Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BirdsEye for iPhone

Apparently, we have a new iPhone app with birding in mind. There have actually been quite a few out of the 100k apple says are available on iTunes. Now, I haven't tried it out so this review of mine is pretty much completely uninformed. It combines GPS with a databases of what birds have been found in your area. I then ties into eBird for a field guide. There are some other little things in there like life list integration. I already have iBird Plus and LOVE it. BirdsEye is a compelling app to purchase for my phone, but not for $19.99. Get it down to $5 and I would try it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

God does it again...

In what is being described by advance marketing materials as "the first divine creation in more than 6,000 years," God Almighty, Our Lord Most High, introduced a brand-new species of bird into existence Monday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ealges Hunting Dogs?

Heard about this article from a co-worker, Cybil. It is of little value. But, the part about the Bald Eagle hunting dogs and then the residents outrage of it " swans" is interesting. I find the part about the dog hunting unlikely. Though the story reeks of urban legend, there could arise a situation where an eagle and a dog could have slugged it out.
But of all this, the best part is that Cybil, who lives in Annapolis, near Quiet Waters Park, said that her neighbors are now attributing vanishing cats to these Bald Eagles. Based on this article, no less.

Neighbors heard the barking but thought little of it. When Trubee got home, the racket was still going on. He went out back to find his dachshund Dicky in a rage, barking into the woods, and Moby, his Jack Russell, cowering on the ground, bleeding.

When Trubee probed the tree line to investigate, out hopped a young eagle that took flight for safety. The Jack Russell had more than 20 puncture wounds from repeated eagle attacks, Trubee said, and appears to owe its life to the brave dachshund that fought off the intruder.

The eaglets weren't done marauding. A few weeks later, I'm told, folks down on the Heron Pond watched in horror as they snatched up a whole family of baby swans.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NRA Lobbyist Speaks Up On FL State Bird

I love when people humanize the behavior of a non-human to rediculous levels.

NRA lobbyist shoots down rival birds

Whenever someone suggests changing the Florida state bird, the National Rifle Association takes aim at the new critter. Well, not really the NRA, but Marion Hammer, the group’s chief state lobbyist and a definite capital powerhouse.

This time the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asked schoolchildren to pick a new bird. More than 20,000 voted for the osprey, a raptor also known as the fish hawk.

That didn’t impress Hammer, who loves mockingbirds. And the fact that they are willing to fight larger birds that threaten their nests. “They are very protective of their family and of their territory,” she said. Hammer notes that in this dispute, she is talking for herself, not the NRA, even if she does use NRA-sounding arguments.

In 1999, more than 10,000 schoolchildren signed a petition to change the state bird to the Florida scrub jay. Supporters boasted about how it will eat peanuts right out of a person’s hand.

Hammer was unmoved. “Begging for food isn’t sweet,” she testified in a committee hearing. “It’s lazy, and it’s a welfare mentality.” Scrub jays had lots of other bad habits that disqualified them to represent Florida, she contended. “They eat the eggs of other birds,” she told lawmakers. “That’s robbery and murder.”
Posted by John Chamless at 04:54:52 PM on September 8, 2009
in | Permalink

Monday, July 6, 2009

Is Sibley Wrong?

The Sibley Guide To Birds Has Clearly Misidentified The Dark-Eyed Junco
From The Onion

I don't understand it. How could it have happened a third time? They've had two opportunities to correct it. But there it is, once again. The Sibley Guide To Birds, third printing, page 488: "The dark-eyed junco, a familiar visitor to wintertime bird feeders throughout much of North America, is a species of the junco genus of American finches."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Birds of Britian

found by Brent Burt

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Warblers at work

The weather today is chaotic. Thunder storms and showers with sporatic moments of sunshine.
At the same time, the birds outside of the office, in woods that surround, were full of song. I couldn't help but take a peak with the binocs. So I found Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, lots of Grey Catbirds. Also heard Red-eyed Vireo and Ovenbird.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A New Way to Communicate

Of coarse I've known about Twitter for over a year now. Only recently does it seem to have matured in the sense that its moving beyond the Tech community into mainstream. After all, Oprah is using it.
I've been thinking that it would make a great replacement for the old Listserve of bird sightings. Today, I was playing with it on my iPhone. (I apoligive if this is sounds i-snob, but things work so well on my iphone.) So you make a sighting, post a tweet with a picture and location and BAM! Those that follow you or are part of the community can get it. Now pair that with the Bird guide app and you got something.
Twitter is been a great way to find the local parties for a while. Maybe we can find a use for the older crowd.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Birding while Perking

For those that don't know, my day job is with the AA County Health Department. This time of year we do most of the perk tests for septic systems. Aside of the normal oppurtunity to get out on a nice spring day (actually it is just as likely to be cold and a downpour of rain), there is the chance to catch a little birding when one waits for a long perk test.

4/24 Outside of the Jugbay area, Lothian
Coopers Hawk
Chipping Sparrow
Common Yellowthroat

4/27 Fairview on the water
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Towhee
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Cardinal
Northern Mockingbird
Blue Jay
Great Blue Heron
Spotted Sandpiper
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

4/28 Brooks Woods Rd, Lothian, Farm
Song Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Chipping Sparrow
American Goldfinch
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
American Robin

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring for the Herb home is finaly here

At last. This weekend, I heard the summer staple of the Herb yard. The Ovenbird and Northern Parula. So I can now say (without really doing anything with binocs) that the warblers have arrived.
....yet another wasted winter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just thank Willie

So, I caught this quick article on

Parrot honored for warning that girl was choking

DENVER — A parrot whose cries of alarm alerted his owner when a little girl choked on her breakfast has been honored as a hero.

