Thursday, September 06, 2007

I and the Bird #57

For birders in the northern hemisphere, the change from August to September means one thing: the peak of fall migration is soon to arrive. In truth, fall migration has been underway for some time now, as shorebirds and waders have been moving for at least a month. From a broader perspective, some bird is always in migration somewhere on the planet at any time of year. This fifty-seventh edition of I and the Bird celebrates bird migration.

Birds in their Breeding Territories

Breeding birds exhibit an amazing variety of colors, especially in species that have different male and female plumages. As GrrlScientist tells us in Pretty Boys Have All the Chicks, a study of the splendid fairy-wren of Australia reveals that even in socially monogamous species, strong sexual dichromatism can be driven by extra-pair paternity.

Every birder has the experience of consistently missing some desired bird species, despite being in the right habitat at the right time. Jochen of Bell Tower Birding relates his recent unsuccessful attempts to see a yellow-crowned night heron in Genesis of a New Nemesis.

Tai Haku of Earth, Wind & Water was Tickled Pink to find a Caribbean flamingo in easy digiscoping range.

Traveling to a bird's breeding grounds is a good way to find new species. A Week in Italy leads to nine life birds for Craig of Peregrine's Bird Blog.

The Ecobirder photographed hummingbirds, finches, and other creatures during a day watching Bird Banding at Carpenter Nature Center.

Roger at Words and Pictures found a dead great tit wearing a band. He tells what he learned about the band and the bird in One Ring to find them.

Birds in Migration

To track the migration of three shorebird species, scientists in Alaska are banding the birds and fitting some with satellite transmitters while the birds are still on their breeding grounds. Kevin of NaturalVisions Photography fills in the details in Alaska Shorebird Migration Revisited.

Fall migration poses some special challenges for birders, since birds are molting into their plainer basic plumage and songbirds no longer sing. Corey of 10,000 Birds reminds us of the Perils of Posting Poor Pics while trying to nail down a difficult shorebird identification.

Migration offers the opportunity to see more birds than usual, and some birders use that opportunity to do big days. While May is a more popular month for big days, Will at The Nightjar tried a September Century Run.

Sometimes fall migration bring strange birds to strange places. Patrick of The Hawk Owl's Nest remembers his Green Violet-ear Memories.

Patrick and I searched for migrating shorebirds during a Meadowlands Morning two weeks ago.

While we in the northern hemisphere are bidding farewell to breeding birds, in Australia birds are starting to show up on their breeding grounds. Duncan of Ben Cruachan Blog wishes he had brought his camera on a recent bird walk in The things you see.

Birds in their Winter Range

Bird conservation requires that species are protected both on breeding grounds, wintering grounds, and en route between the two. To that end, Nuthatch of bootstrap analysis praises a program to help birds far away by sponsoring banding stations.

When birds from the United States and Canada reach their wintering grounds, they find other members of their taxonomic families already there. The Birdfreak Birding Blog introduces us to Mexico's Collection of Thrushes.

Other Birds

Sketching birds in relaxed locations is a good way to learn bird anatomy in greater detail. Debby of Drawing the Motmot visits a local bird rehabilitation center to prepare for Drawing the Great Blue Heron.

Birders need to be aware of our impact on the birds we love. The Bird Ecology Study Group questions whether the use of flash photography overly disturbs sleeping birds in Sleeping Chestnut-naped Forktail.

Snail of A Snail's Eye View finds some delightful descriptions of Australian birds in Edmund James Banfield's Confessions of a Beachcomber (published 1908). Read some excerpts in Beachcomber's bird concerto.

Con of Consworld takes some lovely broadtail hummingbird photos.

Some birds barely migrate at all. The Ridger finds a few such Birds at both ends of the day in The Greenbelt.


I hope you enjoyed this edition of I and the Bird. Try to read as many of these entries as you can and leave comments if you enjoyed them. The next edition will be September 20 at The Nightjar. Send your links to Will at hoaryredpoll AT hotmail DOT com.