Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Birdin' With My Bro...(or payback is a finch!)

 Yep. I shoot burd buttz!
(This is one a my favorite Chestnut-sided Warbly things!)

So...I've worked with my brother Phil(aka Puffy) for 13 long and arduous years, arduous for him at least! Hard to believe he could tolerate me that long isn't it? This past January he decided he couldn't deal with me anymore and retired. Bum. I'm not bitter or jealous though...nope, not me...not even a little...stoopid sons a...anyway...He has spent those years teasing and taunting me about being a bird nerd. That's what older brothers do. Well pay back has finally reared its horrendous head! Mwahaha!

For a retirement gift I bought him a nice set of binoculars and a field guide(Sibley's.) The funniest thing happened. He started asking me about the birds he sees out of his kitchen window...and on his patio...and out in the pond...and in the nearby trees. My plan worked! HE IS NOW A BIRD NERD TOO! Mwahahahaha!!! AND on top of that, he actually asked to go out to Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week in American Birding with us! He's heard me rant and rave about the wonders of warblies every May at Magee...and the people we meet on the boardwalk...and talk to...and talk to more...and the occasional bird.

He thought I exaggerated. Well, maybe a little...

 Let's see, that's me, my camera...and...oh yeah, my bro Phil!

 Phil learned that American Redstarts may be plentiful...very plentiful...

 He also learned that Baltimore Orioles sing...loudly...everywhere.
 He also learned how to look at Bay-breasted Warblies from behind...and below.

 How to identify a Black-throated Blue Warbly from behind in 5 easy hours.
Ask Phil, he can tell you...I think.
 He got the Blue Jay right away!
 Phil also learned that Cape May Warblies like it up high.
He also knows that birds have feathers and like to soon as you locate them.

 "Did you know...
Male Chestnut-sided Warblies are packed with so much testosterone that they can do chin-ups to impress the ladies?"
Look it up, it's true.
I would never lie to my older brother...honest...
 Phil now knows that birders are very friendly and will tell you exactly where to look to see a red phase Eastern Screech Owl.
Such nice folks.

 By the way, Hairy Woodpeckers are noisy when hammering holes in trees.

 Another lesson of the day...Magnolia Warblies won't come closer, even if you ask nicely.

 A Nashville Warbly pretending to be a stick.

 If it's waggin' his hinder, he's a Palm Warbly.

 Phil also learned that I give terrible directions on where in that @#!@* tree the Philadelphia Vireo is.

 Not all birds are in the tree tops.
Sometimes you have to look down to find warblies like this Prothonotary.

 "Honey, smile, that man is taking our picture."

                                        "Yes dear."

 Phil is now aware that "warbler neck" can also be caused by staring at Scarlet Tanagers.

 Honest, this is the butt of a female Summer Tanager.
I know my butts.
Phil knows I know too.

 Oh those thrushes...why do they all look so much alike?
Buffy eye ring, must be Swainson's...maybe...yeah...uh...yeah.

 Don't bother with a field guide during the Biggest Week.
Listen to everyone around us and they'll point out birds.
They don't pose like the pretty guide paintings.
By the way, if you listen to this guys song, it sounds like a very high pitched, sped up Elvis.
"Tennessee Warbly, thank ya very much..."

 "Look waaaay back. No, further. No further, in the tangles. You know that tangled up stuff. There's a Veery. What? No VEERY not VERY. Really. Never mind it's gone."
(Not necessarily a real conversation, just a dramatization of the day.)

 I think Phil may now know the song of the Warbling Vireo. Hundreds of them were singing!

 Phil also knows why the Yellow-rumped Warbly is called a "Yellow-rumped Warbly."

 " many shots are you gonna take of that tree?"
"Oh, there's a bird in it."
A Blackburnian Warbly...always at the top and not cooperative.

 Hard to believe that he was still smiling(grimacing maybe?) at the end of the day. 
I was amazed because we kept seeing folks we know(the Ohio bird community is VERY friendly!)and stopping  to talk with them...all of them...(sorry.)
61 species for the day and most of them lifers! AND he actually wanted to go out again another day.
Oh yeah, brain washed.

 By the way, if you should ever bump into Phil out there, ask him if he's seen any 
Orange-breasted Ground Thrushes lately!

 Swainson's Booty.
I have to give many thanks to my great friends at Bird Watcher's Digest, Dawn and Kyle for using my warbly butts on their "BirdWire" email publication(learn those butts!) and Bill Thompson aka BT3 for mentioning me on his blog, "Bill of the Birds" (he's a nice man!) and for actually seeing fit to occasionally print my photos of birds from the front...and sides...

See? even a goof ball like me can get a good shot once in a while...well maybe a great while.

Okay kiddies, go to bed now. We'll have another story for you about those wacky Magee Migrants in a few days!

*No brothers were harmed in the making of this blog. Yet...


  1. Wonderful pics of all your birds! Congrats on getting your brother to join the dark side:) I hope he gets addicted to all the birds around him like we are. Fantastic birds in your area right now. And thanks for the smile. Lovely write from your part of the world:)

    1. Thanks Chris! Yep, one more member to the fold...

  2. Congratulations to your brother on retirement. He's moving in the right direction when he starts birding.

    1. You retired people...I am getting too jealous!

  3. It's me again. I forgot to say that some of these posts go in the direction of a good bird book.

    1. Thanks Red. A book by me ...let's see...would that be classified as "horror" or "science fiction"?

  4. What a truly delightful post! I am so excited for your big brother, enjoying his new past-time WITH you! I am so happy for you both. And your photos are absolutely amazing! Happy Birding to you both!

    1. Thank you Marie! Phil is absolutely thrilled with being retired...and I am getting even more jealous!

  5. Phil might have been a bit overwhelmed! It certainly was a great day for birds. If you can't beat them, join them, right, Phil! Pass on my happy retirement wishes. That's some camera you carry! No wonder your photos are so awesome.

  6. ...hahaha! I bet it was a hoot a minute with your bro there!

  7. Look at the size of that thing! Your lens that is...... no wonder you can get right up their butts.

    Poor Phil..... he's doomed. ahhahahahha..... just kidding Phil..... you'll love your excursions I'm sure. Sounds like you guys have a great relationship Dave ..... I hope you enjoy many days of birding together over the years....

    Love the little Prothonotary...hahhaha...had to look back at him to see the spelling... first time I heard the name was here on this very blog I'm sure .....a cute little guy.