Blog Birding #340

Jessica Gorzo, at her eponymous blog, collects a comprehensive list of onomatopoetic bird names, including a few you might not have suspected.

Birds names given by the earliest cultures that encountered them were often imitations of their songs/calls. What may be surprising is how many of those names have stood the test of time! For instance, Native cultures of Central America named the “chachalaca” for its calls. Unsurprisingly though, many of our North American English common names come from European cultures who had encountered the bird (or something like it) in Europe and named it there.

MIssed the American Birding Expo? Get the skinny from Meredith Mann at 10,000 Birds.

When field trips wrapped up, it was time to head back to the Expo Center. Aisles of exhibitors tempted visitors with birding trips to such far-flung locations as Colombia, Kenya, and Sri Lanka, and grown men and women got all kid-in-a-candy-store at the optics booths. There were also birding books, birding gear, bird feeders, bird paraphernalia (if I buy one more cute owl-decorated felt coin purse …), and bird art. And conservation organizations spread their gospel, including Jeff Gordon from the American Birding Association (at left).

At Feathered Photography, Ron Dudley shares a sequence of Golden Eagle photos that illustrate the importance of great light.

After such a good morning up north two days ago with kinglets and warblers I decided to make it two days in a row and do it again yesterday. That trip means a 90 minute drive in the dark for me in order to get there by sunrise but I figured it would be worth it. After all, the forecast for the morning was for “clear and sunny skies” (you know, with that big round bright thing traveling across the sky with no significant clouds and providing plenty of unobstructed light…) with no wind and all those birds would likely still be there so how could I miss? As usual we even checked the radar/satellite loops just before we left to make sure there were no nasty cloud surprises ahead of us. All was clear.

The 9-11 memorial in New York City is not only a reminder of a tragic event, but an opportunity to study the effect of light on bird migration, as explained at All About Birds.

“We found that migrating birds gather in large numbers because they’re attracted to the light,” says Benjamin Van Doren of Oxford University, a lead author of the study. “They slow down, start circling, and call more frequently. They end up burning energy without making any progress and risk colliding with nearby buildings or being caught by predators.”

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