In Which I Never Can See Quite Far Enough

bird_watching

There’s a certain sensation I think every birder is familiar with: the bugging eyes, the pounding heart, the sharp inhalation when your lenses sweep across some unexpected avian, the adrenaline that surges when you’re not quite sure whether you can believe your own eyes. Is it really? Could it be? Quick, grab your field guide!… Read more »

A fascination with hummingbirds

Collared inca with tongue out after feeding, photo by Sophie Webb.

Ever since I saw that first ruby-throated hummingbird feeding on a trumpet vine in my mother’s garden on Cape Cod I have had a fascination with hummingbirds. In recent years there have been a number of scientific papers published about both their evolution and physiology which have made me even more entranced with them. Hummingbirds… Read more »

Hawk Watching in Western North America

hawk mountain view

This story, by regular Out There With The Birds Contributor Jen Hajj, originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest. Imagine a brisk September morning in the 1930s. Hunters gather at the gate to Hawk Mountain, a site in rural Pennsylvania known for the thousands of hawks that pass during their annual… Read more »

The Hungarian

Male house finch. Photo by Nigel Winnu, via Wiki Commons.

If you’re like me, certain of the more vocal local birds, those with individually distinctive songs, gain nicknames as the breeding season unfolds. The song sparrow that sings outside my bedroom window in the morning has come to be called Chicken Legs, due to the fact that its melody reminds me of one W.C. Fields… Read more »

Birding in Fiction

The Birds

I think it remarkable that birds and birding feature so infrequently in fiction. Many less popular subjects and minority pursuits have had more impact on the imagination more often and more dramatically, whether it be “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” or “Trainspotting.” Granted that, even today, the majority of the human population doesn’t… Read more »

A Whooping Crane Soap Opera

Whooping cranes at Goose Pond State Fish and Wildlife Area, near Linton, Indiana. Photo by Billie Dodd.

I follow whooping cranes. Not literally, although some people do. In fall 2001, when Operation Migration started using ultra light aircraft to lead juvenile whooping cranes from the International Crane Foundation breeding site in Wisconsin to St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, their original route took them right over my rooftop. (Again, not literally,… Read more »