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Blog Birding #329

Bird vocalization expert Nathan Pieplow of Earbirding takes a look at potential difference between eastern and western populations of the gregarious and familiar Purple Martin.

Only one study on the vocalizations of Purple Martin has ever been published, by swallow guru Charles Brown in 1984. In that study, Brown compared the sounds of Purple Martins at two sites: one in central Texas, and one at high elevation in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona. He reported differences between eastern and western birds in several types of vocalizations, as summarized here:

At last, every part of the world can boast a field guide for visiting birders, fulfilling the prediction of the father of the field guide himself. At the Roger Tory Peterson Institute Blog, Dale Mitchell announces the news.

The publication of a new bird field guide is always a cause for celebration among birders. Even if the region it covers is rather distant, there are still many of us who would applaud its debut, want a peek at its glossy plates and gear up to gossip about its expertise and design. Well, there have been several interesting guides trotting onstage recently, but one is special in a way unprecedented and, dare I say it, even historic. For late last year out came Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea, by Eaton, van Balen, et al.

At The Birding project, Christian Hagenlocher tells the story of social media forcing a change to a product that turned out to be harmful to birds.

Yesterday, Phoenix Pike posted on Facebook a sobering warning to other Canadian residents wishing to eliminate wasps from their yards: Don’t buy TrapStik glue traps. Instead of catching wasps, the sticky glue trap attracted and killed 7 chickadees. Upset by this incident, Phoenix took to social media posting photos and a heart-wrenching message.

At The Speckled Hatchback, Dorian Anderson explores the opportunities for bicycle based birding in the Bay Area, where he now lives.

It’s been roughly two months since Sonia and I moved from Norwalk/LA to San Mateo/SF, and I am thoroughly impressed with the bike-birding prospects so far! I didn’t do any bike-birding in the Southern California sprawl, and a badly strained calf muscle kept me sidelined for the first few weeks that I was in the Bay Area. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best shape when I finally resumed bike last month, but I’ve since built up my fitness exploring the bayshore. I now regularly patrol a length of shoreline that runs from San Francisco Airport southeast towards Redwood City. Coyote Point just behind my apartment has proven particularly productive, and I imagine that the entire bayshore will only get better as fall and winter approach.

At Narratively, Elena Saavedra Buckley tells the story of Greg Hanisek, a man singularly devoted to counting hawks.

It doesn’t know that on Monday, October 10, 2016, it will be one of 445 known sharp-shinned hawks in Lighthouse Point Park between the hours of 06:00 and 16:30. It doesn’t call itself a sharp-shinned hawk, and it especially doesn’t call itself a “sharpie,” the word tossed into the air by those designated to do one thing, every morning, August through December, while standing in the same place in the middle of this park: count hawks.

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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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