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ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Deadly Chlorine posted:

Birds are awesome.

I just got into college (life sciences, environmental science) and I'm hoping there will be an upper level class focusing on birds just like how there's one for marine biology.
First, hurray a birding thread! OK, second, there will certainly be at least one, probably upper-year course that emphasizes birds. In my case, while there were no ornithology classes named, one of the 3rd-year Vertebrate Zoology courses was basically "Birds". There were two Vert. Zool. courses that I took in the same semester (fall, September-December) at the University of Victoria, and while one was the infamous dissect-a-cat* class, the other was a survey of the tetrapods found in British Columbia. We spent about a week on the herps to start, about two weeks on the mammals at the end, and nearly all of the semester was birds birds birds. I seem to remember there being 470 or so species of birds recorded from the province, compared to fewer than 50 species of mammals, even counting all the little rodents and the way-offshore whale sightings from 50 years ago.

* Aside: while I have forgotten almost all of the names of muscles and bones that I memorized for the tests in that class, I do remember there is only one way to skin a cat: get a firm grip and pull hard. Spoilered to avoid traumatizing sensitive cat-lovers.

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ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

My binoculars are Bushnells, a brand that I think is well-regarded; in any case, I'm happy with them. 8x42 (that's decent magnification and big enough at the light-gathering end they're fairly bright) and waterproof / very rugged (I've dropped them into all sorts of wet and rocky places, no damage yet!). They cost me $100 about 5 years ago.

Early in this thread there was a recommendation to spend $200-$300 on binos. In my knee-jerk reaction opinion, that's too much. Find a waterproof pair for $100-$150. I don't know why they even make non-waterproof binoculars, what's the point in having them if you can't take them outside except on perfect, sunny days?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Last week I had a chance to tag along with some owl banding, which was way less work and way more sitting in a farmer's kitchen listening to stories than I expected.

Owl Banding and Record-Keeping by Execudork, on Flickr

One thing of note, when we (my GF and I) talked about finding a dead (probably) owl beside a highway a few weeks ago, Martin (guy in the picture) told us we were fired when we admitted it didn't occur to us to check for a band. Normally it's on the left leg, but sometimes a band is on the right leg for whatever reason.

Protip: don't get fired, check both legs for bands if you find a dead bird!

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Snow Buntings look like sparrows re-painted black & white in breeding colours, with a little brown during the winter season. I'm willing to bet you were indeed looking at Snow Buntings.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Possibly Swainson's Hawk. They're the same size and shape as a Red-Tailed (same genus), and their ranges heavily overlap - they compete for nest sites and prey in some places. Younger birds seem to often have that white-with-brown chest. If you see it strutting around nailing grasshoppers with its feet, Swainson's for sure.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I've been thinking of upgrading from my National Geographic Birds of North America Third Edition, that looks pretty nice. Ideally I'd like something with a more rigid cover, my book has been getting beat up lately - I tend to toss it into the back of the car and sooner or later my 500mm rolls onto it or my tripod or a water bottle or...

Edit instead of doublepost:

GANNETCAM!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnzBXKYre0g

ExecuDork fucked around with this message at 16:28 on Nov 21, 2013

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I was in and around Tampa at the beginning of this month. I hadn't done any research, and my vacation there involved a rented car (hilariously, a V-6 Camaro convertible - which was actually cool for seeing birds while driving with the top down), a friend, and hapazardly-chosen state parks.

Florida's state parks are excellent. Besides a day in Big Cypress National Preserve (40 minutes east of Naples), we hit up Charlotte Harbor, Highlands Hammock, Paynes Creek, and Hillsborough River. We tried to get to Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek but missed a turn somewhere, so no Scrub Jays, sadly.
We would have visited Fakahatchee Strand if we hadn't been eager to get back to Ft. Myers before sunset to hit the beach near our hotel, as we zipped by on Tamiami (Hwy 41) it *looked* good.

