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  #1  
Old 15 Aug 14, 15:51
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Birds and Birdwatching.

I thought I would start a thread on Birds and Birdwatching. I am a novice, definitely. My mother enjoyed it, especially in Vermont, and I enjoyed learning from her. Over the years I tried to get into it, but I treated it like an assignment, to be able to identify as many birds as possible, etc. Now I just observe the birds in my immediate area, granted though that I live right near the coast so I can see a lot of those birds as well as robins, cardinals,crows, blue jays, chickadees, etc. I'm more interested in learning about their habitats, what is special about the class of birds, etc.

Anyway, a link to the Cornell University Dept. of Ornithology site, which my expert bird-watching friend tells me is the gold standard:

http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/

Also, a link to a Stanford University site, which, although it does not seem to have an accessible index and does not seem to be maintained, has a lot of very informative short articles, which have further links to 3 - 5 related articles.

http://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfo.../How_Fast.html

Anyway, I solicit any and all info and especially any pictures and videos.
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  #2  
Old 15 Aug 14, 16:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakechampainer View Post
I thought I would start a thread on Birds and Birdwatching. I am a novice, definitely. My mother enjoyed it, especially in Vermont, and I enjoyed learning from her. Over the years I tried to get into it, but I treated it like an assignment, to be able to identify as many birds as possible, etc. Now I just observe the birds in my immediate area, granted though that I live right near the coast so I can see a lot of those birds as well as robins, cardinals,crows, blue jays, chickadees, etc. I'm more interested in learning about their habitats, what is special about the class of birds, etc.

Anyway, a link to the Cornell University Dept. of Ornithology site, which my expert bird-watching friend tells me is the gold standard:

http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/

Also, a link to a Stanford University site, which, although it does not seem to have an accessible index and does not seem to be maintained, has a lot of very informative short articles, which have further links to 3 - 5 related articles.

http://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfo.../How_Fast.html

Anyway, I solicit any and all info and especially any pictures and videos.
I will follow this thread. Me and my wife are interested in bird watching too . . . sadly our bird watching to date has been from the car. Also, Arizona has a lot of Desert Vultures but not a lot of anything else as far as I know, except in the higher elevations.

Also, you would have probably got a much better response by challenging the US Army fanboys vs the German Army fanboys vs the Soviet Army fanboys . . . something like . . . "Which army was better bird watchers - US, German, Soviet, (oops better include the British) British Army. Then watch the fur fly.
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  #3  
Old 15 Aug 14, 16:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDurden View Post
I will follow this thread. Me and my wife are interested in bird watching too . . . sadly our bird watching to date has been from the car. Also, Arizona has a lot of Desert Vultures but not a lot of anything else as far as I know, except in the higher elevations.

I find the "Mass Audobon" site to be very useful to me, in terms of my goal of learning something about the most common birds around me.

http://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nat...g-summer-birds

I wonder if there is a "Arizona Audobon" or something similar in your area?

Some quick links I found. I have also found Wikipedia to be very informative.

http://aziba.org/

http://az.audubon.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Arizona
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Old 16 Aug 14, 09:27
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From lakechamplaincommittee.org - The Natural History of Lake Champlain. Includes excerpt which discusses birds in the Lake Champlain Basin

http://www.lakechamplaincommittee.or...ake-champlain/



excerpt
Lake Champlain provides a rich environment for a multitude of animal species.
Most visible are the birds that fly and hunt over the water. Over 250 species can be found within the Lake Champlain Basin in a given year. Four species of gulls are regularly seen on the lake. Most common and familiar are the ubiquitous ring-billed gulls and the larger herring gulls. A few massive great black-backed gulls can be seen year round, while small dainty tern-like Bonaparte's gulls are seen most frequently in the spring and fall. Double-crested cormorants hunt throughout the lake during the summer; this now common species was first reported nesting on the lake in the early 1980s. Bald eagles and osprey soar about. Common and Caspian terns breed on islands. Wading birds that stalk the shorelines and weedy areas include great blue herons, green herons, American bitterns, black-crowned night herons, and, more recently, great egrets. The most frequently sighted duck species are common mergansers, a diving duck, and mallards and wood ducks, both puddle ducks. During the winter, large rafts of common goldeneye float on calm water.
Fish attract anglers from throughout the country. Lake Champlain hosts about seventy species of fish and another dozen or so species inhabit tributaries between the lake and the fall line. Popular game species include an abundance of different panfish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike, lake trout, and Atlantic salmon.
Most of the creatures that live in the lake are invertebrates - insects, snails, mussels, worms, a variety of zooplankton, and more. Invertebrate communities are little thought of and not well understood, but they are an integral part of Lake Champlain's ecosystem.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Link to a site about Vermont birding - From Bob Spears Birds of Vermont Museum

