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Lily Valley

BIRDS (and how to look at them)

75 posts in this topic

13 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I know, right! I would read the fuck out of that book.

Will print it and tape it over my field guide when it gets here!!!

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2 hours ago, Seli said:

It is worth getting a physical book with local bird species. They work so much easier when you are not completely sure what you are searching for. An internet search afterwards can always help with more varied images.

Do you have a series you like?  I bought a whatever off the internet.  It's still not here.  Was hoping for recommendations before buying ALL the books.

4 hours ago, Seli said:

Here in the Netherlands there are also some areas where improved environmental protection is visible, even though it is still not stopping the decline of many other birds. Back in the 80's many raptors had become rare, and storks were only surviving due to rearing programs. Now they are a quite common sight. And a lovely sight at that.

 

Our Post-Katrina bird game has changed dramatically with more empty lots and cleaning up our lake.  It's wonderful (the clean lake, not the missing neighbors).

4 hours ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Thanks for this! I am keenly interested though as a city dweller it's usually “pigeon”, “not pigeon”, and “oh f*ck that’s a falcon outside my window chasing a flock of probably not pigeons”. 

Me too!  I know crow, pigeon, sparrow, duck, egret, swan, starling (<3), mocking bird, not-egret--swan-duck-Shore-Bird,  hawk, falcon, dove (mourning, haven't seen it but i know the call), buzzard, turkey vulture, parrot parakeet, cardinal, blue-jay, brown thrasher and now GRACKLE.

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One of the cooler birds I see regularly are hummingbirds.  It's amazing how fast they can beat their wings, which allows them to hover and zip around.

A long time ago, I saw a massive cloud of starlings undulating across the sky while driving through Texas.  Must have been thousands of them.  Not sure what they eat, but if they eat grain crops, they could have stripped entire fields of crops in minutes like a locust swarm.

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I do love the boids.  I was given a Pionus parrot when I was in college and really didn't know what I was getting into.  But 15 years later I still have the asshole (said with love) and get to see a beautiful green and blue bird every day.

My area has tons of Canadian geese, magpies, and ravens.  Of these the ravens are my favorite to watch, you can see their brains working when they cock their head at you.  Seasonally I will see bluejays and occasionally blue birds.  I have never had luck getting hummingbirds to come to any of my feeders but I occasionally see them one town over as it is a bit closer to the mountains.

I do see the dinosaurs occasionally in my area too, though not as much since they finished developing my neighborhood.  Red Tail hawks mostly, but I have seen Bald Eagles do fly overs and once had a kestrel spend a good twenty minutes on my fence. 

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We have hummingbirds here, bext spring I want to plant a garden to attract them.  There's a botanical garden at City Park and they really incorporate the animals into their designs for outreach.  They're wonderful and a little scary (hornet-bird-dinosaur!)

For those of you unfamiliar with New Orleans City Park, it eats Central Park for lunch in size if not in majesty.  It's the largest park inside a midsize city limits in the US and my campus is part of it.  

On the phone, so linking is HARD, but I have been watching the birds on my way to campus for 6 years now on my bike.  My new place is covered in birds, and I'd like to do better than, "bird, weird burd, burd"

http://neworleanscitypark.com/new-orleans-city-park-history

We also have Audobon park by the river.  I have ZERO time right now for a trip up there, but MY park is better anyway.

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2 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

Do you have a series you like?  I bought a whatever off the internet.  It's still not here.  Was hoping for recommendations before buying ALL the books.

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.

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1 hour ago, Lily Valley said:

We have hummingbirds here, bext spring I want to plant a garden to attract them.  There's a botanical garden at City Park and they really incorporate the animals into their designs for outreach.  They're wonderful and a little scary (hornet-bird-dinosaur!)

For those of you unfamiliar with New Orleans City Park, it eats Central Park for lunch in size if not in majesty.  It's the largest park inside a midsize city limits in the US and my campus is part of it.  

On the phone, so linking is HARD, but I have been watching the birds on my way to campus for 6 years now on my bike.  My new place is covered in birds, and I'd like to do better than, "bird, weird burd, burd"

http://neworleanscitypark.com/new-orleans-city-park-history

We also have Audobon park by the river.  I have ZERO time right now for a trip up there, but MY park is better anyway.

Oh yeah, we have hummingbirds too. We have Rose of Sharron plants around the house that are natural hummingbird feeders from the time they bloom in the Spring until the die in the Fall. I have a bench next to one and on nice days I sit there and watch the hummingbirds come up to feed.

We have a tiny, tiny local zoo here. In there they have free range Peacocks, they just wander around where the people go. The animals like the wolves and bears and wild cats are closed off by fences and when they see a peacock come close, the look they get in their eyes... Also there Macaws, Cockatoos, Myna birds, and other parrots, maybe they clip their wings because they just stay up in the trees inside the zoo but they're free.

