Best Birdwatching Scene in a Movie – ever!

8 10 2010


The Great Escape


In fact maybe the only Birdwatching scene in a movie? The boys of Stalag Luft III bone up on Masked Shrike identification! From The Great Escape – 4:05 in (here)

Nocturnal Migrants

22 09 2010

As part of a talk on nocturnal migration at Audubon Greenwich which I did with Benjamin Van Doren, I recorded a few handheld digiscoped moonwatching videos. A couple of the better ones (relatively speaking) are now up on youtube. Not great but kind of fun. I think there are 5 or 6 birds in the first video – try and spot them all. Most of the cool links stuff that we mentioned in the talk are now on Ben’s Blog (click here). Some of his sound recordings of nocturnal migrants from Audubon Greenwich will be up in a day or two.

Snow Goose…in May?

16 05 2010

Nothing says mid-May birding less to me than a Snow Goose, but that’s what we got on our weekend Sunrise Birding extravaganza to New York State. One of many highlights – some a little more expected including: 25 species of Warbler including 2x Mourning, Bay-breasted, Tennessee, killer Blackburnian views, more Hoodeds than you could shake a stick at, Golden-wingeds and ‘Brewsters’ as well as 2x American Bittern, Virginia Rail, 3x Upland Sandpiper, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Orchard Orioles aplenty, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 6 White-crowned Sparrow all on the same square yard of road, Lincoln’s Sparrow etc – oh and obviously Snow Goose. Trip report and species list to come.

‘Booming’ Bittern!

16 05 2010

Just one of the highlights from a wonderful weekends birding in NY State with Sunrise Birding. Is there anything more magical than a calling American Bittern at dusk? One of two seen exceptionally well on the trip. A little shaky hand held to the scope – still could be worse. More to follow from the trip soon!

More Bird Comedy

10 04 2010

From the “That Mitchell and Webb Sound”.

Birds Attack

8 04 2010

It seems that unexpectedly, like many backyard birds, Pelicans seem to go for nuts too! Click here for video.

Bird Comedy!

11 03 2010

There’s never much around in the world of comedy relating to birds, so it’s always nice to dig something out bird related that makes me chuckle. For those that don’t know the League of Gentlemen it’s a British comedy show that has one character that is a rather luckless vet – Mr Chinnery. The sketch is also a nod to a great British movie called Kes about a young working class boy and his pet Eurasian Kestrel. The movie is absolutely fantastic equal parts charming, moving and hilariously funny with many classic scenes that will ring true – especially for anyone who has ever suffered an oafish gym teacher.

When birds attack!!!

22 07 2009

My dad sent me this story from England about Buzzards attacking joggers. Good to see the guy who was hit seemed to take it all in his stride as opposed to the usual levels of hysteria one encounters when these kind of things happen. Anyway it made me remember my own close encounter with a rather upset Northern Goshawk pair.

I was taking a hike through the property around the Saugatuck reservoir when I heard the screeching calls of a Goshawk (listen here) as it bombed through the dense Hemlocks, making something of a beeline towards my head. I admit I was momentarily drawn between admiring this stunning bird as it gracefully weaved through the trees and throwing myself head first in the dirt. As it closed upon me I quickly ducked and it passed just a couple of feet above my head. Terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

I moved on down the path realizing that I had probably stumbled upon a nest site and needed to withdraw to a distance that the bird no longer perceived me to be a threat. Of course the way I was heading was taking me back into the path that the bird had taken, giving him another chance to have a pass at my head. Ducking away at the last second as it came in again, I felt somewhat like a matador must feel as I skipped away from further attack.

By this time I noticed that the second adult had arrived and they began to work like a wrestling tag team, one sitting up watching my movements as the second bird came in for a bash. It was all over in a couple of minutes but felt much longer as I retreated carefully but fairly sharpishly from their domain. A pretty exciting experience and quite an adrenalin rush, although a couple of their passes were a little too close to my head for comfort. Who says birding isn’t an extreme sport!

Thought I’d also stick up this clip of ‘The Birds’ trailer. Pretty fun. I like old Alfreds little sarcastic digs at our relationship with our feathered friends.

Eagles in Homer – The Daily Show

13 07 2009

Some cool footage and the piece made me laugh: helms—the-eagle-has-loitered I’d love to be able to get some shots with eagles like I did with my chickadees. It does make me wonder however why people who are interested in birds and birding always seem to be completely bonkers on TV – it certainly isn’t my experience within the birding community. Not that the mayor comes across particularly well – no comment on the standard of politicians from Alaska!!!! Shame they are stopping the feeding of the birds I would think it would make for a good tourist attraction.

Hummingbird Tags and more

7 06 2009

A really cool article here about attaching electronic tags to hummingbirds for the first time in order to try and figure out some of the issues behind what is being considered a global pollination crisis. It seems that forest fragmentation is causing much of the problems from initial research. As birders we are already aware of how fragmentation of habitat affects the breeding success of our woodland birds. It also seems to be an issue for the plant life in the tropics that rely on these little gems for pollination. More from the article here.

If you just want to find out more about Hummingbirds or get involved in some hummingbird projects check out these cool sites. NE Hummers has loads of ways to get involved in recording data about your own New England Hummingbird experiences. They are currently looking for birders to carry out yard counts on July 25-31 (more here) and you can report or just reminisce about out of season rarities (such as last years first Connecticut record of Broad-billed Hummingbird) as well. The Hummingbird Society has loads of info on attracting hummingbirds, video links, galleries and other great stuff including details about endangered hummingbirds around the world check out their website here. You might also want to check out Operation Rubythroat a project aimed at getting students involved in an international project to study the only hummingbird that regularly calls the local vicinity home (more here).