American Birding Podcast



Blog Birding #422

Martha Cartwright’s recent birding trip to the Bahamas dealt with the fallout from Hurricane Dorian. She tells the story at Birds Caribbean. 

From September 1 to September 3, for those three days, the world had been watching in awe and anguish the videos coming out of Abaco and Grand Bahama Island. Friends and family all over the world held their breaths, waiting with troubled hearts to hear that their loved ones had survived, waiting to hear if their homes were intact. For many of us in or near the storm without power, internet or cell service for weeks, realization of the devastation came in dribs and drabs. For me, the terrible news came mostly through conversations and shared stories, over the fence, waiting in lines, driving around or walking over debris to check on friends.

For Halloween last week, Madeline Sofia took a look at the intelligence of crows and ravens for NPR. 

Wildlife biologists figured this out by conducting a simple experiment using rubber masks. A “caveman” mask, for example, designated a “dangerous” face while a mask of former Vice President Dick Cheney was “neutral.” Researchers in the dangerous mask trapped and banded individual American crows and then released them. While they were careful not to harm the birds during trapping, “it’s still a scary experience for the bird,” Swift says.

At, a summary of a study looking at just how far Northern Gannets travel to find food for their chicks.

Dr. Ewan Wakefield from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, said: “Our research offers a more detailed insight into how and why gannets search for food in the way they do. With such a large expanse of ocean to choose from it has always been a mystery as to how they know where fish are most likely to be found.

Netflix’s run of interesting bird-related documentaries continues with Dancing with the Birds, and Matt Mendenhall of BirdWatching Daily shares his thoughts.

Dancing seems to use some of the same footage that appeared in Our Planet, and, like the earlier film, it includes a soundtrack that I found distracting at times. The music doesn’t exist in the background, as it typically does in most David Attenborough documentaries, for example. After a while, I decided not to focus on the music simply because the closeups of the birds were incredible and a joy to watch.

At 10,000 Birds, Corey Finger shares the story of a wonderful day’s birding.

This past Saturday morning I was out at Jones Beach birding all morning with my good friends Seth and Mary, who had dragged me, kicking and screaming, from my local patches in Queens. A whole county to the east of Queens is Nassau County, where I used to bird frequently but much less so as lack of time and a burgeoning awareness of my carbon footprint tend to keep me closer to home. The most famed birding spot in Nassau County is Jones Beach State Park, out on the barrier island, and though the winds weren’t what we would have wished for we still had a wonderful morning of birding.