Biggest Week in American Birding Warbler Cheat Sheet

This data is taken from eBird, a Citizen Science project to collect birders’ checklist data from around the world for use by researchers and scientists.  Data in this chart was accessed on 3/18/2014 from ebird.org.  The data is for all of the month of May [only] and is for all years (1900-2013).  The cheat sheet is for Northwest Ohio including the counties of Erie, Ottawa, and Lucas.  Even though this chart covers the whole month of May, it can still be used as a guideline for Biggest Week this year which occurs from May 6-15, 2014.  Check out the main festival site here: http://www.biggestweekinamericanbirding.com/.

The first column is taxonomical sequence.  The second column is a difficulty rank based on the highest number of individual birds per checklist for a specific species for May in the Biggest Week area.  The lower the difficulty number, the easier the bird is to see (more birds per checklist).  Likewise, the higher the difficulty number, the harder that species is to see.  The third column is the week in May in which that species peaks–reaches its maximum value for birds per checklist. Column 4 is the species common name.  Column 5 is the actual maximum value of birds per checklist that a species achieves in May in the 3-county area.  Column 6 is like column 3 but is specific to actual day (as opposed to week of the month).  The last column is the average number of checklists submitted during May in the 3-county area to see 1 (one) individual bird.  This is calculated by taking the reciprocal of the peak value of abundance (birds per checklist).  For example, Ovenbird reaches a peak of 0.480 birds per checklist.  So 1 divided by 0.480 equals 2.0833 [checklists to see 1 bird].  But since a fraction remains I add 1 to it to get to 3 checklists to see 1 bird.  Got it?  Good.

Tax Difficulty Week Species

Highest # birds/chklst

Peak Abundance Day

Avg # Chklsts to see 1

1

20

2

Ovenbird

0.480

13-May

3

2

30

1

Worm-eating Warbler

0.098

5-May

11

3

35

2

Louisiana Waterthrush

0.057

13-May

18

4

23

2

Northern Waterthrush

0.373

13-May

3

5

25

1

Blue-winged Warbler

0.189

1-May

6

6

26

2

Golden-winged Warbler

0.156

10-May

7

7

15

2

Black-and-white Warbler

0.785

13-May

2

8

19

3

Prothonotary Warbler

0.500

21-May

2

9

17

3

Tennessee Warbler

0.643

19-May

2

10

31

1

Orange-crowned Warbler

0.083

1-May

12

11

9

1

Nashville Warbler

1.251

2-May

1

12

32

4

Connecticut Warbler

0.075

22-May

14

13

22

3

Mourning Warbler

0.395

19-May

3

14

33

1

Kentucky Warbler

0.067

2-May

15

15

6

3

Common Yellowthroat

1.787

19-May

1

16

24

1

Hooded Warbler

0.203

4-May

5

17

4

4

American Redstart

3.538

23-May

1

18

36

2

Kirtland’s Warbler

0.041

14-May

25

19

21

2

Cape May Warbler

0.469

12-May

3

20

27

1

Cerulean Warbler

0.125

4-May

8

21

18

3

Northern Parula

0.614

15-May

2

22

5

3

Magnolia Warbler

3.096

19-May

1

23

11

2

Bay-breasted Warbler

1.002

14-May

1

24

16

2

Blackburnian Warbler

0.723

13-May

2

25

2

3

Yellow Warbler

4.654

20-May

1

26

8

3

Chestnut-sided Warbler

1.450

19-May

1

27

10

4

Blackpoll Warbler

1.239

23-May

1

28

14

3

Black-throated Blue Warbler

0.940

18-May

2

29

3

1

Palm Warbler

4.177

1-May

1

30

28

1

Pine Warbler

0.110

1-May

10

31

1

1

Yellow-rumped Warbler

15.177

1-May

1

32

37

2

Yellow-throated Warbler

0.020

10-May

50

33

34

1

Prairie Warbler

0.059

2-May

17

34

7

1

Black-throated Green Warbler

1.563

1-May

1

35

12

4

Canada Warbler

0.970

22-May

1

36

13

4

Wilson’s Warbler

0.970

22-May

1

37

29

4

Yellow-breasted Chat

0.105

31-May

10

 

Festivals Recap – February-March 2014

Events

High Plains Snow Goose Festival Feb 20, 2014 Lamar, CO
Beckham Bird Club Annual Dinner Mar 11, 2014 Louisville, KY
Big O Birding Festival Mar 13, 2014 LaBelle, FL
Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Mar 20-23, 2014 Spring Hill, FL
Road trip from Ohio to Arizona Apr 11-23, 2014 OH to AZ
Verde Valley Birding and Wildlife Festival Apr 24-27, 2014 Cottonwood, AZ
Biggest Week in American Birding May 6-15, 2014 Oregon, OH
Acadia Birding Festival May 29-Jun 1, 2014 Bar Harbor, ME
Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon with Greg Miller Aug 8-23, 2014 Quito, Ecuador

 

Prairie Falcon

At the end of February I went to Southeastern Colorado for the High Plains Snow Goose Festival. And there were thousands of Snow Geese. For me, the raptors were a treat. This Prairie Falcon is one cool camper! And ther are Red-tailed Hawks of all different colorations. Below is a “Western” Red-tailed Hawk.

