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Filter’d Out #5 [Hatching]

June 6, 2011

Yeah, so I was mostly offline last week, so not a lot of time to cruise the blogosphere. Here are a few standout posts, including two I should have recognized last week, that I found enlightening*:
* Including but not limited to: entertaining, challenging, informative, inspiring, alarming, and/or that simply spoke to me.

For the week ending 04 June 2011 I’ve Filter’d Out:

How Photos Mislead: A Trip Down the Primrosy Path
Dave Irons, writing for BirdFellow
Mystery birds usually achieve that status when they exhibit something unexpected: plumage, a physical feature, behavior. Dave walks us through his identification process when it’s not the bird that conjures the mystery.

Just this evening I received an e-mail from a long-time birding friend that included two images of a “mystery bird” that someone he knows had photographed near San Diego, California. He had circulated the photos to me and two other veteran birders earlier in the evening in hopes of solidly identifying the bird.

Describing What You Hear
Nathan Pieplow, writing for Earbirding.com
Acoustics and bird song is a study that has become near and dear to my heart, and no one covers it better than Nathan. Here he provides six easy steps for describing a bird sound. (Standardization is something that’s becoming nearer and dearer to my heart, and I’m sure the lack of it when describing bird sounds has something to do with that!)

Recently a friend alerted me to a post on the “ID-Frontiers” listserv by Christopher Hill in which he made a statement very dear to my heart:

In this day and age, I’m always surprised at the contrast between the level at which many advanced birders discuss plumage cues and the much more primitive way a lot of us approach sounds. I doubt I could convince many people on this forum of the identity of a vagrant by saying “but it looked just like the picture in my field guide!” (maybe if I repeated it?) but that type of argument is offered much more often, even routinely, in discussions of sounds.

I couldn’t agree more with his argument, which neatly summarizes the raison d’etre of this entire blog. I also wrote a Birding magazine article a few years ago that created a conceptual framework intended to help people describe sounds better. But reading Chris’s comments, I realized that a conceptual framework may not be of immediate use to people hearing bird sounds in the field. What they need are a set of instructions. So I decided to write a few.

Right Place, Right Time – My state White-winged Dove at Jones Beach…
Andrew Baksh, writing for Birding dude
I’m a sucker for stories where the planets align just right, and Andrew clearly had one of those days while visiting a couple of popular New York City area birding sites. (I also like twists and turns, which someone named the “crazy cat lady” provides.)

I must have had a four-leaf clover in my pocket or lady luck decided to blow a little luck my way. How else could one explain the day I had on May 15th 2011.

Birding at the End of the World
Felicia, writing for OC Warbler
I know this is reaching outside the past week’s posts, but I tragically left it out last week. For me, the title and first two sentences alone are brilliant, in the “I wish I’d thought to write that!” way. The rest of the trip is just as good.

On Saturday, the world was going to end and the righteous among us were to ascend bodily to Heaven. Since we figured we wouldn’t be going, we decided to try birding at Cedar Key instead.

It’s a good thing we did, too: the birding was great. Not amazing fallout day great, but quite good for a day at the tail end of an unusually slow spring migration.

Bulletin: New Splits
Paul Hess, writing for The ABA Blog
Also an extralimital post, temporally speaking, but important to acknowledge. Paul sums up the latest changes in how we classify birds, something to keep up on if you don’t want to date yourself while discussing birds.

The American Ornithologists’ Union “Check-list Committee” has published an online preview of its decisions on dozens of taxonomic and nomenclatorial proposals that will take effect this year if there are no last-minute revisions.

The report includes splits of four species involving ABA-area birds, but none of them adds a species to the ABA Checklist. That’s because each divides a species already on the ABA Checklist from one outside the ABA area. Three other proposals would have added new ABA-area species, but those failed to gain approval.

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