Just off the top of my head, we saw many Limpkins, Herons of every description (Florida has so many different species!), Anhingas, Cormorants, several hawks I haven't had a chance to try to ID yet, lots of Belted Kingfishers, Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures, and little birdies I will probably utterly fail at IDing when I get around to trying, but they weren't the ubiquitous House Sparrow (OK, yes, we did see some of those, too). And one Wood Stork getting chased through a Waffle House parking lot by a little girl (along with many gulls, of course).

Florida is fantastic for birding. And there's plenty of other wildlife, too, like zillions of cool little lizards, turtles, and of course alligators.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Does anyone have any strong opinions one way or the other regarding bird feeding?

I got a nice birdfeeder for christmas, identical to the one in my mother's back yard in Calgary that is currently a home for a flock of about 30 House Sparrows. She also sees a few Chickadees and the occassional Blue Jay or Mockingbird, plus the black squirrels that run around all year. In summer she gets a much wider variety, of course, and it's placed in a good spot in her backyard such that it's visible from the kitchen or from the dining room.

Anyway, I put mine on my balcony with a big shepherd's hook on the railing and I'm hoping to attract at least a few Chickadees. Is there some ethical issue here I'm unaware of? Am I likely to get an angry rant from somebody?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I have a one-bedroom apartment with a long, narrow balcony on the second floor. I haven't seen any cats nearby, and my building doesn't allow pets. The feeder is over the balcony itself, so only a little of the inevitably-spilled seed is likely to end up on the ground. The glass strikes thing is a good point, I'll make some cardboard cutouts for my sliding glass doors, though the feeder is only about 1m from the window so any bird taking off from it straight into the glass would probably not get injured (I'm guessing) and it seems unlikely that any bird would come straight in really fast, miss the feeder, and smack the glass. Still, a little visual reminder to the birds that glass is a thing seems like a good idea.

I'm hoping to attract native birds primarily, but if I end up supporting a few House Sparrows or Starlings I won't be too unhappy. It's an urban area, and there's a community garden in a park about a block away that probably ends up feeding tons of birds in the summer.

I long ago made peace with myself regarding environmental footprint and carbon issues - I'm finishing up my PhD on greenhouse gas dynamics in Arctic soils, which has already included several thousand tonnes of emissions via flights.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

InternetJunky posted:

Comparing with other Gadwall shots online I can clearly see that's what I shot as well. Thanks! I wish my guide had better reference pictures for ducks. The actual male Gadwall looks very different than the picture in my guide.

Which guide are you using?

In other news, the birdfeeder I put up two weeks ago has yet to attract a single bird. Do the little passerines that hang around all winter (I'm in the cold part of "cold-temperate" - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) mostly just hunker down in small areas, and not explore much during the winter?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Farmers can be weird. Most of them are cool, but I've run into an rear end in a top hat like that. I wasn't birding,I was navigating in a TSD rally, but he laid into us with a similar (bullshit) story about private land while we were frantically trying to refill the leaking radiator on our Saab.

Could have been worse - that same day, one of the rally organisers had a different farmer show her his gun. Not *quite* point it at her, just lift it off the seat of his truck and sort of talk about it in a kind of abstract way ("I own a rifle! This one! See?"). Fun times in the rural prairies!

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I'll be travelling in Austria for a little bit in May this year, and I plan to visit as many of their 6 national parks as I can (schedule hasn't been worked out yet, so I might or might not have time to hit them all). Anyway, I'm hoping for a recommendation for a good European Bird Guide.

I found Birds of Europe, 2nd Edition on Amazon, and not much else. Reviews are very positive, but I was hoping for an opinion from the Goon Hivemind.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Thanks, everyone! Collins/Svensson et al. is on its way!

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

As we seem to be discussing terminology anyway, I feel a duty to inform that the term "owling" has another, much stupider definition.

