American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #254

Have trouble estimating numbers in large flocks or birds? Many of us do. David Sibley shares some quizzes to ascertain how good (or bad) you think you are.

Estimating numbers in the field is one of the many challenges facing birders, and it can be very difficult to put a number on a large flock. Fortunately, all it takes is a little focused attention, and there are some simple tips and techniques that can help. Estimating numbers is a skill that can be learned and refined with practice.

How sweet it is when the prodigal birder returns to their stomping ground in a quest for birds unseen since youth. And new ones, too, as when Steve Tucker writes about returning to Ventura County at Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds.

In October of this year, I returned to an autumnal birding battleground where I had not waged avian war since 1999: Ventura County. It was like MacArthur returning to the goddamn Phillipines. Pretty much the same thing. The place can, and has been, littered with Vague Runts in the fall, so it was great to be back at the proper time of year. I had racked up massive numbers of life and state birds in the 90’s in Ventura, when I was but a young nerd, so it was refreshing to be back during the month when anything can happen.

Inefficient cooperation across national lines is one of the greatest conservation concerns for migratory birds around the world. At Birdwatching Daily, a review of a paper that illustrates just how critical it is.

For example, less than four percent of the range of Brazil’s Red-spectacled Amazon, a migratory parrot, is protected. And the Great Knot, a once-abundant migratory shorebird of eastern Asia and Australia, is now classified as globally Vulnerable. Protected areas cover only seven percent of its distribution during migration, where the species congregates in high numbers.

For migratory species listed as Threatened by BirdLife International, less than three percent have sufficient protected areas. Similarly, only 3.3 percent of migratory seabird species receive enough protection.

A Dovekie in southern Ontario prompts a discussion by Brandon Holden at Peregrine Prints on just what kind of weather can be expected to bring Arctic birds to the Great Lakes.

To begin, some background. I firmly believe that Hudson and James Bay trap ungodly numbers of rare birds (especially waterbirds) that “birders” never get to see… There’s no one up there. Since much of this coastline is in Ontario, you’d think Ontario birders (and the Great Lakes) would be the secondary location where these birds occur, but I don’t think that’s the case. It is generally COLD NW to W winds that push birds off of Hudson Bay in the fall, and as the green line shows above – I think they fly over Quebec and towards Massachusetts (etc), meaning Ontario birders miss out. (And also why MA birders get nutty things like Gray-tailed Tattler)

Many of us are tasked with making presentations to bird and nature groups on a regular basis. So what can we do to make our nature photography presentations more enjoyable for the audience? Ethan Melag has some tips.

Getting up in front of an audience to deliver an entertaining and inspiring photo presentation is one of my favourite things to do – right after being outside shooting photos. I’ve had a chance to present to groups of all kinds, from a dozen people in a church basement to keynotes at large venues with a thousand people. Each time, it’s equally fun and exciting! Here are 10 tips that I’ve used over the years to deliver presentations with impact: