Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Birds

Palm Warbler
This is fall:
IN: Palm Warblers and Yellow-Rumps
OUT: All other warblers
IN: Sparrows and Juncos:
OUT: Tanagers and Vireos
IN: Kinglets, Sapsuckers and Ducks
OUT: Orioles, Flycatchers and Swallows
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Brown Thrasher
American Kestrel (eating Katydid?)

Someone is not happy that it just rained.
Mr. Bunny, bring back spring soon!
(Most photos taken at Point Lookout State Park).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spy birds?!!!

Further proof the Middle East is way messed up...

Israeli eagles dangerously endangered by pesticides, electrical wires and poachers now apparently face a new threat: Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar website recently boasted of capturing an eagle that carried an Israel-labeled transmission device on its back and claimed the bird was an Israeli spy. It said hunters in central Lebanon shot down the bird and found devices on it as well as a copper ring on its leg that reads “Israel” in English followed by letters that refer to Tel Aviv University. The fate of the eagle remains unclear.

Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem said Thursday he was tracking the bird for research and was “incredibly frustrated” it was harmed. Leshem, a Tel Aviv university professor, has specialized in the Bonelli’s Eagle for decades and said they are in great peril with just nine pairs of mating age remaining in Israel.

“The whole field of conservation is based on regional cooperation and not this nonsense,” said Leshem, who collaborates on several projects with Palestinian and Jordanian scientists. “It’s not enough that they kill people, now they are killing birds too.”

Leshem said Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Turkey all have targeted migrating birds from Israel in the past and made similar unfounded espionage accusations.

Egyptian authorities, for instance, recently detained a stork that was tagged with a tracking device and claimed it was spying for Israel. Previously, Egypt has accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of training sharks to reach the Sinai Peninsula to harm tourism there.

“Every time a migrating bird from Israel, carrying a satellite transmitter or a ring, is captured by one of the neighboring countries, it is immediately thought to be the instrument of a sophisticated spy work by the Israeli Mossad,” Leshem wrote in a recent essay after an Israeli common kestrel was captured and investigated by Turkey. “All the countries mentioned employ the same methods of research and use the same electronic devices in tracking birds and mammals in their studies, and yet the paranoia persists in the Middle East. - AP

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Great Birding Projects

   Birdcouple has been remiss in not giving a shout out to Paul Baicich's new birding initiative and website, Great Birding Projects.
   Paul, one of our mentors, is always thinking outside the box on how to make birding about more than IDs, lists and ticks. Whether it be carbon offset birding, bird friendly coffee, the problem of diversity in the birding community, he pushes for a holistic view of birding and conservation.
  So, check out his site and sign up for his very useful and instructive e-mail newsletter. We love it.
  Paul writes: 
"New birding" must involve engaged bird education to reach not only the young but also adults as well as communities of diversity. Going beyond old birding means engaging new approaches to avitourism, creative conservation reaching diverse audiences, enriching the birding festival experience, and making bird education an integral part of the new birding. Birding will also have to respond to times of economic stress, climate change, shifting American demographics, and limited access.
BC couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bird art

Last month, we took an excellent young birder, Chris Berry, son of some good friends of ours and Papa Carl's, to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. (Click on that link and you will go to the Wikipedia page, the refuge's webpage is shut down due to .. the government shutdown).

Chris had a great time - so did we! - and he saw lots of new life birds. After he got home, he made us these amazing drawings of some of the birds we'd seen, proving that he's not only a keen birder, but an aspiring bird artist as well.

Someday, he could be the winner of the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest:

This year, that honor went to Adam Grimm, with this absolutely stunning painting of a male and female Canvasback. We cannot wait to buy the stamp next June!

Adam is now a 2-time "Duck Stamp" contest winner. His website, filled with lots of other wonderful art, can be found here.

Bird art - almost as good as the real thing.