Kentucky Birding Hotspots
The Audubon Society now has a database of birding hot spots throughout the country. Just click the state you wish to visit on the map, and it will take you to a great discussion of the top birding spots to be found there.
If birding had shrines, one of them would be located in Kentucky, where legendary painter and naturalist John James Audubon lived and worked in the early 19th century. Today’s John James Audubon State Park, on the Ohio River at Henderson, pays tribute to one of the most important figures in the history of ornithology—and it’s a rewarding birding site as well.
Several wildlife management areas in northwestern Kentucky are among the state’s best birding locations for waterfowl and wading birds. The huge Land Between the Lakes area is home to waterbirds, raptors, songbirds, and more.
Eastward, into the Cumberland Plateau and the main Appalachians, the birding focus turns toward vireos and warblers, especially in sites such as Red River Gorge Geological Area. There’s even a great spot for shorebirds at a fish hatchery near Daniel Boone National Forest.
Get Ready for Tick Season
For many of us, outdoor activities like birding or hiking attract a little arachnid that can be more than an inconvenience: the tick. These pests survive by sucking the blood of deer and other mammals, including humans when they have the opportunity. The Audubon website has timely advice on fending off ticks and what to do if one gets you anyway.
Before Leaving the HouseCover up: Ticks want to latch onto your skin, so the best defense is an armor of clothing. Wear long sleeves and pants, even if it’s hot out; better, wear light-colored clothing on which it’s easier to spot dark-colored ticks.
Seal your seams: Ticks are sneaky little bugs, and if there is a way for them to crawl under your clothes, they’ll find it. Seal any openings in your armor, especially where your body will brush against grass or shrubs, like your lower legs. A tried-and-true trick is to tuck your pants into your socks, but be careful: stretching your socks can create tick-sized gaps in the weave.
Apply bug spray: If you choose to use insect repellant, there are many options available to you—from lightweight botanicals like citronella, which mask your scent, to heavy-duty insecticides that kill ticks and other insects on contact. Many available for use like IR3535 and DEET can be used on the skin, while others like pyrethrin can only be sprayed on clothing and gear.
Not all repellants are created equal. Some kill all bugs—including insects that are food for birds. Because of this, it’s important to wear insecticide repellants only when you need them. And when using any product, it’s important to follow the directions. Even those advertised as “natural” can have negative effects if used incorrectly.
Bring more birds to your home