You may have heard this saying–it’s sort of funny–about dialogue in university humanities departments: “The disagreements are so bitter because the stakes are so low.” It’s funny, as I said, but I also think it’s unfair. What’s at stake is human thought, and isn’t the grandest and most precious thing about our species?
Apparent [read more...]
When I was fifteen, I received as a Christmas present the three-volume Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding. Accompanying promotional material promised the reader something on the order of sixty never-before disclosed secrets to field ID. One that I recall was a new way to tell the waterthrushes apart–by the shape of the supercilium.
Thirty [read more...]
A little while ago in this forum, we talked about “the next big idea”–make that big ideas, plural–for bird conservation. Let’s shift gears a bit now, to the somewhat more elusive matter of birding ethics.
Ethical behavior is a frequent concern for the birding community, and that’s a good thing. It means we’re aware. We [read more...]
Western Sandpiper by (c) Bill Schmoker.
When I started birding, the fourth edition (1980) of Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds was hot off the presses. One thing that instantly piqued my curiosity was this statement on p. 29 of the introductory matter: “Allan Phillips argued convincingly in American Birds that practically all [read more...]
First things first. The quiz. Here goes:
If you just want to play the quiz, that’s great. Skip the part below, and scroll straight down to the comments.
And now the rest of the story…
…as explained on p. 66 of the January/February 2014 issue of Birding:
The king [read more...]
In the November/December 2013 Birding, Andrew W. Rothman provides a recap of the Fifth International Partners in Flight Conference and Conservation Workshop (“PIF-V”), held in Park City, Utah, August 25–28, 2013. The PIF-V proceedings were commendably forward-looking. Rothman reports in his Birding article that the paper sessions, working groups, and such focused chiefly on tomorrow’s [read more...]
Let’s have some fun! No preamble from me, no more buildup, let’s just look at a beautiful, strange, and thought-provoking painting. Here goes:
(Click on image to enlarge.)
If you’re an ABA member, then you already know that Ray Nelson’s “Nighthawks” (acrylic on wood, 2013) appears on pp. 52–53 of the November/December 2013 issue of [read more...]
The letters to the editor in the current issue of Birding are about—wait for it—plants and mammals. They’re also about birds, and about the ways in which our other interests intersect with our passion for birds and birding.
I remember a conversation around the campfire, more than two decades ago, about birders’ other interests. We [read more...]
Photo Quiz time!
Here are the New Photo Quiz images in the November/December 2013 issue of Birding magazine.
Birds are marvelously complex, and no bird species ought to be reduced to a single field mark. Which is a clue to this photo quiz…
Each of our quiz birds is posed in such a way that [read more...]
Can you believe it? The 2013-2014 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is upon us. Today, Saturday, Dec. 14th, the first of the 2013-2014 CBCs are in progress. And “count week” actually got under way earlier, back on Wednesday, Dec. 11th.
The CBC is, I would say, the most excellent birding tradition on Earth. There is [read more...]