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morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:53 pm
by jrisk
list any incidental or full bird reports that you've seen lately. pictures highly encouraged.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:56 pm
by jrisk
last night I went out around sunset hoping to see and hear some early American Woodcocks doing their mating "sky dance". had no luck but I did hear a pair of duetting Great Horned Owls 8-) and also saw some Great Blue Herons for the first time this year.

gonna try again for the woodcocks later this week.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:04 pm
by CMYK
jrisk wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:56 pm cocks later this week.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:47 pm
by jrisk
titkitten wrote:LOVE this thread. would also love to read about what actually happens when you birdwatch. how do you know where to look? how do you know when to go? do you bring some cocoa?
good questions! there's a popular website called eBird where folks can upload their birding checklists for "hotspots" and you can browse through checklists at those hotspots to see what other people have seen lately or if you have a target species in mind, you can also search for those and pull up a map of all the recent sightings. knowledgeable birders can look at a habitat and can generally guess what species they might see depending on the time of day and year.

most diurnal birds will be active first thing in the morning because they're just waking up from roosting and are hungry so that's always a great time to go birding. for American Woodcocks though, they do their mating dances at sunrise and sunset. it's all species dependent. say, if I was gonna go out looking for owls, I'd probably go shortly after sunset, when they're most active.

last night I didn't bring cocoa bc I was only gonna be out for an hour or so but it's always a good idea! winter birding can be pretty brutal.

here's what typically happens when I go birding... arrive at location, open up the eBird app on my phone and start creating a checklist. The app will track the length of time and distance with a GPS track of where I walked. As I see notice (or hear) each bird, I add the species to my checklist and note how many individuals were there. As I continue along, I increase the number, making sure to not double-count as best I can. If I spot something rare for the area, the app will prompt me to add descriptive notes about the sighting. If it's something really rare, it'll get flagged by a reviewer and they'll likely request additional verification like a photo. But usually, I don't see anything too rare unless I'm specifically chasing a rarity so I'll just add notes if I see some kind of interesting behavior or give some additional info if I think other birders might be interested in also finding it.

one thing that i didn't expect when I first started is how much birding is listening and identifying birds based on their songs/calls. birds are really good at staying hidden and it feels like a superpower to be able to hear something and go "oh that's a Northern Flicker".

sometimes I go out without putting together a strict checklist and that makes it more chill. if I'm busy trying to count hundreds of canada geese, I might miss something interesting!

what I love about birding is how you can just about do it anywhere. yesterday, I just hung out on my back porch for an hour and I was able to see ten different species, from house sparrows to a carolina wren to a downy woodpecker. You'll also start noticing birds everywhere, like the other day I spotted five different Red-tailed Hawks while driving down the highway.

Ryan got me a copy of How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell last year and it really inspired me to take up birding. it's been a great pandemic activity.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:56 pm
by CMYK
jrisk wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:47 pm cocks though, they do their mating dances at sunrise and sunset.
jrisk wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:47 pm pecker

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:04 pm
by titkitten
really cool stuff!!! i'm so naive, i totally didn't clock that there would be An App For That, but it makes a lot of sense. how do you feel about an app in what i perceive to be more of a quaint hobby? like,,,, i had this romantic image of you out there with binoculars peeping birds as they appeared, maybe with a reference book of images and text descriptions of the calls. i can see the app making it more accessible (and also having the opportunity to have actual audio of the calls!) but maybe also more "gameified" with checklists.

i love that it sounds like a full sensory immersion experience. even when i go for walks, i tend to listen to a podcast or some other audio. sounds super rewarding to know the calls of birds well enough to recognise them. reminds me of when i was playing piano and we had to be able to identify intervals or chord progressions for our exams... but more alive!

does it tend to be more solitary or do people meet+watch together?

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:22 pm
by jrisk
you're totally right that the app gameifies it which I won't deny is an interesting part of it to me. eBird tracks all your stats and makes it easy to compare your findings to other folks which some people hate/love. I don't find it super motivating atm since I'm still a new relatively new birder and am way behind everyone as it is. I do have a couple guide books but there's actually a bird ID app out there called Merlin that has basically replaced those too lol so I don't have to carry the books around.

I can totally relate about it being similar to music theory!

I enjoy doing it solo because it allows me to go at my own pace and it's less embarrassing if you get an identification wrong but it's also great to go out with more experienced folk because you learn a lot. I've met quite a few people and have been able to bird with them bunch. birding is really easy to do distanced and outside. overall it's been a really nice community. I hope to get into leading some bird walks eventually!

if any folks are ever in the area, I'd definitely take you out birding!

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:09 pm
by rjbman
cannot wait til cmyk finds out the name for the overall impression of a bird

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:38 pm
by g2x
i went birding with jrisk once and can confirm that it is not easy to look at birds

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:25 pm
by griffin
A cute little bird started to nest in the wreath on my door. I had to chase it off because I didn't want to fling my door open and dash its eggs on the ground. Bittersweet.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:33 am
by jrisk
went back out again tonight, beautiful weather, low 50Fs and it was clear. the red-winged blackbirds are already singing in full force which means spring is right around the corner. didn't get any woodcocks but I did get my first Killdeer of the year. these are the ones that if you get too close to their nest, they'll pretend to have a broken wing and lure you away. they have a very nervous type of demeanor, imo.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2021 3:25 am
by CMYK
jrisk wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:33 am didn't get any cocks

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:45 pm
by jrisk
well cmyk you'll be glad to hear some good news: I got some american woodcocks last night. I found some fields adjacent to a wetland and arrived after sunset. upon arrival, I could hear "peent" coming from the edges of the field. I got a short recording:



these are the calls that the males make while searching for the females. when they find a possible mate, they flutter 50 feet into the air doing spirals while performing a bubbly/chittering song. It was dark so I was only able to see one of these "sky dances" when they were silhouetted against the brightest part of the sky but I heard at least 4 males in the area.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:43 pm
by CMYK
jrisk wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:45 pm well cmyk good news: I got some cocks last night. I found some fields adjacent to a wetland and arrived after sunset. upon arrival, I could hear "pee" coming from the edges of the field.
these are the calls that the males make while searching for a possible mate, I had at least 4 males in the area.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:16 pm
by jrisk
i'm doing a fantasy bird challenge where everyone on a team chooses their own personal radius and only goes birding in that circle. this morning I went to one of my favorite spots and had a Merlin eating another small bird. Merlins are small birds of prey that are in the same family as Peregrine Falcons and American Kestrels. Wasn't a new species for my team but I get bonus points for getting a photo and being the first to record it in my area.

Image

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:43 pm
by walks
Are bird feeders good in an urban environment? I've really liked having one out in the country and I think seeing birds out my window would improve my mood when I get back to Chicago.

Re: morning bird report

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:22 pm
by jrisk
walks wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:43 pm Are bird feeders good in an urban environment? I've really liked having one out in the country and I think seeing birds out my window would improve my mood when I get back to Chicago.
assuming you don't mind the mess like others mentioned, feeders are def good in an urban environment! there's plenty of possible birds even in the city, especially if you live close to a green space. I expect you'll get a lot of House Sparrows, Mourning Doves and Rock Pigeons but there's still plenty of other birds that have adapted well.