Begin Main Content Area

Birding Through the Seasons

With tidal shores on the Delaware River, a series of forested mountains snaking through our center, and beachfront on Lake Erie, Pennsylvania is home to a variety of habitats and a diversity of birds. More than 430 species of birds have been reported in Pennsylvania, nearly half of the total known from North America. The Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology considers 290 species 'regular,' including 180 breeders and the remainder transients that pass through traveling to and from other regions.

The ability to fly enables birds to respond to Pennsylvania's variable weather conditions. Some avoid the harsh winters, but exploit the luxuriant growth of summer. Others pass through on their way between briefer surges of northern life and the perpetual warmth of the Tropics. The diverse habitats, seasonal fluctuation, and geography combine to provide a diversity of life throughout the year.

The change of seasons causes a dramatic fluctuation in bird populations. We generally understand that the movement of birds is a response to food, rather than directly to cold. Birds that feed on insects or fruit can make a living only during the warmer months, when the abundant insect life abounds. Frozen water restricts access to abundant aquatic life for water birds.

The following entries provide a summary of bird life 'Through the Seasons' on a monthly basis. Take a moment to see what you're missing. You'll be glad you did.