American Birding Podcast



It’s OK to Talk to Strangers – at Least if They Have Binoculars

Strangers who became friends, north of Belle Fourche, SD, July 2015

I was desperate to find another birder, but generally speaking there are few to be found in the Black Hills. Yes, I had eBird, BirdsEye, printed resources, maps, but there is no intelligence like recent, local intelligence. It was late July, and [read more…]

To String or Not to String: That Is a Very Easy Question to Answer

[Members and mentors of the New Jersey Young Birders club. Left to right, mentor Glen Davis, Justin Lin, Etan Zeller, Andrew Marden, Sarah Rachkowski, Emma Price, Joe Hernandez, Danny Ceravolo, mentor Sam Wilson, Silas Hernandez, & mentor Don Freiday. Clubs like this are springing up all over the country, a very good thing. And [read more…]

The Champions of the Flyway Need Your Help!

I recently got the news that I would be part of a four member team representing the Cape May Bird Observatory , the LEICA Cape May Bird Observatory American Dippers (and, along with several other teams, the U.S.A.) in an amazing and important event, Champions of the Flyway, which takes place each year in [read more…]

Speaking a Common Language

[“Golden evil circled Highover fishing Creek Marsh. . .” That’s probably what the ducks and muskrats were thinking. Photo by Don Freiday.]

Birders have a language that is all our own, and when non-birders listen, they are understandably both confused and bemused.

I recently gave a presentation to a group of keen volunteer naturalists [read more…]

Crazy Train: How Do We Measure Ourselves Against Other Birders?

Juvenile Little Blue Heron, South Cape May Meadows, NJ August 15, 2015. Saying WTF?

New Jersey’s birders’ Facebook page recently featured a remarkable, seemingly endless thread on counting, listing, the eBird “Top 100,” eBird ethics, birding ethics, and what birding is or should and shouldn’t be. The thread contained some very good and [read more…]

How to Text Out a Bird

First, there were weekly bird hotlines. . .

Wait. If we want to be historically complete, first there was grunting and pointing, then look-what-I-just-killed-do-you-want-a-bite (i.e., here’s the specimen if you need proof), then story-telling next to the fire, then cave painting, then winter counts on bison hides, then the printing [read more…]

Better Birding is Made in the Shade

[I got right under this newly arrived Hooded Warbler in Belleplain State Forest, NJ by staying in the shade.]

It seems so simple and obvious, yet hardly anybody does it. Let’s say we’re walking along a woods edge, and want to stop to look for birds. Where are we going to stop? Obviously, we [read more…]

I Brake for Chickadees

Carolina Chickadees got me my year Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, and Black-and-white Warbler – and that was only today!

Forest birds are distributed patchily across the landscape, and particularly when dealing with migrants, you often travel through extensive BFZ's (Bird Free Zones) between patches with birds. Paying special attention when chickadees are around helps narrow the search. Black-capped, Carolina and [read more…]

A Newborn In Belize

“I’m not LIKE that!” insists the Rufous-breasted Spinetail from its hiding place in the tangles of Crooked Tree. (Click the link to select one to hear on Xeno-Cano.) “I’m not LIKE that! I’m not LIKE that!”

A different bird lands directly above me, under the canopy, in the thick stuff, and I’m the [read more…]

Hear the Motorcycle

[…or the Northern Waterthrush. Moose Bog Vermont, June 2010.]

Vince Elia, friend and NJ Audubon Research Associate, shared a story with me that speaks volumes about hearing birds.

He was leading a “birding by ear” field trip and had been emphasizing that the first step to identifying birds by their sounds was simply to [read more…]