Showing posts from October, 2008

The Skua - A Unique Bird of Prey

I have never been able to go on a Antarctic trip so I have never seen aSouth Polar Skua. I was recently reading the book "Living on the Wind - Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds" by Scott Wiedensaul when I came across a reference to this bird. In this book Wiedensaul quotes Robert Cushman Murphy:

"Skuas have left, he said a more vivid impression in my memory than any other bird I have met. The skuas look and act like minature eagles. They fear nothing, never seek to avoid being conspicuous, and, by every token of behavior, they are lords of the far south. In effect, they are gulls that have turned hawks."

That descriptive statement "lords of the far south" caught my eye. As all good education does, it changed my perspective - I was not aware of the dominance of this bird in this ecosystem.

South Polar Skua (Stercorarius Maccormicki), Telephone Bay, Deception Island, Antarctica Photographic Print

Pitamitz, Sergio

12 in. x 9 in.

Buy at


Bird Census Techniques

Between all the talk of adding wind turbines to the landscape and the potential impact of this type of activity on birds and a recent article in the local paper about a report on declining bird species, I have become interested in bird census techniques. It would seem we will need data in our ongoing efforts to protect and even save bird species all around the world so I decided to look into this topic and write about it today.

I did some research and found an excellent book on this subject - "Bird Census Techniques" (Second Edition) by Colin J. Bibby. The general thrust of this book is given in the preface:

"The first edition of this book was conceived as a tool to amalgamate text on the various bird counting methodologies and act as a handbook for ornithilogical research...This second edition is offered to professional and amateur researchers, volunteer conservationists, consultant ecologists, and anyone else who is planning to survey and monitor birds but who may lac…

Birdwatcher - The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

If you didn't know anything about the life of Roger Tory Peterson before you started reading Birdwatcher - The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Elizabeth J. Rosenthal, you might be struck by the fact that very early on in the book, at the age of 17, he meets up with the famous bird artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes. After Fuertes tells him: "...and don't hesitate to send me your drawings from time to time", you might speculate that this laudatory attention, at such a young age and from someone he labeled "the great man", was a harbinger of great things to come. You would absolutely be right! Not only was Roger destined to be great in his career as a painter of birds, but he would meet an incredible array of people like Fuertes in his life.

Naturalist Roger Tory Peterson Taking Notes on Osprey Unruffled by Close Presence of Birder Premium Photographic Print

And so begins the tale of the illustrious life of the birdwatcher/educator/conservationist known to his friend…