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Blog Birding #317

Like so many of us, Allen Fish’s first field guide was Chandler Robbins’ Golden Guide. At The Golden Gate Audubon Blog, he shares the impact it made on him.

Fifty years later, I pull Robbins from my book case and put it next to my laptop.  It falls open flat into three separate pieces.  This is in spite of at least two patch jobs I did back in the 1970s.  One I did with black electrical tape from dad’s electrical fix-it box.  The other was with clear contact paper from mom’s craft drawer.  Fortunately today, the heavy vinyl-ish soft-cover is still mostly intact and so holds the sections a bit like an ancient manila folder.

Common Nighthawks are appealing in part because of their strange habits. But Ron Dudley at Feathered Photography offers a story of a behavior bizarre even for this odd creature.

One early morning on Antelope Island in September of 2008 I decided to break from my typical routine on the island and make the short drive up to Buffalo Point. I seldom go up there because for me that area has rarely been productive for birds but on this morning I pretty much had the island to myself (there was no other traffic) so I wanted to see if I could find something interesting to photograph that hadn’t already been disturbed by vehicles or people.

The Black-capped Vireo, iconic species of the central Texas scrublands, is potentially up for delisting from the Endangered Species Act this year. At 10,000 Birds, Jason Crotty explains what this could mean.

The Black-capped Vireo was identified as a “candidate” for listing under ESA in 1982 and it was listed as “endangered” in 1987, when there were approximately 350 birds.  The threats at that time included: (1) parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbird, (2) loss of habitat due to urbanization, and (3) succession, which occurred because fires were suppressed, resulting in the loss of the vireo’s early successional habitat. FWS issued a recovery plan in 1991 and a five-year review that proposed downlisting to “threatened” in 2007.

Spring is here, at least in the meteorological sense, across much of the ABA Area, even if it still doesn’t feel like it in some places. Bruce Mactavish of the Newfoundland Birding Blog is looking forward to the promise of spring vagrants, even with snow still on the ground.

Shorebirds wintering in Ireland and the rest of the UK on their way to nesting grounds in Iceland sometimes miss their mark and ride the winds all the way to Newfoundland.  European Golden Plover is the most regular and most numerous species.  It is found almost every spring somewhere in eastern Newfoundland but in good years there can be several hundred with single flocks of up to 60 birds. Black-tailed Godwit is a distant second in abundance, followed by Eurasian Whimbrel and Common Redshank.  The peak period is 20 April to 10 May.

And if you are interested in learning about the weather conditions that bring rarities to your part of the continent, check out Brandon Holden, of Peregrine Prints, and his YouTube series on weather and birding.

So… instead of writing a blog post on the limits of air masses/rain & vagrant birds (with exciting weather systems) – I  decided to talk to my computer instead…

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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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