Posts Tagged ‘Birding’

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Celebrate Loons at the Paul Smith’s VIC

There is something quite mystical about hearing a loon. Whether it’s the haunting wail that echoes across lakes or the territorial male yodel, the loon’s calls can silence everyone around it as people search for the source of the sound.

I was recently paddling a nearby Adirondack pond and was followed by a common loon.  It gave that shrill laughing sound called tremolo that is used to signal alarm. I can only assume that we were too close to its chicks. It seemed that no matter where we went, it didn’t want to share the waterway with us. We finally just sat and drifted and the loon dove underwater, reappearing on a far shore.

There are many things to understand about the loon and the Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) have joined forces for a full day of loon related activities to educate and inform all of us about this iconic bird. This free event will be held from 9 am – 5 pm on Sunday, October 13 at the VIC. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bicknell’s Thrush Endangered Species Protection Stepped-Up

Bicknell's Thrush, Catharus bicknelli, by T. B. RyderThe Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service late Monday giving the agency four years to consider whether to protect the Bicknell’s thrush under the Endangered Species Act.

The thrush nests only high in the mountains of the U.S. Northeast and eastern Canada, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Scientists have predicted that 98 percent or more of the songbird’s U.S. habitat could be lost to climate change. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adirondack Birds: The Noisy Blue Jay

800px-Blue_Jay_with_PeanutStarting in early autumn, a profound silence pervades the forests of the Adirondacks, especially on frosty mornings when the air is calm. In the hours following dawn, only a few avian voices disturb the stillness, such as the soulful song of the nuthatch and the perky call of the chickadee. Yet it is the loud, raucous, squawking voice of the blue jay that prominently violates the solitude of our deep woods and forest edges. During the weeks immediately following the equinox, a new phase begins in the life of this familiar backyard bird, signaled by the intensity of its boisterous calls. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Loon Quilt Raffle to Benefit Loon Conservation

Loon QuiltThe Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation will be holding its first-ever Loon Quilt Raffle. The hand-made quilt depicts a pair of loons raising two chicks on an Adirondack lake. The queen-sized quilt was created by Dr. Nina Schoch, Coordinator of BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, based on a McKenna Ryan design, and quilted by Susan Ochs of Saranac Lake.

“The proceeds from the loon quilt raffle will help support our loon research and outreach initiatives over the coming year. It was a lot of fun making this unusual quilt,” said Dr. Schoch, “and I hope the support it provides will enable us to continue to address numerous threats to Adirondack loons and the lakes and ponds where they live.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Feathered Whirlwinds: Swallow Flock Migration

migrationWhirlwinds of feathered bodies, iridescent beetle-blue on top and snowy below, are touching down all along the eastern seaboard.   Flocks move in a loose collection of tumbles and dives, sweeping across fields and swamps. They pepper the sky, often collecting over bodies of water to skim for insects and catch a drink. As the sun sets, the scattered birds pull together, gathering like a slow-building storm.

At the peak of migration, flocks of tree swallows can contain hundreds of thousands of birds. Doppler weather radar – yes, weather radar – has revealed that staging points are relatively evenly spaced, almost always 62 to 93 miles apart. Migration flows down the eastern seaboard in a multi-month game of hopscotch as the birds make (comparatively) leisurely stopovers one roost after another. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: The Black-Capped Chickadee

Black Capped ChicadeeAs many birds prepare to abandon their summer ranges during the coming weeks and months, others are altering their routine to allow them to better survive winter in the Adirondacks. The regular appearance of numerous, year-round avian residents around homes and camps suggests that the behaviors of these hardy species do not change from one season to another.

However, following the end of the nesting season, many of these permanent members of our wildlife community subtly change their routine to improve their chances of finding food and avoiding danger. Among the birds that experiences a shift in behavior from their nesting season to this non-breeding period is the black-capped chickadee, a friendly and perky bird that almost everyone recognizes in appearance and song. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Adirondack Birds: The Science of Wing Sounds

wing_musicAs the summer bird chorus wanes, we might remember that song can arrive in unexpected ways. Drumming heads, clacking bills, and dancing feet create nonvocal sound. Even flight, that foremost avian feat, creates music of its own.

Wings can sing – sound is created by the asymmetry, anatomy, and arrangement of individual flight feathers as they vibrate through the air. A number of birds use wing song to communicate, both with their own species and as a way to thwart predators. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: Flocking Birds

Flock of Birds (DEC Photo)Mid-August is the time in the Adirondacks when the foliage of some red maples turns a bright reddish-orange, the sound of crickets replaces the music of our many songbirds, and blackberries start to ripen on their thorny canes. It is also when birds are more regularly seen in flocks rather than individually as they perch on a wire, forage in a field or fly across a road.

