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Blog Birding #373

Most birders might take for granted the fact that some of our most common birds have some of the more unusual and interesting behaviors you can find anywhere in the world. Dave Brown at Birding Newfoundland seeks to shed a little light.

Most people are familiar with the thievery exhibited in gulls and other seabirds. Anyone who has taken their kids to feed the ducks, or spent some time sea watching will have noted how aggressive Gulls can be as they bully other birds and steal their food. But has anyone ever noticed American Wigeon stealing food from other ducks and waterfowl! Birds that steal food from other birds are known as kleptoparasites. As I mentioned, this behaviour is well documented in various seabirds from Frigatebirds to Gulls and Jaegers, but the American Wigeon often flies under the radar in this regard! (excuse the pun there!).

At 10,000 Birds, Angela Minor looks to inform birders of the potential exploitation of our natural place sin the United States, and urges us to take action.

As recently as May of this year, the current administration proposed a Bureau of Land Management auction of 4,200 acres of public land in northern Arizona. The area crosses the Little Colorado River and lies within three miles of the Petrified Forest National Park. Oh, did I mention the auction is for drilling and fracking WITHOUT those pesky encumbrances of public and environmental reviews!

Shorebirder Nick Bonomo beats the summer doldrums with a seabird bonanza on Long Island Sound.

Finding seabirds in Connecticut takes a strong combination of work and luck. This is especially true with the shearwaters. These medium-sized strong-flying seabirds are not easily pushed astray by a bit of wind. Long Island Sound, a narrow body of water split between Connecticut and New York, is mostly cut off from the open ocean. Only a narrow opening in the eastern sound communicates with the open Atlantic, and even that is a bit sheltered by Block Island (RI) and the South Fork of LI. It is not a preferred body of water for a shearwater…until very recently.

While Linda Murdock of Linda Murdock Photography takes a different tack, and attempts to wile away the summer with some heavy, and creative, photo-editing.

These triple-digit days are too much for getting out and chasing birds. We ventured out twice around the 4th of July with the rain and clouds and then one barely productive afternoon at Surfside. Too hot for even architecture. So… I have been spending a lot of time watching TV (OMG have you seen The Americans?) and playing with my new tablet.

Birdchaser Rob Fergus, however, has been spending his summer channeling mid-90’s Saturday Night Live with his birding.

With fall migration well underway, the best place in my county for shorebirds is a small tidal flat on the Delaware River behind the Philadelphia airport.  Several times a week I try to hit there at low tide to see what comes my way.  Half a dozen Bald Eagles patrol this area and like to land on the spit as well, so oftentimes they spook birds that have landed there.  Which means you have to pay attention, because the shorebirds you want to see may only get to land for a few minutes before they get flushed and take off.

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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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