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Blog Birding #236

At The Eyrie, Steve N.G. Howell starts what looks to be a great series on the how and why of a field notebook.

Young birders (YBs) are sponges that absorb all sorts of information, ask questions, and never seem to tire out – although they can certainly exhaust the adults who work with them! I’ve been involved with YB events for 15 years now, and in 2013 I was a judge for the field notebook module of the ABA Young Birder of the Year contest, sponsored by Leica Sports Optics. It was great to see all the different entries, but it made me think about a basic question: What is a field notebook?

Leave it to Amar Ayash of Anything Larus to note unusual things about gulls at a time of year when few people give them the time of day.

It seems too often birders are fooled by adult type Herring Gulls with unfaithful leg color. It’s known that Herring is a pink-legged species, but the Spring and Summer season often produce some interesting leg patterns.

At a time when we’re busy re-evaluating the vestiges of the bigotry in the history of the United States, Rick Wrigt at Birding New Jersey and Beyond finds a bizarre history of a seemingly innocuous woodpecker.

The internet abounds with explanations of the semiotic link between picids and racist hatred, but no one seems to have noticed the obvious: that it all began with the action of one recalcitrant state legislature.

On September 26, 1927, Bibb Graves, the governor of Alabama and “Exalted Cyclops” of the KKK, signed the law declaring the yellowhammer that state’s official bird. Not, note well, the “flicker,” which was the bird’s AOU name at the time, but the yellowhammer.

Nick Lund of The Birdist takes his birding by Google Street View series to the southernmost, and perhaps birdiest, continent. At least by Google street view standards.

Like the polar explorers of old, we’ve slowly made our way across the stormy seas to our destination. We’ve seen a lot of amazing things along the way, including endangered wrens in the Falkland Islands and nesting albatross (260 times larger than the wren) on South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. We’ve seen adorable seals. And terns. And shags. And weird ducks and caracaras and oystercatchers and geese and vultures and a whole lot of penguins.

Shorebird season is upon us, and one of the finest sites for that sort of birding on the continent is Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Andrew Baksh at Birding Dude shares a potential issue with the 2015 season, and explains how birders can help.

Every summer, shorebirders in the NY area especially from the 5 boroughs and Long Island, look forward to the annual pilgrimage to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. With the West Pond pretty much out of commission, due to Hurricane Sandy, the East Pond has become even more critical as a stopover site for migrating shorebirds as they rely on the fresh water habitat to feed and rest. The pond therefore has to be carefully managed in terms of water level and this is where we have encountered problems in the past for a number of reasons.

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