Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BWD Digital: NOT Scary!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Halloween season right now, which means there are scary things all over the place: Jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, headless horsepeople, robo-calls about the presidential election, Old Man Jenkins from Scooby Doo...

One thing that is NOT scary, however, are the really wonderful digital options available for enjoying Bird Watcher's Digest.  


BWD is the magazine that I edit (and which my parents started in our living room in 1978). We're a magazine for folks who love reading about birds and birding. If you download the BWD App or use your e-mail address to log-in to eBWD our fabulous digital edition, flesh-eating zombies will NOT immediately surround you. I give you my word on this.


If you like reading about birds on your computer, give eBWD a try. In addition to all the great articles and columns in every issue, you'll get bird videos, sounds, audio files of authors reading their articles, and links to birdy websites all over the Internet. Just a few issues after we launched eBWD, it won a digital magazine award for being awesome. You can poke around the current issue of eBWD by visiting this link: http://www.birdwatchersdigest-digital.com.

eBWD: The digital edition of Bird Watcher's Digest
 Here is a video that we made to help our readers get maximum enjoyment out of eBWD.


Or, if you prefer reading on your iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, or other digital tablet/reader, then the BWD App is a better option because it's designed to take advantage of the tablet format and interface.

You can download the BWD App here in Apple's iTunes. And if you're unsure about whether or not you'll enjoy the app, please browse the many positive comments it has received since it launched in January of 2012.

Here's the current issue of BWD as it appears on an iPad (our digest size is perfect for tablet reading!). Now if YOU get (or GIVE!) an iPad or some other whiz-bang digital gizmo for the holidays, wouldn't it just be wonderful to have some engaging, entertaining content inside it? We certainly think so.

Subscribers to the printed edition of BWD get access to the digital options for FREE! All we need is your e-mail address to verify your subscription.

If you're not a current subscriber to Bird Watcher's Digest it's just $19.99 for one year/six issues. Of course you can also subscribe to just eBWD (six issues is currently $9.99) or just via the BWD App (six issues is currently $4.99). But folks these low-low prices won't last forever...

It's a well-know fact, in these scary times, that one of the ONLY ways to keep flesh-eating zombies away from yourself and your loved ones is to subscribe to Bird Watcher's Digest.

Happy Halloween, happy holidays, happy birding, and happy reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New TBL Podcast Episode: Optics Advice

Monday, October 15, 2012

There's a new episode of my podcast This Birding Life available over at Podcast Central. This episode is part one of an interview with Ben Lizdas, sales manager at Eagle Optics. Ben has been in the optics game for a lot of years and he and the good folks at Eagle Optics have helped thousands of bird watchers and nature enthusiasts find their perfect optics match.

Buying a binocular can be a bit like trying to swim underwater through seaweed in the dark. There are thousands of different makes and models of binoculars, so how do you choose the right one? In our interview Ben and I discuss the important considerations for the binocular-buying consumer: power, weight, size, price, close focus, warranty, and others. He shares a lot of expertise and insight—valuable stuff if you're looking to purchase binoculars in the near future.

Ben Lizdas of Eagle Optics

This Birding Life is hosted by Bird Watcher's Digest and sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. You can listen to the MP3 version of the episode, or listen and watch the images that come along with the enhanced (M4a) version of the podcast. This and the 38 previous episodes of TBL are available at Podcast Central or via the Podcast section on iTunes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Worm-eating Warbler: Subtle Beauty

Monday, October 8, 2012
 I've always thought that the worm-eating warbler is our most subtly beautiful wood warbler. There's something earthy and attractive about those warm tans and browns set off by an olive back. And the pink legs and feet hardly seem out of place—perhaps they are just a way of accessorizing with a bit of bright color.

 It's the head stripes, though, that really strike me as lovely: black against ochre—simple yet so refined. Look in any color-chip book for a fancy-pants line of interior paint and you'll see the colors of the worm-eating warbler. Probably all on the same page, listed as suggestions by the taste masters for the would-be home decorator. I'd like to decorate a room in these tones. But it would have to be a room that had an aura of the deep woods, for that is where this creature lives.

 On our farm the worm-eating warblers spend spring and summer in the deep shady darkness of our two wooded valleys, rarely coming to the top of the ridge where our house is. No, if we hope to see them we must go to them. Finding them is not easy. They lead lives as subtle as their plumage.

If their colors do not impress with bright hues, the song of the male is even less attention-grabbing. It is a long, dry trill that could be passed off as a cicada or a tree cricket. More commonly it is passed off as one of the sound-alike members of the avian tribe for it is confusingly similar to the chipping sparrow, the pine warbler, and even the dark-eyed junco.

I saw what I suspect will be my last worm-eating warbler of the year two weeks ago, passing through the Aunt Lolly lilac along the north wall of our house. Fall is when the woodland birds come up to the ridge top to forage, and perhaps to squint at the sun that they've hidden from during the nesting months. We call it hill topping. They call it trying to live their lives—if they call it anything at all.

And speaking of words we use to describe things, the name worm-eating is quite a misnomer. The worm-eating warbler eats caterpillars, spiders, and other small arthropods. Perhaps an early ornithologist saw a worm-eating warbler eating a slug (which they do) and thought it was a worm, and yet another warbler was inaccurately named (see palm, magnolia, Cape May, Connecticut, Nashville, and Tennessee warblers).

No matter. The worm-eating warbler, to my eye, is our most subtly beautiful warbler in North America. I'll happily take retorts and rejoinders to this statement in the comments section.