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How to Know the Birds: No. 4, Sagebrush Sparrows and the Subjective Experience of Rarity

What: Sagebrush Sparrow, Artemisiospiza nevadensis When: Saturday, March 16, 2019 Where: Medano-Zapata Ranch, Alamosa County, Colorado

The time is 9:43 a.m., the temperature in the upper 20s. But “it’s a dry cold.” The sky is completely clear, the sun surprisingly warm. I’m at one of my favorite places on Earth, the entrance to The [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 3, Watching Dippers in the Age of #SciComm

What: American Dipper, Cinclus mexicanus When: Saturday, February 23, 2019 Where: Boulder Creek, Boulder County, Colorado

I went birding a short while ago with Nick Minor, co-compiler with Paul Hess of Birding magazine’s popular “Frontiers in Ornithology” (formerly “News & Notes”) column. Time was limited, as Nick had to catch a morning flight out [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 2, Here’s Looking At You, Crow

What: American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos When: Saturday, February 16, 2019 Where: Front Range Birding Company, Boulder County, Colorado

I’d arrived a bit early for the Saturday morning bird walk. What to do? Explore the parking lot of course. For one thing, parking lots are underrepresented in the eBird database. And there was something else: [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 1, On Hearing the First Cardinal in Spring

What: Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis When: Saturday, February 9, 2019 Where: Lamar Community College, Prowers County, Colorado

Several days ago I went birding with the express purpose of procuring audio of a northern cardinal. My objective was to obtain an ordinary recording of a normal cardinal. Exhibit A, this guy, an adult male of [read more…]