Those lovely little birds at my local patch, those dainty white geese, brought together folks who likely would not otherwise have been thus assembled. The question on everyone’s mind that sunny Saturday afternoon: What are those birds? What are they named?
About Ted FloydTed Floyd is the longtime Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives with the ABA. Ted has written 200+ magazine articles and 5 books, including How to Know the Birds (National Geographic, 2019). He is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and has served on several nonprofit boards. Join Ted at The ABA Blog for his semimonthly spot, “How to Know the Birds,” celebrating common birds and the uncommonly interesting things they do.
I don’t care who you are, or where you’re from, or whatever you believe in, but this I do know: Like me, you are incapable of being indifferent to the spectacle of cranes migrating ahead of an ice storm.
Something caught the corner of my eye, a shimmering amid the wooly clouds. Pelicans of course. I wheeled around for a full view...
eBird used to have a tagline, “It will change the way you bird,” that I wish they hadn’t discarded. Because eBird has drastically changed the way I bird. So much so, that I might venture: “It will kill the way you bird.”
When Bombycilla cedrorum was named the 2020 ABA Bird of the Year, there was delight and enchantment all across the ABA Area. Fists were pumped, shouts were proclaimed.
As of today, Tues., Sept. 8, 2020, I have submitted at least one complete eBird checklist per day every single day since Mon., Jan. 1, 2007, a run of 5,000 straight days. Why? How come? What has motivated me to do this?
We had a hankering to see Mississippi kites, the most summery of summer birds in Colorado. Kites like it hot: in the old towns along the Arkansas River well east of Pueblo, where cicadas drone from the tall shade trees.
I saw an American avocet, a presumed male by bill structure, thus less spectacular than the female. The bird was bleached and worn, but still: An avocet, any avocet, even a sun-blasted, straight-billed male, is the sort of bird that bids you stop.
I presented iNaturalist with my Hardscrabble Mountain gray flycatchers, and the app performed flawlessly. Not just the adults teed up in textbook fashion atop junipers; but also the fledglings, nearly featureless blobs of downy softness.
The second half of 2020 is going to be difficult, and I have no intention of downplaying or dismissing that reality. But I wonder if something quietly wondrous is beginning to happen: an awakening of community, of shared responsibility, of devotion to a cause greater than ourselves.