Birding is Fun – I and the Bird #141:
For me, birding is all about having a good time. People approach birding from many different view points and go about birding in sundry ways. Whatever interests in you birding, that's great! No one form of birding is morally superior to another form of birding fun. Birding certainly comes with all kinds of great side effects, like increased awareness, exploration in terrain and habitats you otherwise would not visit, and meeting other great people who enjoy the same hobby. However, human nature sometimes creeps up on us and we get into a birding rut and stop having as much fun. To help prevent any birding blues in 2011, please check out the list of 20 fun birding ideas I have compiled. Then check out the links to more tips from my bird blogging friends from around the globe in this edition of I and the Bird.
Greg Laden's Blog – Why are all the birds dying?:
The flock then spends weeks in exactly the same habitat, as they are traveling together. And, they are traveling, which adds stress. They need to fly to a place with food, and although we see them as, perhaps, landing in a place with lots of food for them, there are still hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of the birds in that one spot competing for food. So, one day they land in a place with a less than ideal food supply, and some of the flock go to roost hungry. The next day, those weakened feed even more poorly. Then, there is a cold turn of weather or some other meteorological event that stresses the entire flock and that 10 percent that had done poorly for two days in a row crashes. Literally, perhaps.
With all the sensationalism out there, it's nice to see some reasonable scientific voices weigh in,
The Birder's Library – 2010 in Bird Books: Field Guides:
2010 was a good year for bird field guides. The highlights include new editions of the most famous field guide in history, a great new field guide for North America, a real field guide to the world’s most avian-rich country, and what was arguably the most highly anticipated field guide update ever (at least since I’ve been birding). Here’s a brief look at the field guides from this past year.
CMBO: Views from the Cape – Birds along the Cohansey River:
Yesterday, for the third year running, I canvassed the Cohansey during the annual Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey. Yes, we found eagles – 23 of them – but, even without much time to properly bird, 55 other species wound up on the eBird checklist. We didn't stay until dark, but having been in this area for CMBO's annual Winter Marsh Raptor survey, I have no doubt Short-eared and Great-horned Owls would have been added if we had tried for them. I've posted our list for the day on the Field Trip Reports page; below are some photo highlights.
BirdGalAlcatraz – The Bewitching Bewisck's Wren:
Named after the famed 18th century British ornithologist, Thomas Bewick, the Bewick's Wren is a small-bodied bird with a slightly downcurved bill. But its big claim to fame is its conspicuous and dashing white eyebrow. It gives it a sort of distinguished, Clark Gable look and makes it an easy bird to spot in your backyard.
10,000 Birds – Tufted Duck at Cold Springs Harbor, New York:
Long story short: Danny and Alan picked me up yesterday morning, we drove to Cold Spring Harbor and spotted the bird and got extremely unsatisfactory looks, though the bird’s black back, white flanks, and tuft, the important filed marks, were all visible. We then checked out Saint John’s Pond and didn’t see much so we took one more look at Cold Spring Harbor where we were pleased to find the Tufted Duck was much closer and we got better looks despite the snow, which had really started to come down hard.