Willie, a Quaker parrot, has been given the local Red Cross chapter's Animal Lifesaver Award.

In November, Willie's owner, Megan Howard, was baby-sitting for a toddler. Howard left the room to use the bathroom and the little girl, Hannah, started to choke on her breakfast.

Willie repeatedly yelled "Mama, baby" and flapped his wings, and Howard returned in time to find the girl already turning blue.

Howard saved Hannah by performing the Heimlich maneuver but said Willie "is the real hero."

"The part where she turned blue is always when my heart drops no matter how many times I've heard it," Hannah's mother, Samantha Kuusk, told KCNC-TV. "My heart drops in my stomach and I get all teary eyed."

Willie got his award during a "Breakfast of Champions" event Friday attended by Gov. Bill Ritter and Mayor John Hickenlooper.

As I read, so many thoughts ran through my brain...

Wow, what a wonderful story... what a wonderful bird!

Would our dog, Allegra, provide the same life saving service or would she just wag her tail and knock the choking child to the floor with her tail's massive force?

I wonder what the child was eating?

Perhaps, we need a bird?

Can parents/caregivers not even go to the bathroom without fear of causing death? Must we all have a parrot to ensure the safety of the next generation?

Is it any wonder, I am the distracted birder?

Despite my somewhat irrational thought process, I am always delighted to see a positive avian story make a headline.

Go, Willie!!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Quick Look at Jug Bay

I made a quick stop and walk at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. Among a few birds not worth mentioning (Titmouse, Crow, Vulture), I saw my first warbler of the season. A Yellow-rumped Warbler flittering through the trees. This is a good time mention my favorite bird nickname/alias: the Butterbutt.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another wasted weekend

In another example of the distracted birder:
I seriously planned on doing the backyard bird count. Here's what happened. Day 1, I worked and came home to my two children and 5 minuted later, 5 year old twins that we were to watch till Sunday. Day 2 and 3, try keeping up with all four kids. Since I'm used to two, four kids is more than I easily handle. With all that in mind, I figured there was day 4 since I had off work and the twins would be home. Alas, I got hit with a nasty stomach virus and spent nearly all day laying down or asleep. Damn.

Monday, January 26, 2009

When can a bird sighting be counted?

Now, I've heard several people explain when you can count a bird sighting to your list. Life list or whatever. On a podcast, I've even heard a photographer, Scott Bourne, say that he doesn't count it unless photographed. So, does it require a certain amount of time in order that the bird can be clearly IDed?
I personally go with my own honor system. Though, I have been yelled at by others when I am driving and call out "Ptarmigan!" on the side of the road. Of coarse, I didn't stop driving and everyone was saying, "What", "Where", or "No you didn't". This is usually followed with a friendly name calling session.But, its with friends, so its OK.
I felt very certain that it was a White-tailed Ptarmigan from my quick look and considering we were in the alpine of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
I go back to my point of limited time / limited opportunity. At the time of this sighting, we were driving back to our cabin with a car full of 2 families. Including a 1 year old and two 4 year olds. In days past, it seemed less troublesome to quickly pull over and stalk back for the second look.
The "Distracted Birder" does the best he can with limited fuss.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cedarhurst on the Bay

Did a little drive-by birding in Cedarhurst on the Bay. There is a road in the community that has a good look over the Chesapeake. Clear views within the comfort of the car's side window. Saw a few Buffleheads, Red-breasted Mergansers, and a Hooded Merganser. Although the road viewing is convenient, I can see why the community did not fair well with hurricane Isabell.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The iPhone

I know this isn't related to birding directly, but, I recently got an iphone. I'm still learning all the uses it can provide. Two things I found of use: iBird is an iphone app that gives a field guide on your phone. I'm very intrigued, but haven't shelled out the 20 bucks. They do have a regional version for less. But really, who wants to limit themselves to "Backyard". The other really cool thing is Google maps on the phone. Its has opened my awareness to what is over the patch of trees. Figuratively.
More to come.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NFL Birds

A reason that football and birding should go hand-in-hand. This weekend, every team that was a bird (not including the Steelers. That will be our outlier) won. Eagles, Cardinals, and Ravens. Hmmm...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

House vs Purple Finch

A mildly exciting opportunity to compare the Purple Finch with the House Finch. Both were at my feeder today. Gave me and Karen a good chance to compare the two. The House Finch is so much more common that I usually assume thats what it is. This at least gives my hope for the indigenous finch.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The New Year

As I read and hear of others discussing the beginning of 2009 with bird sightings, I feel that I need to post.
2009.1.1 OK, I glimpsed at the feeders and after seeing the crow and squirrels, thought how I need to cut off that branch from where the fuzzy tailed rodents drop from onto my main feeder.
As I write this, Karen tells me she saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker.
In a real effort to be "bird friendly", I bought some good bird seed from my favorite store (and former part-time employer) the Wild Bird Center.
Tomorrow. Cut that branch.