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Blog Birding #123

Nick of The Birdist has a fascinating interview with Todd Forsgren, whose photographs of birds in mist nets were rather controversial when they were released:

The only bird photographer I know of who I would consider a great artist is Todd Forsgren.  In his most famous series, Forsgren  photographs tropical birds temporarily tangled in mist nets.  The images are striking, and the viewer can’t help but calculate his empathy for the birds with the value of scientific data gained from their confinement.  Perhaps most interesting to birders is the conceptual link between Forsgren’s mist net images and the artwork of James J. Audubon, whose globally-influential paintings were built upon the sacrifice of thousands birds unfortunate enough to meet the business end of his shotgun.

Andrea Alfano, a student at Cornell, writes on Cornell’s Round Robin blog about the whirling amalgamations of starlings and how exactly they do it:

Surprising as it may be, flocks of birds are never led by a single individual. Even in the case of flocks of geese, which appear to have a leader, the movement of the flock is actually governed collectively by all of the flock members. But the remarkable thing about starling flocks is their fluidity of motion. As the researchers put it, “the group respond[s] as one” and “cannot be divided into independent subparts.”

In the wake of the addition of Purple Swamphen to the ABA list, Carlos Sanchez, writing at 10,000 Birds, tries to predict the next ABA-Area additions:

With the recent addition of the Nanday Parakeet (Nandayus nenday) and Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) to the ABA  list (it was not too long ago that Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) was added as well), I thought an article discussing the  potentially upcoming exotic bird species from Florida to be added to the ABA area list would be relevant to the times. The current situation with exotic bird species in Florida is in a state of flux, particularly southeast Florida where the bulk of exotic bird  diversity in the United States resides — and much of it “uncountable.”

Dan Arndt, writing at Birds Canada, shares some phenomenal photos pf Calgary’s Great Horned Owls:

Here in Calgary, there has been at least one pair of Great Horned Owls roosting and nesting year-round in Fish Creek Provincial Park for well over a decade. They are quite possibly the best known Great Horned Owls in the city, and have fledged dozens of young over the years.

While there are some folks that get a bit too close for comfort, these veteran topics of the bird paparazzi are quite comfortable with their observers, and have a lot of experience making the most of their natural camouflage, as well as staying out of sight when that too is called for.

Radd Icenoggle, at his Radley Ice blog, is producing another great podcast on birding.  His latest, on how birding can change the world, is worth checking out:

Birding is more than just birds. Birding is a biological study, natural  world immersion program, spiritual practice, conservation  effort, economic agent for positive change, and goodwill ambassadorship program all rolled into one incredibly powerful package. The problem is that most of the public and many of our fellow birders do not see this fact. I started the More Than Birds podcast to start telling these largely unknown stories. I want to touch on spiritual aspects of birding with a Buddhist monk and birding friend. I want to know how a father balances family and his birding passion. I want to talk with a filmmaker whose passion is to share the natural world in order to protect it.

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