After a year of birding by bike, Dorian Anderson considers chasing a bird the traditional way and realizes how his experience in 2014 has forever changed the way he looks at birding. At The Speckled Hatchback.
I need here to say that I am sure I will chase at least some birds in the future. If a Hoopoe shows up in New England, you can bet I’ll be the first one on the road. This species is so radically different from my local avifauna that I can justify the chase purely on aesthetic grounds. However, I cannot honestly say the same thing about the Kelp gull; it would be purely a tick on my list. The initial knee-jerk response to chase everything is from what I am working to wean myself. While I see the potential pitfalls of ranking rare species along a desirability curve, this is exactly what we do when we prioritize visiting rarities over our own resident birds.
The line between land-bound and flight in avian dinosaurs is blurry at best, but we’re slowly getting an idea as to what happened when. Greg Laden at 10,000 Birds starts a series on explaining it all in layman’s terms.
We are on the threshold, just stepping across it really, of understanding one of the most important evolutionary events that ever happened. I speak of flight, of course. This is a key feature of birds. Not all birds fly, but all birds have flight related anatomy and at least descend from those that did. Indeed, we call the very rare non-fliers “flightless.” We don’t call any rodents “flightless rodents” though almost all of them are.
Sharing photos is easier than ever in our various social media networks, and this has instigated a boom in interest in nature and birds, as anyone who spends time on Facebook and Twitter can attest. At Birdspert, Ted Lee Eubanks takes a look at this coming, or ongoing, revolution.
The rise of digital photography has breathed life into birding and wildlife observation. Photographers are doing much more than looking; photographers are chronicling. The ability to record and then instantly share what you see is a powerful influence in the ways that people are approaching nature.
People are sharing experiences with their images. There is an ad hoc interpretation taking place, one that is introducing swaths of our population to nature in new and credible ways.
Amar Ayash at Anything Larus has been down in Daytona Beach, Florida, among the gulls there, photographing some interesting banded Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Historic! After several years of speculation and wonder, it’s finally here. Michael Brothers from the Marine Science Center has stepped up to the plate and has begun a banding project on his local Lesser Black-backeds in east-central Florida. The color/sequence is white lettering on green plastic leg bands, F:***
A few of us shared in the excitement of observing the first ever banded Lesser Black-backed from Florida (Volusia County) yesterday evening:
And Julie Zickefoose is also in Florida, keeping a close eye on the shorebirds there, and documenting what comes out of their mouths.
This afternoon we raced over to Canaveral National Seashore and watched birds. I watched a willet looking a little full in the crop. I don’t have time to crop or edit these photos, but I wanted to toss them out to you. Maybe someone out there knows what’s going on here.
A bird walk yesterday morning led by Huck Hutchens at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Hidalgo Co, Texas, turned up an ABA Code 4 Gray-crowned Yellowthroat. The bird was seen and photographed by many throughout the day.
Photo by Chris Benesh, used with permission
Estero Llano Grande is located just south of Weslaco, Texas. From Hwy 83, take exit at FM 1015/International Blvd and then south for two miles. The bird was seen beyond the pavilion on the far end of the Ibis Pond. Estero Llano Grande is open daily from 8-5. Admission is $5.00.
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat is common shrubland species from northern Mexico throughout Middle America to Panama. It was formerly a breeding bird in the ABA Area, but more or less disappeared at the turn of the 20th Century. It’s become somewhat regular in south Texas since 1988 or so, with a number of records scattered throughout the area. A pair of birds even attempted nesting in Cameron County in 2005, though at least one of them was likely a hybrid with Common Yellowthroat. The last record of this species in the ABA Area was in 2006.
So, Ted Floyd sent me the cover of the current issue of Birding (about to hit your mailboxes, and available online right now for ABA members):
…and pointed out that on page 3 of the magazine, it says:
What do Chicago in winter, the ABA Checklist Committee, field ID of the Slaty-backed Gull, and Daryl Hannah [read more…]
We roll into the last week of January with two state picking up potential first records in the last 7 days, neither of which are as cut and dried as we certainly like to see in our perfect world. But, as we all know, little about birds is cut and dried. The first is a [read more…]
At the Mic: Donald Jones
Thanks, Rick and Derek, for interesting and thought provoking pieces on bird names, bird codes, and the birders’ psyche. Although I enjoyed Rick’s take and I think he makes many good points, I have to say, I respectfully disagree with his overall premise: “It’s not about the birds, it’s about [read more…]
There’s no getting around the fact that the ABA Area Big Year has serious appeal among birders. Much of it is the vicarious thrill of watching someone build a list in 365 days that most of the the rest of us take a lifetime to accomplish. But there’s also a celebration of the birding community [read more…]
The yang to the yin of the successful twitch, is the epic crushing dip. We’ve all been there, and Laura Erickson spins a tale of dipping on a near-mythical snow white gull.
I’d been fixated on the Ivory Gull since first looking through my field guides in 1974. The pristine whiteness of the plumage, contrasting [read more…]
Do you find yourself overburdened with unneeded stuff when you take a birding trip? Are you having trouble staying under the airlines’ baggage weight restrictions? If so, you might like to check out Stephan Lorenz’s recent article in the December 2014 issue of Birder’s Guide to Gear. You can read this article by clicking here. Stephan is [read more…]
Buying the particular gear that’s best for you is only the first step. You then need to know how to use it to get the most bang for your buck. That’s where Bill Schmoker comes in. His article in the December 2014 issue of Birder’s Guide to Gear is titled “Getting the Most out of Your [read more…]
Potential first ABA Area records can cause a lot of excitement in the birding world, and occasionally they can cause a lot of confusion too. That’s the case with one of the more interesting finds of the year so far, a Striped Sparrow that turned up in Williamson, Texas, in the middle of the state. [read more…]