Thursday, July 9, 2015

Great bird books to read

Peterson's Birding By Impression: The people working for Peterson Field Guides did a great job with this one - It's all about birding by shape, size, and minute differences between species. The book is rather large - larger than a sheet of paper - so it's a good one to keep at home. It's not much of a field guide; more of a reference book. (Kevin T. Karlson and Dale Rosselet)

Hawks in Flight: If you are a hawk enthusiast as I am, you've definitely scored if you found this one Illustrations by David Sibley, author of the Sibley guide, this book explains how to tell the difference between flying raptors. With detailed explanations and meticulously painted portraits of each raptor, This book really is one you should check out. (Pete Dunne, David Sibley and Clay Sutton)

Birding In Illinois: If you live in Illinois, this is a really good reference. It's none too durable (my copy's protective layer on the front is peeling), but is perfect as another home bird book. It gives very comprehensive descriptions of birds, shows detailed pictures, and even has a checklist in the back - If you're a kid birder, you should go with this one as a starter.

Old/antique bird books: Antique books are gorgeous, even if the cover is ripped off and the pages might be falling out. If you can find an old book like a 1940's Peterson or a 30's Golden guide, I can tell you that flipping those old-smelling pages is one of the funnest things you can do with a bird book. It's also really cool to see what they pictured the birds as, where they found them, and what they called them I have a few, and let me tell you: This is something you want to look for. And what if you don't want to keep them? Sell them on eBay, if they're in good condition. I've never done this, but some birders and book enthusiasts will pay big bucks for those things.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Take the Pledge to Fledge!

Here's an idea: Let's turn more people into birders. If you have someone that you think would enjoy birding (yet doesn't bird), take the Pledge to Fledge by Cornell lab of Ornithology. The pledge states this:
"I pledge to actively share my enthusiasm for birds with non-birders by taking them into the field to show them birds and foster their own appreciation for birds whenever possible. I will strive to be friendly, patient, helpful, and welcoming when approached by ‘non-birders’ or asked about birds by acquaintances. I believe that individual birders, as part of an international grassroots movement, can effect positive and profound change for our shared birds and their future."
It's a really great idea, and it gives you an opportunity to make a new friend! There's also a chance that you'll have someone new to go birding with, too. Take the pledge! And, if you hatch a new birder, feel free to comment here what his/her name is and when he/she became a birder.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Birding online

Along with all the other bird-related things I do (birding, writing these posts, drawing birds, etc.), I go online often. Here's a couple places I like to visit.

I like listening to bird podcasts. It's kinda relaxing, you get to hear funny stories, and you find out what's going on in the world. My favorite podcasts series is Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds. Some others include This Birding Life (Bill Thompson, III) and the Author's Spotlight (Julie Zickefoose).

Along with writing blog posts, I also enjoy reading others' articles on birding and about new additions to peoples' life list. My favorite blogs are Julie Zickefoose on Blogspot (Julie Zickefoose), Bill of the Birds (Bill Thompson III), the Stokes Birding Blog (Don and Lilian Stokes), and the Science of Birds (Nick Minor). You get to see cool things like a red bat or a squeaking caterpillar (both featured on Julie Zickefoose's blog). You'll learn about migrants coming through the area or cool facts about bird biology and whatnot. Plus, there's a lot of cool pictures to look at. (Who doesn't like pictures?)

eBird and BirdCast are two tools used by a lot of tech-savvy birders. Birdcast is used to forecast bird migration and movements, and eBird is used also to report on bird trends, sort of like BirdCast, but instead of showing a map of the continent, it has graphs and charts and stuff like that. I really enjoy looking at it.

Bird Watcher's Digest is another fun thing to check out - it's a bimonthly magazine that talks about birds, and only birds. And it's super thick. The best thing about it is that it always comes early. Check it out!