American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #247

The folks at Florida Keys Hawkwatch had an exceptional day this past weekend, breaking the world record for Peregrine Falcons seen in one day, obliterating the previous high count (from the same hawkwatch in 2012). Rafael Galvez breaks down the exceptional day.

October 10, 2015 was an incredible, magical day when 1506 migratory Peregrine Falcons were tallied from the Florida Keys Hawkwatch at Curry Hammock State Park. No other site in the world has recorded such a high count during a single day of this incomparable predator. The previous world record was established by our site during Oct. 10, 2012, when an impressive 651 total Peregrines were tallied that day. This year’s new record more than doubles the previous count from 2012.

Leucistic birds are often fascinating, arguably more so when the species is particularly striking one. David Sibley shares photos of a fascinating leucistic Northern Flicker and breaks down how that might happen.

Suppose you wanted to paint a pattern of black and yellow stripes on a sheet of white paper. If you started at one side and painted yellow stripes and then black stripes in turn across the sheet, that’s complicated and you would risk leaving some thin white gaps showing where the stripes didn’t quite meet. To avoid that you could paint the yellow stripes a little wider than they needed to be, so that the black stripes would cover all of the remaining white (and some of the yellow). But why bother with all that extra work with the yellow stripes? Just paint the entire sheet yellow, then paint black stripes over that.

It’s time to say goodbye to our summer singing birds, and none exemplify summer song more than Red-eyed Vireo. Laura Erickson offers a seasonal eulogy for the ever-singing songbird.

Pretty much wherever there are forests in North America, except in a swath of the West, Red-eyed Vireos are common, and were even more abundant when I was a little girl. I grew up within the heart of their range, but had been alive for more than 23 years before I learned of their existence, and a few months older than that before I finally saw one, on June 30, 1975, when I was taking a field ornithology class at the Kellogg Biological Station outside Kalamazoo, Michigan.

With accuracy an ever-more important aspect in film and television, are tv and film producers trying harder to match birds vocals to the times and places they’re creating? According to Nick Lund at The Birdist, no, they are not.

I watched the Netflix series Bloodline last week and enjoyed it, for the most part. Very well acted by a stellar cast that includes Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, and Ben Mendelsohn doing the creepy menace thing he perfected in Animal Kingdom.  And, set and filmed in the Florida Keys, it’s got atmosphere to spare, much like another recent noir, season 1 of True Detective.

But I said I liked it “for the most part.” The part I didn’t like, the part that ruined it for me the way it always ruins things for people like us, is the constant stream of incorrect bird songs in the soundtrack.

The internet is like a magic box, filled with answers to every question. So we have a tendency to ascribe to it a bit more authority than we should, particularly with regard to bird identifications. Use caution, says Steve Tucker of Birding, Bastards, and Birds.

So it’s that easy, huh? Well…no. If something is too good to be true, then it is not a true thing. It is a lie, a dirty falsehood, just like all the misidentified Philadelphia Vireo photos that litter Flickr. Having just read these groundbreaking words, you might find yourself feeling filthy on the inside, and I don’t blame you.