People who, for reasons ranging from idiocy to a lack of core body strength, have decided they like the idea of planking but don't want to lie flat on top of random objects, have come up with the easier-on-the-back-but-harder-on-the-knees activity they call "owling". This is crouching somewhere and getting your photo taken by your cretinous friends.

Hopefully this faddish use of the word will fade.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Hybrid! Every spergy bird-watcher's favourite answer!

Seriously, though, get in touch with Internet Junky - he posted a few photos of each of those falcon species in the Dorkroom making GBS threads thread recently.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

BeastOfExmoor posted:

And the European "Blackbird" is a Thrush as well.

See also:
http://albertonykus.deviantart.com/...ature-427440361

Yup, Turdus merula, and most of their calls are so similar to what I'm used to hearing from North American robins (T. migratorius) that for the first couple of days here in Vienna my girlfriend refused to believe me that N. Am. robins are spectacularly rare here. It's fantastic fun to be running into so many birds that I've never really seen before (blackbirds and mallards excepted), even the boring urban birds (doves, crows) are new and interesting.

I think it was in this thread, months ago, that I was asking about a good bird book for Europe, and Birds of Europe, 2nd Edition was suggested. Perfect. This book is excellent. Thanks again to everyone who recommended it.

There are birds named "robin" all over the world. I think it's because home-sick European (English) colonists would give that name to the first bird they saw in their new colony with a red breast, regardless of phylogenetic association. The "robins" of Australia (Flame, Scarlet, Pink, Dusky, off the top of my head and in Tasmania) are little birds with (mostly) red breasts, and that seems to be enough for the name to stick. I think the name "wren" was similarly applied to any small bird that perched with its narrow tailed cocked upwards, though in that case I suspect the New World wrens are actually fairly close to the European wrens - but not the fairy wrens of Australia.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I love how sparrows seem to just go crazy when they sing. CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP! all goddam day long. Why don't we ever hear sparrows with laryngitis? It seems like they must suffer from such afflictions, given the level of effort they put into shouting "HEY!" over and over.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I saw my first definite Yellow Warbler today (my first I'm-sure-that's-a-warbler-and-I'm-sure-about-the-species), and it was showing some really interesting behaviour - bouncing around from branch to branch in a Siberian Elm, but pausing to splay out his tail and hold his wings partly out so he looked wide. Lots of noise, movement, and apparently trying to look big.

We saw a chipmunk in the same tree, eating seeds and generally ignoring the warbler - was this warbler trying to drive away the chipmunk? I know squirrels are predators of songbird nests, do chipmunks go for eggs, too?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Walking down the hall to the water fountains I noticed a couple of black-billed magpies (Pica pica hudsonica if you're a lumper, or Pica hudsonica if you're a splitter) in the middle of the road outside, picking at what looked like small roadkill. I grabbed my camera and headed out to try to grab a photo. By the time I got out there (30 seconds?) a crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) had shown up and the magpies were hiding out under a nearby small spruce tree.

I thought this was really interesting behaviour because for the last few weeks I've been watching solitary crows lose fights against pairs or triplets of magpies. A crow is a little bigger than a magpie, but the magpies are very aggressive - a few weeks ago I saw a magpie fly across the large grass lawn in the middle of campus (maybe 100 metres wide) at a height of about 1 metre, straight and fast, right at a crow that was, to my eye, just sitting there. I've seen lots of similar behaviour from the magpies, basically they act like they all have a wild burning hatred of all crows and attack on sight. Then this pair of magpies abandoned a squashed gopher (almost certainly Richardson's Ground Squirrel, Urocitellus richardsonii) when one crow simply showed up.

The crow never closed its mouth except when swallowing chunky-stringy bits (mmmm... roadkill...), which I took for a kind of aggressive "Don't gently caress with me!" posture. And the magpies only really called to each other, after the crow took off with most of the carcass.

Also people-watching - most of the cars took care to avoid the roadkill if there was a bird (crow or magpie) at it, though when the bird retreated to the side of the road, subsequent cars would run over it. I've heard a few people complain about crows and/or magpies, but the dozen or so drivers I saw all avoided the birds.