https://bovm.wordpress.com/tag/christmas-bird-count/

link to various walks/sightings in the Lake Champlain Basin
https://bovm.wordpress.com/tag/lake-champlain-basin/
--------------------------------------
link to info on the 6,729 acre Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, VT -wetlands adjacent to the lake, about three miles from Canada

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/missisquoi/

Edit: to my surprise, the Wildlife Refuge was created in 1943. At that time the nearby Plattsburgh Army Base was being used to train combat engineers.

http://www.strategic-air-command.com...sburgh_AFB.htm

Last edited by lakechampainer; 16 Aug 14 at 21:29..
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Old 16 Aug 14, 09:52
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Link to the web site of Essex River Cruises in Essex, MA (which is near Gloucester and Ipswich, MA. My wife and I took a cruise on the Essex River estuary about 6 weeks ago for $25 each, very relaxing. the 90 minute or so tour, from the mile or two riverside area to the opening to the open ocean at the barrier islands, was very relaxing and scenic. The guide pointed out many birds, including ospreys, cormorants, blue herons, egrets, Ibises, various ducks, etc. to recall a few. The link section "tripadvisor" has many nice visitor pictures, including birds.

http://www.essexcruises.com/

Below is a picture from the web of the house on Choate Island in Essex where the movie "The Crucible" was filmed. The house is real, but for the movie a temporary "colonial village" was built around it on the island.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cru...281996_film%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choate_...ssachusetts%29

excerpt
Choate Island, also known as Hog Island, is an island located in the Essex River Estuary in Essex, Massachusetts. It is part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge, which is owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations. The 135-acre (0.55 km2)[1] island is a refuge for a variety of birds and animals. It is surrounded by a salt marsh and has a spruce forest which was planted in the 1930s[2] and makes the island easily visible from much of the surrounding area. The island has been inhabited by the Native Americans of the area, and was visited by early Europeans, who established farming on the island. The Choate House, built around 1730, remains relatively unchanged.
The island is connected to Long Island, which has a farmhouse and a barn, by a salt marsh and a causeway. There is a dock on Long Island which provides access to Choate Island by boat.
The Crane Wildlife Refuge was established by Miné S. Crane in memory of her husband, Cornelius Crane, and both are buried at the summit of the island.
Much of the 1996 film The Crucible, based on Arthur Miller's play regarding the Salem witch trials, was filmed on the island. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis reportedly spent a lot of time on the island preparing for his role in the film.[3]



Link to the management plan of The Crane Reservation, which among other things consists of the barrier beaches north of the mouth of the river and Hog Island.
http://www.thetrustees.org/assets/do...eWR_MP2002.pdf


---------------------------
Edit/PS - excellent places for lobster and other seafood in Essex - my wife and I love to go to Woodman's. Both tourists and locals.
http://www.woodmans.com/

Last edited by lakechampainer; 16 Aug 14 at 10:09..
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Old 16 Aug 14, 11:17
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Completing the areas where I have spent a lot of time, a link to the newsletter of theThree Rivers Birding Club in the Pittsburgh, PA area.

http://www.3rbc.org/newsarch/newssep14.pdf
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Old 16 Aug 14, 20:06
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From You Tube: Bird-mounted Cameras Reveal How Falcons Hunt

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Old 19 Aug 14, 09:37
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Have you tried the Merlin bird identification ap yet?
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Old 19 Aug 14, 10:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCoyote View Post
Have you tried the Merlin bird identification ap yet?
No, I'll check it out!

