Monday, August 20, 2012

Warbler Guy: Now that "fall" southbound migration has begun, where's a GREAT web site to check rare bird sightings in the area where I live? Where I plan to bird soon on my upcoming birding vacation?

Stacey, great question, and here's a new web site where you can read rare bird reports corresponding to any USA state (to which you might travel for birding and wish to know which "cool" bird species
are potential "hot" draws for you and other birders to sleuth out:

Jeff Gordon, the American Birding Association's (ABA) Executive Director, noted the importance of this new web site in the following linked article that goes to the ABA's web site where an ongoing update of rare bird sightings is present at:

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Birding Guide Since The 1980s

Certified Wildlife Biologist Asc.

Avian Biologist


Community College Birding Instructor

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Warbler Guy, where can I see autumn warbler migration on radar? Judging & planning potential good fall warbler watching days is possible by looking at online radar web sites?

Yes, Charlene (in Dubuque, IA), there's a superb composite radar site I recommend for birders:

Here, the current article posts relate to last spring's migration patterns, BUT on the
right side of the home page, look for the department heading "BIRDAR Network."

This listing of radar sites will help you get current information related to this summer and fall's migration dyanamics. So, for example, if you're wondering whether tomorrow is a likely heavy migration of incoming warblers through the Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy (a superb Middleton, WI (Madison suburb) warbler "magnet trap" nature preserve/park with miles of hiking and biking trails within 15 minutes of the University of Wisconsin campus), then look at one or more of the sites posted under the "BIRDAR Network" area at the site. 

Wisconsin birders, alone, will be treated to their own Wisconsin-centric radar view of the southern portion of the Badger state (see graphic here, BELOW). Interpreting the color code meanings is another story for a different article here (or maybe one of my WarblerWatch followers wishes to pose a question to the infamous Warbler Guy, whomever that may be (?) ).

Note the site hosts many oThere's a chapter more of information that I could explain about monitoring radar sites to assist your birding efforts, but I don't have time now.

Instead, it's time to leave the Great Indoors, escaping with my binos that are cocked and ready to again view a couple of nearby juvenile Cooper's Hawk that I wish to currently go enjoy at dawn. That's when their calling behavior peaks. And with a pitch that initially resulted in head scratching. But then I listened more carefully, grabbed my long-term memory of the base root of an adult Cooper's typical staccato pattern. Result: daily Cooper's Hawk viewing fun.....and a nice substitute while I wait for the southbound warbler march to begin (i.e., I'll be in WI 8/30 - 9/4/12 to enjoy that region's warbler migration.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Which bird field guides feature range maps that show non- and breeding territory for species?

Not many. Perhaps none, if you're considering only the most common ones among birders. 

So, if not none, then which one? 

Here's the only title that (I know) features range maps depicting non-breeding and breeding range areas for many orders of birds:

Neotropical Migratory Birds: Natural History, Distribution, and Population Change.  1995. Richard M. DeGraaf and John H. Rappole. Comstock Publishing.

Why do I cherish the above title? Because, for example, if you wish to know the destination of "our" nesting wood-warbler family members that perform neotropical migration (i.e., obligate
long-distance migration), then this resource helps. 

I can look at p. 431 to see where in S. America BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER migrate to after the breeding season.

Other best-selling bird field guides typically merely feature a map that denotes no more than Mexico and northward within N. America (i.e., Central America and S. America are absent).

Ergo, true obligate, long-distance migrants such as the
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER are not accounted for year-round in most field guides' maps.