Anyway, this thread has been pretty quiet lately and I felt like talking about this little bit of bird behaviour. It's summer here in the Northern hemisphere and there are lots of birds around - what are people up to?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Over in the Bird Photography thread, there's been some discussion of interspecies aggression including Coots and Wood Ducks. I was going to post this there but there's no photo and this kind of discussion seems better suited to this thread.

It took a bit of digging, but I found the evidence that shows American Coots, Fulica americana are indeed utter bastards that attack other waterbirds all the drat time.

Dr. Brent Gurd completed his PhD at Simon Fraser University while I was in the middle of my Master's in the same department. He gave a talk one day about the patterns of aggression among waterbirds, related to their evolutionary relationships - he was chasing down an hypothesis about adaptive radiation among dabbling ducks. One of his observations was that the dabbling ducks form a hierarchy, with each species showing aggression mainly towards conspecifics, and to at most two other species. The top of the heirarchy (Northern Shovelers, if I remember correctly) never bother to beat on middle- or bottom-rung species like Teals or Widgeons. The stand-out exception was the American Coot, a right bastard that beats up every other bird on the pond.


This is panel B of figure 5-3 from his Dissertation (copyright Brent Gurd 2005, I don't actually have permission for this but I think it counts as fair use and appropriately referenced.) The relevant text from the figure caption is:

quote:

(B) Aggression involving Coots. Coots were more aggressive towards dabbling ducks (solid circles, solid line) than towards diving ducks (open circles, dashed line), but were rarely victims of aggression by ducks in either guild (solid triangles, dotted line).
The expected frequencies come from a null model that assumes aggression is random and determined simply by the frequency of each species in a given area. Coots are way more aggressive than that.

From memory (I haven't read his thesis), the underlying reason has to do with egg production and egg/hatchling survival and causes of mortality. Baby Coots die of starvation more often than do other waterbirds, and Coots lay up to 20 eggs each season, compared to around 6-10 for most ducks. So Coot parents go berserk to drive competitors for food (i.e. dabbling ducks) away to ensure their offspring can have enough food.

They're just like every other hyperactive unreasonable parent, in other words.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Moon Potato posted:

Does this vary depending on whether it's breeding season?

First, that's a great video. Please keep up the good work!
Second, as far as I know Dr. Gurd's fieldwork only happened during the breeding season, and all of the reasoning and discussion he put forward had to do with resource partitioning and reproductive effort - Coots are jerks because they have so many very very hungry mouths to feed in the summer. I'm not surprised they're pretty chill at Arcata at this time of year. Between the apparent richness of that environment (i.e. lots of things for ducks and coots to eat) and the absence of chicks, Dr. Gurd's theory predicts they'll tone the aggro way down.

Maybe Wood Ducks are just always dickheads?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

What kind of park / where did you see those Grosbeaks, neckbeard? I'm in Saskatoon and I realized today that I haven't gone out specifically to look for birds in ages. A species that I've never really had a good look at before is a perfect excuse to get out and freeze my rear end off.

My GF and I tried to see what was going on in the Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Refuge on our way back by scenic route from Regina yesterday. Surprsingly - to me - we saw a Great Blue Heron, a Northern Harrier, and a big Buteo that we *think* was a Harlan's Hawk (subspecies of Red-Tailed); I had thought all the migrators had migrated by now, but there are plenty of ducks and geese still around in addition to the occassional raptor. Then we got stuck in some muddy ruts on the "road" (dirt track) that we foolishly drove down. The tow-truck driver forgot to hang up and we could hear him loudly cursing us as idiots for going out looking for (deleted) birds without even a (deleted) four-by-four (deleted) (deleted) after I explained why were down that particular bit of not-road.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Where are you? Location is a big part of narrowing in on a bird ID.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

How big was it? Coopers is about the size of a crow, RTH is much bigger.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Kenshin posted:

I need a bit of advice here, though it might be just as appropriate for the birding photography thread.

