I am arbitrarily interrupting my posts from my trip to South Texas to present the results of more of my amateur research from the data at eBird. If you are not logging your sightings into eBird, 2013 would be a great time to start. It is easy to do and is fun. For me, it was this tinkering around with data that got me hooked on eBird. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of data on a very wide scale. Besides, if you think about it for very long, you should come to the conclusion that if you care about birds, you should be reporting your sightings to science. This is our Citizen Science project. (and here you thought your Science Fair project in high school would be your last). Continue reading
One of the statements set forth in the movie, The Big Year, is that the best birder in the world is the winner of the contest called The Big Year. To me, this is as funny as the character, Brad Harris, having a limit of just one cookie–or as egregious an error as one of the many birds that are blatantly out of place in the movie.
Now I am speaking for myself. I cannot speak for other birders. First of all, best birder in the world should give you a big clue. The world? You mean the whole, entire planet? ahaha! Yeah, right. The Big Year characters are doing an ABA (American Birding Association) big year–which includes the Lower 48 States, all of Canada, and Alaska. So a person could easily win this big year without knowing a single African species, or Australian species, or…well…you get the picture.
Well, how about best birder in North America then? This is a better question. At least it addresses the geography better. So what is the “best birder”? What does that really mean? Does the size of one’s list make that birder a “better” birder? Nope. I know lots of birders who just don’t get a chance to travel much, but they know their own smaller geographical area very well and have outstanding birding skills. So does their smaller list make them a lesser birder? No. I don’t believe that. Continue reading
Late Wednesday evening Robert Hershberger and I chatted excitedly about plans for the next day, Thursday, April 14. Both of us were still elated after having returned from a successful twitch to see a Bullock’s Oriole coming to feeders in Southeastern Ohio. The oriole was a great looking bird and completely out of place here in the East. It was a state “life bird” (1st time observation ever in the state of Ohio) for both of us.
The latest reports from Michigan Listers listserve for our target bird, the White Wagtail, were negative. The bird had not been seen past noon on Wednesday. So we made plans to bird up along Lake Erie in Northwestern Ohio and make frequent checks to the listserve for any reports of the wagtail. That way we could enjoy decent birding and if the wagtail did turn up then we would be in position to make a run for it. Pictures of our target bird, the White Wagtail can be seen here.
Have you looked at the eBird map of rarities on Jack Siler’s website recently? Holy smokes it looks enticing! Here’s a few highlights that are standouts to me:
Crescent-chested Warbler at Buenos Aires NWR–Arivaca Cienega, AZ 4/3/2011
Crimson-collared Grosbeak in Allen William’s backyard – 4/5/2011
Golden-crowned Warbler in Corpus Christi, TX – 4/1/2011
Pink-footed Goose at Westminster, VT – 4/2/2011
Thick-billed Vireo on a trip thru Chatham and Huston rvr from pavilion, FL – 4/1/2011
Note: I have not chased any of these birds. I am merely passing along what appears to be some exciting reports.
Haha! Chasing Fever? Yeah. I get it like I get Spring Fever, Cabin Fever, etc. Do I still get psyched about chasing birds/twitching? Are you kidding me? ABSOLUTELY! Do I live like I’m doing a Big Year every day? Umm. No. Chases are still very enjoyable but they require two very important resources: