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Blog Birding #364

At All About Birds, (and an upcoming issue of Living Bird), Amanda Rodewald and Ken Rosenberg discuss the various types of migratory bird stopover habitat and why protecting each is critical for the conservation of these birds.

But those pit stops, more properly called “mid-migration stopover sites” by ornithologists, have been a bit of a black hole for science. While much is known about birds on their breed­ing grounds, and to a lesser extent about the biological needs of birds in overwintering areas, knowledge is ex­tremely limited in the migration zone from South America to the southern United States.

At Feathered Photography Ron Dudley lays out some of the important things to consider when approaching a bird with the goal of photographing it.

This is something I already knew when I was approaching the bird of course but in the excitement of the moment I either misjudged the distance or, more likely, just spaced it out. Now I have many fairly nice shots of a perched dove and one butchered photo of the bird in flight that could/should have been eye-popping. I sure wish it was the other way around…

A Kirtland’s Warbler in Central Park, New York City, prompted one of the largest twitches in the city’s history, with a great many birders touching base with the incredibly rare warbler. At 10,000 Birds, Corey Finger tells his story.

I was out of the house by 5:30AM, on an F train shortly thereafter. The F ran over the E tracks for some reason so I switched to the 6 train at Lexington Avenue and took it to 96th Street. A couple of long avenue blocks later and I was at the eastern edge of Central Park, just north of the reservoir. Unfortunately, the bird had been sighted on the west side of the reservoir the day before so I had to walk across most of the width of Central Park. In the meantime, word had hit the net that the bird had been refound. Let me tell you, Central Park had never seemed so wide before. (I swear it felt like twenty miles as I speed walked across the park, not even stopping to lay eyes on the Hooded Warbler I heard singing as I walked.)

But the flip side of great joy is great disappointment, and Audubon’s Purbita Saha tells her story, one that saw her unfortunately missing that same bird.

Turns out I’d missed it by half an hour. The bird was seen in the same area foraging at around 8:30 a.m., but after that, it was crickets. Dozens of birders crowded the running path, heads scrunched back in the agonizing “warbler neck” position, waiting, watching, listening for a sign. There was plenty of activity in the trees overhead. Magnolia Warblers showed off their mascara-tear-streaked chests, Black-throated Green Warblers hopped from catkin to catkin, and Black-and-white Warblers tangoed around the wet branches.

As the global average temperature rises, we’re beginning to understand some new troubling impacts on birds, evidenced by a recent study, summarized at, that suggests that higher temperature negatively impacts breeding success of tropical birds.

“We found that wren survival did indeed vary with climate – so when temperatures were high, the wrens suffered higher mortality,” he said.

The forests of north-western Costa Rica experience two seasons—a dry season from December to May, and a wet season with as much as three metres of rain from May to December.

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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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