Birding travel. Recent sightings. Ornithological news. Most birding blogs cover these and similar topics. That’s fine—it’s always enjoyable to hear about someone else’s birding adventures. But Birder’s Rules, written by Nicholas Lund, takes a totally different approach.
What do Lincoln’s Sparrow and Wilson’s Warbler have in common? Do you know? Can you guess? You’re right—they were not named after presidents. However, since they do share a last name with a former president, it seems appropriate to learn about this Lincoln and this Wilson on President’s Day.
Lincoln’s Sparrow is a cute little bird. Its brown feathers are suffused with a coppery tint. (I use the copper color as a handy mnemonic—coppery bird, copper penny sporting a profile of Lincoln.)
“OK, what kind?”
“One Grey-backed, one Pink-sided—oops, there go half a dozen more! Were they Slate-sided?”
“Oh, I can’t tell! Just write down eight Juncos!”
“Over there—that looks like a Bushtit. And another, and… there must be 50 of them in that bush!”
Counting birds isn’t always easy, but that what I did Saturday. I was participating in Audubon’s 114th Christmas Bird Count, something I’ve done off and on for the past ten years, ever since I discovered the joys of birding.
I was out birding last weekend, scanning the foliage for a glimpse of feathers or the movement of a leaf unexplained by the light breeze, when I heard a high-pitched twit twit. It was a familiar sound, but one I hadn’t heard since early last fall—the call note of a hummingbird!
If I was in Colorado, I’d be quite surprised to find a hummingbird this early in the season—my first Broad-tailed hummer consistently shows up at my feeders on April 30 or May 1. However I’m not in Colorado, I’m currently in Washington. I was birding at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, located between Olympia to the west and Tacoma to the east. (My trip includes a little bit of birding and a lot of our new baby granddaughter!)
In light of their successful 2013 calendar, Aiken Audubon is offering a “Birds of Colorado” calendar for 2014. They sell for a suggested donation of $12. Any profits over the cost of printing go toward the chapter’s education fund, used primarily to pay high-caliber speakers for their free monthly programs. It’s a great calendar for a good cause.
Are you a Colorado birder? Do you know a Colorado birder? Do you just like birds? The Aiken Audubon Society of the Colorado Springs area has created a gorgeous 12-month 2013 calendar to raise funds for education, field trips, and conservation. Printed in full-color, the photographs are of birds found in state, and I’m pretty pleased to say that more than half the shots are mine!
Do you want to be a better birder? Would you like to meet more people who share your interest? Are you curious about some near-by birding hotspots, but you’re not sure exactly where they are, or how to get there?
While birding is fine as a solo pursuit, there are times when hanging around other birders is just a lot more fun.
One day, about eight months after I first became interested in birds, I was finishing up a walk around the ponds at our local nature center. I stopped by the visitor center to see if anything special had been sighted recently. The volunteer behind the counter saw my binos and asked if I was a birder.