American Birding Podcast



Friends Don’t Let Friends Under-celebrate Spring


Though recent weather might indicate otherwise, reports from my local bird listserve indicate that spring IS actually occurring. Last night I was reminded of the other sign that spring migration is underway. My bird friends and colleagues say, "Yes! Let's get together and work on that!" Long pause. "After Migration." 

After migration. 

When one stops to think about it, isn't it odd for members of such a highly "civilized" and technologically advanced culture to delay our work to let Mother Nature sweep in and do her thing? But as birders we're much too busy during this exceptional season. We not only delay said work, but we stand back and watch in awe as natural phenomenons unfold.

Some of us are in the field banding songbirds, others are counting hawks. Some are leading local trips for the bird club, others are hosting special club events. And while some of us are traveling to birding festivals, others are staying home and watching early nesters in the backyard.

Are we, dare I ask, modern day Pagans?

A thousand or more birding events are taking place all over the country the next two months, each specially designed to observe these celebrations of nature.

Where are YOU going? What are you doing to celebrate spring?

Please let us know in the comments section – this way we can spread good ideas so that not one of us allows spring to go undercelebrated in 2011!

I'll start: Today, I am heading to western Lake Erie in Ohio to attend The Biggest Week in American Birding, which is a migration celebration held at and near the warbler capital of the world near Magee Marsh/Crane Creek/Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Hosted by The Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Tropical Birding, the festival includes seminars, workshops, and free guiding services along the boardwalk. Warbler fallout is amazing here – and you'll be impressed by the density and proximity of warblers at several sites along the lake. The guides are present and willing to help you identify them.

I'll be presenting on the topic of mobile birding apps. Other speakers include Kenn Kaufman, Paul Baicich, Jen Brumfield, Alan Davies & Ruth Miller, Bill Evans, Greg Miller, Steve Ingraham, John C. Robinson, as well as guides from Tropical Birding, and MANY MORE excellent speakers. Please check out the list, and get thee to Crane Creek over the next 10 days. 

As I write, this Facebook report came in from Adrian Binns, a birder/tour guide from Wildside Nature Tours.

"Magee Marsh -when it is happening it is happening. When it is not happening it is still happening. it is happening now. Unreal."

A later update:

"It certainly was a magical day at Magee yesterday. Saw 26 of the 27 warbler species, without walking more than 100 meters!! Eastern Whip-poor-will, Winter Wren, Barn Owl (!), American Woodcock and Philadelphia Vireo. Absolutely INSANE!"

Remember: Friends don't let friends under-celebrate spring. Tell us YOUR spring plans…