Blog Birding #92
by Nate Swick
Rick Wright at Birding New Jersey considers the arc of the European Goldfinch in North America:
I was delighted after all these years of e-friendship to actually get to bird with Corey yesterday, and at two new sites for me to boot. We started on the edge of the Bayonne golf course, where one of the first birds we saw was a snazzy little adult European Goldfinch, almost certainly the same individual he had found there the day before. Once the bird had dropped out of sight into the abundant thistly purple flowers, Corey asked a simple question: Why don’t birders get more excited about this species in North America?
Two-fisted Birdwatcher finds solace in birding after a troubling week:
After a day of non-stop TV reports, you go to a quiet woodland lake, alone.
You need a break from the violent craziness that media people privately call “good TV.”
But, what about violence found in this wild place? Tooth and claw, all that?
Corey Husic, writing this time at The Nemesis Bird, heads out to band some Barn Owls:
As with almost all grassland bird species, the population of Barn Owls in the state is rapidly declining. Due to loss of habitat, this species can no longer find suitable places to live and raise young. The habitat requirements for these owls revolve around the success of Meadow Voles, which serve as the primary food source for the nocturnal hunters. With pasture lands and hay fields being converted into housing developments and corn and soybean fields, Meadow Voles cannot survive. As a result, the Barn Owls are losing an important food source, so they too are dying out.
In response to a recent provacative piece on the website Slate, Birdchick Sharon Stiteler argues that Jonathan Franzen cannot possibly be the world's most annoying birdwatcher:
Jonathan Franzen is in it and well, Laura Helmuth over at The Slate has some harsh criticism for him in her article Jonathan Franzen Is The World’s Most Annoying Bird Watcher. Which I have mixed feelings about. She gets off some great quips and it’s clear that Franzen has given her some fantastic ammunition, from the article: “And here’s Jonathan Franzen on birding: ‘I thought it was embarrassing. I still think it’s embarrassing, a little bit. You’re basically defenseless. You’ve got your binoculars up and you’re looking at something nobody else is looking at, and everybody else is looking at you and thinking, what a dweeb.’
Thoughts on Canada's declining prairie bird populations from Bird Canada:
The Greater Sage-grouse is on the brink of extinction in Canada. This iconic prairie bird, known for its spectacular mating dance, will likely vanish if emergency measures are not put in place to protect its grassland and sagebrush habitat. Unfortunately, the Sage-grouse is not alone. It’s one of many grassland bird species that have been declining over the past four decades. In a recent report co-published by Nature Canada, the plight of Canada’s grassland birds is placed in the context of changing agricultural practices, urban development and international conservation challenges to bring to light the need for concerted efforts to save grassland birds and their habitat before it’s too late.