Blog Birding #100
by Nate Swick
Century mark! Onward and upward!
CLO's Round Robin blog chronicles the ornithological impacts of 9/11 remembrances in NYC:
On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, twin spotlights once again shot into the night sky above Manhattan to offer a tribute to the men and women we lost during the 2001 attacks.
It was a clear and cool night, almost calm and with a hint of a southerly breeze. In another long-repeated annual event, thousands of birds passed over New York City on their way to winter homes in the southern U.S. and Central and South America. Cornell Lab scientist Andrew Farnsworth was on hand to count them.
Nate McGowan of the new, and Guthrie-esque, This Machines Watches Birds, tackles the ongoing debate between birders and photographers, and where they overlap:
On the other side, many bird photographers invest thousands of dollars in "bazooka" cameras with high powered telephoto lenses and invest hours of time photographing one or two individual birds. Often, the output is remarkable and almost unbelievable. But what is the cost? Is the ordinary bird photographer less skilled in the "art of birding"? In field outings and on internet forums, I've had multiple experiences in which a bird photographer has captured a beautiful image of a species, but has had no idea what the bird is or any knowledge as to its normal distribution and status in time/place. So, is that a problem? I guess not. If that's what you're into, go for it. I appreciate looking at your beautifully composed art, and I've learned quite a bit by studying it. The Crossley ID guide is a good example; however, to me, the most beneficial aspect of that guide is how Richard Crossley has done such a wonderful job in documenting species, age, sex, and molt. I've learned quite a bit by studying his guide.
International Bird Rescue is a world-renowned non-profit which seeks to rehabilitate injured and sick seabirds. Their blog is every bit as good as you'd expect. Take a look at this post about rehabbing a Wild Turkey:
Capturing a flighted turkey is difficult, but one with a 30-inch projectile through its body makes for an even greater challenge. We spent the last couple of weeks orchestrating the rescue — devising a safe method of capture that would offer the greatest potential for success on the first try and coordinating with avian specialists for the bird to receive immediate care.
David Ringer, writing at 10,000 Birds, takes a look at the bizarre and non-intuitive hummingbird family tree. Lots of eye-candy too, which you'd expect:
Hummingbirds have long been classified as most closely related to the widespread, well-known swifts and the treeswifts, a small, predominantly Indomalayan family. This group (the traditional order Apodiformes) is related to the weird, wonderful owlet-nightjars. This larger group is related to nocturnal birds traditionally placed in the order Caprimulgiformes (nightjars, potoos, frogmouths, oilbird, etc.), but their relationships and even the composition of this larger clade (called Cypselomorphae) is not settled (nighthawks, for instance, may be more closely related to owls than to nightjars).
The Into the Air blog chillingly ponders a world without birds:
If you woke up tomorrow morning in a world without birds, the first thing you’d notice would be the silence. They’ve become such a regular part of our mornings that most of us don’t even hear the birds’ chirps. They simply fade into the background. But without birds, the absence of vibrant singing would be notable.For those who maintain a bird feeder, it would be desolate and empty—except for a few adamant squirrels perhaps. Nothing to feed at the parks, nothing to see soaring through the air, nothing colorful to photograph at wildlife refuges.