American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #403

Are you watching the last season of Game of Thrones? Nick Lund at Audubon writes about the birds of westeros and interviews the sound engineer who is responsible for making this fantasy world sound somewhat realistic.

Much of that consideration comes from the show’s supervising sound editor, Tim Kimmel, who has worked on Game of Thrones since 2013 and won an Emmy in 2015 for Outstanding Sound Editing for the fifth-season episode “Hardhome.” Kimmel’s IMDB credits are a mile long and he works with the prestigious Formosa Group post-production company, which means he knows all there is to know about how birds get into the background of TV shows.

Urban sounds often drown out birdsong. That is, unless you’re a mockingbird and your strategy is to just sing louder and higher, as Mitchell Walkers writes at The AOS News Blog.

Our research shows that if you’re a Northern Mockingbird, one of North America’s most famous avian songsters and the state bird of five U.S. states, you adjust to noisy settings by conversing at a higher pitch. Northern Mockingbirds’ songs are incredibly complex, made up of hundreds of different elements, and we also found that urban mockingbird songs include more high-pitched elements.

At History of Ornithology, Bob Montgomerie takes a look at birds who are named after places, and seeks to find which place name is the most commonly used.

Quite a few of the scientific (Latin) species names of birds come from country names. This is largely due to European explorers collecting and describing a species for the first time and naming the species after the country where the first specimen was collected. According to the current IOC World List [1], australis is the most common species epithet that looks like a country name, used for 22 extant bird species in 22 different genera (by necessity) and 10 orders of birds. But australis means ‘southern’, and not ‘Australia’, and only 8 of those species occur in Australia, the rest being found in New Zealand (3), Africa (6), south Pacific (3). south Atlantic (1), and the USA (1).

Outdoor cats continue to be one of the most biggest problems birds–especially urban birds–face. At Gizmodo, Ryan Mandelbaum makes the case once more.

Humans have already drastically altered the environment, and our impacts, including our beloved cats, come with us wherever we go. Cats are an extension of our destruction, and humans are passionate about their love or hatred of the animal. But when you try and distill the discussion down to facts, two contradictory things become clear: cats are a huge problem, and you can’t just undo the problem.

Re-finding a known bird in an unexpected place is extremely rare, but even so, it’s a thrill for any birder. At The Nemesis Bird Tim Healy explores this thoughts and ponders how many birds you may see more than once.

Knowingly seeing an individual bird that has been previously encountered is a special treat in the world of birding. Most birders would probably agree that the fascinating life cycles of these wild creatures are among the greatest draws that keep people invested in the hobby. It is a truly remarkable privilege to witness multiple chapters in the stories of specific birds. Repeated meetings occur more frequently than one might expect, given the difficult, fast-paced, and often short lives many species lead. Even so, it never gets old.