The territorial nature and belligerent behavior exhibited by adults toward neighbors from early spring through the end of the breeding season now fades like the chlorophyll in leaves during the latter weeks of September. Thus, a more gregarious lifestyle develops among the members of the same species and results in the formation of flocks for resting, foraging, traveling, and roosting at night. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Merlin Ridge

Jill.  Gorgeous.The beginning of the trail to the summit of Burton’s Peak climbs steeply up through dense tree cover to the crest of a forested ridge where a short jog to the side gives the first lovely view.  From there it follows the ridge line more gradually upward, skirting mossy rock shelves before the final steep pitch to the top of the headwall.  Along the east-facing slope of this ridge the forest of spruce, balsam and birch is more open, hinting at a view of the valley far below and the distant profile of the Giant and Jay ranges.

This ridge walk, lovely as it is, was not an especially noteworthy part of our beautiful trail, at least not until now.  Now it has a name, Merlin Ridge, and a story to go with it. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Wing and a Prayer: Are Aerial Insectivores in Trouble?

NighthawkSome catch their prey while in flight; others sit and wait for prey to come near. They’re a group of birds known as aerial insectivores, and they’re in trouble. In the northeast region, this diverse group consists of 19 species that, as their name implies, feed almost exclusively on flying insects. Some, such as the barn swallow and eastern phoebe, are quite common and well-known, while others, such as the olive-sided flycatcher and eastern wood-pewee, are relatively unknown to non-birders.

Unfortunately, as a group, aerial insectivores have been declining steadily across northeastern North America for the last 25 years or so. Flycatchers, swallows, and nightjars (the whip-poor-will and common nighthawk) have been particularly affected. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Crowdsourced Data Reveal Feats of Bird Migration

NorthernShoveler_ThomasDunkerton_230pxFor centuries people have marveled at the migratory abilities of birds, but new research is now putting numbers on those seasonal feats—for more than a hundred  species at a time—using data contributed by thousands of amateur bird watchers.

In all, more than 2.3 million sightings were summarized to reveal migratory routes of 102 species in North America, in a paper being  published August 1 in Ecology. The results provide a fascinating glimpse at an astonishing range of species: for instance, the tiny Calliope Hummingbird crosses the continent almost three times as fast as the Northern Shoveler, which outweighs it more than 300 times. They also highlight the immense scientific value to be gained from bird watchers’ sightings when they can be combined into a single large database. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Wilmington Flume Trails: Fledging Herons

great blue herons, adirondacksI tried to document life in a Great Blue Heron nest last year and it ended abruptly when all three babies vanished in early July, most likely as dinner for a bald eagle or great horned owl family. I had somewhat better luck this year.

April 29, 2013 – I checked the heron nest I’d been watching in 2012 – the pond, still with some ice, appeared empty, no herons around. There was snow in sheltered places along the trail. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab web site “Heron FAQ’s” page, their herons laid eggs between March 28 and April 6 in 2012. I tend to think that the northern Adirondacks are about 3 weeks ahead of the Ithaca area for fall colors – so perhaps three weeks or more behind for laying eggs – probably dependent upon weather conditions as well.

May 8 – Sneaking in to view the nest from my hiding spot, there was a single adult heron standing on it. Was this the male hoping to attract a female?

May 13 – This time there was a heron down on the nest – all I could see was the head and beak. This is a pretty good sign that there are eggs. » Continue Reading.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Annual Loon Census Seeks Volunteers Saturday

Loon in AdirondacksThe Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program is seeking volunteers to help census loons on Adirondack lakes as part of the thirteenth Annual Adirondack Loon Census taking place from 8:00–9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 20.

With the help of local Adirondack residents and visitor volunteers, the census enables WCS to collect important data on the status of the breeding loon population in and around the Adirondack Park and across New York State. The results help guide management decisions and policies affecting loons. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lawsuit Seeks Protection for Bicknell’s Thrush

Bicknell's Thrush, Catharus bicknelli, by T. B. RyderThe Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect Bicknell’s thrush as an endangered species.

The thrush breeds only high in the mountains of the Northeast and eastern Canada, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York; scientists have predicted that 98 percent or more of the songbird’s U.S. habitat could be lost due to climate change. The Center petitioned for protection for the imperiled songbird in 2010, but the agency has failed to make a final decision on the petition. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Adirondack Loon Researchers Need Money

ACLCLogoThe Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation got its start more than a decade ago (albeit under a different name) with the mission of monitoring a bird that appeared to be in trouble–from acid rain, mercury contamination, lead sinkers, and other environmental threats. Now it appears the researchers are in trouble.

Nina Schoch, coordinator of the center, hopes to raise about $20,000 over the next few weeks to hire field staff to monitor loon nesting on some ninety lakes across the Adirondack Park. She has had monitors in the field for the past eleven summers, but she doesn’t have enough money  to hire them this year. » Continue Reading.



Kid next to water

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