Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Ramblings!

It is hard to believe that we are now in December and fast approaching 2009!  I was able to get out and bird several times throughout November but hadn't had much time to actually sit down and reflect on my experiences or my progress.

I was fortunate to add several birds to my life list since my last post - Blue-headed Vireo, Lesser Scaup, Dunlin, Winter Wren, and Ruddy Duck.  These five birds have brought my World List to 235, and my State List to 149!

I was able to go out on Thanksgiving for a few hours to bird Southwestway Park.  There was alot of birds but only a few species.  Tons of Song Sparrows one of which I was able to get a fairly good picture.  I was also happy to see a small flock of Sandhill Cranes fly overhead.  By the time I got my camera out they were past me but I was still able to get a picture between the branches.

The winter list of guests at my feeders is finally starting to grow.  It is always nice to see the Dark-eyed Juncos arrive for the winter.  Northern Cardinals are making morning and evening visits.  American Goldfinches are devouring the thistle.  Mourning Doves are cleaning up the seed on the ground.  Blue Jays are inconsistent but do dine on occasion mostly on the whole peanuts I have been offering.   And of course, the House Sparrows - what can I say - they are persistant creatures!  I have finally found a way to keep them away from the platform feeders.  I now feed ONLY striped Sunflower Seed near the house.  For the most part, the seed is to large for them.  They do eat some but nothing like the the oil type seed.  

Anyway, that wraps up November.  I am hoping for a GRRREEAAT December - my goal for December is to add 21 species!  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aviphilia - A Birding Condition!

I just finished reading an article today in the November/ December 08 issue of “Birding” that finally gave a name to my growing condition and my inability to stop watching birds – Aviphilia!  Yes, it is crystal clear, I am an Aviphile. 

In his article, Randy  Horvarth had the epiphany of this condition as he is trying to bridge the difference between “Birders” and “Birdwatchers”, two terms that are yet to be conclusively defined and are defined differently by many throughout the birding community.  Most agree that “Birdwatchers” are those that enjoy birds mostly from an aesthetic point of view.  “Birders” are those that have taken the love of finding birds to greater lengths. 

Birders are willing to travel to find specific species of birds and are typically willing to spend absurd amounts of money in doing so.  In my case, a birding trip will always come before new furniture or an LCD TV.  Birders typically are more involved with listing birds and are more actively focused on protecting and learning about the birds that they seek.  Birding becomes not only a hobby but a sport that typically evolves into an obsession.  The game of listing never ends because once you have documented a bird for the first time than you begin to document more specifics on the bird such as the first time you saw it in 2008, 2009, etc.

Nonetheless, whether you are a “Birder” or a “Birdwatcher” there is a condition that bridges these two together.  Aviphilia.  A deep love for birds!

More about the condition of Aviphila and the obsessive behavior of a Birder to come in future entries.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Gorgeous Day to Bird! Lifelist - 230!

Today was one of those days that words simply cannot describe!  To sum it up, it was GORGEOUS! The sun was shining bright, the air was warm and the birds were everywhere.
Around the park were flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Purple Finches, Northern Cardinals - one birder saw all of our common woodpeckers in one spot!  I gained two lifers today - Rusty Blackbird (those beautiful eyes), and Purple Finch!  On the water were 
Norther Shoveler's, Green-winged Teal, Bonaparte's Gulls, Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpiper, and a Cooper's Hawk attempting to 
dive bomb some shorebirds - which by the way was another lifer that I added on Halloween that I was able to witness taking a dive for any bird that was brave enough to land.  I was amazed that during a chase, a Cooper's Hawk will chase a bird in flight up, down, through trees, etc. and does not give up easily.

I took both pictures on the left today at Eagle Creek.  The first shot is Ring-billed Gulls diving for food and in the second a Cardinal that was just looking awesome in the fall leaves.  Throughout the park, the berries were a hit!

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal