Xray the Enforcer

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About Xray the Enforcer

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    Blind Crustacean Rage

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    SF/F, Extreme Metal, Urban Wildlife Observational Biology, Classic Cocktails, Tasty Vittles, Punk Rock, Pyrotechnics, Crushing Skulls.

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  1. [mod] Please refrain from personal attacks -- focus on the person's arguments only. And please do not make vague comments about what "people on here" might or might not do in some hypothetical situation. Neither avenue of discussion is very helpful. Thank you. [/mod]
  2. I love grackles. Common Grackles, Boat-tailed Grackles, Great-tailed Grackles, Carib Grackles. I love them almost as much as I love oropendolas.
  3. Was it something like this? Or something like this? Or something like this? A purplish black-headed not-pigeon will most likely be a Common Grackle male, a Brewer's Blackbird male, or a Rusty Blackbird male.
  4. all of this. I actually log our eBird sightings because I am a fairly decent birder (European Robins aside). But I use eBird most frequently as a way to identify 1) which hotspots have had a lot of recent activity 2) which species have been sighted in the last week and 3) if we're in an unfamiliar area, where are good local hotspots.
  5. Gray Catbirds have a HUGE range of calls and songs. The better online field guides and apps always have a section of audio files for calls, songs, etc. Word of note: it's considered a giant faux pas (and actually unethical to boot) to play bird calls really loudly outside, especially during breeding season (in the US that would be between May and August). That's because the birds can get super stressed out, or they'll be chasing a potential mate who is actually your fucking phone. So, yeah. Bird call recordings are great, but be careful of how you use them.
  6. Mustard stains are par for the course at conferences. You'll be awesome.
  7. I tend to use field guides with illustrations rather than photography, but to be honest looking at properly ID'd photos (VERY IMPORTANT -- if you just do a Google image search you will find TONS of improperly ID'd bird photos) has really improved my ID skills, especially when it comes to off-brand (e.g. non-breeding-season plumage) warblers, a number of the sparrow species, and raptor differentiation. For North American birds, two good online resources that are scrupulous about getting the bird IDs in photos correct are Audubon and All About Birds (from Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, respectively). Oh gods I could babble on about this shit forever.
  8. I'm sorry that you are going through this. Please try to find a counselor with whom you can talk, because your response to this stressor is completely out of proportion to the situation. Shit, I took an extra year at university and I still managed to not be a failure. Good luck.
  9. @Lily Valley next time we're in the same town, I will take you birding.
  10. I can highly recommend Kenn Kaufman's Field Guide to the Birds of North America http://www.kaufmanfieldguides.com/birds.html (I'm friends with Kenn and he's amazing) and Sibley's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America (the full Sibley's is great too, but maybe start with the regionally specific one). https://www.amazon.com/Sibley-Field-Guide-Eastern-America/dp/0307957918 Also, you might want to try the Merlin app http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/ As it happens, I'm helping a crew develop another guided-ID birding app (which is gonna be SWEET when it's done) but that won't be done until spring migration.
  11. WTF is this drivel?
  12. [mod] Thank you for your service. [/mod]
  13. [mod] Let's not revisit that topic, or anything else that Mother Cocanuts said in that thread, please. I'd like to keep this discussion constructive. Thank you. [/mod]
  14. oooh how did I miss this? Anyway, would love to meet up. There's a high possibility that I am going to be in DC that week, but if I'm not, I'm definitely down to sink a beer or three.
  15. [mod] Enough of this idiotic digression about left vs. right. Further posts in that vein will be deleted. Thank you. [/mod]