Thanks
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Old 20 Aug 14, 00:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakechampainer View Post
No, I'll check it out!

Thanks
Don't get too exited. I've only had it for 24 hours. I don't even know if it works yet.
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Old 26 Aug 14, 21:08
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I've been watching some hawks somewhat closely in my area for several days. I have learned a bit by watching them, mainly how important it is to be able to quickly gather information and remember it. I haven't been able to identify them, even though I have gone out there with pictures, etc. to id them. I'm 90% sure they are either Sharp-shinned hawks or Cooper's Hawks. This is actually considered quite difficult to make the correct ID I found out from the internet. Based on size, I think they are Cooper's Hawks, ie more crow-size than jay size (or just over jay size) These birds sometimes fly in and out of wooded areas sharply changing direction. They don't really seem to just "soar" much.

Just to show how poor I am at observing, my neighbor saw me wandering around, and said, "you looking at the hawks? I heard a noise I never heard before a few weeks ago. Their are two hawks and three babies in the nest up there." (I thought I ID two different birds/sizes, the male is smaller than the female)." They are in a pine tree about 60 feet high.

Presumably I should have realized that sometimes the hawks seemed smaller and had different colors because they were younger. Also, Presumably I should have noticed the different sound pitches and realized they were younger. Although the other day I def. thought I heard more than two - I guess I thought it was a territory defense thing.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/coopers_hawk/id

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/s...hinned_hawk/id

one versus the other
http://feederwatch.org/learn/tricky-...-shinned-hawk/

A picture from the net close to what I see - an image of a Cooper's Hawk


Last edited by lakechampainer; 26 Aug 14 at 21:19..
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Old 29 Aug 14, 15:32
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I am almost sure the hawks near me I have been watching are in fact Cooper's Hawks, based upon this Mass Audobon info which includes an Atlas of Birds by "blocks" of the state. Many more Cooper's Hawks, both statewide and in Southern Essex County.

http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conse.../%28id%29/1180

http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conse.../%28id%29/1184
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Old 30 Aug 14, 12:09
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How Long Can Birds Live?

From Stanford University - How Long Can Birds Live? Interesting information and table, with some excerpts. I have several times come across the very broad generalization that "80 % of birds do not survive a year."

http://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfo.../How_Long.html

excerpt
Precise information on the longevity of birds is not easy to come by. It is usually impossible to follow large groups of individuals from hatching to death, so in addition to collecting data directly by banding and recapturing individuals, many indirect methods of estimating age are used. Generally, it appears that the heaviest post-fledging mortality occurs among inexperienced young birds, and that for adults, after they have successfully reared young, the probability of death each year remains roughly constant. In other words, few birds die of "old age -- they just run the same gamut of risks year in and year out until they are killed. The annual risk of being killed varies from about 70 percent in small temperate-zone songbirds (adult life expectancy about 10 months; in the tropics adult songbirds are thought to be much longer-lived) to 3 percent in Royal Albatrosses (fife expectancy slightly over 30 years). If a bird lasts long enough, however, the probability of it dying in a given year may once again rise. Common Terns reach old age after about 19 years, and their annual risk of dying then goes up.
Life expectancy in birds is closely correlated with size -- the larger the species, the longer it is likely to live. But the relationship is far from exact. Some groups of birds tend to have long lives for their sizes, especially the Procellariiformes (tubenoses -- albatrosses, shearwaters, and petrels) and Charadriiformes (shorebirds, gulls and terns, and auks). Other groups, for instance titmice and chickadees, wrens, and game birds, are shorter-lived than their sizes would predict.


