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Blog Birding #233

Cranes are known for their elaborate courtship dances, with some Asian species taking the cake in that regard. our Sandhill Cranes show some fancy footwork, too, as Scott Simmons shares at Birding is Fun.

Sandhill Cranes mate for life, and they can be seen doing this courtship dance primarily during breeding season (though sometimes you can see it at other times of year as well). The dance involves the flapping of their wings, bowing their heads low, jumping into the air, and even throwing sticks they might find on the ground.

Looking for hawks? Pay attention to those birds for whom quick recognition of flying death is the difference between making it to the next day or not. David Sibley has the tip at his Sibley Guides blog.

No matter how serious you are about birding, or how much you want to see hawks, a Mourning Dove will always have a stronger interest in spotting them. Birds that are in mortal danger of hawk attacks have excellent eyesight and are constantly alert to any potential threat. It’s a safe bet that they will spot any hawk well before you do.

North America’s grassland grouse are a bizarre and fascinating group, and one well-known to people who found them tasty as well as fascinating for generations. In preparation of seeing Greater Sage-Grouse, Josh of A Boy Who Cried Heron, talks to his dad, a wildlife biologist who studied the species.

I knew what I had to do–I had to see the Greater Sage Grouse with my dad.  Moreover, I had to see the males doing their mating display on the lek, something my dad has talked about and described for years. Plans were initially set to do so that very spring, in April of 2013.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), the plan was postponed a year because a frenetic, last-minute, cross-state trip to get our Great Gray Owl lifer usurped the Sage Grouse plans.  Plans for 2014 were put off because my parents had recently transitioned to the snowbird life, wintering in Arizona, and we just weren’t able to squeeze it in with their new migration schedule

When it comes to binoculars, is bigger really better? Nina Cheney at The Eagle Optics Blog makes a case for less power.

An ingenious and fairly simple instrument, a binocular does so much to enhance our enjoyment of the outdoors. But, one binocular can’t be expected to fulfill every need of every user. Can it? I mean, we want our bin to give us the same performance quality when viewing feeders out our back window or spotting birds from our canoe. Lightweight enough to carry on an all-day hike, and small enough to stuff in a backpack or bring to the game or the concert. Bright enough to catch the last bird at dusk, versatile enough to bring to the Serengeti or to hand to your child in the Tetons.

It’s that time of year again. No. not warbler migration. It’s time for gulls to start their wing molt. Amar Ayyash at Anything Larus has more.

May is usually the month we begin to notice primary molt in our Herrings and Ring-billeds on southern Lake Michigan. First and second cycles generally precede older conspecifics.

Roughly half of the 1st and 2nd cycles that I observed yesterday showed 1-3 dropped inner primaries.

 

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