February 4, 2013
Article in: Young Birders
There is nothing more hopeful than hearing about partnering environmental groups, willing teachers and eager students coming together to create a native habitat at a school.
Appropriately named, Hope Elementary School in Carlsbad, California did just that on January 17, 2013. They planted over 50 different native plants, shrubs and trees in their new Native Habitat Exploration Garden. (see U-T San Diego News article here)
Partners in Fish and Wildlife gave the school a three thousand dollar grant to create a four thousand square foot native habitat. The event was coordinated by Jonathan Snapp-Cook, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist.
The benefits of this program might be obvious – but they are critical in helping future conservationists:
-Improved habitat – providing habitat for local and migratory wildlife
-Teaching and learning – limitless options to teach and explore – from learning native plants to history and geography.
-Stewardship : What better way to teach children how to be stewards of the land?
-Social development – Not only does this help kids learn to explore but it gets them outside in nature.
With partners such as the National Fish and Wildlife Service, students can be reached on a school-wide level and have a daily accessible place to study, learn and appreciate wildlife.
The biggest benefit of coordinating this type of habitat creation, aside from monetary help, is that the school receives expert advice and instructions on how to properly create a wonderful habitat to attract wildlife and how to maintain the environment.
Download the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide – (PDF) – this is a planning guide for creating schoolyard habitat and outdoor classroom projects.
Carlsbad, Ca is 35 miles north of San Diego, Ca
January 30, 2013
Article in: Product Reviews
Check out our review on Bird Language with Jon Young – How to Interpret the Behaviors and Patterns of Nature at Birding is Fun.
This is our indoor cat Rajah enjoying the birds on the DVD.
Note: you may need to hit refresh to view the video.
January 29, 2013
Article in: Young Birders
The Indiana Young Birders Club offers everything a young birder needs. Field trips, newsletters, conservation projects, outreach programs and of course many birding friends and contacts!
The IYBC also has a blog! Indiana Young Birders – Birding Today…Protecting Tomorrow
One unique thing that the Indiana Young Birders Club offers is a Fledgling membership for young birders up to age eleven. This is a five dollar membership and then the young birder membership is twenty dollars (ages 12 and up). What a great way to include the younger crowd (especially good for younger siblings of a young birder) and it preps them for future birding and conservation!
Here is a look at what is being planned for 2013!
February – Great Backyard Bird Count
May – Spring Migration Trip
May – Salamonie Bird Day
May – Young Birders Big Day Competition
May – Heron Rookery Trip
June – Goose Pond
June – Bio Blitz
August 24th – 1st IYBC Annual Conference!!!
November – IYBC Trip to OYBC Conference in Ohio
(check out last year’s conference!).
Some of the Indian Young Birders members attended the 2012 Ohio Young Birders Conference last year and I think we have a great shot at someday having a regional conference! We look forward to the first Indiana Young Birder Conference!
January 24, 2013
Article in: Travel
The dates are set for the Biggest Week in American Birding! Mark your calendars May 3rd – 12th, 2013 for a week of super expert birders, fun events, and warblers dripping off trees.
The festival schedule will be published by the end of January and festival registration will open in mid February.
Kim Kaufman – director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and our dear bird sister and friend has worked long, incredible hours along with her spectacular birding team to make this event a ravishing success for the past three years and there is no doubt that this year will be even better! There are no words to describe her hard work at promoting birds and conservation. (WE LOVE HER SO MUCH!)
Last year, Jennifer Outcalt (Veery) was proud to be part of the Blog Team alongside other super bird bloggers. Bird blogging is such an awesome way to spread news, discuss birding issues and to network with other birders and even new or future birders!
This year’s event is sure to be even bigger than the last – so it’s not too soon to mark your calendar, read up on last year’s events and gear up for a week in the Warbler Capital of the World: Northwest Ohio!
The very BEST part of this event: there are tons of birders! If you have ever been in a large group of birders like this – it’s crowded but not crowded – there is nothing like being with so many others that share your passion. It’s incredible.
Not convinced? Read Dr. Drew Lanham’s account of his experience in Northwest Ohio in 2012 and you will be!
Look for more posts on upcoming events, registration and our experiences! Good birding!
January 22, 2013
Article in: Young Birders
2013: Michigan Audubon proudly presents – the Michigan Young Birders Club!
