Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to Be a Better Birder...

 Not an American Bittern.

A few weeks ago an American Bittern was spotted in the Rocky River Reservation. He appeared daily within 30 yards of a all purpose trail, busy parkway and golf course. Five days in a row. Until I showed up. Jerk bird. All I got were foot prints in the mud. Jerk bird. Jerk Dave, bad birder!

 To date this blog has been a lesson in "How NOT to Be a Better Birder." The following are a number of fine examples of my skills as a "birder" and, a "photographer." 

Some of the rules that you should not follow are: When you hear of a rarity, get there as late as possible, days late- even better. Focus on a tree, not the bird. Learn their habitats  and habits, then ignore that information. Photograph as many sticks and branches as possible. Wait for the bird to move before clicking the shutter. I could go on for years...hmmm..actually I have! Sorry about that.

 A Canada Goose on it's natural nesting habitat.
I think he's related to the goose of the last post.

Not a bird.

Not a proper example of a Song Sparrow.
He's sitting still.
Much better example.

 Make sure the Wood Duck is so far away you have to crop it so much, 
you can barely make out how silly it's feet are.

Not a bittern.

 Turtles sometimes resemble ducks to amateur birders.
 Bobb, Bobbette and Doodlette think I need to read this book...
about a dozen more times.

Good buddy Jessica from  Princeton University Press sent the latest book from Derek Lovitch to me. Apparently she thinks I need help also. Birding help that is. "How to Be a Better Birder" offers many tips and ways to become much better than me in an easy to read book.

He covers birding at night (I may stop walking into trees after this!), habitat, weather, vagrants (not the guys under the bridge) and more. Derek also speaks on the topic of birding with purpose and getting involved with local and world citizen science projects. I didn't notice a chapter on identifying birds by their butts. Maybe one day we'll see this little known subject in print. 

Joking aside this really is a great book for everyone that struggles a little and wants to improve their birding skills.

(subtle plug...)