What's that Bird?
There are identification problems that seem intractable to beginning birders. Telling one gull species from another ranks right up there for me. But this instructive post on the differences between the Thayer's gull and the herring gull from Mike's Soap Box shows us the way.
Hawk? But what kind? Pascal of Research at a snail's pace writes about the sharp-shinned hawk, and how its appearance changes as it matures in Sharp-Shinned Hawk Age Coloration.
Could it be a Cooper's? Sometimes a nice big beautiful raptor lands right on the windowsill. And some of those times someone has a camera ready. It happened to Signor Ferrari of The Blue Parrot, and he posted the picture in his Friday Critter Blogging.
Knowing one bird from another can come like an epiphany. Mike at 10,000 Birds writes about a subject near and dear to my heart, knowing sparrows, in Seeing Birds Better. My own small offering, The Jizz, is about seeing shrikes better.
But there's more to it than just knowing what. Holistic Birding Revisited, a post I came across at the Blurry-eyed Birder, reminds us that a bird is more than a collection of field marks, as these next posts demonstrate. Cindy of Woodsong writes about the talented chickadee in her beautifully illustrated Bird Brains. From Bird TLC, a story about Beauty, an eagle who transcends difficult circumstances and maintains her eagle essence in Good overrides evil. From Birdchick Blog, Subject Line, a look at a book from the 60's about bird feeding, and some strange notions indeed--a reminder of some things birds are not.
Common or rare, there's a first time for everyone. Gwyn of Bird Brained Stories, praises the birding gods, and the birder network, for her first American Avocet. On an unseasonably warm day TroutGrrrl of Science and Sarcasm spots her first fox sparrow. And Night of the Kingfisher submitted this story, The Luck of the Duck, or Serendipitous Birding, of going out not expecting much, and ending up with three additions to his life list.
Over at Aurora Borealis I found this tale of a bird turning up exactly when it was wanted. Duncan of Ben Cruachan Blog goes out to find a particular bird, never finds it, but ends up having a A Grand Day Out all the same. (Note the new link for Ben Cruachan Blog--technical difficulties forced a move, which may be permanent--watch for developments.) I found this story at The City Birder and included it because it tells a tale a lot of birders can relate to. My Nemesis Bird is about that one bird that always shows up where the birder has been but never where he is.
The hustle and bustle of city life can blind urbanites to the natural world around them--but there are birds there too, as the next series of posts demonstrates.
A young birder from the Bird Ecology Study Group in Singapore writes about the sunbirds that visit both his grandfathers' gardens. GrrlScientist's Birds in the News sent me to this site, devoted to the marvelous monk parrots of Brooklyn. Birding is not a Crime reports on some excellent birding in a new park, on the site of an old airport. Search and Serendipity also finds great birding in an unlikely spot, and some mammaling too! From A DC Birding Blog comes another kind of urban birding story: Birds at the National Gallery--enjoying an exhibit of the incredible work of Audubon.
Birds on the Move
From Crows Really are Wise, a migration stopover I'd never considered: a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico turns into a birder's paradise during the spring migration, in Birds and Offshore Oil Platforms. Bill of the Birds, editor of Bird Watcher's Digest, sends this report from the Big Sit--a marathon of migration watching that takes place in Ohio. Here's a link to a page on the Bird Watcher's Digest site that describes how the event works. Nuthatch of Bootstrap Analysis reports on the chickadee invasion!, the current irruption of these guys, and about what's it's like to band them--they aren't the sweeties you might think. Tony G sends this migration story, American Kestrels are Back for the Winter Months, from The Nature Writers of Texas.
Clare at The House and Other Arctic Musings celebrates Aqiggiq (the ptarmigan), one of the few species that will spend the winter with him in Arctic Bay. And Charlie of Charlie's Bird Blog enjoys a day with the resident birds of Denver and one strange looking fox, in late October.
Bird Losses--Bird Gains
These last two are stories about where birds are back and where they may soon be gone. From Sphere, Tom Andersen on the Long Island Sound writes about the Piping Plover Lovers, concern for the precarious position this bird finds itself in, and an investigation into the controversy over how to pronounce plover. Finally, on a happier note, this post from Sand Creek Almanac, celebrating the Return of the Bald Eagle.
your submissions to Clare or Mike (father of I and the Bird) by early November 22.