October is one of my favorite months for birding. While, at least where I am, most Neotropical migrants have already passed through by the end of September, October brings some really great birds into the area. At the start of the month, sparrows are just starting to come through in large numbers and by the end, kinglets have arrived and you start to see a few juncos, a sure sign that winter is on the way. This October has also brought some great blog posts by young birders. A few of my favorites are highlighted below.
Sam, at The Birder’s Conundrum, a new birding blog which has gained quite a bit of popularity, gives a humorous look at nocturnal flight calls:
Nocturnal Flight Calls: the most accurate and conclusive method of identifying species of thrush, warbler, sparrow, rail, etc. during migration, or any time of year, for that matter. Through many years of intensive research, Dr. N. Seeper has formulated a multitude of theories associated with Nocturnal Flight Calls. Read his in-depth account here, a Birder’s Conundrum special guest!
Liam, at The Colorblind Birder, writes a lovely essay discussing the differences between “birders” and “birdwatchers,” something that most nonbirders often don’t understand:
According to a 2011 study, there are 46.7 million bird enthusiasts in the United States. Of these 46.7 million enthusiasts, 17.8 million are considered “birders.” Most people have no idea the term “birder” exists and furthermore, are unaware of how it differs from the more familiar word “birdwatcher.” To the bird enthusiasts, however, it is a way of differentiating two levels of bird lovers, and consequently the difference between the two terms is of great importance.
Chloe, at Chloe’s Birding Blog, gives a quick primer on how to properly identify fall warblers, a group of birds that is a source of constant frustration to birders:
With the changing of the seasons comes the departure and the arrival of many bird species. Most birders seem to think “warblers” as the winds shift to the North and the sky puts on its glorious, clear, blue uniform. You can take that group of warbler-thinking birders and further divide it into two smaller groups: those who are confident when it comes to identifying these small, quick passerines, and those who are intimidated by them. Hopefully this post will help those with a lack of confidence in warbler ID.
Nathan, at The Crow’s Roost, writes a short poem about the perils of window collisions, one of the leading direct causes of bird mortality in North America:
For the little flame
Of energy and life
That took the perilous journey
From Costa Rica to its breeding grounds,
Only to be extinguished
By a window pane.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Craig, at Midlands Birder has a fantastic month of birding on his local patch; seeing such birds as northern wheatear, lesser whitethroat, and common redstart:
All the ‘regular’ warbler species were present, with the only real disappointment being a real lack of Willow Warblers, but a few sulphur yellow juveniles added a massive dose of colour! Particularly impressive though was a sustained presence of Lesser Whitethroats, with 4 present for most of the month, and often showing very nicely! Certainly one of my favourite warblers, and they never fail to give me a thrill as one flicks onto the edge of their favoured hedgerows!
Lastly, Liam, at the Next Generation Birders Official Blog, talks about his personal patch; this time in Oxfordshire, England:
Winter is one of the best times for birding on the meadow with huge flocks of wildfowl including regular counts of 500+ Wigeon, 800+ Teal, 100+ Shoveler, 50+ Pintail and the awesome spectacle of up to 1000 Golden Plover. Moreover the almost constant presence of people means that unlike at most sites the birds have lost their natural wariness and regularly show incredibly well with no hides necessary.