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Blog Birding #320

At A Symphony of Feathers, Devin Griffiths explores the joys and concerns inherent in sharing a world with birds.

If you’ve been following along at all, you’ve discovered that I spend a lot of time with birds. I get out with them whenever I can, even if that means just sitting on the patio and seeing who’s hanging out in the yard. You can learn a lot by watching these yard birds. White-throated Sparrows and Eastern Towhees are notorious skulkers, staying at the edges and kick-feeding in the underbrush, leaving the feeders to the more adventurous Chickadees, Titmice, and Goldfinches. Of the woodpeckers, Downies are the boldest, often landing on the feeder pole and watching as I set out the morning’s repast. Red-bellieds are regular visitors, but will flush at the mere suggestion of the drop of a hat.

The influx of spring birds in most in North America sees Larry at The Brownstone Birding Blog finding shortcuts in his everyday birding.

1) Ears only:When I’m walking through the woods I rely mostly on my ears to hear signs of bird activity. If I don’t hear anything then I keep moving unless…
2) Scanning for movement: I scan treetops for movement. I ignore common birds like robins and chickadees while trying to locate movement of warblers or other migrant birds.
3) Skip the list: Sometimes I don’t keep a complete list of birds if I’m looking for particular species. I just look for new species and don’t bother tracking birds I’ve already seen. Sorry eBird. I know that is frowned upon.

We’ve all known it, but researchers recently proved it–birding improves your mental health. Hank Weber has more at Out There With the Birds.

The February 2017 issue of the prestigious journal BioScience published the results of a study by Daniel Cox of the University of Exeter (UK) and colleagues from the University of Maryland and the University of Queensland (Australia). The team followed the activities of about 300 adults living primarily in urban areas, and attempted to identify factors in their lives that had an impact, good or bad, on the quality of their mental health. The conclusions of their study were remarkable.

At the AOS-COS Publications Blog, Kathryn Langin makes the case for more compelling conference presentations.

That incident and many others propelled me to write the Commentary “Tell me a story! A plea for more compelling conference presentations,” published this week in TheCondor: Ornithological Applications. In it, I argue that scientists should spend less time trying to impress their audience with mountains of data and more time implementing principles of good storytelling. I know this probably elicits a negative reaction in some readers, but hear me out.

At Phys.Org, a fascinating look at the ways massive tropical storms affect bird mortality.

“The route the birds take and that most Atlantic-forming hurricanes take is basically the same, only in reverse,” said Ryan Huang, a doctoral student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the study. “That means these birds, who are usually very tired from traveling long distances over water without rest, are flying head-on into some of the strongest winds on the planet.”

 

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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.
Nate Swick

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