Blog Birding #94
by Nate Swick
At Earbirding, Nathan Pieplow looks at the so-called meaningless calls of Red-winged Blackbirds:
Once they’ve noticed it, they can hypothesize about it. Maybe Sound B means danger. Maybe the bird is saying, “Look out, there’s a hawk!” Maybe Sound B is the aerial predator alarm call.
When people start drawing inferences like this, they’re taking an important first step towards being investigators of animal behavior — ethologists — rather than mere admirers of it. It’s an exciting and significant moment in the relationship with nature.
Florida birder Carlos Sanchez, writing at 10,000 Birds, describes the great birding to be had at Miami's storied Matheson Hammock:
Although it is heavily used by locals and none of the habitats are pristine, Matheson Hammock contains a varied swath of habitats ranging from beaches to mangroves to tropical hardwood hammock to brackish ponds that consistently delivers an interesting assortment of birds. It even contains, dare I say, a little bit of history (by Miami standards, anyways) in the form of structures and old walls made of coral. Despite the dogs, leaf blowers, golf carts, and other disturbances, I still find this to be one of the most exciting and reliable places in suburban Miami-Dade to see a varied subset of birds (143 species recorded by myself in just over four years of birding here) with the occasional rarity thrown in.
At Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds, Seagull Steve sings the praises of gulling California, and the one specific bird all serious ABA birders must make a pilgrimage for:
Lets face it...the best state/province to find gulls on the continent has to be California. There, I said it. Sorry to all you other landfill lurkers out there, but we are the best. Out of the 30 species of gulls recorded in the ABA Area, only Gray-hooded, Great Black-backed, Kelp and Yellow-legged have not been found in CA...and we all know Great Black-backed is just a matter of time. That means we have enjoyed species like Black-tailed Gull, Ivory Gull, Ross' Gull, Red-legged Kittiwake, Swallow-tailed Gull (!!!) and Belcher's Gull...the latter being the only one (and fortunately, one of the rarest) of these to grace my California list.
At The Accidental Birder, Ms Boice shares the story of her life given over to birds:
When I was a little girl my mother gave me a sticker book for my birthday that was all about birds. I don’t remember much about it except the Chickadee. I learned that it flew up and down like it was on a roller coaster. That’s all. I can’t remember anything else from that book, except that it was interesting to match stickers of birds with the descriptions.
At Audubon magazine's blog, The Perch, Frank Graham Jr, highlights Hawaii's silent extinctions:
North American birders are largely ignorant of a disheartening extinction event faced by one of our nation’s 50 states. Hawaii has been called “the extinction capital of the world,” and the plunge by native island birds toward oblivion goes on unabated there today. For instance, ornithologists once identified 55 species of Hawaiian “honeycreepers;” now, only 17 species remain, 11 of them listed as endangered.