American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #385

They’re one of the most maligned birds in North America, and indeed around the world, but they’re fascinating birds with their amazing adaptability and interesting plumage. Mia McPherson of On the Wing Photography explains what she finds so compelling about them.

I know that there are people who find European Starlings repulsive and resent them for being in this country, I don’t, I feel that if there is something or someone to blame for their introduction it points directly to humans and homesick European settlers to this country that wanted to see familiar birds.

Personally I am fascinated by European Starling murmurations, their interesting, beautiful plumage and how they can mimic the calls and songs of other birds and like all the other wild birds in this country I will happily photograph them when I have the chance.

At Bird Canada, Sharon McInnes reviews a new children’s book of Canadian birds.

My First Book of Canadian Birds makes me wish I had a three- or four-year-old grandchild. This lovely illustrated hardcover book is the perfect way to introduce a child to birds. The text is simple and clear and evokes as many questions as it answers. On the first page, for example, a mother holds the hand of her child – girl or boy, we don’t know – and points to the sky, saying, “Look up in the sky, sweetheart. A bird! What kind of bird is it?” I can just imagine a bedtime conversation about colour and shape and habitat and the way the bird flies.

Laura Erickson ponders the question, which would you rather be? A wolf of a chickadee?

While putting this talk together, I asked a few friends which they would rather be—a wolf or a chickadee. Just about everyone went with wolves. Why? “No one messes with them.” “Wolves can take care of themselves.” And especially, “Wolves live longer.” But that one’s not true. Few wolves or chickadees survive their first year, but once they do, both species have a life expectancy of 4-8 years, and in both cases, some live much longer—wild wolves to 13 and chickadees to 12.
Corey Finger of 10,000 Birds, like myself, is a fan of fall birding. And why not? It’s obviously the best season for birds.

Nothing much tops birding in autumn. The days are crisp and cool. There are more birds in autumn than at any other time of year. Sparrows predominate but there are a host of other species to find and identify. If it’s a good finch year like this year is there is the ever present knowledge that something awesome, like a crossbill or a grosbeak, might cross your field of view. Nice weather, lots of birds, and the potential for rarity. What else can a birder ask for?

The pain of the dip and the agony of the grip. At Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds, Steve Tucker knows of what he speaks. 

By now many of you have heard about the Common Ringed Plover at Abbotts Lagoon in Marin County, or have seen it for yourselves. This is a MEGUH bird and only the 2nd ever properly identified and documented in California. I was out of state when California’s first was found, so this would not only be a savory state bird, it would be a lifer. When the so-so photos first came out of the bird as a candidate Common Ringed Plover I thought it was fully legit (The Global Birder Ranking System’s #7 U.S. birder is usually right about these things), but not living anywhere nearby had to pray someone would be wise enough to follow up on it and be able to confirm if it was refound – which is exactly what happened.