The past couple of weeks I have unexpectedly discovered a new hobby. Please forgive me, I have always thought bird-watching was an activity mostly older generations participate in, but I have become fascinated.

My mom's friend Barb shared a live eagle cam with me recently and I cannot stop checking in with the nest to see what the birds are up to. I've watched them fix up their nest, eat snacks, and now we are officially on "egg watch" for Irvine and Claire, the two US Steel bald eagles.

Watch Live Bald Eagle Cam

If you are an avid bird watcher, I have found a really great App for your smartphone that will blow your old-school guidebook out of the water. It's called the Audubon Bird Guide and you're going to want to download that bad boy to enjoy all of its cool features. Did I mention the best part? It's totally free!

Here's a fun video about the Audubon Society. You probably already know that the group garnered its name from a famous Kentuckian, but some of the details about its origins may surprise you.


Find the Best Bird-Watching Spots

If you like to seek out the best places to see some action, you can explore local hotspots in your area or while traveling.  For example, thanks to local avid watchers using the app and keeping track of sightings, we know that the Virginia Miles Nature Center at the Owensboro Community & Technical College is apparently hopping with feathered friends. According to their website, the 18 acres of natural beauty shown in this video have been certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a habitat and popular stopover site for many migratory birds.

Keep Track of the Birds You Encounter

With the Audubon Guide on your phone, you can upload pictures of the birds you encounter as well as mark where you saw them. That way you can keep track of them, and share the information with other bird-watchers such as the location and time of year spotted. I took an awesome video of dozens of geese flying over my house not too long ago.  Uploading it to the Audubon Guide App helps me find it when I want to show it to a friend so it isn't lost in the album on my phone. There are even tips and tricks to capture the best bird photos.

Identifying Birds

If you spot a bird that you haven't ever seen before or you can't remember its name, instead of flipping through pages of a physical guide, with the app you can sort the hundreds of species by your location and time of year.  The results will feature pictures and recordings of calls so you can even identify a bird based on the sounds of their chirps.

Resource For Learning About Birds

Once you've seen a new bird in the wild, you can read all about them on the guide. One of my favorite features is that you can create a custom list of birds you want to keep an eye out for.  The app can send you an alert when that species has been spotted nearby.  My list has all of the hummingbirds, owls, and eagles so I can look out for them if there are any in my area.

Find an Audubon Society Near You

Kentucky has at least seven official societies that I discovered using the app. If you are looking for a community of bird watchers in your area, you can connect with them and stay up-to-date on local events or ways to support conservation efforts.

For more information or to download the Audubon Bird Guide, visit their website here. Happy Birding!

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From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell

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