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Blog Birding #391

Want to eBird your Christmas Bird Count, the folks at eBird offer some best practices.

Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is upon us again! This is a great time to join others and cooperate in a massive effort across the Western Hemisphere to take a snapshot of bird occurrence around the holidays. For three weeks each year (14 December to 5 January) tens of thousands of birders head out to conduct the Audubon CBC. These counts are cooperative efforts to get the best count of birds in a single 15-mile diameter circle. They depend upon the efforts of multiple parties of observers with each group checking different parts of the count circle.

The effects of 2017’s Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico’s were unfathomable, but the dead and dying trees are reshaping the island’s forests in interesting ways, as Maddie Stone writes at Earther. 

That last stunning figure comes courtesy of research presented last week at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting. Columbia University forest ecologist Maria Uriarte spoke at a press conference about her group’s ongoing efforts to document Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rican forests, by visiting 30 long-term forest-monitoring plots across the island in the eight months following the storm and surveying damage among trees with a stem diameter of 10 centimeters (4 inches) or larger.

Woodworth had been trapped close to where Pettibone spent the winter last year, but this season Pettibone — also an adult male — is more than 460 miles (700 km) to the northwest. Pettibone looks as though he’s settled in to a winter territory on the northern fringe of the prairies, in the farmland west of Melfort, SK, where he’s been since early November. This is barely 70 km (44 miles) south of the edge of the boreal forest zone, but in a zone with good cell coverage (as is the case in most of the province).

Jason Crotty at 10,000 Birds breaks down a recent scientific paper about conservation efforts aimed at the the ABA Area’s only nesting Acrocephalus warbler, the Millerbird of Nihoa Island.

It is helpful to have a sample paper.  Several years ago, I read about the enormous colonies of breeding birds in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and I did some research to satisfy my curiosity.  (Google Scholar is an excellent resource and free full-text PDFs can be located for many papers, particularly when research is taxpayer-funded.  Other papers are locked behind paywalls.)   That research ultimately led to an article about the conservation efforts regarding the Laysan Duck in the June 2017 issue of Birding.

Everyone loves Top 10 lists! And Justine Hausheer of Cool Green Science offers a list of the best birds to look forward to this winter season.

But despite the obvious challenges, winter birding is incredibly rewarding. Birds are easy to find in the leafless trees, trails and parks are quiet, and your checklists abound with many species that can only be found in the United States in winter. Plus, thanks to shortened daylight hours you don’t have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to be out before the sunrise.

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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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