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Blog Birding #60

Eamon Corbett offers a nice piece on birds in poetry at the ABA’s Young Birder Blog, The Eyrie:

Birds have the power to evoke strong emotions in those who watch them. Their mastery of flight, their exuberant songs, and their bright plumage cause fascination, awe, and often envy among their human observers. Birders have long known this, and it’s one of the main reasons why we watch birds. But there is another group that also has a long history of watching and writing about birds: poets. Being a particularly eloquent bunch, many poets have succeeded in capturing some of the intangible aspects of birds in their poems. In fact, because of the emotions that they can evoke, birds are one of the most popular topics for poets, and you would have a hard time thinking of a poet who has never penned a verse about a bird.

Canada’s mint introduced a new coin featuring the boreal forests that are home to so many of our beloved migratory birds.  More at the Boreal Songbird Initiative‘s blog:

Canadian Mint, the manufacturer of Canadian currency, has come out with a new sleek coin celebrating Canada’s vast and wild boreal forest. This new toonie (Canada’s $2 coin) fits with Mint’s current trend expanding awareness of Canada’s natural heritage. It was preceded by a loonie ($1 coin) dedicated to the centennial of Parks Canada and will be followed in 2012 by three quarters featuring the Orca, Wood Bison, and Peregrine Falcon. Three noble and worthy species to showcase in my humble opinion.

Seagull Steve of Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds seeks to answer the age-old question, birding alone, or birding in groups.  The answer? Inconclusive:

And so I birded my way down the eastern seaboard, being chased by Nor’easters the entire way down to Georgia. The birding was good when it was not raining (Brown-headed Nuthatches made for good company), but there were times in which I wish I had company…except for that one very embarrassing incident in Virginia City, which I will not divulge the details of.

A trio of rare Harlequin Ducks in Utah were apparently taken by hunters last week, leaving many birders – and hunters it must be said – with a bad taste in their mouths.  More at Utah Birders Blog:

As recently as 2 weeks ago, 3 Harlequin Ducks were being consistently seen along the Antelope Island Causeway road, usually near the first bridge. For nearly 2 months these birds found shelter where they normally would not be found. Then one day, they vanished and their whereabouts remained a mystery.

Unfortunately, we now have it on good authority that these ducks (and others) were taken as trophies by some very unsportsmanlike “hunters” who took advantage of some easy targets and a loophole in the law (and in their personal ethics). Presumably your initial reaction is outrage and sadness followed by an assumption that surely some law must have been broken.

Rarities are lining up for John Vanderpoel as he heads for 740 and beyond.  Brown Jay, in particular, was a hairy predicament:

I drove down  the fifty yards to the bottom of the hill and to the edge of the Rio Grande to turn around, but as I was turning I noticed two Mexicans wading across the Rio Grande with backbacks and rifles held high.  Immediately a Border Patrol SUV came speeding towards me with flashing red lights.  The officer stopped his vehicle, rolled down the window and asked if I was all right?  Then he informed me that there were armed Cartel in the area. I responded that I’d just seen two armed gunmen cross 100 yards upstream. He told me to get out and then sped away.  I didn’t know what to do but decided I needed to warn the birders at Salineo (there were three plus two hosts).


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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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