Wild Bird Wednesday: House Wren

This male House Wren built a nest in a gourd at my grandparents’ yard and I was able to get this photo of him.

Today, I’m linking up with Stewart for his Wild Bird Wednesday. So be sure to read through all the other bloggers’ posts with their wonderful wild birds.

A male House Wren,


Birding News #28

:: The Rufous-necked Wood Rail in New Mexico is catching the attention of national media this week (see below)

:: Princeton University Press is holding a contest to give away the new Warbler Guide and a pair of Zeiss binoculars

:: Princeton University Press also released a downloadable quick-finder version of the Warbler Guide

::  The Edmonton Area Land Trust has created a guide of all the 39 animal species at risk in Alberta including 20 species of birds

:: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to kill 3,603 Barred Owls in a plan to save the endangered Northern Spotted Owls in the Pacific Northwest

:: Some birds teach their embryonic chicks a secret code through their song

:: A guest post from Nature Alberta, via Nature Canada, about birding at the Beaverhill Bird Observatory

Great posts in birding blogs this week:

:: From Rebecca at Rebecca in the Woods: Owl Pellets

:: From Len at Len and Dian’s AdventuresWandering Tattler, July 25, 2013 Iona Jetty

:: From Rich at Birding is FunCommon UK Garden Birds

:: From Maureen at Hipster BirdersBirding in NYC: Central Park

:: From Nate at The ABA blogABA President Jeff Gordon on “CBS This Morning”, in a live interview about the Rufous-necked Wood Rail

:: From Mia at On The Wing Photography: Why do they call them laughing Gulls

:: From Sharon at BirdchickThe latest Birdchick podcast

An Alberta Big Day

Last month in mid-June, two virtual birding friends, Dan Arndt of the Birds Calgary blog and David Pugh of A Calgary Birder, set off to do an Alberta Big Day, starting at Cold Lake and heading south to finish at Waterton National Park. Last week, Dan published a post about their adventures, which I thought you might like to read.

Dan and Dave left Calgary on Thursday, June 13th, and I got to meet them on the day before the actual Big Day, on Friday the 14th (there’s a picture of the three of us over at Dan’s blog, in my front yard). The Big Day was June 15th, and as Dan writes,

Our list of possible birds for the Big Day was around 267. Our goal was to break 200. While that seemed a bit high for our first attempt, we figured if the weather was good and we stayed on schedule, we’d be able to easily crest 150, and 200 seemed reasonable with the significant distance we were covering and the huge variety of biomes we’d be exploring.

Read Dan’s entire post to see how they did, and also to see all of Dan’s wonderful photos. He’s an amazing photographer, and always includes camera settings and information, which I find very helpful.

Baillie Birdathon 2013 Wrapping Up

Just a quick note to say that this year’s Baillie Birdathon, organized by Bird Studies Canada, is wrapping up in a week, on July 31st.

I did my actual Birdathon in late May, but the BB is accepting contributions until the very end of this month. The money raised benefits Bird Studies Canada for bird conservation and research, the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund for Bird Research and Preservation, and participating migration monitoring stations and conservation organizations (designated by participants to receive a portion of funds raised). The Baillie Birdathon is the oldest sponsored bird count in North America, and all contributions are tax creditable.

I saw 84 species, counting birds around our house and farm, the neighbors’ pasture across the road, my grandparents’ yard, the local Provincial Park, and a friend’s yard.

If you are interested in donating to the Baillie Birdathon and sponsoring me before the deadline is up, you can find my BB team page here. So far I’ve raised $2,408 (my goal was $500). I’ve earmarked half of the money I raise to go to my local naturalist society, the Vermilion River Naturalist Society in Alberta, to help pay for programs and lectures.

And of course a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me so far this year. Thank you very, very much!

A female Northern Shoveler (digiscoped) from my Birdathon in May,


Birding News #27

:: The American Kestrel population in the Yukon has dropped 90 percent over the past decade

:: Jonathan Franzen was interviewed earlier this week on CBC Radio’s morning show The Current about the slaughter of songbirds in the Mediterranean.

:: The 2013 State of the Birds Report is out, with particular attention to private lands

:: How much do you know about goldfinches? Take the quiz at Bird Watcher’s Digest.

:: Atlantic Puffins on Farne Islands in Britain have had an 8 percent increase in breeding pairs since the last census in 2008

:: The Rufous-necked Wood Rail in New Mexico has its own Twitter account, which you can follow at @NMWoodRail 

:: A new study estimates that about 573,000 birds were killed by wind farms last year

Great posts in birding blogs this week:

:: From Linda at Birding is FunA Rare Bird Comes to New Mexico

:: From Dan at Calgary Birds: Reflections on an Alberta Big Day – Lessons learned and lifers heard (I was able to meet Dan and David last month just before their big day started)

:: From Kathie at Kathie’s BirdsWater, Mud and Birds at Perry Park

:: From Mia at On the Wing PhotographyEver Been Mobbed by Loggerhead Shrike juveniles?

:: From Nate at 10,000 BirdsI and the Bird: What Is an Ibis?


A New Facebook Page!

Earlier this week, I started a Facebook page for my local naturalist society, the Vermilion River Naturalist Society. It’s a place where members can stay in touch, find out about events and activities, and also share Albertan, Canadian, and international nature and conservation news stories. If you’re interested, please “Like” the page, share it with your friends, and check in for the latest news.