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Monday, September 13, 2021

Learn Hawks, Get 20% discount off Cornell's Bird Academy Hawk ID Course Now!


Hawk migration is starting, can you ID them? Get ready by taking this special Cornell Bird Academy course and get all the raptors at your fingertips! 

Click link Better Birder: Hawk and Raptor Identification and get a 20% discount! Use this BAStokes21 code at check out to receive the discount. One use per customer.

This comprehensive self-paced course covers all 34 species found in the continental U.S. and Canada, with Dr. Kevin McGowan as your friendly guide.

  • * Discover raptor diversity—from vultures and eagles to falcons      
  • * Learn ID shortcuts with Kevin's Keys to ID videos and diagrams
  • * Build field skills with the powerful SnapID practice tool

  • Note: just type the code into the coupon code box in the cart at checkout, and don’t forget to click ‘apply’! You’ll see the lower price reflected in the “Cart Totals” box before clicking “Proceed to Checkout.”  

Or, use the same discount code BAStokes21 for any other of the Cornell Bird Academy Courses
Sign up here,

Gardening for Birds

Warbler Identification

Nature Journaling and Field Sketching

Bird Photography with Melissa Groo

How to Identify Bird Song

Feeder Birds: Identification and Behavior

Comprehensive Bird Biology

Bird Behavior

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

American Goldfinch Nest and Birding Serendipity Magic!


Me and Ignacio
Phil and Ignacio
American Goldfinch female on nest
Male goldfinch feeding female
Nesting habitat American Goldfinches

Ok, sometimes birding is just serendipity magic. I am studying American Goldfinches (more on that later) and wanted to see a nest. So Phil Brown (NH Audubon awesome birder) was birding with Ignacio Oreamuno (Costa Rican bird guide who owns a bird-friendly coffee plantation, was drinking coffee and wearing Stokes DLS binoculars) and a goldfinch flies right in front of them and goes to a nest. Phil texts me. I fly over there, and we have a great time watching Mrs. Goldfinch incubating. Female American Goldfinches sit on the nest almost continuously until the nestlings are about 4 days old and she is fed regurgitated seeds by the male. That's about 24,480 minutes of sitting!! Breeding is a highly cooperative venture between the male and the female; she protects the nest by continuously sitting, he provides all the food to her and nestlings. After day 4, the nestlings are fed by both parents. Oh, and did I mention an Olive-sided Flycatcher showed up and distracted us? Serendipity? Or meant to be?
Note: All nest photos were taken at a distance with a long telephoto superzoom camera at 2000 mm. Nikon P950. It is highly important not to disturb nests.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Gardening For Finches, Leave the Seeds!!


Gardening for finches – plant it and they will come! American Goldfinches love the seeds of composite flowers like these Purple Coneflowers. Provide a finch feast by resisting the urge to "tidy up" your garden and leave the seed heads of flowers. The new crop of crabapples will feed Pine Grosbeaks this fall and winter. Plant varieties of crabapple that keep their fruits through winter. Prairiefire (Malus x 'Prairiefire') is a good choice. Your reward? Your garden becomes a magnet of beauty and uplift to your spirit in seeing these beautiful finches.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Baby, Baby, Noisy American Goldfinches, Cute but...

 In the world of American Goldfinches now, fledglings wave wings and make their headache-producing, incessant, fledgling calls, whether or not a parent is near. I think their parents have had it, saw a male recently just fly away from a begging youngster. Eventually the young will have to fend for themselves and a few have already found the feeders. Fall will come, adults will molt into their subtle brown-gray LL Bean parkas (their feathers actually will be denser), finches will flock and some will migrate, depending on where they live. Enjoy their beauty now.

Nighthawk Watch Party, 831 Nighthawks, Wow!!

Annual Nighthawk Watch Party last night on our deck. 831 individual Common Nighthawks were detected, but the actual count was more like 760 since you need to figure in some birds flew north then south again. Big thanks to the ace counting team of Steve Lamonde, Phil Brown, and Henry Walters (the last two being hawk migration counters at Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory). I was too busy being the host to count, lol. So what could be better than a party with good friends (all fully vaccinated)? Well, that same party while just an amazing number of incredible birds flew right over our heads!! Thanks to all who participated!


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Rare Birds! Limpkin in IL, Roseate in MA!


Continuing with the theme of Florida coming north, the ABA rare bird alert recently noted a Limpkin near Hennepin, IL, and another one in Maryland for a 7th state record. MA had its first state record of a young Roseate Spoonbill and there was another roseate in CT, making number 5 for that state. I just love those roseates! You can check the ABA rare bird alert site for updates. Rare birds are exciting fun for birders, although maybe not as much fun for the rare birds who are often immature birds that must fend for themselves in new situations. On the other hand, the built-in ability for at least some members of a species to explore new areas can be an advantage if that species needs to colonize new terrain because their usual habitats have been destroyed. (my photos are from another time in FL)

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Magnificent Frigatebird, 1st State Record NH!!


Update: The frigatebird was seen this morning at the Isles of Shoals on the Maine side. People are booking trips out there.
Evidentlly, if you are in the northeast, you don't have to go to FL or the South anymore, it will come to you. Besides Roseate Spoonbills, a Magnificent Frigatebird was in NH recently and is likely still wandering around. This is a first state record for NH!! This impressive tropical seabird spends most of its time soaring effortlessly. Named frigatebird or sometimes "man-o-war bird" because it pirates food from other birds, harassing them until they regurgitate their meal. Males have red throat pouches, inflated during courtship, females and young birds have areas of white. Who knows what birds the hurricane may bring, Stay safe!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Shorebirds are migrating now!!

On the move, Semipalmated Sandpiper. The end of August is prime time for migrating shorebirds. Visit your nearest shorebird hotspots, such as coastal wildlife refuges to witness this wonderful treat. Oh, and bring your camera!