Western Red-tailed Hawk

And a beautiful light morph Ferruginous Hawk.

Light morph Ferruginous Hawk

After a few short days at home I drove to Louisville KY to speak to the Beckham Bird Club. We had a great time during my quick visit. Below is one of the Red-necked Grebes on the Ohio River.

Red-necked Grebe

In the next day-and-a-half I drove 1,000 miles to reach LaBelle FL for the tail end of the Big “O” Birding Festival. I birded Devil's Garden during the day and gave a slide presentation that evening. The next day I got to bird Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA5). Here are a few highlights.

Barred Owl

Eastern Meadowlark

Purple Swamphen

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Snail Kite

After the Big O, I traveled north to Spring Hill FL for the Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. It was cool to bird this area of Florida–an area I had only birded once before. I visited lots of cool places. And the Saturday keynote went very well. I had a great time. Highlights of Naure Coast are below.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Boat-tailed Grackle

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Water Lily

After a fun-filled schedule at Nature Coast I drove north to Tallahassee FL for a couple days of recovery and also to wait out the snowstorm in West Virginia. While in Tallahassee I got to visit Maclay Gardens–an awesomely beautiful place to visit at this time of year. Enjoy the pics!

Maclay Gardens

Maclay Gardens

Maclay Gardens

Maclay Gardens

Maclay Gardens

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

 

Space Coast Festival and Florida Birds Workshop – January 2014

Some Upcoming Events

High Plains Snow Goose Festival Feb 20, 2014 Lamar, CO
Beckham Bird Club Annual Dinner Mar 11, 2014 Louisville, KY
Big O Birding Festival Mar 13, 2014 LaBelle, FL
Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival Mar 20-23, 2014 Spring Hill, FL
Verde Valley Birding and Wildlife Festival Apr 24-27, 2014 Cottonwood, AZ
Biggest Week in American Birding May 6-15, 2014 Oregon, OH
Ecuador: Northern Andes and Amazon with Greg Miller Aug 8-23, 2014 Quito, Ecuador

I've finally waded through 8,000+ photos. My amateur strategy for good photos=volume. When shooting, it's easy to say “It's digital” and shoot away. What is harder is going through the results of that “digital” logic. Volume takes a lot of time. But I have to say that I like taking photos. And lots of them. In the end, I ended up with a number of decent photos that were very satisfying to me.

I have to say that I enjoy photography enough that I actually am willing to put some work into becoming better. Why? Well. Because I want to. Here are few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Continue reading

Pied-billed Grebe Diving

It is hard to believe just a week ago I was delayed multiple times in the Atlanta airport on my way north to meet the Polar Vortex.  I am still going through the 8,000+ photos I took at the end of January in wonderfully warm Florida.  Sigh.  But the photos get interrupted by shoveling snow…and going to work.  This bird was photographed during Wildside Nature Tours Florida Birds Photo Workshop.  In the mean time, here is another animated GIF file–a series of six photos of a diving Pied-billed Grebe that I found quite interesting.  Check out how the bird seems to sink slightly before diving.  And watch its back feet kick water upward to get some force downward on its dive.  Very cool!

Pied-billed Grebe diving - Viera Wetlands - Melbourne FL - 2014-01-27

Pied-billed Grebe diving – Viera Wetlands – Melbourne FL – 2014-01-27 photos by Greg Miller

Great Blue Heron Eating Fish

Yes.  It has been forever since my last post.  I just returned from a 10-day trip to Florida for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival and a Florida Birds Photo Workshop with Wildside Nature Tours.  I am going through my 8,000+ photos while occasionally glancing up at possibly the most boring of Super Bowl games ever.  Even the commercial are mediocre.  Well.  Here is something new.  I will try inserting an animated picture here.  It is not a video.  And I am sure it will not work in the email form of this blog (sorry).  I will have plenty to post in the coming days.

Great Blue Heron eating large fish - Viera Wetlands FL - 2014-01-28

Great Blue Heron eating large fish – Viera Wetlands FL – 2014-01-28 photos by Greg Miller

Fast Track Big Year Plans

Great Kiskadee displaying crown - Quinta Mazatlan - McAllen TX - 2012-12-12

Great Kiskadee displaying crown – Quinta Mazatlan – McAllen TX – 2012-12-12 photo by Greg Miller

Have you been following the Big Year drama this year?  Several birders are doing really Big Years and one, Neil Hayward is tied with Sandy Komito’s 1998 record at 745 species plus 3 provisional species (new birds for North America yet to be approved).  Will he break the record this year?  Time will tell.  You can read more about his Big Year here.

