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How to Know the Birds: No. 21, Hawaii’s Most Perfect Bird

Last year in Birding magazine, we ran a multi-issue series on the birds of Hawaii. Jeffrey A. Gordon started us out in the Feb. 2018 issue with a tribute to the iconic ‘i‘iwi; Lisa Crampton and Helen Raine followed with coverage in the Apr. 2018 issue of the behaviorally fascinating ‘akikiki; then Andy Bankert told [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 20, Alien Fairies in the Big City

Do you know the five most densely populated urban areas in the United States? According to the U. S. Census Bureau: Los Angeles (1), San Francisco (2), San Jose (3), Honolulu (4), Las Vegas (5).

I’d spent a fair bit of time these past several decades in and around L. A., San Fran, San Jose, [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 19, A Big (Little) White (Blue) Egret (Heron)

The bird stood on the railing just beyond the high-rise hotel where I was staying. Moments earlier, a speedwalker had stopped for a moment to marvel with me at the beautiful beast. “We get a lot of those around here,” he informed me, sensing correctly that I wasn’t a local. “They’re so cool, those big [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 18, Flickers in the Flick of a Tongue

At my daughter’s soccer practice the other day, I saw an adult male Red-shafted Flicker:

Photo by © Ted Floyd.

 

Pretty typical for this kind of woodpecker—feeding on the ground. Hm. There actually is a bird called the groundpecker, so I guess we’re stuck with “flicker” for Colaptes auratus cafer. Anyhow, if [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 17, Grackles in the Blink of an Eye

On a sunny afternoon a couple of weeks ago, we were at a truck stop on I-70 in eastern Colorado. It was a solid two hours from home, what with the Friday evening rush in the Denver metro region still to come. The establishing shot:

http://blog.aba.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/01-1438-establishing-shot.mp4

You know the saying. “You’re never not a birder.” [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 16, Calliope Futures

On a not-exactly-a-bird-walk a week or so ago, one of the participants, Roberta, was intent on documenting whatever it is that was happening in the general vicinity of a pot full of patriotic petunias:

Not all that long ago, we went birding with scopes and binoculars. Today we’re at least as likely to [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 15, The Incomparable Coolness and Supreme Glory of Roadrunners

What: Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus When: Friday, August 23, 2019 Where: Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico

You could make the case that I shouldn’t have gone birding that Friday morning. I had a meeting to attend and a presentation to prep for; I had a crushing load of deadlines in the week ahead; and [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 14, Q. T. with a Great Blue

What: Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias When: Saturday, August 3, 2019 Where: Hecla Pond, Boulder County, Colorado

I went out the other evening seeking novelty and adventure. I didn’t know what I would find, but I knew it was to be had out there. That’s because novelty and adventure, when you pause to think [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 13, Gannets—Take 2

What: Northern Gannet, Morus bassanus When: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 Where: Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, Avalon Peninsula–St. John’s County, Newfoundland and Labrador

I’ve been seeing northern gannets, Morus bassanus, for well over 30 years. But I’m going to make the case now that I’d never truly experienced the gannet until I visited the [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 12, Merganser Musings

What: Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus When: Monday, July 8, 2019 Where: Hecla Pond, Boulder County, Colorado

The adult male, or “drake,” hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus, has got to be just about the most ridiculously photogenic bird in the ABA Area. No matter how often I see one—the species has been expanding its range and [read more…]