Showing posts from 2012

Citizen Scientist - Reporting Leg Flags

My brother was recently in Florida and had occasion to photograph a shorebird in winter plumage that he could not immediately identify. While we were poring over the photos, we discovered that one of the birds was banded. So we decided to report this number in the interest of 'citizen science'. I thought I would write an article about this topic: Reporting banded bird data, specifically this type of marker, what we found out is called a "leg flag." (See photo below)

I personally did not know of the existence of the leg flag type of marker until seeing these pictures. I do not know when they came into being, but it is a great idea. On the bird above, if you look closely, you can see a metal band on the lower right leg. This was the only type of band I knew about, and of course they are impossible to report on from a photograph like this. But the leg flag is a different story - you can read it from a photograph and report it, thus providing valuable conservation data. …

Interesting, Enlightening Books on Bird Migration

Here is a compendium of interesting, enlightening books on a wonderful, and fascinating topic in the natural world: bird migration.

Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds
5 stars If you enjoy birds or natural science, read this great book! By Richard E. Hegner
I have been a birdwatcher for 39 years, and rarely have I encountered a book that I enjoyed as much as this. Unlike another reviewer, I learned a great deal about migration from reading this book--though, truth to tell, the book is as much about population dynamics among Western Hemisphere birds as it is about migration. One of the particular insights I gained from the book is a better realization of the somewhat parochial viewpoint many of us birdwatchers in North America take, considering migrants who spend only a brief part of the year breeding here to be "our birds," when they spend most of their lives either in Latin America or migrating between the two continents. The author has an unusuall…

Hot New Bird Book Releases - Fall, 2012

There are some exciting new bird books coming this fall!

Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America By Roberta Olson, The NY Historical Society
A national treasure is celebrated in this landmark publication. The Birds of America is a monumental classic, but it has never been explored like this before. This important new volume presents all the dazzling watercolors that Audubon painted for these monumental engravings. We are familiar with the prints engraved by Robert Havell Jr., but Audubon’s Aviary illuminates the original masterpieces that were created by Audubon himself and tells the story behind their creation with fresh insights and engaging quotes from his writings. These powerful paintings—all newly photographed using state-of-the-art techniques—possess a startling immediacy, vibrancy, and fluidity that link natural history, art, and a respect for the environment.These watercolors transmit Audubon’s devotion to his craft with their inscriptions and l…

Learning to Paint Birds Might Be Easier Than You Thought!

I ran across these two books about learning to paint birds by acclaimed author/teacher Sherry C. Nelson and thought that I would share them with you. I noticed a quote from a book reviewer that captured my attention:

"Her easy to follow instructions enable even a novice to create beautiful works of art."

Sounds promising doesn't it? Read on for details...

Painting Songbirds
About the Author
Since 1971, Sherry C. Nelson has taught painting throughout the US and the world and is one of the founding members and past president of SDP. Her bestselling titles include Painting Garden Birds and Painting Flowers A to Z. An expert in painting birds, she travels the globe to study and photograph birds.

Amazon Description
Whether you're a beginning painter or skilled artist, you'll enjoy painting a range of delightful songbirds, including robins, wrens, sparrows, doves, meadowlarks, warblers, thrushes and more. Every bird is highlighted in a step-by-step format that features:

Strikingly Beautiful Birds - Falcons


Book Reviews: "How To Be a Better Birder" and "Birds of Aruba, Curaçao & Bonaire"

This post is a review of two recently published books from Princeton University Press.

How to Be a Better Birder
By Derek Lovitch

"Quite possibly the biggest step to becoming a better birder is learning how to identify more birds. No one can identify every bird at all times...but we do want to strive to identify most of the birds most of the time. And I don't mean when the bird is sitting still for 15 minutes on a feeder 25 feet from your window. I'm also talking about identifying that flitting warbler in a tangle, the sparrow flushing from the grass, that soaring raptor spotted out of the corner of your eye while you're driving 75 miles an hour on the interstate. Yes it can be done, and yes, you can do it!"

Early on in this book, author Derek Lovitch explains the gist of how he thinks you can become a better birder, using what he calls the "whole bird and more" approach:

"Classic birding, which uses the field mark system, focuses almost exclusively…