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Filter’d Out #4 [Hatching]

May 29, 2011

It’s been an intense week here near Lake Cayuga, not a lot of time spent on the Internet, but as always I found a few blog posts enlightening* last week:
* Including but not limited to: entertaining, challenging, informative, inspiring, alarming, and/or simply speaking to me.

For the week ending 28 May 2011 I’ve Filter’d Out:

A Worthy Bird
Ted Floyd, writing for The ABA Blog
Ted takes a look at the presence of a Rufous-collared Sparrow that inexplicably showed up in Colorado, and what it shows about birding in general.

This appearance of this bird compels me to offer to offer two observations about birdwatching—and more generally about the broader endeavor of nature study. My first observation is simply an affirmation of an old truth about all of us who are fascinated by birds and other objects and phenomena in the natural world. My second observation, though, may have some bearing on what I believe is an emerging, wonderful, new approach to birdwatching in North America.

How to Find a Bicknell’s Thrush
Kent McFarland, writing for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies
A few suggestions for finding a high-priority bird for many life lists, coming from someone who should know.

Remember, this bird is highly crepuscular so you have to generally be there at dawn or dusk to hear it at its finest. But in mid June, they are active much of the morning until the eggs are all laid by the third week of June.

Invaluable eBird
Nate Swick, writing for The Drinking Bird
I have a huge interest in eBird, these days mostly from the standpoint of personal use, but I’m always anxious how the birding world — and beyond – use the information. But it’s not just that Nate’s post is nice to hear, but he has a knack for relaying the story in an eminently relateable manner and with a lot of perspective.

It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come. Back in the day all you had was the phone number of a few friends and taking on a Big Year was a testimony to connections and personal experience. The listserv revolution changed that, expanding the circle of contacts and changing birding in as big a way as the invention of the field guide. Now a Big Year birder could cast a wider net with an ear to their email. Now there’s eBird, an online, practically real time record of the birds in the area. For a Big Year birder, it is nothing short of crucial.

Some Red Knot News
John, writing for A DC Birding Blog
By now most birders, most conservationists, and many with a simple interest in nature are aware if the plight of the Red Knot. John had the unique experience of helping biologists band the birds, and reports on the banding efforts.

Last week, I had the privilege of helping with Red Knot banding in Cape May. A reporter from my local newspaper spent some time with the shorebird banding crew recently and filed a story on the current status of Red Knots. Things are still looking dire, despite some New Jersey’s moratorium on the horseshoe crab harvest.

Subsong vs. Whisper Song
Nathan Pieplow, writing for Earbirding.com
Nathan explains those quiet songs you may hear throughout a bird’s annual cycle.

If you listen carefully to birds at close range, you’ll find that quiet, complex vocalizations like these are not uncommon. Often, they are called “whisper songs.” Some more technically-minded birders might call them “subsongs.” Both subsongs and whisper songs are fascinating, but they are not the same thing. Let’s look at the similarities and differences.

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