Tag Archives: Nature

Birding as a world citizen: ten tips

My favorite way to bird is related to the slow food movement: stay local, stay focused, and stay appreciative. So how can I keep to my principles when I bird in places as far away as the Western Ghats in … Continue reading

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David Sibley brings feminism to birding, speaks on Audubon and Peterson,

He understood the paintings not as scenes from nature, but as compilations of different things the birds might do, in poses as startlingly natural for his time as David’s own females are for our time. … I know authors have to sign books, but I bet David Sibley would have liked to tell us to take the book and get outside, for that is what they are for, a key to nature, best outside. Sibley, Flader Hazlett.jpg Maril Hazlett, Susan Flader, David Sibley, taking questions after their talks. Continue reading

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Promiscuous white males and faithful tan males in white-throated sparrows

In the case of the white-throated sparrows, Formica and Tuttle report that 35 percent of the nests they sampled in 2000 had at least one chick that was the result of the female copulating with a male other than her mate. … Behavioral Ecology 14:425-432. doi: 10.1093/beheco/14.3.425 IMG_2317 The sparrows were in this thicket. White-throated_Sparrow-27527.jpg White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, white form, taken by Ken Thomas (public domain). 201101032125.jpg This one is the tan form. 201101032137.jpg 201101232214.jpg The figure above is from Tuttle 2003.

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Christmas bird count on the Katy Prairie – the measure of a day outside

IMG_2176 Dawn over Hebert Reservoir on the Katy Prairie. IMG_2179 We saw thousands of snow geese, and many Canada geese, and long-billed curlews. IMG_2189 Our group counted every bird we saw, writing down species, number, and location using our eyes, binoculars, and a spotting scope. IMG_2200 The reservoir was dry, so all the gar had died. IMG_2231 Bob Honig was our leader, and he wrote everything down and could identify all the birds. IMG_2288 Our group was a lot of fun! IMG_2186 Sometimes we just waited, looking hard, particularly after the wind picked up, sending the birds to cover. IMG_2264 Deciduous yaupon is not common in Houston, but it shines brilliantly on the Katy Prairie. IMG_2233 This is what Bob’s notes looked like, a page for each location. IMG_2249 The lichens were rich in the unpolluted Katy Prairie air. IMG_2268 Something was killing the turtles in the pond and something was dragging them onto the levee.

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Yellow-rumped warbler flock at our backyard pond

The tiny birds shivered up from our backyard pond when I got a little closer to the window, one seemingly taking the place of the other. Then they fled into the neighbor’s yard. They were smaller than the house sparrows … Continue reading

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