I and the Bird

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Birdwatching and the internet are seemingly incompatible. One operates in the great outdoors and values patience, concentration and preparation. The other is most often found in offices or bedrooms and works hard to be prompt and efficient.
But if birdwatching was like the internet you would wake up in the morning to every migrating warbler, in breeding plumage, perched on your window-sill. Convenient? Yes. Time-saving? Yes. The point? No.
Yet here we are, stuck in our offices or bedrooms, staring at the screen. Thus, while it is perfectly acceptable for people to go searching through brambles and swamps for hours to find a certain bird, we here at I and the Bird want to put all the best bird-related blog posts in one place for your viewing convenience. So let me extend a hearty welcome to birdDC, your host for IATB#23 and just one little species migrating up the information superhighway.

BUT WAIT! This is a blog carnival, is it not? And what's a carnival without games? Not much! SO I've taken slices out of bird photographs I've taken in the Eastern US and used them to divide the posts. If any of you loyal readers can identify each of the birds in the slices I will buy you the Peterson Field Guide of your choice. Sound good? Cool. Well good luck...some of the photos are blurry or maybe impossible, but that's the challenge! Trust me, it'll be more fun than shooting water at some dumb clown's mouth. No fried dough, however. Good Luck!
P.S. Send guesses to nicholas.lund@gmail.com. The Peterson will go to the first person who gets them all, and all other correct submitters will be posted on the blog and praised heavily. ALSO, there are a couple pictures where it is impossible to tell between 2 or 3 species. If you guess any of the possibilities you get credit. AND if no one gets 'em all, the person with the most correct answers will win. AND check the comments down below to see how people are doing.

"Spring is in the Heron" - Discovering Biology in a Digital World
It seemed that this Great Blue Heron's bold plan to infiltrate the penguin exhibit at the local zoo was ruined when his tuxedo didn't come back from the cleaners in time. Undaunted, he carried on.

"Choughs and Peregrine in Donegal" - Peregrine's Bird Blog
Since most American birders may only recognize 1 out of the 3 nouns in the title, let me help out. "Chough" is a type of crow that can be found nesting on ledges in the UK, and "Donegal" is a lovely county in Ireland where Mr. Nash spent Easter among seabirds and falcons.

"The Scoop on the Red Knot and Horseshoe Crab" - Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)
One of the most depressing subplots in birding today is the decline of the Red Knot. The bird depends heavily upon the eggs of horseshoe crabs to provide fuel during the Knot's journey from the tip of South America to the arctic. GrrlScientist explores the situation and asks whether or not it's too late.

"Mistaken Identity" - Rob's Idaho Perspective
Birders should always be very careful when identifying birds, especially when it might be a very rare visitor. I've found that the same caution is advisable when asking: "So, when's the baby due?"

"Best Laid Schemes O' Mice an' Men" - Ben Cruachan Blog
Stuck in the city looking at starlings and house sparrows all day, my pulse quickens and my mouth begins to water (I'm not kidding) when I read about Ben birding on the coast of Australia. Parrots! Royal Spoonbills! Flame Robins! There's a bird called a Flame Robin!

"Sunny Sunday Afternoon Walk at the Marsh" - When Words Become Unclear, I Shall Focus With Photographs
Beautiful photographs of beautiful birds and butterflies basking on a beautiful day in...California. Posts like this remind me of the best parts of birdwatching: being outdoors in the sun and lingering on the details.

"Invasion of the Goose Gangs" - Time's Fool
Canada Geese, like Double-Crested Cormorants, just can't win. First they are flirting with extinction and next they are annoyingly overpopulated. Mata from Time's Fool chronicles a local gang of surly Geese and her town's hilariously pathetic attempt to scare them off.

"Who's Laughing Now?" - Journey Through Grace
Samtzmom took down her hanging flower baskets in an effort to encourage a Dove to lay her eggs somewhere else, would it work? Leave a rent-free apartment in today's housing market? Not likely!

"Thinking About Seagulls" - Coyote Mercury
Beauty, and sometimes bird-poop, is in the eye of the beholder.

"Mockingbird Encounter" - Tortoise Trail
Seeing them everyday in DC, Mockingbirds have quickly become one of my favorite species. Pam from Tortoise Trail uses photographs to illustrate an encounter between a pair of animated Mockingbirds.

"Friday Ark: Killdeer, Our New Mascots" - A Geezer's Corner
...And the award for Best Acting in a Drama goes to: the Killdeer!

"Grappling Buzzards" - Charlie's Bird Blog
Excellent dramatic photos of two Buzzards in the UK engaging in a dog-fight...er, bird-fight.

"Birds of the Mid-Atlantic: The Cape May Warbler" - A DC Birding Blog
John is a fellow DC bird-blogger, but he always seems to get the best sightings. This post was inspired by a Cape May that he saw on the National Mall...less than a mile from where I work. Beautiful bird, great post.

"More Adventures in Raptor Identification" - Thomasburg Walks
Raptors are often some of the hardest birds to identify. They are either dots on the sky - too small for field marks - or blurs through the woods or past a car window. Pamela from Thomasburg Walks gets a rare opportunity to study a Sharp-Shinned Hawk...or is that a Merlin? A Cooper's?...up close.

"Sandy Hook Hawk Watch" - The Hawk Owl's Nest
The chance to man the Hawk Watch station at Sandy Hook, NJ during migration - where wind conditions can produce huge numbers of raptors - is enough to make any birder's heart race. Patrick got that chance, see how it went.

"Springtime's Natural and Financial Storminess" - Don't Mess With Taxes
Kay Bell takes a break from helping people with their financial woes to chronicle the return of birds to her central Texas home.

