American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #234

That Peregrine Falcons are impressive predators is no surprise, but it’s always fun to see them doing what they do, as David Sibley experienced recently at a tern colony in New York.

While I was at Great Gull Island, New York, July 3-5, two different Peregrine Falcons were passing through the tern colony. I never saw one catch a tern, but they were definitely hunting as they rocketed over the island low and fast with about a hundred screaming terns right behind, then turned and made another pass. After a few passes over different parts of the island the falcon would leave and fly out across the water, returning a few hours later to try again.

There are lots of young birds out and about, pleading with parents for one last free meal before their on their own. Chris Petrak at Tails of Birding offers a photo-heavy post with a few wonderful interactions.

Lots of feeding is going on – Evening Grosbeak and Tufted Titmouse are just two of many. And many more still hoping for a free handout, such as the fledgling Red-winged Blackbird, who was ignored despite its persistent complaints …

The offshore realm is a ecosystem too few of us experience, and Nate Swick at 10,000 Birds (that’s me) shares a couple experiences with two of the more dramatic species out there.

The Gulf Stream lies between 20-40 miles off the North Carolina coast, and to the unpracticed eye it looks scarcely different that the expanse of blue water it courses through. But there’s something about this mass of moving water. And more specifically, there’s something about this part of this mass, where the Gulf Stream rubs up against the inshore colder Labrador Current at the part of the ocean where the depth drops off to more than a mile. These three aspects combine to produce one of the most productive spots in the North Atlantic, a place where birds and fish and marine mammals congregate. A place where we humans can travel to in hopes of seeing things we may never expect to see from shore.

Don Freiday of Freiday Birding Blog enjoys the summer at Cape May, with young waterbirds and more.

This juvenile Great Black-backed Gull, right, with attending parent, has mostly fully formed feathers, but look at the back end – no flight feathers yet.  Part of a colony inland from Townsend’s Inlet, NJ, the young GBBG’s could not yet fly, and began escaping by swimming when I landed my kayak, prompting me to leave the colony right away.  No sense disturbing these birds, though one could easily argue that the world be better off with fewer GBBG’s – if one were a tern, coot, migrating flicker, duck, or anything else that these predacious gulls attack.

At Out There With the Birds, Bill Wilson shares some memories of his younger days in nature, and the inspiration he took from conservationists past.

As a boy growing up in Bergen County, New Jersey, Memorial Day always had a wonderful feel to it. We children did not share the sorrow that the day can bring. It meant a chance to watch our fathers and mothers march with the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary in the town parade. After the parade and the gun salute at the town war memorial there were games, events and rides on the municipal fire engines. Free ice cream from nearby Ridgewood’s Tewilliger & Wakefield, and our bikes all wrapped up in red, white, and blue crepe paper with playing cards clothes-pinned to the wheels for full sound rounded out the experience. It was the beginning of summer.