Nikon Monarch 7

aba events

Blog Birding #288

Ontario birder Alan Wormington died this past week, leaving a huge hole at Point Pelee and elsewhere around the country. He was a regular commenter on this blog, too, and an active part of the community here. He will be missed. Josh Vandermuelen on Ontario Birds and Herps offers a touching tribute.

Alan was an excellent photographer, documenting many of his rare finds in an age before digital photography. He was a founding member of the Ontario Bird Records Committee, serving more terms than anyone else, and doing more than anyone to ensure its success as a peer review for rare bird records for Ontario. Alan has written numerous articles about bird status and identification, compiled bird records in meticulous detail for the Point Pelee and Moosonee Birding Areas, and contributed with information for, and reviews of, countless manuscripts and articles. Alan always edited my articles that I wrote for the journal North American Birds. It was often a bit of a painful experience receiving his edits back as I knew that he would meticulously scour every detail of my report for every possible mistake. Alan’s attention to detail and desire for accuracy was exemplary.

The folks at Cape May are bust with migrating passerines these days, and Don Freiday of Freiday Bird Blog shares some things to look for as they stream by.

The bird above, frozen with wings open by the camera, is a gimme, or should be. A thing about trying to i.d. warblers in flight is that you must know the bird cold when it is perched – so do you know the redstart’s tail pattern, it’s exact wing pattern, its face, and its range of variability? Other than that, if it is a slim, long-tailed warbler with a dark-tipped tail that is kind of spoon shaped and it jinks around a lot in flight and often chases other birds, and says tsweet a lot, it’s a redstart.

Sometimes I read posts I really like and intend to share in this space, but for whatever reason they slip my mind when the time comes to put it together. Alison Vilag, at Peregrinations, wrote this wonderful little piece this summer about what it means to be “extralimital” that I had to include it when I recalled it this week, even if it’s been online for some time.

This spring, “endurance”, “optimism”, and “art of convincingly using time” have been tools in regular rotation. The fun tools–“pin a name on that Asian flycatcher” for example–have not. The winds haven’t been with us. We’ve been poised, ready–begging the winds for an opportunity to use our full repertoire. There’s so much that we could do. But there’s also only so much we can do, because we need luck.

The AOU-COS Publication Blog is a great place to check for the most recent ornithological publications. This week, scientific confirmation of what many of us have intuited for some time – that spring migration is an express train heading north while fall is a more leisurely ride south.

It turns out being the early bird really does have its advantages. A new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that migrating birds fly faster and put more effort into staying on course in spring than in fall, racing to arrive to their breeding grounds as soon as possible to get an edge in raising the next generation.

Crows are uniquely clever, and social and charsimatic, so what are they doing when they sunbathe? Kaeli Swift at the Crow Research Blog has the answers.

With its bill agape, I watch as the crow fans out awkwardly across the cedar shingles. Pressing the camera to my face I snap a couple photos, pleased to finally capture on film a moment I so often encounter in the field.  Unlike the crow, who’s keeping a watchful eye on the sky, I’m completely taken with my admittedly creepy behavior.  Until, of course, I hear the stiff “Excuse me, can I ask what you’re doing?” from the driver’s window as the homeowner’s minivan pulls up behind me.

Facebooktwitter
The following two tabs change content below.
Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Cathy Carroll

    Thanks for writing about Alan. I didn’t know he was ill and was stunned to learn he had died. I am left with cliches when I think about how much he will be missed. What a legacy Alan has left.

American Birding Podcast
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments

Categories

Authors

Archives

ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

If you live nearby, or are travelling in the area, come visit the ABA Headquarters in Delaware City.

Beginning this spring we will be having bird walks, heron watches and evening cruises, right from our front porch! Click here to view the full calender, and register for events >>

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Open Mic: Young Birder Camp at Hog Island: Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens September 11, 2017 3:07
    At the mic: Dessi Sieburth, an avid birder, photographer, and conservationist, is a 10th grader at Saint Francis High School in La Canada, California. He is a member of the Pasadena Audubon Young Birder’s Club and Western Field Ornithologists. Dessi enjoys birding in his home county of Los Angeles. Last summer, Dessi attended Camp Colorado, […]
  • Introducing the Whimbrel Birders Club! September 7, 2017 2:33
    Whimbrel Birders Club was established at the first annual Illinois Young Birders Symposium in August 2016. We are a birding club truly meant for everyone, no matter your age, disability, or ethnicity. […]
  • Open Mice: Kestrels–An Iowa Legacy May 16, 2017 6:29
    A few years ago, a short drive down my gravel road would yield at least one, if not two, American Kestrels perched on a power line or hovering mid-air above the grassy ditch. Today, I have begun to count myself lucky to drive past a mere one kestrel per week rather than the daily sightings. […]

Follow ABA on Twitter