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Blog Birding #363

eBird‘s Global Big Day was a huge success, with just shy of 7,000 species recorded in a single day. You can find the round-up here.

Importantly, this impossibly fun event also provides valuable information to help the birds we all care about. eBirders gathered more than 1.6 million bird sightings on 5 May, which are now freely available to researchers and conservationists. As a global birding team, together we can gather information on where, when, and how birds make use of the landscape and we can use that information to aid conservation and research that can help keep birds around. And the best part? We can all have fun doing it.

Molt has always been a fascinating and often confusing part of bird biology, and recent research summarized at The AOU-COS Pubs Blog offers an interesting wrinkle, that some birds molt on specific “molting grounds” separate from breeding and wintering territories.

Although some bird species are known to undergo “molt-migrations” — movement to a molting location that is neither where they nested nor where they will winter — to take advantage of wetter conditions or more abundant food in areas such as the Sierra Nevada mountains in California or the late summer monsoonal rain area in the desert Southwest, most species have been assumed to molt on or near their breeding territories. This turns out not to be the case.

Though many of Hawaii’s native birds are in dire straights, the Hawaiian Goose (Nene) is a true success story and may soon be designated no longer an endangered species. At 10,000 Birds, Jason Crotty has more.

Also, research filled in many knowledge gaps and informed conservation efforts.  Habitat has been improved and conserved in some areas, though Hawaii’s increasing human population has made that a challenge.  Several national parks, national wildlife refuges, and state lands host significant populations. The goose has also proven highly adaptable:  it is at home in many human-altered environments (e.g., golf courses and parks) and is an opportunistic feeder, consuming a variety of native and non-native vegetation.  It can be found in a variety of habitats at a range of elevations.

The Brownstone Birding Blog shares an object lesson in how eBird can encourage birders to get off their beaten track.

 One of the features I like most on eBird is the ability to view recently visited areas in your region.This is helpful in viewing lists of birds in areas near you. Often you will see familiar hotspots listed which is helpful if you are interested in seeing particular species of birds. What interests me the most is when I see a place listed that is not one of those popular hotspots. I am curious to see what sorts of birds have been seen in some little-known nature preserve or land trust.

It’s the season for poor looks at warblers, at at Audubon, Nick Lund offers some advice on getting familiar with their undersides.

I’ve spent so much time looking up at bird butts that I should get an honorary degree in avian proctology. I’ve got enough underside photographs to start a smutty bird magazine called Rump Fancy or Tailfeathers. What I’m trying to say is, you should learn to identify warblers from below.

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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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