I posted a reply in the PhotoBirds thread. Basically, I think your best idea is to talk to that prof, they might be happy to have you along as an assistant in exchange for a few photos they can use in their work - good photos of one's study organism are the difference between a decent presentation at a conference and a great one.

Keep in mind that field assistant pay ranges from low to "I provide the food and a place to sleep", kind of the academic equivalent to the much-derided concept of "exposure for your work" or "contacts and networking".

The Alaska option is not bad. There are certainly locals in Sitka who know where to go for good bird photos, they'll have taken people out before. This will be pretty expensive, like at least a few hundred bucks a day if you hire a guide for just yourself, but if you bring a friend (or two) you can split costs. Wildlife-watching tours (birds, whales, Sitka probably has bear tours, too - especially when the salmon are running) are easier on the wallet but you'll have fewer opportunities to get really close and you lose most of the control - the tour goes where the tour operators think are good places, and they are mostly not photographers. They'll accomodate reasonable requests, though, especially if you spell out what you're looking for ahead of time.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Slo-Tek posted:

Sup bird people. We're experimenting a bit and going to drop this thread in Pet Island for a bit. If it doesn't work out, let me know.

Does this mean we all need to add Melopsittacus undulatus to our life lists?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Pet cats are certainly a problem for local wildlife, especially small mammals and birds (and herptiles, I suppose). The main impact of pet cats on local ecosystems is probably that they're a source for feral cats, which are much more damaging. A well-fed, never-had-to-hunt, never-learned-to-hunt housecat is not going to kill nearly as many small birds as a feral cat that actually has skills and strong motivation.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib


Wow.

I love the look on its face in the second video, very "gently caress today. gently caress tomorrow. gently caress you. gently caress everything."

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

It's unlikey the owl was prey for the falcons, they were harrassing it. Sure, a falcon would eat a great horned if it got the chance, but most cases of a smaller bird attacking a larger bird in flight are mobbing or harrassing. It's get that fucker-away-from-my-home behaviour more than I'm-gonna-eat-you behaviour.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

I just replied to a PM question about birding in the Edmonton area - I'm not in Edmonton, I live in Saskatoon and at the moment I'm at my parents' house in Calgary. I haven't done much birding in Alberta, but the question got me thinking. Tomorrow my GF and I are going to the Mosquito Creek wilderness hostel a bit north of Lake Louise for a couple of days of snowshoeing. Does anybody know of any good birding spots or just general advice for wintertime birding in the Canadian Rockies? I know there are a bunch of Alberta goons in this thread.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

We went on a good little birding walk this afternoon with the local nature society. In addition to the expected winter birds around here (a fairly short list), we saw a bald eagle and two great horned owls. The first owl was sleeping in a tree adjacent to an open area, the second was hidden close to the trunk of a large spruce tree. We only discovered the second because of the large number of magpies that were being noisy and active in that tree; after about 10 minutes of this, the owl broke cover and took off too fast for me to get a picture. Still, a very good day.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

supermikhail posted:

I have had them for 3 or 4 days, without any visitors
When I first got a feeder - a little over a year ago - I had zero birds for a month. Then the local sparrows, chickadees, and nuthatches discovered it and they were regular, abundant visitors until I moved. At the new place, the feeder sat unvisited for about a week, now we have a flock of sparrows that hits it several times a day. There are a few chickadees and nuthatches around, but the sparrows dominate at the moment.

Your local birds will take some time to notice your feeder. Before they see it, they'll have to wander in close enough to recognize it as food. Having cover - bushes and trees - nearby is a good start, most little songbirds like to have something to hide in nearby. There isn't anything like that very close to my feeder, which I think is part of the reason why it took so long for the birds to find it the first time. The season also probably matters - I think birds in winter are less willing to explore for new food sources, they'll stick with the reliable sites they already know, but in summer they move around more. This might be pure conjecture on my part, and the fact that I live in a part of the world where overnight frost kills of songbirds is a major source of mortality for the little guys might make that true here but not true in "urban Europe". Where are you?

