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Blog Birding #386

A pursuit of a songbird by an Accipiters is one of the great, and underrated, chases in world, but it can be deadly for both if a window pane is involved. Ron Dudley of Feathered Photography has more.

In writing back I identified the birds as a Cooper’s Hawk and a female House Finch, suggesting that both birds likely died when the finch panicked as the hawk attacked and then pursued the smaller bird. They must have struck a solid object, most likely a nearby window which birds don’t recognize as being solid. Window strikes by songbirds are very common when they’re attacked by accipiters but most folks don’t realize that the hawk can become a victim of the impact too.

Famous bird illustrator Elizabeth Gould famously only drew the heads of Australian Birds in her husband’s treatise, A Synopsis of the Birds of Australia, and the Adjacent Islands, but why? Bob Montgomerie, writing at the Hisotry of Ornithology Blog, has some theories.

Charles Coxen, who called Gould The Birdstuffer, was also a taxidermist and introduced John to his older sister, Elizabeth. John and Elizabeth were married in January 1829, and it was not long before Elizabeth began making drawings and paintings of the birds that John was stuffing for his customers. By 1830, John was already selling some of Elizabeth’s artwork to customers for his taxidermy.

Saltmarsh Sparrows are among the most imperiled species in North America, as seal level rise continues to swamp their nesting marshes. At The AOS Publications Blog, Chris Elphick explains how protecting that saving the Saltmarsh Sparrow benefits many other species as well.

Saltmarsh Sparrows are in trouble. They are found only in the eastern USA and—as their name suggests—occur only in salt marshes, nesting primarily in the higher elevation portions that are dominated by saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) and where the risk of nests flooding is lowest. With rising sea levels and increasing storm surges, however, that risk is rising. Since the 1990s, the global population of Saltmarsh Sparrows has declined by about 75%, and demographic studies suggest that extinction is likely by mid-century.

Birding your local patch is one of the great joys of being a birder. Pete Dunne explains why he loves his patch at Birdwatching Daily. 

Maybe this evening I’ll head over to Turkey Point and see if Whips or Chuck-will’s-widows are in. Should be. Or maybe head over to Heislerville and see whether they’ve lowered the water level in the impoundments yet. Curlew Sandpipers, heading back for another season, want to know. Cape May? It’s an hour away. Why waste the time and gas when there are so many fine local birding locations just minutes from my door?

At The Revelator, John Platt dives into another attempt to remove the Hawaiian Hawk from the Endangered Species List.

The hawk continued to suffer once Westerners arrived, bringing with them loggers, livestock, invasive species and disease. By the time the Hawaiian hawk joined the endangered species list in 1967, six months after passage of the original Endangered Species Preservation Act, the species’ population was estimated at just a few hundred birds with a very limited range on a tiny portion of the island.

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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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