They have bald eagles but those are enclosed in a wire aviary. Ostriches, flamingos, storks, pelicans, swans, geese, ducks, turkeys, owls, a few other unique to the area birds.

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Although I mentioned that I thought hummingbirds were cool, I should also mention that some of them are jerks.  I used to have a hummingbird feeder that would attract a bunch of hummingbirds.  Most of the time, they would all happily share, but occasionally, one of them would be a real mean bastard and attack and chase away other hummingbirds from the feeder.  It would just perch nearby, repeatedly sing a loud and angry hummingbird song, and chase away other hummingbirds.  

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1 hour ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

@Lily Valley next time we're in the same town, I will take you birding.

Dude, you birded my park without me, didn't you.   However, I know where there's a bald eagle nest in Mississippi.  Long bike ride, but I have a map.  It'll be fun.

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7 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

...

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.

Oh, that seems interesting. Thanks.

9 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

Do you have a series you like?  I bought a whatever off the internet.  It's still not here.  Was hoping for recommendations before buying ALL the books.

I know what I like in books (distribution maps, some layout issues, preferably art over photos) but I wouldn't even know what to recommend to someone here. And I don't think any of the books I use are part of a series that is also available for the US.

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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.

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If you want to get into birding, read the book 'The Big Year' about how obsessed birders can become.  

Quote

A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

By Mark Obmascik

Every January 1, a quirky crowd storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year—a grand, expensive, and occasionally vicious 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prizewinning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest— or maybe worst—birding contest of all time.

I read and loved it.  Forget the movie, the book was a fun read about some crazed people.  

Edited by Nasty LongRider

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Be any bird you like, except a duck. 

Fuck ducks. They are jerks. They love to stand in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and practically daring you to hit them. They shit all over everything. They smell terrible. They squawk at little kids and scare them and chase people down the street. 

Also they wear dog masks. What are they hiding? 

Fucking ducks. 

They do taste pretty good though. Also ducklings are cute as hell, shame they eventually transform into assholes. 

Edited by KiDisaster

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5 minutes ago, KiDisaster said:

Be any bird you like, except a duck. 

Fuck ducks. They are jerks. They love to stand in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and practically daring you to hit them. They shit all over everything. They smell terrible. They squawk at little kids and scare them and chase people down the street. 

Also they wear dog masks. What are they hiding? 

Fucking ducks. 

They do taste pretty good though. Also ducklings are cute as hell, shame they eventually transform into assholes. 

My campus is infested with those fuckers, the day of the apocalypse they're all going in bags as an offering to whichever farm is willing to take me in.  Looking at the goslings in spring is pretty cool, though.  Biggest clutch I've seen had 13.  THIRTEEN BABIES!!!  :shudders:

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16 minutes ago, KiDisaster said:

Fuck ducks. They are jerks. They love to stand in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and practically daring you to hit them. 

They've got nothing on albatrosses. Those doofuses will sit right in the middle of the road and not move at all. You have two options -- drive carefully around them in a slow automotive slalom or, if there is no way around, stop your vehicle, step out, pick up the offending bird, place it on the side of the road, and resume your drive.

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8 minutes ago, Mr. X said:

They've got nothing on albatrosses. Those doofuses will sit right in the middle of the road and not move at all. You have two options -- drive carefully around them in a slow automotive slalom or, if there is no way around, stop your vehicle, step out, pick up the offending bird, place it on the side of the road, and resume your drive.

I actually have had to stop, get out and chase ducks off the road before. Apparently I am scarier than my several ton car. Ducks are weird man. 

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17 hours ago, drawkcabi said:

 

One story about birds from where I lived in central Maryland. One day I heard a hell of a racket in my backyard. I went out to see what was going on. There was an eagle flying around being attacked by crows. The eagle was about 5 times bigger than any one of the crows but there were like ten crows. I'm guessing it was a territorial thing. The crows were merciless. They kept attacking the eagle over and over, cawing, cackling, crowing, making such loud noises until finally the eagle broke free of all the crows and just took off getting the hell out of there.

Also, I had a pet bird, a macaw for about 15 years.

 

Dinosaurs never did go extinct, they just got a little smaller and grew feathers...maybe they always had the feathers.

Crows are jerks. Blue jays are even bigger jerks. They will tag-team dive bomb juvenile crows mercilessly. I've seen them steal peanuts right from the squirrels in my yard and bully their way to the bird feeder. The poor finches and starlings don't stand a chance. 

About a month ago, I saw literally thousands of Canada geese flying overhead. We must be directly in the flight path. I wish I'd gotten that on video, it was amazing! We just moved to this house last November so I don't know if that's a normal occurrence here or not. It was really something to see, though.

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