Explore our bird columns all in one place.
P.Q. Post
On the Wing
On the Wing
Pittsburgh Quarterly’s corner for bird lovers

During this dreary time of year, backyard feeders attract a multitude of colorful winged visitors. What do we know about our avian guests? Why don’t cardinals migrate? What do juncos find so appealing about Pittsburgh’s winter? In nearly every print issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, we’ve brought you “On the Wing” written by David Liebmann, an educator who has birded throughout the nation. 

Learn more about the birds you see (and find new ones to keep a watch for) by exploring our online archive of columns chronicling western Pennsylvania’s varied feathered friends, paired with lovely watercolor renderings by Sherri Thompson.

Happy birding!


Enjoy these and more...

The Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal
A welcome splash of red in winter
Swainson's Thrush
Swainson’s Thrush
Hopping on the Autumn night wind
American Redstart
American Redstart
A bird in hand, if only for a moment


David Liebmann

I was always a hiker and camper through Boy Scouting, and I became interested in birds in the early 1990s while working at the Chewonki Foundation in midcoast Maine. Chewonki is an educational organization that includes a 100 year-old summer camp, an environmental studies program for 11th graders called the Maine Coast Semester, and several other related efforts. Notably, in the 1930s, famed naturalist Roger Tory Peterson was a camp counselor there and wrote his first Field Guide to the Birds at that time, so there is a wonderful birding tradition at Chewonki that continues to this day.

I came to Pittsburgh in 2001 to work at Shady Side Academy in Fox Chapel as a teacher and school administrator. My wife is a Pittsburgher, and my in-laws live in the city, so I'm a Pittsburgher by marriage. Even though I grew up in Atlanta, Pittsburgh reminds me of my hometown: people are connected to each other, and everybody seems to know everybody else somehow. I love the sense of neighborhoods and the pride people have in the city's history and traditions.  Of course, I came to appreciate what the Steelers mean for the city, too.  Nobody does a game day like Pittsburgh, and the Steelers bridge different populations in the region and bring people together in ways that I have never seen in any other place.

I currently live just north of Boston, Massachusetts and am the head of a K-8 independent school, Glen Urquhart School.  Though I haven't lived in Pittsburgh since 2008, we visit regularly, and I stay connected to the very active Pittsburgh birding community through list-serves, Facebook, and email.

I'm so pleased to be a regular PQ staff contributor. I have been with PQ almost since the start, and I eagerly read the magazine every time it arrives in my mailbox.

Lots of cities have magazines that are more slick society pages than anything else, but Pittsburgh Quarterly has a rare combination of solid journalism, engaging writing and pride of place that makes it distinctive.
Winter 2017 issue: On newsstands now
Pittsburgh Quarterly
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