

On one end of the spectrum, birding can be a casual hobby. On the other end it can become a competitive sport, with individuals or teams seeking to identify the greatest number of different species in a specified time frame.

Birders require a good p...

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Keeping a List

Many birders enjoy keeping one or more lists of the birds they have seen. Keeping lists of birds observed can help one learn about bird distribution and seasonal patterns. It also feeds the urge many people have to collect things. Because wild birds cannot actually be collected, keeping a list of birds you have seen provides a legal and fun alternative. There is always a measure of excitement when a new species is added to a personal list. The list might be of the birds seen in your own backyard, or it may be a life list, which is a list of all the birds you have seen since you started bird watching.

Like other aspects of bird watching, listing can be very casual or very competitive, and either kept personal or publicly shared and compared. Here is a list of lists, so to speak, that some people keep. You may keep none or one or all of these lists, or even create your own category.

1. Yard list - all the birds you have seen on your property
2. Year list - all the birds you see in a calendar year (this list can also be subdivided into world, country, or state categories, if you travel)
3. State list – all the birds you have seen within a state (many avid birders who travel keep several state lists)
4. Life list - all the birds you have seen since you started bird watching
5. Big day list – the maximum number of species you have seen in 24 hours
6. The Big Sit - a worldwide competition to see who can see the largest number of species from within a 15 foot radius circle in a 24 hour period.
7. Photo list – the number of bird species you have photographed
8. Zoo list - all the birds you have seen in zoos
9. Television or movie list - all the bird species you have seen or heard on TV.

Check out the old Adam 12 police series to add Bachman's sparrow to your TV list. This is an interesting (that’s a nice way of saying inaccurate) bird occurrence, since Bachman's Sparrow frequents the piney woods of the southeastern United States, not suburban LA where the show takes place. Hollywood often makes such mistakes, but only avid birders ever realize it. You will also soon notice how many shows use the scream of a Red-tailed Hawk, even when showing something else, like a soaring Turkey Vulture (that’s a two-for-one on your list if you spot it!).

10. Street names that are bird names

And the lists go on and on, many with specific rules of etiquette for how they should be counted. Some members of the American Birding Association, (about 20,000 strong), are very competitive in their listing and compete for the top state list, for the top United States list, for the top Big Day list, for the top world list, etc. Most bird watchers, however, are content to keep a simple backyard list and/or a life list.


Record keeping

If you decide to keep a list of the birds you see, there are a few things to keep in mind. When recording a species you have seen for the first time, it is standard procedure to record the common name, the date seen, and the location. Spec...

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