With the proliferation of eBird, more and more birders are learning about what is needed for a comprehensive bird documentation. Lauren Harter at Phainopepla Fables offers some great tips:
The list below is structured from least helpful to most helpful in bird documentation, from my own subjective view. I want to stress that no information is useless or should be left out–more information is always better! My point here is to encourage eBird users (and others) to include more of the really helpful information. Disclaimer: all the examples below are made up by me; I’m not actually quoting anyone here.
Many parts of the continent have been hit by serious inclement weather this summer, at 10,000 Birds, Sharon Stiteler looks at how that effects birds:
In June, storms hit Minneapolis very hard. Some friends had come by to help me lift my window unit air conditioner into my window. After they left, I began securing the flashing around the unit and noted the skies getting dark and green. Suddenly a huge gust of wind hit and blew all the flashing in to my apartment. I watched a large branch fly past my window and break a neighbor’s window. “I should maybe step away from my window,” I thought.
Kathie Brown at Birding is Fun gets ready for the shorebird season with a poetic appreciation of Black-bellied Plovers:
On this September day in 2011 I saw my first Black-bellied Plover. I remember feeling so awed by seeing this bird. It was one of the fifteen new species I saw on that day. While these photos may not be of National Geographic quality, for me they are a reminder of what that day felt like with it's air of magic and art and poetry. Two years ago I wrote a poem about these birds and this day. I have posted it below. These photos remind me of a style of painting called pointillism popularized by the art of Georges Seurat. Between the poem and the pictures I hope that maybe you will also be able to feel a bit of the joy and wonder I felt on that late summer day on South Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts. It is the search for that feeling that keeps me out in nature and watching birds.
Steve Tucker, at the irreverent Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds, gets to the bottom of the biggest secret society in birding, the Bird Police:
What is it like to be a bird policeperson—to protect and to serve—I’m glad you asked me that question, Steve. It’s basically like being a non-bird policeperson, but minus the weapons, chick-magnet uniform, and relevant authority—and with a very different beat. Paperwork—it boils down to reading lots of reports and looking at lots of photographs. Most difficult for me has been the fear that I am going to accept something only to find that the record goes 8-1 and I was the only idiot that misidentified a bird in a photograph—cue derisive laughter from Dunn, Pyle, McCaskie, et al. Drown in tears—resign committee position—hara-kiri. That sort of thing.
At the intersection of birds and pop culture, sports teams are front and center. Nick Lund, The Birdist, considers the ornithological bon fides of the NBA team newly re-christened the New Orleans Pelicans:
The concern here is that they're not using the correct species. There are two species of pelican in these United States: the American White Pelican and the Brown Pelican. While White Pelicans can be found in Louisiana, it's usually in the winter, when they huddle in big groups in the middle of big lakes and reservoirs. I've seen it. They're cool birds all, but they're pretty pathetic in the winter time, and certainly not worthy of naming a cool NBA team after.