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    Blog Birding #69

    At The Rattling Crow, a blog on bird behavior, Africa Gomez shares some research that suggests that factors other than age influence when wrens are ready to mate for the first time:

    Wrens start singing early. They have been doing it occasionally since the first days of January, their powerful quick song cheering up the dark winter days. Today they seem to have gone for it on earnest: I heard four different males singing on my way to work. They have lots to do and there is so little, precious time. They have to start building their nests before females are ready to lay. Yes, I said nests, not just one, but many, lots, as many as he can possible make before the females start visiting. And also, I said females, as wrens are polygynous, with one male mating with between one to nine females per season.

    Ever since the three rosy finch species were found to be reliable at Sandia Crest in New Mexico, birders from around the world have made the trip up the mountain.  Here, Chris of Tails of Birding makes his:

    I made the pilgrimage on a Sunday when the Rosy-Finch Project was doing banding (more in a future post).

    It almost seemed too easy – sipping hot chocolate and sitting inside while the flock made multiple forays through the pines, and visits to the feeder. But guilt over such a situation no longer bother me in the least.

    Dave Irons at the Birdfellow blog shares a photo montage of the multiple subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows wintering in Texas:

    Shawneen Finnegan and I recently took a trip to south Texas. During our visit we took the opportunity to study and photograph the two subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows that winter in this region. Coming from Oregon, where we see mostly "Puget Sound" White-crowned Sparrows (subspecies pugetensis) and a few migrant "Gambel's" White-crowned Sparrows (subspecies gambelii) in spring and fall, I was anxious to check out the nominate dark-lored "Eastern" birds (subspecies leucophrys) along with getting more exposure to immature Gambel's.

    February may be among the slowest birding months across much of the continent, but a 7 gull day and Harlan's Hawks, as reported by Tim at Utah Birds, is nothing to complaining about:

    But what about the ides of February?  The middle of the dreariest most boring month of the year in Utah?  What is there to keep us focused till the calendar pages turn to March and we can start dreaming about fallouts and warblers?  Well that is truly up to you!  February has it's highlights just like any other month, but unless you get in the field to look you will miss those things.  This past weekend a group of us had a 7 gull species day and also picked up Wood Ducks, and Greater White-fronted Goose.  It was a dreary and cold day but the birding was amazing.

    Corey at 10,000 Birds shares his experiences with Mottled Ducks.  Truly, a birder's bird:

    What the Mottled Duck lacks in color it makes up for in personality…no, honestly, that’s not true at all. I spent probably an hour-and-a-half watching Mottled Ducks during my time in Florida at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival and I didn’t see a single Mottled Duck do a single interesting thing. In fact, other than swimming around, occasionally quacking, and dabbling here and there I didn’t see Mottled Ducks do much of anything. I have pictures of all three of those activities though!

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    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
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