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Blog Birding #379

At The Nemesis Bird, Tim Healy tells the take of a particularly excellent New York pelagic.

Pelagic birding trips appeal to my inner explorer. Searching for wildlife on the high seas offers a special kind of thrill, an opportunity to break from more typical, terrestrial efforts and visit a realm beyond the boundaries of humanity’s collective comfort zone. The inhabitants of this habitat are inherently fascinating in their adaptations and lifestyles. Truly monumental surprises can occur at literally any time. The potential rewards for a traveler who braves the wind and waves are tantalizing enough to draw even chronically seasick landlubbers outside the shelter of the harbor time and time again.

Crows and Ravens are closely related, but do they hybridize? It’s a question Kaeli Swift at Corvid Research seems particularly well suited to answer.

This feels like a simple enough question but answering it requires a check on how scientists define ‘species,’ a look at the phylogeny of crows and ravens (that’s the study of the evolutionary development and diversification of species i.e. the study of the tree of life), as well as an understanding of how their biology determines whether “Can they hybridize?” turns into “Do they hybridize?”

Fall is here, and it’s almost time for much of the continent to put the hummingbird feeders in mothballs for another year. Lilian and Don Stokes help you time that switch to perfection.

When and if you remove feeders depends on where you live in the country. If you live on the West Coast, Anna’s Hummingbird can be found all year. There are places in the Southwest and along the Mexican border where a few species of hummers can be found in winter.  If you live in the northern part of the country, such as here in NH, the vast majority of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are gone by the middle of Oct.

How accurate are the birds of Battle Beasts, a series of bizarre actions figures from the 80s? Not very, unsurprisingly, but they’re still pretty fun filtered through Nick Lund at The Birdist. 

And I was just recently reminded about some things called Battle Beasts. These things sucked. They were little armored animals with no articulation and a little hologram sticker thing on their chests that was supposed to show an image when you warmed it up with your thumb but never worked and always just fell to the bottom of the toy chest.

The process of giving birds their English names is pretty well regimented, but less so when it comes to Spanish names. At Audubon, Jillian Mock explains the pitfalls of Spanish name assignment.

Some of the “official Spanish names” are just direct English translations and pay little thought to definitions, says Vicente Rodriguez, a biologist and bird conservationist with the Mexican government. When Rodriguez gets together with ornithologists from other Spanish-speaking countries, he says they’ll often resort to using the Latin or English names because regional nuances quickly become chaotic.

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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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