Blog Birding #88
by Nate Swick
Andrew Spencer of the always fascinating Earbirding, makes a case for increased attention paid to the vocalizations of exotics in Florida:
A goodly portion of my time was spent in the, ahem, noisy environs of Miami getting recordings introduced species. Some of these will be very familiar to the ABA birder: Red-whiskered Bulbul, Budgerigar, or Common Myna, for example. Others have received some press recently, but tend to fly more under the radar: Purple Swamphen, Mitred Parakeet, etc. And some very few people ever even think about: Egyptian Goose, Indian Peafowl, even Red Junglefowl.
Rob Ripma, at the increasingly essential Birding is Fun, shares some tips for when you find yourself in the field with beginning birders:
Over the last few weeks, I haven't had a lot of time to go out birding. But when I have, it has been with new birders almost every time, and I have come to realize that they are really one of the most fun groups to bird with. All of us as birders should be interested in introducing new people to our passion for birds because more involvement in birding can only lead to good things! In order to help all of our readers work with new birders, I have put together ten tips for working with new birders. I encourage everyone to look for opportunities to introduce new people to the wonderful world of birds!
One of my favorite birds is featured at northeast naturalist, where Dave and Donna celebrate Gray Catbirds:
At least one catbird likes our overgrown back yard, even though I keep portions mowed and maintain a wide trail inside the perimeter. I've been doing a lot of yard work and gardening and the bird seems to be getting used to me. It will "sing" from a nearby branch, sometimes out in the open. It's coloration is mostly dark gray with a black cap and some rusty red under the black tail. I guess this helps it blend into the shadows. Its tail is proportionately longer than most songbirds. Males and females are nearly identical. They're about the size of a robin but more slender.
Chris Petrak, writing at Tails of Birding, shares a thrilling experience with a Common Yellowthroat in a really nice bit of writing:
A small brown bird flew across the narrow road, its flight and profile different from the ever-present Song Sparrow. It grabbed onto the top of a brown grass stalk. I grabbed my binoculars, hoping for a brief glimpse of the secretive Sharp-tailed before it dropped out of sight. The brown-backed bird turned, and I saw a bright yellow breast. From the side of its head, across both eyes and brow, it wore a black mask. He quivered with attention as he surveyed his neighborhood, then sang out with “witchity-witchity-witchity.”
Nick of the excellent Birdist blog asks what do birders focus on when the ABA list gets to those lofty heights:
Almost as soon after we returned from Arizona, my birding friend and I began plotting our next trip. He had hit the 600 ABA mark on the trip (the Miller Canyon Spotted Owl), and he confessed to me early in our planning that there weren't a whole lot of places left for him to find a bunch of ABA lifers. Almost no regular birds remain for him in the eastern U.S., and he's left with planning expensive trips to remote Alaska or guiltily wishing for a major hurricane. He's 32.