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Blog Birding #315

Birders are often travelers, subject to the many vagaries of air travel. Experienced flyer Bill Thompson III offers some tips on making the most of your airport time at Bill of the Birds.

Today I’m trying to fly to Portland, Maine from Columbus, Ohio. But the travel demons are afoot and the only flight delayed from the John Glenn International Airport in Ohio’s capital city is the one I’m on to Detroit. This means I will probably miss my connection in Detroit to Portland, Maine. ¡Así es la vida!

This kind of thing happens and it’s happened to me before. So here are some tips, coping strategies, and suggested activities for you, the stranded birding traveler, the next time you find yourself in an airport with a loooooong delay.

With age comes wisdom, at least when it comes to Golden Eagles. In a recent published study, summarized at The AOU/COS Pubs Blog, researchers found that older Golden Eagles will push through bad weather to get to their preferred nesting locations.

Migration is tough, and birds do everything they can to optimize it. How do factors like weather and experience affect the strategies they choose? A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that older, more experienced Golden Eagles actually migrate in poorer weather conditions and cover less ground than their younger counterparts, but for a good reason—they’re timing their efforts around raising the next generation of eagles.

The EPA decided last week to deny the petition to ban chlorpyrifos pesticides. What does that mean for birds? Nick Hayman and Violet Renick discuss at Deep Sea News.

Chlorpyrifos belongs to a class of insecticides called organophosphates (OPs) which are popular because (1) a little goes a long way in killing pests (in the business we call this “high acute toxicity”), and (2) it is broad spectrum (effective at killing several crop pests). Chlorpyrifos, like other OPs, works primarily by blocking the proper function of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme needed for normal brain and nervous system functioning.1 This enzyme is common across the animal kingdom including invertebrate groups (like crabs and worms), fish, birds, and, you guessed it, humans.

Tis the season to start thinking about warblers, and Justin Cale at Notes from the Wildside has you covered with some thoughts about one of the most widespread species in North America.

Each year I visit The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival along the northwest shores of Lake Erie. This year, I’m delighted to be doing so while representing Wildside, so be sure to look for me and talk my ear off. I’m always up for a conversation about conservation, photography, and birds! As I drive into the area, usually early in the morning of the first day, I always leave my windows down. I haven’t truly arrived until I have heard that beautiful, SWEET, song of the Yellow Warbler. Then I can smile and rest a little easier in my seat, because at that point the rest of the world falls away and I feel at home.

Crows are loud and gregarious, but their nesting habits are remarkably subdued. At the Corvid Research Blog, Kaeli Swift shares everything you might want to know about crow nests.

pring marks one of my favorite times of year.  Cherry blossoms abound, the rain smell sweet and the birds get busy putting their carpentry skills to good use. Starting early March, the silhouettes of crows with bill loads of timber or wads of soft material dot the skies as they shuttle back and forth to their nest tree. Like a townhouse development, these construction projects are over in the blink of an eye and soon, their bill loads of twigs will be replaced by food for their mate and, eventually, their insatiable young. Spotting these nests is both a great way to observe and engage with your local crow family and avoid unpleasant conflicts with protective crow parents.

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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.
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