"Riverdale Park Passerines" - 10,000 Birds
Ah the joys of spring migration...a time when even a small park in the middle of the Bronx can turn up some beautiful birds.

"Springtime Is Just Too Much" - Sand Creek Almanac
Deb from Sand Creek Almanac drinks deeply from the cup of Springtime and is treated to an aerial display from two Northern Harriers.

"Ah, Spring!" - Home Bird Notes
Each new species that returns in the Spring is a little present opened by a birdwatcher. Home Bird takes stock of her garden and its avian inhabitants.

"Avocets" - Earth, Wind & Water
Avocets are a success story in the UK, where the birds have rebounded after being absent from the 1840s to the 1940s. Earth, Wind & Water details the Avocets history - and present - in the UK.

"The White Raven" - Birds in the North of Spain
Sketching birds in the field is a largely lost art in today's world of field guides. Not so for Javier of Birds in the North of Spain, who illustrates his posts with the scanned images from his field notebook. His IATB submission details an encounter with an albino Raven in Villarcayo.

"GTBC - Saturday" - WildBird on the Fly
For ABA-area birders, it just doesn't get any more exciting than trying for a Big Day record at the Great Texas Birding Classic. Follow along with Amy as she drives the Swarovski Roadside Hawks around southern Texas looking for, and finding, species that Yankees like myself can only dream about.

"Golden Eagle Nests" - Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding
Carel has taken the field sketchbook to a whole new level, creating gorgeous oil paintings out of his experiences in the field. This post details the nesting habits of those elusive raptors, Golden Eagles. Check out Carel's theory on why Goldens, unlike most other raptors, are so shy around the nest...it makes sense to me!

"The Other Redstart" - Aimophila Adventures
If familiarity breeds contempt, then maybe discovery breeds appreciation? Yeah? Regardless, Aimophila Adventures certainly appreciates his rediscovery of an American Redstart in Arizona.

"I Learned Something New" - BirdTLC
Gyrfalcons are amazing birds. Phil is an amazing Gyrfalcon. Dave and the rest of the BirdTLC crew do an amazing job of rescuing Phil and making him comfortable. There's a word I could use to describe this post but I...just...can't...think of it.

"Sparrow-Palooza" - Birdchick Blog
Some beautiful close-ups of sparrows at a banding station Minnesota...plus the use of the phrase 'male bird hoohas.' You'll have you see for yourself.

"Chimney Swifts" - The Birdchaser
Last but certainly not least, the Birdchaser informs us about ways we can help create shelters for those little flying cigars, Chimney Swifts.
Excited to see myself in my first I and the birds. However you need to change the fact that Donegal is in Northern Ireland. Donegal is the county furthest north in Ireland but it is still in the Republic of Ireland and not part of the UK.

Im afraid as to identifying the birds you wont be posting a Petersens guide to me :-( I only can recognise 10 out of the 27.)

Anyway Nicely done!
Wow, Nick, you had to make this so easy on us huh? I'm requesting a signed first print copy of the Field Guide to Birds if I win! Great job on hosting. Will you eventually post the answers?
Apologies for geographic mix-up. I've changed it to read, simply, Ireland. Hope that works better!
Yes I'll be posting the answers pretty soon...maybe Sunday or Monday to give people a chance to make their way to IATB and then figure out the pictures. As far as a signed first edition...I think I'd have better luck finding an Ivory-Billed in my backyard...
Excellent job Nick!
Where to do we send our guesses? You didn't provide an email address nor instructions. Thanks.
Ah yes, Ocellated, a key detail. Send your answers to nicholas.lund@gmail.com. The first person with all pictures correct will win the guide, anyone after will enter the birdDC Hall of Fame.
First guesses are in! Jay from Ocellated took a shot, and got very close. 23 out of 27 to be exact. He's firmly in the lead and will win the guide is he isn't topped. Who's next?
Great job! And games and prizes too--I'll give it a shot, but I'm not sure I'll get as many as 23....
Kay Bell from Don't Mess With Taxes wanted to leave this comment: "I tried to leave the following comment on your site, but I'm a TypePad, not a Blogger. blogger so ... Here's what I was going to post: Fantastic presentation! And thanks so much for giving this bird loving tax geek some exposure beyond 1040 forms! I've let my readers know [in the above permalink] that there's a world out there beyond finances and taxes and that they need to get out and explore and enjoy it!"
Excellent edition, Nick! I'll do a little scouting on the game, and decide whether I have any chance or not, but it's fun either way. Thanks!
Woo! The contest is heating up! And we have a new leader!
John from A DC Bird Blog tried his hand first but was fooled by some of the darker, fuzzier pictures (my fault as a photographer, sorry) and he finished with 17 of 27.
Next up was Paul Ollig from The Rambling Ranger who scored an outstanding 25 of 27!
The bar has been set, but there is still room to win. Keep 'em coming!
Wonderful job and Great quiz; just the right ratio of easy ones to impossible ones--but you can't fool me--a couple of those are common household appliances. Just got back in town and am exhausted, but I can't resist a chance to publicly humiliate myself. I'll send you my shots in the dark soon.
Wonderful anthology here - I enjoyed the introductions.
Another photo quiz entry, this time from Carel from Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding. Carel, who lives in Salt Lake City, had some understandable trouble with birds who are strictly east-coasters. He finished up at 16 of 27. Paul Ollig is still in the lead.
Well done, Nick! Thanks for adding a fun twist to the carnival.
Greetings from who-know-where-is-it Zagreb, Croatia!
Just thought you might like to see hawk's nest built at my balcony at 20th floor three years ago. Two squadrons of hawks have been born there on my balcony this so called 'wild birds' chosed for their home.
Obviously, there is no Empty Nest Sindrome here!

(Unfortunately, only in Croatian language so far).
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