Pittsburgh has produced some renowned birders and ornithologists. Our hills and rivers attract a wide variety of birds, and they, in turn, inspire generation after generation to look to the skies — from John James Audubon, who painted the long-​extinct Passenger Pigeon while passing through the Gateway to the West (an old moniker for our…

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  • Issue Quarter Winter
  • Issue Year 2018
  • Sub Heading A majestic, year-​round beauty in Pittsburgh
It’s not until chapter 10 of Harper Lee’s famous novel that we are told of the magic of mockingbirds. Atticus Finch, lawyer and father extraordinaire, says, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Benevolent Miss Maudie explains, “Mockingbirds don’t do…

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  • Issue Quarter Fall
  • Issue Year 2017
  • Sub Heading The mockingbird fills the forest with its own mash-​up music
A bird on fire, a male scarlet tanager perched just above my eye level. He was in a tree at the edge of the Upper Fields Trail at Fox Chapel’s Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. Normally high in the forest canopy gleaning insects in spring and summer, this avian migrant, roughly robin size, had…

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  • Issue Quarter Between the Issues
  • Issue Year 2017
  • Sub Heading A flash of brilliance in the trees
One spring, I ventured south to Savannah, Georgia, for some sun and warmth. As a coastal locale and part of the Atlantic flyway, it was rich with avifauna heading back to nesting territories farther north in places like western Pennsylvania. It was March, and the streets of that wonderful city were alive with…

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  • Issue Quarter Spring
  • Issue Year 2017
  • Sub Heading Keep watch for this sign of spring
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