You are here

2018: The Year of the Bird

I've begun to make a case for bird watching. Birds are beautiful, they capture the imagination, one can enjoy the hobby alone or with others, etc., etc. Let me add, if I may, one more reason to go birding. (I'll add more reasons as time goes on. No, this 'case' isn't going to be the focus of the blog.) Birding is downright exciting. You never know what you might come across! 

Along those lines, here's something I shared with a fellow birder recently. As we're well into the 2018 baseball season, I thought this would be a fitting way to describe my thoughts regarding a recent outing at Weyanoke Sanctuary in Norfolk, where I came across a very rare and elusive migrating Bicknell's Thrush. This species is one the rarest around, if not THE rarest, and is near threatened. That it stopped en route in the Elizabeth River watershed and very close to the river itself is way cool. I wrote to my friend the following: "I always tell people whom I lead on bird trips that birding is a little like going to a baseball game. The game can be a scoreless, uneventful, even error-filled drag, or attendees can witness a triple play, a no-hitter, a steal home, a grand slam and so on. I witnessed a steal home--and then some." I recorded one of the bird's songs (it sang a song series, and as I fumbled for my recorder I managed to record the last one). You can listen to that recording here. Click on the sound icon in the upper left and then scroll down a bit to find the recording. For some reason my sound recordings aren't listed in chronological order.

In the last post, I mentioned Jonathan Franzen's recent National Geographic article entitled "Why Birds Matter and Are Worth Protecting". He wrote that as National Geographic and several other organizations mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by declaring 2018 to be the 'Year of the Bird'. Prior to the enactment of the MBTA, birds were killed, among other reasons, to obtain their feathers and plumes for use in the millinery trade. Think: women's hats. Egrets were hit particulary hard and some egret species, including the Great Egret (one is pictured here in flight) came close to becoming extinct. You can see on this adult male both its feathers and its plumes, those long showy less rigid and more free-form feathers trailing from its back. The plumes are used in courtship displays. I took this photo along the Southern Branch near Inland Rd.

Before I close, let me remind everyone to check out the nests I watch. I monitor several local Osprey nests, and chicks should be hatching soon in some nests. I'll be describing what I see, and I hope to have some hatchling photos up shortly.

Comments

This blog encourages me to want to bird. I like the comparison of the game of baseball and bird watching. Enjoyed the Bicknell's Thrush sound recording also. Great blog!

Great. So glad this encourages you to bird! Few hobbies are as enthralling. Thanks so much for subscribing and reading.

You are spot on about birds being beautiful, imaginative creatures. They truly are the art of the wild. I love your analogy that compares birding and baseball. I look forward to more of your informative blogs.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.