Saturday, June 24, 2017

Warbler Guy, which bird apps are the best to buy? There's a warbler app? Best bird app or best bird apps to buy?

Excellent idea, Joannie.

1. I suggest you purchase the fine wood-warbler-centric app that corresponds to The Warbler Guide:

It's found at the iTunes store or at the Google Plus store

Buying the book is also a good idea, if you wish a nice resource to complement the classic Warbler field guide in the Peterson Guide Series (Peterson Guide To Warblers, Jon Dunn & Kimball Garrett, 1997, Houghton Mifflin).

2. I also use:

iBird Pro

Sibley Birds

Both of these apps are EXCELLENT

I especially like the sonogram expression on the iBird Pro whereupon a song plays and I see the sonogram represented as the song progresses.

As for a GREAT Sibley Birds feature: the gull section is wonderful, given each age class phase (First Cycle through definitive plumage) is shown for each gull species.

So, for example, seeing the different age class phases/cycles of the Western Gull vs. the Glaucous-winged Gull is important because these two can hybridize and/or the 1st and 2nd cycle phases are sometimes challenging to distinguish in the field.

Sibley's app ALSO features different songs from various USA areas that are different song versions than those found in iBird Pro.....hence, both of these apps are complementary....and, as a result, I use each one often, especially on my bird tours that I regularly conduct for birders that hire me.

In other words, I like to let them listen to the songs of the bird species we are pursuing, especially if a birder is NOT familiar with the songs of the species we are seeking during a foray.

Regards and happy summer, Daniel (features my "Bird Tours" area & my resume) (# for this blog...which is now nine years old...)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Warbler Guy: What “strange” common names were previously designated for some of our wood-warblers?

(The above Black-Throated Blue female's vastly different appearance in comparison to a definitive male of the species is suggested to be the reason John James Audubon named it a different common name, the Pine Swamp Warbler.)

Common Yellowthroat was once often referred to as Maryland Yellowthroat. John James Audubon mistakenly named two Yellow Warblers as Children’s Warbler. In another instance, Audubon misnamed two juvenile Yellow Warblers as Rathbone’s Warbler.

Audubon was not alone in his naming confusion. Beyond Audubon, naturalist/painter Alexander Wilson also made his share of identification mistakes. Both of these luminaries – as well as other contemporary birding experts in bygone eras – are to be excused because during their tenures little was known about the relationship between plumage changes and corresponding definitive field characteristics.

Audubon’s failed nomenclature decisions periodically continued to surface as he gathered specimens for his paintings. Originally calling a bird specimen he collected in Pennsylvania the Pine Swamp Warbler, he later realized his subject was truly a Black-Throated Blue Warbler.

Later, Audubon was misled by Wilson’s naming procedure into thinking a Blackburnian Warbler was worthy of being designated a new species, the Hemlock Warbler. Audubon, in fact, was never able to correct this misnaming mistake. Another misplay hearkens to May 1812, when Audubon caught a wood-warbler specimen that he named Vigor’s Warbler in honor of Nicholas Vigor, an English naturalist. More correctly, Audubon’s find was an immature Pine Warbler. His confusion was probably the result of the collected individual being in vastly different habitat than its usual pine/needle tree haunts.

Even the Canada Warbler was originally misnamed by Audubon. When he first drew the bird as it perched on the fruiting branch of a magnolia, Audubon suggested it be named the Cypress Swamp Flycatcher. Later he changed his mind, renaming the bird as Bonaparte’s Flycatcher only to again change its designation to Bonaparte’s Flycatching Warbler.

Eventually, it was confirmed that Audubon’s specimen was instead a young female Canada Warbler. Eight years later, Audubon painted the same species and mistakenly called it a Canada Flycatcher.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Answer To Quiz: "Which wood-warbler females are known to sing?"

Good news, Quiz Takers...(far right side column): Most of you are female Yellow Warbler and American Redstart are known to occasionally sing, per my reading of the Warbler Field Guide (Jon Dunn & Kimball Garrett, Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

That's not to say other wood-warbler females are not periodic singers, especially because the aforementioned resource has NOT been updated since 1997.

Since that time, it's possible additional field studies have added one or more female wood-warbler species as documented singers....though, I have to admit, either I have not read an update in popular or scientific literature....or, equally possible, I have not accessed the best, strategic sources to learn
about newly-"discovered" female wood-warbler singers beyond the Yellow Warbler and American Redstart.

Perhaps one of my blog readers has insight to share, please?

Feel free to email me at

danieledelstein at att dot net

Best wishes to all my warbler fans....and feel free to see the May accounts related to birds
and wildlife at my web site's "Daniel's (Phenology) Nature Calendar" (via click
on "Birding Links," and access the nature calendar where terrestrial and sky events for each month of the year are highlighted for the northern CA/central CA region).

