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Blog Birding #371

At 10,000 Birds, Jason Crotty reviews eBird’s new protocols for National Wildlife Refuges.

For anyone visiting a refuge with multiple hotspots (e.g., most refuges), the new functionality allows one to easily create a bar chart for the entire refuge.  There is no longer a need to manually include each hotspot that is specifically identified as being located within a refuge.  Nor is one required to determine which hotspots are located within a NWR.  And an eBird user can readily see the total number of species observed, the number of observations, the top birders by species and number of checklists, etc. It is easy to pull up recent checklist and other useful data.  All of the previous functionality still exists, so these new features just make everything easier.

Hummingbirds are a quintessential New World group of birds, but their origins are much more cosmopolitan, as explained by Jillian Mock at Audubon. 

But once upon a time, tens of millions of years ago, hummingbirds did zip around the hills and forests of Europe. According to Jim McGuire, it all started about 42 million years ago, when hummingbirds broke away from the swifts, their closest living relatives. McGuire, an integrative biologist at University of California Berkeley, calculated this date by examining genetic variation across living hummingbird species and using that information to piece together an approximate evolutionary timeline.

Birds like precipitation, at least in places where they winter. The AOU-COS Pubs Blog has a summary of research that explains why this is, and how climate change might change things.

Understanding what environmental cues birds use to time their annual migrations and decide where to settle is crucial for predicting how they’ll be affected by a shifting climate. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that for two species of flycatcher, one of the key factors is rain—the more precipitation an area receives, the more likely the birds are to be there during the non-breeding season.

It may be July, but it’s not too early for a primer in fall warbler identification, according to Dave Brown at Birding Newfoundland. 

I was browsing my local bird watching Newfoundland Facebook group and I came across a post referring to warbler that someone wanted some assistance to identify. I looked at the photo I immediately thought ” this is an Orange-crowned Warbler. However, my immediate impression made no sense, because Orange-crowned Warblers do not breed in Newfoundland and there aren’t any July records that I’m aware of. They are regular vagrants in late fall, but never in mid summer. This bird seemed to have all the attributes of an Orange-crowned Warbler, although it was kind of oddly gray, a characteristic I attributed to immaturity. Lets break down the id features of Orange-crowned Warbler and move along from there.

The rapid rat-a-tat of the camera shutter is a sound many birders are familiar with. But how fast does that shutter need to be to get clean shots of birds? Ron Dudley of Feathered Photography has more.

But how fast is ‘fast enough’? And am I still satisfied with the 10 fps of the 7DII? For me the answer to the second question is now a resounding ‘no’ and I’ll try to explain and demonstrate why.

But I think it’s important to understanding for me to first demonstrate just how fast 10 fps actually is. Short of having a 7D II in your hands the best way to accomplish that understanding would be for viewers to watch (and listen to) part of the following video clip on YouTube. It’s only important to watch the first 56 seconds of it (or even less). I hope you’ll watch it and if you do be sure to have your sound turned up.

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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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