2012: The Year In Review

Nature was busy and interesting in 2012.  The weather was hot, stormy, dry, and sometimes wet. This brought exciting developments in the natural world.

Here’s a month-to-month roundup of my favorite high points with each photo linked to an article about the event.  Some link to my blog, others link to information on the web that I didn’t point out at the time.


  • January: Snowy owls were abundant in the northern U.S. into March. (photo by Shawn Collins)
  • February: The warm winter prompted a massive Canada goose migration on February 27 in eastern Pennsylvania, New York State and Ontario. (photo by Chuck Tague)
  • March:  Pittsburgh’s temperatures averaged 11.9 degrees above normal with some days 20 degrees above normal. Spring wildflowers bloomed 4-6 weeks early. (photo by Kate St. John)
  • April: There was a mass migration of Red Admiral butterflies in mid-April. (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
  • May: Birds who wintered in the U.S. migrated early but the warblers were right on time. (photo by Bobby Greene)
  • June: A new peregrine family was confirmed at Tarentum, PA when their nestlings appeared on the bridge. (photo by Steve Gosser)
  • July: Drought! (photo from NOAA NWS)
  • August: Every year I count nighthawks passing my home during their August migration.  Every year there are fewer.  Sadly, 2012 was no exception. (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
  • September: Arctic sea ice at its lowest extent ever. (photo from NOAA)
  • October: Hurricane Sandy brings unusual birds to western Pennsylvania. (photo by Jeff McDonald)

  • November: A surprising number of western hummingbirds visit Pennsylvania: rufous, calliope, Allen’s (photo by Scott Kinsey)
  • December: Evening grosbeaks visit Pennsylvania after decades of absence (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)


Happy New Year!


3 thoughts on “2012: The Year In Review

  1. I appreciate your posts about birds. I spent New Years Eve & Day alone, so I was especially thrilled to see 3 or 4 males & 2 female cardinals at my bird feeders at the same time. Then the red-bellied woodpecker returned to my suet feeder. Today I had 2 bluejays come to feed. I was not alone after all. I volunteered for the Gulf tower peregrines during fledgling & photographed the banding session, so Peregrines have a special place in my heart. Thanks!!!

  2. Greetings! I am delighted to find your website, since birds are an interest of mine. I found you by googling “sparrows with black chins” because there were several such dandies visiting my bird feeder. Yes, they are black chinned sparrows…I also get juncos, black capped chickadees, house finches, and chipping sparrows regularly.

    The clear pictures and concise text make this a very nice place for an amateur birder to visit. I especially appreciate the posts on anatomy…I know it will be helpful in identifying many types of birds.

    thanks again. Glad to have found you!

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