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    Blog Birding #138

    The new I and the Bird came up this week at 10,000 Birds. The subject this time around is wrens:

    There are few birds in the sprawl of suburbia or the sylvan ideal of semi-rural existence as appreciated as wrens. Sure, they may lack the audacious colors of jays or the imposing attitudes of raptors, but it is wrens, with jaunty tails and brazen attitudes and ringing, rambling voices, that re on anyone’s short list of favorite garden birds for almost as long as humans have paid attention to birds.

    Mike McDowell, The Digiscoper, has some strong words for a particularly ill-informed member of congress with regard to the Endangered Species Act:

    With regard to birds in the short term, one may observe more habitat generalist species like robins, crows, and cardinals thriving in the yards of new housing developments, but at the same time losing specialists like Cerulean Warblers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Field Sparrows. It’s true that some species are going to go and some species are going to stay, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

    Is birding too homogeneous? And how do organizations who purport to represent the birding community stack up with regard to diversity? Ted Lee Eubanks has some thoughts at Birdspert:

    Still, the concern has been expressed by at least a few birdwatchers about a lack of diversity in birding. These birders, such as those
    organizing the Focus on Diversity conference to be held in November, appear to sincerely care. I would suggest that a place for them to begin is by looking at the organizations that represent the recreation and the resources. Ignore the memberships for the moment (they are white). What about their boards of directors? What about their staffs? How well represented are people of color at their meetings, conventions, and outdoor activities?

    What impact has this exceptionally cold spring had on bird returning north to breed? Laura Erickson wonders if Breeding Bird Surveys are showing the whole picture:

     There have always been bird losses on migration and bad years for songbird breeding, but these harsh cycles are growing  increasingly dire, because for many birds, I suspect that there simply is no longer a “surplus population” that can take up the slack. What troubles me is that we have no tools for getting exact population numbers for bird species. The one exception used to be Whooping Cranes. Tom Stehn, a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, conducted aerial surveys over the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas a few times each winter to get an exact count of wintering Whooping
    Cranes, but since his retirement last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided to stop conducting those precise censuses and use a simpler but far less accurate survey method.

    We birders are always looking for more effective ways to promote conservation and to make our voices heard. Nick Lund of The Birdist celebrates the unique “Birder Band” effort in his home state of Maine:

    The idea is simple.  For $20 the state will send you a colorful metal band (like a bird’s leg band) to attach to your binocular strap.   If you lose your binoculars, the good citizen who finds them can call the number on the band, and the state can contact you to let you know they’re found.  Everyone wins – the state gets money for bird-related conservation, I get some security for my binoculars and a conversation starter when I’m standing at some feeder with a stranger waiting for the vagrant to show back up.


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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.
    Nate Swick

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