Friday, October 20, 2017

Giant Things of Oaks, PA

Friday, October 20, 2017
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I just remembered I still have a blog, such as it is. 
And one of my most favorite-ist blog post categories ever is Giant Things. Go ahead. Search the Bill of the Birds archives and let the wonders fill your eyes. And your nightmares.

This beauty of a Giant Thing is in Oaks, Pennsylvania, standing outside an indoor amusement park and immediately adjacent to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, where we just held the third-annual American Birding Expo. My guess is Ol' Jughead used to be holding a wrench or some other sort of tool, advertising a car repair center. Now he's standing, empty handed, on the edge of a parking lot, next to his buddy, Life-size Giraffe.

Lifesize Giraffe and extraneous minutiae.


Ben and I spied the Giant Things and had to hold an impromptu photo session. We like to get selfies for use with our "Out There Wth the Birds" podcast. Check out episode 21 in which we walk the aisles of the 2017 Expo, talking to ourselves and others.
No, Ben is not head butting Jughead in the photo above.

Later in the weekend, the Expo staff from Bird Watcher's Digest, along with two of our super volunteers, Ann Hannon and Jessica Melfi, struck a pose with Juggers.

You can find these Giant Things for yourself, when you come to NEXT YEAR'S EXPO, September 21 to 23, 2018, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.

If you come, we can take a selfie!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spring Migration 2017, Part 2

Thursday, June 8, 2017
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Birders at Magee Marsh.

For those of us who are still scratching our heads about this year's spring bird migration, there seem to be more questions than answers and, of course, theories aplenty. Only yesterday (June 8) there was a female black-throated green warbler in our yard in southeast Ohio—a bird that should be in the northern forests brooding eggs or feeding nestlings by now.

The dedicated news team at our Out There With the Birds podcast sent Ben Lizdas, cub reporter, into the field to speak to two migration experts for a special episode focused on spring migration. Ben spoke with Greg Neise of the American Birding Association and Dr. David LaPuma, director of the  Cape May Bird Observatory.
Greg Neise of the American Birding Association.
Dr. David LaPuma of Cape May Birding Observatory.
















Both of these guys are avid birders with loads of spring migration experience—Greg primarily in the upper Midwest in Illinois and David in both Wisconsin and New Jersey. I found what they had to say quite informative and most interesting.

You can hear their take on spring migration 2017 by listening to Episode 13 of Out There With the Birds: Spring Migration Report.

Enjoy and happy (late) spring birding!
Your OTWTB podcast hosts Bill (left) and Ben (cub reporter).

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How Was Your Spring Migration?

Thursday, May 25, 2017
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Taking a respite from posting all my content, quips, and thoughts to the immediate-gratification machines of the social media channels, I thought I'd add a pithy question here on the dusty old Bill of the Birds blog.

Male cerulean warbler.

So...How was spring migration in your area?

I'm hearing that the spectacle of migration was quite unimpressive in many parts of the eastern half of the United States. I was at Magee Marsh in northwestern Ohio from May 10 to 14—which normally would be at or near the peak of spring songbird migration. My experience was one of "more people than birds," which is unusual for that spot at that season. Even at my farm in southeastern Ohio the migration seemed to be in dribs and drabs with no single day standing out as impressive or amazing.

All of this begs the question: Is this our new subdued migration reality? Have we reached (or passed) some sort of songbird-population tipping point where numbers of warblers, thrushes, tanager, orioles, vireos, etc, have crashed? In other words, are we experiencing "Silent Spring?"

Or, is this spring an anomaly, affected by weather, foliage development, insect hatches, etc?

I'd love to hear how the migration was in your region. Please use the comments section here, or comment on the inevitable Facebook and Twitter posts for this blog topic.

In an upcoming episode of our Out There With the Birds podcast, Ben Lizdas interviews several avid birders about the spring migration of 2017. Tune in to find out what they say.

Male prairie warbler.

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