American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #28

Fresh off setting the ABA Big Day Record, Cornell sends another team to the World Series of Birding.  Read all about the Redheads, the student birding team at Round Robin:

The Redheads have been a team since 2007. Though their roster shifts over the years (as students graduate, move on, and new students arrive), their performance is steady. They’ve won the Cape May County division two years running, with 187 species in 2009 and 175 species in 2010.

Anchoring the team this year are captain Jay McGowan, who has been on the team every year, and Scott Haber, who was on the original 2007 Redheads team. McGowan and Haber are now staff members at the Cornell Lab, in the Macaulay Library and on our Merlin bird-identification-tool project, respectively.

It's Wood-Warbler Week over at 10,000 Birds.  You can head over there for a series of posts on everything wood-warblery throughout the week, including a primer on warblering in New York City:

New York City offers the best wood-warbler watching of any city in the United States or Canada.  Sure, Chicago has a magic hedge, Boston has a cemetery, and other cities must, on occasion, attract some Parulidae, but none can even compare to the marvel that is migration in The Big Apple.  Attention is often and rightly focused on Central Park in Manhattan but it is the foolish birder who focuses entirely on just one park or borough.  Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is a great spot for wood-warbler migration, as are Alley Pond Park and Forest Park in Queens, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Cloves Lake Park and Conference House Park in Staten Island, and, in addition to Central Park, Inwood Hill Park and Riverside Park in Manhattan.

Robert at Birding is Fun plays with eBird and creates a nice little animated map of Bullock's Oriole Migration:

The Bullock's Oriole was one of my spark birds.  I have always enjoyed them and their brilliant color, both males and females.  Their hanging nests are a work of wonder; a marvel of avian engineering to behold.

I am very excited as this is the time of year when they arrive where I live.  I have often wondered where they winter.  When they migrate north, what route(s) do they take?  Well, eBird (meaning all of you as eBird users!) can help us answer that.

Some interesting thoughts on birder perception of hybridization from Rick Wright at Aimophila AdventuresMarkedness is definitely worth a read:

These are old stories and familiar, but lately I’ve been thinking about when birders look for (and find) hybrids. What it comes down to is markedness, or which potential parent taxon is deemed the default. This varies geographically, of course: in the east, a reddish Northern Flicker will be scrutinized, while over much of the west it’s the apparently yellow-shafted birds that draw special attention.

Greg Gillson of Pacific NW Birder suggests he has something in common with Spiderman.  It's not what you think:

Blank stares.

I might as well as have been speaking a foreign language. Perhaps I was.

This birding couple was looking at a dozen or so warblers flitting about in the oak tree. They were obviously not just "eagle watchers." They were birders.

The birds were all singing the same sweet rolling song: weevee-weevee-weevee-weevee-swee-swee-swee-swee

David Sibley considers the extent of the "hybrid zone" between Mallards and Mexican Duck – a potential re-split – in southeast Arizona. 

In that region, a complete range of intermediate plumage states can be seen in the male ducks. Birds that look more like pure Mexican Ducks can be found more often south and east of Tucson, for example along the San Pedro River east of Sierra Vista. And, conversely, the influence of Mexican Duck spreads far to the north. On 29 April 2011, near Cottonwood, AZ, I saw several Mallards similar to the second-to-last male in these photos – with reduced neck ring, brownish throat and brown smudges on the flanks – unlike any Mallard that I see in the northeastern US. This is about 200 miles north of Tucson, and suggests that the zone of intergradation extends not only south into Mexico (as “slightly paler” Mexican Ducks, but also well to the north (as “slightly darker” Northern Mallards).