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Blog Birding #378

In this season of migration Larry at The Brownstone Birding Blog urges birder not to take the birds they do see for granted when seeking out birds you might see.

 One of the advantages of using eBird is that you can look to see what people are seeing in the area and then go to the same places to look for the same birds. The problem is that when birds are migrating they may not wait until the next day for you to show up.

I’ve been looking high and low for birds on the weekends. From high places like the above photo overlooking the fog-covered Connecticut river valley…

At Birding New Jersey and Beyond, Rick Wright tells the fascinating story of the Golden Oriole’s folk inspired German name.

“Weihrauch,” literally “holy smoke,” just means “incense.” It’s not impossible that oriolids are fragrant in the hand — plenty of other birds are, from auklets to shrikes. In this case, though, that theory would throw us off the scent, so to speak; instead, “Weihrauch” is the product of that familiar linguistic process called folk etymology.

At 10,000 Birds, Dragan Simic offers some tips on birding by car.

A car also doubles as a good hide – many species will not respond to it (from personal experience, not just birds, but otters too). They are especially suitable for open terrains and larger birds. A car also allows you to cover a larger area and a wider cross-section of habitats in the same day. Whenever possible, plan your route so the sun is behind you most of the time (e.g. head west in the morning and back east in the afternoon). Avoid the main roads, birds tend to avoid them, too, and opt for local roads, preferably those with electricity pylons along them (many birds rest on the wires).

We know that raptors have exceptional vision, but according to, some are better than others, featuring some impressive color vision.

However, there are exceptions, and the Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) is one of them. The study by the Lund biologists shows that if an object is not distinguishable from the background and the colour is approximately the same, it is more difficult for a bird of prey than a human to detect it. If, on the other hand, the object has a different colour than the background, the Harris’s hawk can detect it at twice the distance compared to human vision.

At Birding Newfoundland, Dave Brown explores the status and distribution of the Common RInged Plover, one of a small group of birds that breeds in North America but winters in the Old World.

There are a total of 15 records for mainland Canada and the lower 48 (listed in eBird). There is some notable information which can be gleaned from these records. First, notice the increase of records from 2010 onward. I think there could be a number of factors at play, but chief among them are, more birders and a better network connecting them ; the boom in digital bird photography, which has allowed many of these birds to be photographed and the ID’s confirmed ; better field guides and photos on the internet, which have improved our ability to id cryptic species such as Common Ringed Plover.

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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.