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Birding Photo Quiz: February 2019

It’s usually the case with the “Featured Photo” in Birding that we on the editorial and authorial side of things know, or think we know, what we’re dealing with, ID-wise. That’s not the case, though, with Feb. 2019 Featured Photos—yes, plural. Here we present photos of two birds that have been well documented yet stubbornly [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 2, Here’s Looking At You, Crow

What: American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos When: Saturday, February 16, 2019 Where: Front Range Birding Company, Boulder County, Colorado

I’d arrived a bit early for the Saturday morning bird walk. What to do? Explore the parking lot of course. For one thing, parking lots are underrepresented in the eBird database. And there was something else: [read more…]

How to Know the Birds: No. 1, On Hearing the First Cardinal in Spring

What: Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis When: Saturday, February 9, 2019 Where: Lamar Community College, Prowers County, Colorado

Several days ago I went birding with the express purpose of procuring audio of a northern cardinal. My objective was to obtain an ordinary recording of a normal cardinal. Exhibit A, this guy, an adult male of [read more…]

Birding Photo Quiz: December 2018

“BVD,” we birders like to say, when confronted with views such as these. No, we’re not talking about the brand of men’s underwear. “BVD,” to the birder, stands for “better view desired.”

Is that an aesthetic judgment? We’d rather see a bird’s face than butt? Let’s not go there. Or is it a pragmatic assessment?—an [read more…]

Birding Photo Quiz: August 2018

Wait. What? The August Photo Quiz? But haven’t we already done October? Correct, we’ve already done October. Long story short: We simply forgot to post the August Photo Quiz. Sorry about that! And without further ado . . .

This bird is rather obviously an adult male Northern Harrier. That white rump, a field mark [read more…]

Birding Photo Quiz: October 2018

Call it the “Fundamental Question of Birding”: What’s This Bird? Go on any bird walk or birding tour, and the question inevitably arises. Open up to any issue of Birding magazine, and you’ll see some variant on the question—typically more than once. Go online and you’re sure to discover the ABA’s popular “What’s This Bird?” [read more…]

Happening NOW: Snowy Golden Plovers

It’s one of the immutable truths of birding: Bad weather brings good birds. So, when I woke up on a snowy Sunday morning, Oct. 14, 2018, it was patently obvious to me that I would visit my local patch, Greenlee Wildlife Preserve, at the end of my street in the Denver suburbs. Almost immediately I [read more…]

The Tie That Binds

I love the experiencing of arriving by plane in a foreign country—especially one I’ve never been to. I love the novelty, and, strange though it may sound, I love the feeling of vulnerability. Something as seemingly simple as navigating the airport men’s room is an uncertain and sometimes adventurous undertaking. And the birds! I love [read more…]

Happening NOW: The midsummer nocturnal molt migration of eastbound Chipping Sparrows

Note: “Happening NOW” is a series of occasional posts about avian “S&D” (status and distribution) on the continent. “Happening NOW” posts are brought to you by the editors of North American Birds (NAB), the quarterly journal of ornithological record published by the ABA. To learn more about NAB or to subscribe, please visit aba.org/north-american-birds.

 

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HAPPENING NOW: Upslope Sparrows

 

The other day, I saw 9 Clay-colored Sparrows at Greenlee Wildlife Preserve, my local patch. That Monday morning, May 14, 2018, was raw and cool, with a low cloud deck, steady drizzle, and a bit of fog. It’d been a while, it occurred to me, since my last Clay-color sighting at this postage-stamp preserve [read more…]