Here is the information on the brand new club from the Michigan Audubon’s Website:
As 2013 begins Michigan Audubon looks forward to something that has been in the planning stages for the past year, the launch of a Michigan Young Birders Club (MYBC). With the assistance of Sarah Toner and advice from the staff at Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), MYBC joins 12 other state and five regional Young Birder Clubs in the country.
MYBC membership is for youth ages 12 – 18. An Advisory Board, who will decide on the schedule of programs and the division of tasks amongst the members, will be established at the first meeting, scheduled for January 19th at the Michigan Audubon headquarters.
Members will create their own online newsletter and administer the club’s social networking sites. Planning a conference with presentations given by members and other young birders will also be on their agenda in the near future. The Club will be overseen by Program Coordinator Wendy Tatar.
MYBC membership is $15 and $10 for additional members of the same family. Operation of the club won’t be possible without the help of adults. There will be a supporting adult membership ($20), which will receive the online newsletter. Funds generated by adult support will go to fund the club’s activities and hopefully build an account that can one day support scholarships for members to attend conferences and camps around the country. Adult mentors will be called on to lead birding trips and provide transportation to field trips and programs. A few adults will be seated on the Advisory Board for oversight.
We are currently in the process of creating the membership registration forms for this page. Check back before the end of the year to sign up.
Contact Wendy Tatar at – email@example.com for more information.
January 17, 2013
Article in: Book Reviews
I love watching raptors. I’ve always loved how they fly so gracefully, taking command of the wind with no apparent effort at all.
Identifying these acrobatic wonders; that’s the tricky part!
Hawks in Flight: Second Edition is a magnificent update to the first edition published over two decades ago. All diurnal raptors with established breeding populations in the United States and Canada are included in 300 plus colorful, informative pages. This means 11 species not covered in the first edition are now included.
The authors of Hawks in Flight are three big names of birding: Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton. Each brings years of expertise of raptors. The photos and illustrations are stunning and provide a great learning tool for raptor identification. The text is detailed and specific yet remains readable and understandable.
The raptors are organized by type: buteos, accipiters, falcons, etc. with regional specialities removed from the family base of birds. Then, later in the book, there are chapters dedicated to southwestern buteos, Florida specialties, and regional specialties. This arrangement works well for studying more common raptors found during migration versus birding in southeastern Arizona or southern Florida.
Perhaps my favorite feature in the entire book is the “Putting it Together” section at the end of each chapter. This is a summary of the family of birds that puts everything together to get a better understanding of the types of birds. For example, the end of the Eagles and Vultures chapter has info on how to tell big black birds apart.
This is a great asset to quickly read up on types of birds without being overwhelmed.
Finally, the last chapter covers some of the other soaring birds that are not raptors.
Raptor identification can be tricky, but Hawks in Flight: Second Edition makes it easier and enjoyable.
Disclaimer: we received a copy of this book from the publisher to review on Birdfreak.com. The links are to our Amazon affiliate account.
January 16, 2013
Article in: Young Birders
The mission of the Iowa Young Birders Club:
Iowa Young Birders promotes engagement with our natural world and conservation issues by empowering young Iowans to study and enjoy birds and birding.
The Iowa Young Birders Club came to life on July 14, 2011 from the work of Carl and Linda Bendorf. The organization is an independent not-for-profit corporation and needs the support of young members as well as adults.
The club received a $20,000+ grant for its 2013 field trip programs so look for some really fun events for young birders.
The field trips are still being worked out so check back for more details.
Membership is just $10 a year and $35 for supporting adults so join now!
January 14, 2013
Article in: Birding
Marking the 113th Christmas Bird Count I coordinated my newish circle (5th year) covering Rock Cut State Park and some nice forest preserves in Boone County (northern Illinois).
This year was the lowest in terms of counters so we did not find too many birds. One group had a misunderstanding of when the count was and we lost data for a large section of the circle.
That said, we still were spread thin so our numbers were really low. We found 46 species of birds with 3 more count week species. We counted 5,474 individual birds, the majority of them Canada Geese.
Other highlights include: 2 Barred Owls (one which my nephew spotted and we saw really well), 1 Northern Shrike, a Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, 2 Red Crossbills, 1 Lapland Longspur, and 1 Hermit Thrush.
There were some big misses with no American Robins or Yellow-rumped Warblers. They were found in good numbers on last year’s count.
I was surprised by the variety of birds considering the low number of counters. Just shows what a great birding area northern Illinois is and how great the birders are that show up.
I am considering dissolving the count since there is such a lack of interest (this year and past years).