No preamble, no hints. What do you think this bird is? And, as always, why? Tom Johnson’s analysis and answer appear in the print version of the September/October 2014 Birding, arriving soon in ABA members’ mailboxes. For now, though, let’s try to work this bird out together, in the “Leave a Reply” section, below.
Noah Strycker, the globetrotting Associate Editor of Birding magazine, recently announced that he’s taking it to a new level. Starting at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, Noah will embark on the mother of all Big Years: His goal is 5,000 species worldwide. He’ll start in Antarctica, work his way north through [read more...]
A week ago today I was, for whatever reason, pondering the question of why we bird. Almost simultaneously, it turns out, Al Schirmacher was musing the same matter:
Call it a harmonic convergence. Schirmacher, a church pastor, might call it providence. Anyhow, the responses streamed in: the challenge of bird ID, and the [read more...]
“There is a peculiar virtue in the music of elusive birds.”
So writes Aldo Leopold in “The Choral Copse,” one of the most powerful and affecting entries in A Sand County Almanac. Merely 415 words long, “The Choral Copse” can scarcely be called an essay. It’s a miniature, a vignette. Yet it conveys a [read more...]
I’m asked from time to time if Birding magazine has an “agenda.” And it’s something I personally think about all the time.
I can think of several themes for the magazine: bird identification; bird biology and bird conservation; new resources for birders and new ways of engaging bird study; and the timeless sense of wonder we [read more...]
Twenty-three years ago—half a lifetime ago—I embarked on the greatest birding adventure of my life: two months traveling around Costa Rica with the Organization for Tropical Studies. I arrived in San José with just the essentials: a passport and Spanish phrase book; a water bottle, sunscreen and a hat; an extra pair of underpants; and [read more...]
If only we could hear the bird sing. Well, we can’t. Nevertheless, this bird can be identified from the photo.
Tom Johnson’s detailed analysis of this image appears in the print version of the July/August 2014 Birding, in press right now. For now, let’s see if we can work it out together online.
What do you [read more...]
ABA member Harriet Davidson (right) is the very essence of the modern birder: She’s an unrepentant lister, an S&D (“status and distribution”) junkie, and a widely published author (including new-media offerings like DVDs about penguins). Okay, she’s the essence of a particularly ambitious and energetic sort of modern birder.
There’s more. Davidson was the only woman on [read more...]
If you live and bird in the eastern U.S. or eastern Canada, you’ve probably learned the common call note of the familiar White-breasted Nuthatch: a loud, throaty, somewhat nasal yawrnk. Here’s a recording, courtesy of recordist Mike Nelson, from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee:
(Can you recognize the other birds in this [read more...]
Note: This is the third in a three-part series on how to record bird vocalizations. We looked in Part 1 at which hardware to use and how to use it. In Part 2, we learned about software. In this third and final installment, we take a take a broader view—what to listen for when we’re actually out [read more...]