(In addition, my new, upcoming "Raptors of the SF Bay Area" is now "live" at given I teach as an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Biology Dept. at Merritt College in Oakland, CA. The class begins in Sept., 2017 and goes through mid-November and spotlights the ecology, life cycle, migration and field identification of raptors......(i.e., two slide show classes....and five all-day Saturday field trips.) (See BIOL 80A via for more information/registration and/or email me for a color flyer....especially because I'd appreciate any Sharing & Telling that you'd wish to do on my behalf, the class must attract 25 registrants for it to "go" and avoid cancellation.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Warbler Guy, what's one quick tip to improve my birding by ear for warblers? Birding by ear tips you suggest to learn bird songs and bird calls?

Here's a fast relief pill to take online for learning wood-warbler songs:

Go to the following web site that's associated with the excellent new book titled
The Warbler Guide (by Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson):

You may also wish to view:

and click on the "Companion Guide" button on the right side......Excellent information (!)

Otherwise, feel free to see my web site's home page and the "Birding Links" tab pulldown menu where a free handout titled "Top 10 Tips To Improving Your Birding By Ear" appears.

Happy spring and warbler hunting to all, Daniel


Monday, May 1, 2017

Warbler Guy, I heard International Migratory Bird Day is happening soon? Which date? Where in your area?

Tony, I think the best venue for our SF Bay area events related to this important day is the following:

International Migratory Bird Day is
Saturday, May 13....

Celebrate with us!!

Whether your favorite migrant is a tiny Rufous Hummingbird or a giant Sandhill Crane, we share your love!

Join us at the 2017 Birdathon Awards Celebration and raise a glass to all your favorite migrants.
(And heck, to our wonderful year-round resident birds too.)

Registration deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday, at midnight.

Saturday, May 13
3 to 6 p.m.
Oakland Hills

This is a wonderful afternoon for everyone, whether or not you went on a Birdathon trip. Meet rehabiliatrated raptors from Native Bird Connections; listen to live jazz by Berkeley High School musicians; view bird art; enjoy gourmet appetizers and boutique wines; mingle with old and new birding friends; cheer the winners of Birdathon 2017; and take home a special bird-themed gift! 

All in a stunning private garden with views across the Oakland Hills.
You have the option of supporting GGAS at a level of your choice, with ticket prices starting at $35. Ticket payments above $25 are considered a tax-deductible donation to Golden Gate Audubon Society.

  • Fledgling (under age 21) – $20
  • Great Horned Owl – $35  (you are GREAT for supporting Birdathon!)
  • Passionate Plover – $50
  • Outstanding Oystercatcher – $100
  • Marvelous Merganser – $250
  • Awesome Osprey – $500
All attendees will enjoy the same great food, wine, and entertainment at the Celebration. But the higher ticket categories provide the satisfaction of knowing you have flown the extra mile to support Bay Area birds and Golden Gate Audubon!

Questions? Email Ilana at

Golden Gate Audubon Society
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite G
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 843-2222

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Our Field Trip Photos (BIOL 80B, "Bird Song Ecology"), 4/22/17 (Thanks To Ken Twain, photos, below)

Note the names of bird species on the following photos include an overhead flight of

- Double-crested Cormorant (via Leona Canyon flyover) (status: year-round resident)

- a perching Wilson's Warbler (Leona Canyon nesting species; status: breeding season presence only; a few remain for Christmas Bird Counts (CBC), annually in Alameda Co.);

- a perched female Western Tanager at Parking Lot # on campus (breeding season presence only; a few remain for Christmas Bird Counts (CBC), annually in Alameda Co.)

- and a Band-tailed Pigeon (year round resident) (on Leona Canyon Trail)

- invasive amphibian species joined our party and crashed it? Yes, the intriguing frog at the bridge (where we brunched and lunched): an American Bullfrog (and NOT a CA Red-legged Frog)....with the bullfrog a non-native, INVASIVE species on the West Coast and throughout Alameda Co. in unwanted places....though in Manhattan restaurants it's absolutely wanted (and ordered!)

- Our group of 31 students showed a fine expression of attendance as here's a photo, below, of a portion of the group that appeared during the field trip (and, thus, notice their fine expressions of attention on the trail (!) :-).....)

- As for the lupine photo, I'm not sure of the common name/scientific name and don't have
my Jepson field guide near me now where I'm doing a bird survey and taking a break to ensure the FINE photos get uploaded promptly.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Update: Bird Songing (via Bernie Krause's insights &, yes, Daniel noted in article)

...via the following 4/20/17 Santa Rosa Press Democratic article by Stephen Nett (a fine journalist, by the way), feel free to see the following link, below....after the XX

I think warbler watchers who ID many of this family's species by song and call will be intrigued with the information in the I'm not wishing to bugle my cameo appearance in the article as much as inform you that Bird Song Ecology is a fascinating aspect of warbler fun (....and, this latter theme, of course, is the focus of this blog: warbler ID, warbler quizzes, and warbler information....)

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Birding Guide
Consulting Biologist (bird surveys, wildlife permitting, & wildlife regulatory services since 1998)