Fall migration is an exciting time for bird watchers. Millions of birds are on the move, heading to winter homes. The numbers are much higher than in the spring because chicks that hatched this summer have joined the adults for the journey, stopping along the way to replenish their energy. This gives you a chance to experience the phenomenon first hand, enjoying the activity while it lasts but often facing a challenge in identification.
Even seasoned observers are at times scratching their heads because young birds can look very different from the adults. This is often the case with small insect-eating birds like warblers. A young Song Sparrow has some features found on adult birds but streaking on the breast is different. And what about those Robins. Until they have completed their first molt, young birds have spots on the breast. A good bird field guide is an important tool in being able to sort through this confusion and having a corresponding app for your phone will ensure that support is always close at hand.
By Brian Morin
Publisher of Ontario Birding News