Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring Observations in Bleak Winter

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I am working from the farm for the next 10 days or so, trying to get some writing done on the next book project. It's a bleak, raw day here—every single thing seems to be some shade of gray, drab olive, or brown. The utterly bare branches of the deciduous trees, devoid of swelling buds, beseech the sky to let the sun come out to play. Even the normally cheery carmine red of the northern cardinals seems subdued. 'Round these parts we call this book-writin' weather. May as well, it's too muddy and bone-chilling to be outside.

Tufted titmouse, peanut pig.

There are a couple of subtle signs of spring among the feathers. And for this I am truly thankful.

  • The male American goldfinches are showing just a few small spots of bright yellow spring finery.
  • Stick your head outside and you'll hear spring singing already! Cardinal, white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, American robin, Carolina wren, and song sparrow are all in spring tune-up mode.
  • The red-tailed hawks at the end of our driveway are perching a bit closer together each day. One day soon they'll be close enough to touch each other, and we all know what happens next boomchickywahwahchickywahwah.
  • And finally, now, when I see a Carolina wren, I nearly always see TWO Carolina wrens. A small wisp of moss on the bird feeder tells me they are already nest building in the copper bucket under the front door eave.
The Carolina wrens are nest building, though not on our weather vane.

I admire our birds for how they carry on living despite the fact that the weather is bleak and cold. I'd admire them even more if one of them would get in here and help me finish this book chapter.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New TBL Podcast Episode: Snowy Owl Invasion!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Episode 35 of my podcast This Birding Life is now available (free as always) over at Podcast Central on the Bird Watcher's Digest website as well as in the iTunes Podcasts channel.

This episode is kind of an audio travelogue, tracking my birding posse as we mount up and drive north in Ohio looking for a snowy owl, with a short audio side trip to talk to owl expert Denver Holt from the Owl Research Institute in Montana.
Denver Holt of the owl Research Institute with a nestling snowy owl.

Readers of Bill of the Birds already know how our snowy owl adventure turned out from two posts from last month, which can be found here and here.

I wish it didn't take me so long to create each episode of This Birding Life but I get kind of carried away with the story/topic and I really want them to be engaging for anyone on the listening end, thus the long gestation period.

I hope you got to see (or will get to see) a snowy owl this winter. And I hope you'll enjoy this episode of my podcast.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The App of My Eye!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not sure if you've heard this, but there's now a Bird Watcher's Digest app available for mobile devices, digital readers, and digi-things with an "i" and a "pad" in their name.

The BWD app is free to download and this gets you a preview of the content in the current issue. If you are a subscriber to the printed edition of BWD (and bless you if you are!) you can get free access to every issue during your subscription on whichever digital platform you prefer, simply by providing your e-mail address.

When I say "whichever digital platform you prefer" I mean that you have choices.

You can:
1.) Read eBWD on your desktop computer or laptop

2.) Read BWD via the BWD app on your Apple-based mobile device: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

3.) Read BWD via the BWD app on your Android-based mobile device.

Links to the two platforms of the BWD app are here.

If you're not a subscriber to Bird Watcher's Digest (and why the heck AREN'T you?) you can subscribe here, or you can purchase an in-app subscription, which gives you app-only access for just $4.99/year. A single issue of BWD via in-app purchase is just $0.99.

So now you can take Bird Watcher's Digest with you wherever you go!

And in the digital versions you can enjoy cool stuff like:
• listening to bird calls/songs/sounds
• enjoy audio recordings of authors reading their columns
• watch video clips of key bird species featured in each issue
• click on any link or blue-highlighted text and go directly to related pages/sites on the Internet

It's amazing to think back to when we started BWD in our living room in 1978—and to see how much has changed in the 33 years since. Lucky for all of us there are still birds to watch and friends to go birding with. And now BWD can go along with you, in printed or digital form!

If you get the BWD app, this is the icon you will see on your device:
If you're feeling seriously high-tech, and your smart phone has a QR code reader, scan this QR code and you'll be magically transported to our BWD app page!
We've had thousands of readers from all over the world download the BWD app just since late November 2011. We hope you'll join us soon!
Happy reading from all of us at Bird Watcher's Digest!