Feathers on Friday

If you would like to join me for my Feathers on Friday meme, please put the link to your blog post in the comments and I’ll add the link to my post.

The American Goldfiches have taken over my feeders and they are such a joy to watch! Here is one pair,

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Birdathon Day Today!

Today is my Baillie Birdathon! I’m in the house now for a bit of a break and some food, since I was up and out of the house around 4 am this morning. So far I’ve seen 67 species in about six hours, including five Baltimore Orioles in the woods on our farm. Another 13 species, and 17 hours, to go to meet my goals!

Thank you all very much for your patience and support as I keep writing about this.

If you would like to support me, my Baillie Birdathon page is here. I’m raising money for Bird Studies Canada and for our local naturalist society, to pay for programs and speakers. My Birdathon goal is to see 80 species (last year I saw 79), and my financial goal was $500, but I’ve already raised $1,215 with so much generous support. You can still give for another 62 days (until the end of July), and all donations of at least $10 are tax deductible.

My Edmonton Nature Club friends Curtis and Michelle, who already made an amazing donation to my Birdathon this year, have made the following Birdathon offer now that I’ve reached $1,000: $2/bird seen to my own effort, $2/bird seen to Beaverhill Lake Bird Observatory, and $2/bird seen to the Edmonton Nature Club.

One of my new birder friends, Bird Boy, who is nine years old, is participating in this year’s Baillie Birdathon, with a goal of raising $300. His Birdathon blog post is here, and here is his Baillie Birdathon donation page.

If you are doing the Baillie Birdathon too before the end of this month (tomorrow!), please leave a link to your page in the comments!

I’m heading back out shortly. Wish me luck staying up as long as possible and seeing more bird species!

A Gadwall very early this morning,

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Volunteers needed for Warbler Survey

A Canada Warbler I photographed last August at the Young Ornithologists' Workshop at the Long Point Bird Observatory, Ontario, 2012

A Canada Warbler I photographed last August at the Young Ornithologists’ Workshop at the Long Point Bird Observatory, Ontario, 2012

The other day the following message came across the Albertabird listserv [as a reminder, take out the “(at)” and “(dot)” and replace with the necessary bits!]:

I am conducting a study of geographical variation in song characteristics and I am looking for volunteers to take a 10-minute online survey. Participants will rate the similarity of the songs of several species of warbler.

If you are able to volunteer to take this survey, please e-mail me at
nathanbwarbler (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will send you an e-mail with the URL to the survey and more information.

Thank you in advance,

Nathan Burroughs
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of California, Los Angeles
nathanbwarbler (at) gmail (dot) com

If you’re able to take the survey to help Nathan with his study, please email him.

Nathan is an undergraduate student at UCLA, and this is the second part of his study; the first, in the autumn, was about  geographical variation in plumage characteristics. Part two examines the similarity of the songs of several warbler species, as the students examine aggressive interactions between species.

When I emailed him to offer to take the survey, I asked him to please keep me posted on the results of his survey and study. Nathan wrote back that the study could take anywhere from a month to multiple months to finish, but he will keep me posted. And I’ll post any information he sends here, too.

May Species Count

Last Saturday, my local naturalist society held its annual May species count. I’ve gone a few other years at 5 am or so, and I was asked this year if I’d be able to join the club president then. But with our beef club achievement day, show and sale the next two days, I needed to get as much rest as possible. So I started counting birds at 9 am instead and saw some good birds, though I missed a few common ones such as House Wrens, American Coots, and Barn Swallows.

Chris told me later that he had seen a Blackpoll Warbler earlier in the morning —  it would have been a life bird for me. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to see it, but I did get an extra three hours of sleep!

I had a good walk and saw 32 species in three hours with two first of season birds: Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpiper.

I aways have so much fun doing this count and can’t wait to see what I get next year!

A flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls were feeding near the edge of the river and here’s one (digiscoped),

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A Tree Swallow on a no trail riding sign,

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Buffalo beans,

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A view of the river,

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I’m not quite sure what species of Dragonfly this is,

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A Song Sparrow (digiscoped),

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A beautiful Canadian Tiger Swallowtail,

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A Franklin’s Ground Squirrel (digiscoped),

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I saw quite a few Double-crested Cormorants on my walk (digiscoped),

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An interestingly colored American Wigeon (digiscoped),

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A pair of Mallards (digiscoped),

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Wild Bird Wednesday: Blue-winged Teals

This pair of Blue-winged Teals were preening at the slough (pond) across the road from my house, and I digiscoped this photo of them.

Today, I’m linking up with Stewart for his Wild Bird Wednesday. So be sure to read through all the other bloggers’ posts with their wonderful wild birds.

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Birding News #19

:: The famous Red Knot called B95 or Moonbird has survived another Spring migration. Moonbird is about 20 years old and researchers believe he is the oldest living Red Knot.

:: Alaska is experiencing some very rare birds this Spring migration, and higher numbers than usual.

:: Marbled Murrelets are an endangered species and Steller’s Jays are eating their eggs in California. Researchers are putting out fake Murrelets eggs that induce vomiting in the Jays, so they won’t want to eat the endangered seabirds eggs.

:: CBS News visited the Biggest Week in American Birding and aired a segment on birding.

:: If you would like to see LEGO add a collection of North American bird kits to their line of products, please vote for these great LEGO birds by Thomas Poulsom (you may have seen his British, European, Oceana, or Tropical Lego birds already)!

:: The American Bird Conservancy is requesting a ban on the insecticide neonicotinoid, poison so deadly it can kill a songbird with one kernel of corn.

:: A pair of rare Common Cranes and their nest in Britain are under 24 hour surveillance to protect the eggs from collectors.

:: An article about why penguins don’t fly and why they are so good at swimming

Great posts in birding blogs this week:

:: From Steve at Steve Creek Wildlife PhotographyPied-billed Grebe Eating Crayfish

:: From Rich, beat writer for Birding Is FunHorse of the Woods — The Capercaillie

:: From Gordon at Birding Adventures: Willcox, Arizona — 18 May 2013

:: From Landon at Two Birders and Binoculars: Planning a Big Year

:: From Mia at On the Wing Photography: Potpourri of Birds — from this week

:: From Rebecca at Rebecca in the Woods: Killdeer! Killdeer! Killdeer!

A Sparrow on a Soggy Day

I was making my breakfast this rainy and windy yesterday morning (the first proper moisture in two months) and I carelessly looked out the window at my feeders. I saw a bird that looked different than the usual ones, and then it dawned on me — a Harris’s Sparrow, a life bird for me!

I had to run downstairs to my bedroom to get my camera, hoping the bird wouldn’t leave. In fact, he stayed around all day. He was in the yard when my mother and I returned home from our trip to pick up almost 1,000 shelterbelt trees, and then at the end of the day when we came back from my egg run in town.

Here’s my first photograph of the sparrow,

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