Hopefully you all have had a delightful Christmas with family and friends.  I have had a wonderfully quiet Christmas and some time to collect for next year.  Are you thinking about next year yet?  Do you have any birding goals?  Have you ever thought about a Big Year?  They can be awfully expensive.  Maybe you have fancied a smaller Big Year but didn’t know best how to go about getting to your goal.

Enter eBird, a fabulous Citizen Science project on a grand scale.  They collect birding checklists from around the world in an online database.  This data can be accessed by anyone, not just scientists.  It provides a terrific resource.  But can it make a plan for Big Years with goals for 300, 400, or 500 species?  The quick answer is, Yes.  Yes, it can.  That is what this post is about–Fast Track Big Year Plans for goals of 300, 400, and 500 species in the ABA Area (American Birding Association’s designation includes the Lower 48 United States plus all of Canada and Alaska).  Let’s get right to it: Continue reading

The Birds Migrating Through NW Ohio Need Your Help

Bay-breasted Warbler - Magee Marsh - Lucas County OH - 2013-05-05

Bay-breasted Warbler - Magee Marsh - Lucas County OH - 2013-05-05. Photo by Greg Miller. Nearly 1 out of every 5 sightings of this species in North America in May 2013 was recorded in NW Ohio (18.9%). eBird as of 11/29/2013.

Each year, birders from across the U.S. and around the World come to northwest Ohio to go birding. Spring in particular is a great time when visitors come by the tens of thousands and spend millions of dollars in the area. I do not have the exact numbers, but I am sure others do.

Continue reading

Two Years After The Big Year Movie

Two years ago last month (October) the movie, The Big Year, was released. I personally have seen the movie 24 times since then. Of course I really liked the movie. I am biased though. I got to proofread the script and I got to be on the movie set as a Bird Consultant. What a surreal experience! It still seems like a dream. Like it never truly happened. A Hollywood movie with A-List stars (Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson) was the last thing I would have expected from my Big Year in 1998. So many things had to happen to make this a reality. I often wondered “Why me?” Most folks reserve that for bad experiences. But I soon realized it really wasn't about me. It was waaay bigger! What is it? There is a new wave of popularity in birding. And I am privileged to be riding along with this one! And I can't help believing that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is about to be! I am full of hope for our future!

Recently someone asked me how many times I've spoken. Great question. I was curious myself. My friend, Erica Rusk, compiled a list of all the places I've been in the last two years. She has been keeping my calendar for me these last two years. Thank you, Erica! Here is a map I put together with Erica's list and a website called Batchgeo.

Thank you everyone! It has been wonderful traveling all over America (and Canada, too) talking about a contest I didn't win and signing books I didn't write!

 

View After The Big Year Movie in a full screen map

 

Letter To Dad 2013-11-22

Green Jay on arch - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay on arch – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Dear Dad,

A whole lot of people remember JFK on this date.  He was a leader that inspired many people to reach beyond themselves and do great things.  But a few folks will remember you.  Like me, they valued your friendship and respected your character.  And it was you that helped me gain the confidence to believe that I could do anything.  JFK I did not know.  But I did know you.  You were my father, my birding mentor, and my friend.  And for that, I am glad.

I lost you on this day 13 years ago, November 22, 2000. I had just moved back to Columbus, OH and got a job there so I could be closer to you during your final days. Little did I know that those final days would only be 2 weeks. <sigh> Your physical presence here on this planet is sorely missed. Much has happened since then. Continue reading

Panama in January 2014

Yep. I’m behind on my target list for Panama. I’m behind with my blogging. I’m behind at work. I’m behind with half a dozen other projects. Sigh. It happens. What’s hollering the loudest? Panama, of course. It still seems just like a dream. But it’s only just 2 months away! I am writing tonight because there’s been some shuffling on the roster and there are now 6 spaces available. I know it is a last minute proposition but this is a great opportunity. The trip is with Wildside Nature Tours and is January 18-25, 2014. Full info can be found here.

Are you afraid you will be sleeping in mosquito nets? Roughing it without electricity? Eating canned food? Haha. Check out this short video from the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Maybe you are afraid I will push you to build your bird list at a relentless pace? Relax. We will get to see tons of birds and enjoy them, too! And wowzers! Have you seen any of the fabulous butterflies in Panama? Check out a few of these pics! And don’t forget the fantastic flowers! Pretty awesome, eh?

Did you know you can use U.S. dollars in Panama? And we are only gonna stay in one spot–no need to pack up your bags and move around every couple days. The hikes will be relatively easy–so easy, in fact, that I can do it. :-) Here is a longer YouTube video (unofficial) of the lodge and surrounding grounds.

Ok. I’m done for the evening. Sweet dreams (it’s brisk tonight in Ohio as the temperature is slated to drop below freezing). Just imagine how cold it will be in January. Now replace that with a warm, tropical breeze and a comfy hammock.