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

supermikhail posted:

I am technically in Russia. By that I mean the European-most part of Russia (discounting territorial disputes), on the border with Finland.

So, I guess I shouldn't panic, but I still don't know if I shouldn't hustle and update my setup which so far is kind of temporary and experimental... It may sound stupid, but would it be better if I somehow managed to fix a stick out of my window, attaching it to the bars, and then hung stuff on it, like a branch? I'm not sure though, if that's not going to make my place unnecessarily conspicuous to people.

I don't know if it will attract the birds any sooner, but they definitely perch on the metal rod my feeder is hanging from. I think giving them a stick - and putting the food a bit away from the wall / window - might make them happier and I doubt it's going to change how a random person walking by views things. I mean, it's going to be pretty obvious that you've got a bird feeder out, and people will react to that or not react to that in ways way beyond your control. I guess if your neighbours are utter asstards they might do something but it seems unlikely.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Slo-Tek posted:

Just saw a very small hawk on a tree in my front yard in Southern Illinois. I would venture to guess it was no bigger than a bluejay. Guessing it must have been a Kestrel, but the GIS images for kestrels seem to have them being a lot redder and more contrasty than what I saw, this guy was brown and white. Seasonal coloration? sex? not a kestrel?
Seconding merlin. They're the same size and shape as a kestrel, but without the red-white-and-blue of an American Kestrel. I saw a kestrel here in Saskatchewan a few weeks ago, it was still quite clearly red. Merlins can appear flat grey under the right light, though the brown / white combo is usually pretty clear (in my experience). You'll see a lot of pictures of them looking rather grey/blue on top, but brown is pretty common.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

There are pigeons on the roof of the next building over, which is structurally identical to mine and in the same complex. But the pigeons never come to my deck or my feeder, despite the mess the sparrows make. We have a cat, too, but she's utterly useless as a hunter and is afraid of the birds.

What seeds have you got out for the birds? Some birds seem to have a pretty specific search image and won't really notice a new source of something they don't normally eat. We've had peanuts-in-the-shell on the deck railing for weeks and the local bluejays and magpies - who are supposed to absolutely love such treats - haven't touched them.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

It's likely a merlin, but they're small, smaller than a magpie or a bluejay, a little bigger than a robin. If you heard it, a merlin makes very high-pitched, short repeated calls, kinda "EEEP EEP EEP EEP EEEEEP!" They fly with their wings held straight out from the body, flapping very rapidly but not moving through a long range of motion.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Years ago I lived in Vancouver, which is full of starlings. Walking up to the bus one morning I heard the call of a Red-Tailed Hawk, coming from the top of a nearby traffic light post. That starling had delusions of grandeur, I think.

That same walk included the occasional raven. They make all sorts of strange noises, I've heard what sounded like "BONG!", like a grandfather clock, as well as the sound of a child randomly smacking a xylophone.

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

A grouse (Spruce Grouse? I think so) and I surprised each other when I was hiking up a ridge in the foothills / Rocky Mountains transition area. After taking a few quick pictures, I turned it to video in time to capture his (her?) attempt to drive me away. That attempt was successful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-Tj5unsHp4

ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Good luck! It's always a treat to see an owl in the wild, no matter how many you've seen.

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ExecuDork
Feb 25, 2007

We might be fucked, sir.

Fallen Rib

Does anyone have any experience looking for southward-bound migrants in southern or southwestern Ontario in autumn?

I am nearing the end of my field work season, and by early-October I will be in Kitchener-Waterloo, not too far from the north shores of both lakes Erie and Ontario. Google maps shows me a number of provincial parks and wildlife refuges along those shores, would Canadian thanksgiving (mid-October) be a good time to look for birds pausing before hopping over the water?

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