excerpt
Maximum Recorded Lifespans SPECIES
YR.-MO
SPECIES
YR.-MO.
Laysan Albatross
37-05
White-crowned Sparrow
13-04
Arctic Tern
34-00
House Sparrow
13-04
Great Frigatebird
30-00
Warbling Vireo
13-01
Western Gull
27-10
Brown Thrasher
12-10
Common Murre
26-05
Black-bellied Plover
12-08
Trumpeter Swan
23-10
Wrentit
12-07
Great Blue Heron
23-03
Wild Turkey
12-06
Canada Goose
23-06
Black-capped Chickadee
12-05
Mallard
23-05
Peregrine Falcon
12-03
American Coot
22-04
Sanderling
12-01
Osprey
21-11
American Kestrel
11-07
Bald Eagle
21-11
Song Sparrow
11-04
Red-tailed Hawk
21-06
Black-and-white Warbler
11-03
Brown Pelican
19-08
Tree Swallow
11-00
Mourning Dove
19-03
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
11-00
Sandhill Crane
18-06
Acadian Flycatcher
10-11
Great Homed Owl
17-04
Killdeer
10-11
Northern Harrier
16-05
Dark-eyed Junco
10-09
Blue Jay
16-04
Scarlet Tanager
10-01
Hairy Woodpecker
15-10
Cassin's Auklet
9-01
Brown-headed Cowbird
15-10
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
9-00
Northern Cardinal
15-09
House Wren
7-01
Red-winged Blackbird
15-09
Golden-crowned Kinglet
5-04
American Crow
14-07
Allen's Hummingbird
3-11
Great Crested Flycatcher
13-11
Northern Shrike
3-03




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Old 31 Aug 14, 13:50
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link to the Wikipedia article on Birdwatching, followed by some excerpts on the sociology of it, as it were.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdwatching

excerpt
n North America, many birders differentiate themselves from birdwatchers, and the term birder is unknown to most lay people. At the most basic level, the distinction is perceived as one of dedication or intensity, though this is a subjective differentiation. Generally, self-described birders perceive themselves to be more versed in minutiae like identification (aural and visual), molt, distribution, migration timing, and habitat usage. Whereas these dedicated birders may often travel specifically in search of birds, birdwatchers have been described by some enthusiasts as having a more limited scope, perhaps not venturing far from their own yards or local parks to view birds.[1] Indeed, in 1969 a Birding Glossary appeared in Birding magazine which gave the following definitions:
Birder. The acceptable term used to describe the person who seriously pursues the hobby of birding. May be professional or amateur.
Birding. A hobby in which individuals enjoy the challenge of bird study, listing, or other general activities involving bird life.
Bird-watcher. A rather ambiguous term used to describe the person who watches birds for any reason at all, and should not be used to refer to the serious birder.
Birding, Volume 1, No.2
Twitching is a British term used to mean "the pursuit of a previously located rare bird." In North America it is more often called chasing, though the British usage is starting to catch on there, especially among younger birders. The term twitcher, sometimes misapplied as a synonym for birder, is reserved for those who travel long distances to see a rare bird that would then be ticked, or counted on a list.[2][5]


excerpt
Ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen considers birdwatching to be an expression of the male hunting instinct while Simon Baron-Cohen links it with the male tendency for "systemizing".[51] There have been suggestions that identification of birds may be a form of gaining status which has been compared with Kula valuables noted in Papua New Guinean cultures.[52]
A study of the motivations for birdwatching in New York concluded that initial motivations were largely similar in males and females, but males who participate actively in birding are more motivated by "sharing knowledge" with others, and active female birders are more motivated by their "intellectual" interest in studying birds, and by the "challenge" of identifying new and rare birds and improving their skills.[53] A study suggests that males leaned towards competitive birding while females preferred recreational birdwatching.[54] While the representation of women has always been low,[55] it has been pointed out that nearly 90% of all birdwatchers in the United States are white with only a few African Americans.[56]
Other minority groups have formed organizations to support fellow birders and these include the Gay birders[57] and the Disabled Birders Association.[55][58]
The study of birdwatching has been of interest to students of the sociology of science.[59]

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link to Wikipedia article on anatomy of birds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_anatomy

Last edited by lakechampainer; 31 Aug 14 at 14:56..
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Old 31 Aug 14, 18:48
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lakechampainer is simply cracking [600]
lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600] lakechampainer is simply cracking [600]
I haven't cheated - I haven't looked it up/googled it - how many birds do you think there are on earth? I would say, based upon 7 billion people, 210 billion birds.

Any thoughts?
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