Birds on the Move

Nearly 350 Audubon members describe a favorite fall migration story.
White-crowned Sparrows

In October, we asked a group of some of our most loyal and engaged members (who participate in Audubon's Donor Insight Panel survey) to share which nearby habitats—grassland, forest, wetland, meadow, and coastal—they've visited so far this fall.

Nearly 350 members shared their special fall migration stories, with many of them taking place in their own backyards or near their homes.

Here are eight of our favorite accounts:

White-crowned Sparrow (above)

"I absolutely love when the White-crowned Sparrows return in the fall.  I've been working from home, and one morning while sitting at the computer, I suddenly heard a loud song—the first White-crowned of the season!  That's probably been the best part of working from home—being able to hear the birds singing and calling all day long."

—Lynn W., Torrance, California

Canada Geese

"My only migration experience is the arrival of a few Wood Thrushes and the departure of the Blue Jays. Hearing geese pass overhead always makes me tear-up. They sound so determined to get to where they are going."

—Louise S., Washington, D.C.

Great Horned Owl

"We watch herons, egrets, and ibis fly over our home nightly to go from the lake to their nightly nesting spot (we call it 'rush hour'). We have Great Horned Owls we can hear talking back and forth every night. Tons of birds where we live by a lake and marshland close to the coast."

—Heather B., Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Common Grackle

"Our property includes woodlands with beautiful colors in the fall. If the weather is warm enough to leave the door open, we can hear and then see migrating grackles in the tops of the trees. It is not uncommon to find 100 or more of them together all 'discussing' something before they move off together to the next destination. Amazing!"

—Deborah T., Lakeville, Minnesota

Snow Geese

"A link told about using a scope at night focused on the moon to see birds migrating. That night and the next I focused on the full moon and saw birds. That experience filled my soul. What joy to see birds traveling to their winter home!"

—Janet N., Maumelle, Arkansas

Summer Tanager

"I happened to be looking out my window one morning in late September and noticed a bird in the Dogwood tree that I didn’t recognize immediately. After grabbing my binoculars I realized it was a Red-eyed Vireo. I continued to watch and soon realized I had a fallout in my own backyard. I spent the rest of my day, with binoculars in hand, enjoying the thrill of seeing a Wilson’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, Great Crested Flycatcher and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. A day I will never forget!"

—Karen K., Kansas City, Kansas

Sandhill Cranes

"I yearn for the sound of Sandhill Cranes as they pass overhead. They are on the move in our area, and our resident pair are looking very regal in their winter plumage. I trust that if they leave our neck of the woods, they’ll return in the spring and delight us with their antics!"

—Robert E., Brighton, Michigan

Yellow-throated Warbler

"Most of our birding has been of necessity at home this year. With migration unusually quiet in our garden, the greatest delight was probably the unexpected arrival of four travelers in the stately oak that graces our backyard—Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-throated Warbler, American Redstart, Painted Bunting—joined together to feed in that oak and bathe in the fountains and bathes. Instant joy."

—Kathleen R., Gasparilla Island, Florida

If you are interested in participating in our Donor Insight Panel Survey, please email for more information.