American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #413

Shorebird season is upon us once again and David Sibley, writing at Birdwatching Daily has some tips on using structure and behavior to identify birds on distant mudflats.

As with any other large group of similar species, the shorebirds can be subdivided into smaller groups of related species based on shared characteristics. Once you have found a flock of shorebirds, one of the best first steps is to figure out which of the subgroups are represented. Pay special attention to overall size and proportions, habitat choice, and foraging motions. Don’t worry too much about details of plumage at this stage.

The recent taxonomic revisions to the venerable Clements checklist mean that birders around the world have some new challenges to look forward to. The comprehensive re-evaluation of the White-eyes means that we now have at least two species establishing themselves in North America, though they are not, as yet, countable. Nial Moores at Birds Korea has some real-world experience parsing them out that ABA birders might find useful.

We have therefore put together this note, based entirely on field observations and images and sound recordings of all three white-eye taxa made in the ROK (all copyright of Nial Moores/ Birds Korea): Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus (monotypic); nominate subspecies of Warbling White-eye Zosterops japonicus japonicus; and nominate subspecies of Swinhoe’s White-eye Zosterops simplex simplex.

Modern mosquito traps have become a very effective way of dealing with the bothersome insects, but what impacts do these increasingly common culling methods have on local bird populations who eat them? Find out more at 

The devices in question convert propane gas to CO2and add a fragrance. The CO2 attracts blood-sucking insects, which are always on the lookout for humans and animals that breathe and sweat. The mosquitoes that are attracted to the  are sucked into a container, where they die within 24 hours.

Some traps also use UV light to attract insects. This means pretty much every insect in the area ends up in the trap, not just the blood-suckers.

But can this wholesale slaughter be good for the flowers, bees and birds that might actually benefit from mosquitoes?

Nighthawk are moving now across moch of the continent. At Stokes Birding Blog, the eponymous field guide authors share what to look for.

At our annual Common Nighthawk Watch party last night we saw 74 migrating Common Nighthawks from our deck which looks out over a small lake which is a dammed up section of a river corridor and nighthawks follow river corridors. Francie, Carl, us and ace hawk migration counter Henry, scanned the skies until nearly dark. The bad news for the nighthawks is not only are their populations dropping but some are headed to winter in Brazil where the Amazon forest is burning at a record rate right now. Huge amounts of fires have been set by farmers to clear land for business, encouraged by Brazil’s president. No party would be good without delicious food such as heirloom Brandywine tomatoes from Rosaly’s, greek pizza and stawberry rhubarb pie brought by Carl! Go look for nighthawks from 5:00 until dusk along river corridors.

The bird internet is a mixed bag, but Gizmodo writer Ryan Mendelbaum explains why bird twitter, specifically, is a bright spot in the otherwise rough social media landscape.

But I’ve recently joined a welcoming community on the internet that doesn’t drain me of my joy and energy. It’s a place where people with similar interests can connect, share interests and experiences, and foster friendships despite distances—the things social media sites always claim they do and always seem to fail miserably at. I’m talking about Bird Twitter.