Glossary















Avian
— of or relating to birds.

Breeding Range
— the whole geographic area in which all members of a species breed — mates and produces offspring

Breeding Season — the time of year when breeding activities take place (nesting, egg laying, raising young).

Ecosystem — all living and non-living things within an area that are linked together by their interactions.

Endangered Species — a species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range

Field Guide — a book used to help identify and learn about animals, plants, and other parts of nature.

Fledgling — a young bird that has recently left its nest.

Flock — a group of birds.

Flyways — general routes of travel used by birds when migrating between breeding grounds and wintering grounds. Four major flyways are Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific.

Fragmentation — division of large, continuous tracts of habitat into smaller parcels that are divided by roads, housing developments, or other type of habitat.

Habitat — an animal's natural home that provides all it needs to survive, including food, water and shelter.

Latin America — a large region of the Western Hemisphere that includes Mexico and the countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean islands.

Marsh — a type of wetland habitat where mostly grasslike plants grow.

Migrant — a bird that migrates.

Migration — travel from one place to another that occurs at a certain time of the year. Birds migrate from wintering areas to breeding areas in the spring, and from breeding areas to wintering areas in the fall.

Molting — the growth of new feathers to replace older feathers that have worn out.

Nectar — a sweet liquid produced by flowering plants.

Neotropical — "Neo" means new, and it refers to the New World, which is the Western Hemisphere. Tropical refers to the tropics, a region of the world that lies on either side of the equator. This region lies between two lines of latitude, called the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, which circle the earth at 23.5 degrees north and south of the equator respectively.

Neotropical Migratory Bird — A general definition is: a bird that breeds in the summer in the United States or Canada and spends its winter in Mexico, Central America, South America or the Caribbean islands, or more precisely a bird that migrates to and from the Neotropics.

Non-breeding range or wintering habitat
— the whole geographic area in which all members of a species live during the part of the year when they are not breeding or migrating.

Ornithologist — one who engages in the scientific study of birds.

Pesticide — chemicals used to kill animals or plants that are considered to be pests (such as insects that damage gardens).

Pollination — the transfer of pollen from one flower to another that is required for plants to reproduce.

Population — the group of individuals of a particular species in a given area.

Raptor — another word for bird-of-prey; birds that hunt and kill other animals for food, these birds catch their prey using their strong feet.

Resident Bird — A bird that does not migrate, but makes its home in the same area all year round.

Riparian — habitat that occurs along streams, rivers and lakes.

Songbirds — birds that live on the land and have feet designed for perching on branches; are known for their ability to sing, examples include warblers, thrushes, orioles, tanagers and buntings

Species — a type of animal or plant.

Waterfowl — birds that spend most of their time in the water and have webbed feet designed for swimming; includes ducks and geese.

Western Hemisphere — the half of the world that includes North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean islands.

Wetland — a type of habitat where water covers the land for at least a part of the year; for example, swamps, marshes and ponds.