Bird watching by moonlight

Hunter's Moon - colorTonight is the night of the Hunter’s Moon and it looks lovely.

This is the full moon whose light hunters found ideal for shooting night-flying migrating birds in Northern Europe.  Native American Indians also called this the hunter’s moon when they could more easily stalk prey to stockpile provisions for the coming winter.

Spring and Autumn bird migrations are exciting times for birdwatchers.  They are made more fascinating by the knowledge that there are a great many bird species that fly at night navigating by the stars.

A full moon diminishes birds’ ability to orient to the stars since it lights the skies so brightly.  But a full moon offers bird watchers with the right telescopic equipment the opportunity to observe birds flying against its brightness as a backdrop.  In fact, there are formal studies and academic research papers written about bird counts observed against a full moon.  The best observations being during spring and fall full moons when birds migrate by the millions.

I could write on and on.  There is a lot to know about birding by the light of the full moon.  But rather than bore you with ramblings of what I’ve read, I selected a couple of sites I thought you would find of interest.

For your further reading pleasure:

 “Moon-Watching” Studying Birds that Migrate at Night

A Building Less Bright:  Chicago Skyscrapers Go Dark for Migratory Birds

And finally, for those who’ve reached a certain age, you may recall birdwatching by moonlight of a different kind when you take a listen here.

Whatever kind of birds you watch — happy moonlight birding!

 

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About Bluebird Annie

My passion for wild bird watching began with one feeder and snowballed from there. The activity that feeder produced led me to participate in a field study of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in Costa Rica, become a volunteer Bluebird monitor reporting data on cavity nesting birds for my local forest preserve district, and start a blog to share my birding experiences. What will be next?
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8 Responses to Bird watching by moonlight

  1. Pingback: Indian birdwatching day | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. I love the thought of this! Crisp autumn night brightly lit by the big Hunter’s Moon…

  3. Deb Platt says:

    I didn’t realize that people did bird watching at night! Too bad it’s so stormy right now. I would have been tempted to give it a try.

    • Poor folks on the east coast. I did think of them when I saw my lovely moon. I’ll be in traveling to Columbus Ohio for the coming weekend. Hope we have sun and good weather for the Ohio State game. Take care and guard against the chill and wet!

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