Thursday, March 31, 2011

Migration Celebration - Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

Come to the 2nd Annual Migration Celebration this spring, at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, in Ozaukee County. The date is May 7th. Find out what's been happening at the preserve over the past year, see our new hawk observation platform and photo blinds, take a guided tour, and many more opportunities.

See displays from Bird City Wisconsin, WSO, and other organizations, learn about the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, and hear presentations on stopover ecology. Activities for kids, too!

Call the US Fish & Wildlife Service at 920-866-1717 for more information, or e-mail

For a map to Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, see this link.

bird conservation and research news

A collection of news and links to recent information:

See the latest news from BirdLife International here.

In the United States, check out the most recent news and programs of the American Bird Conservancy at this link.

At the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, see information on recent research here.

A set of links to bird-safe building design is found here.

The updated Wisconsin Important Bird Areas page is linked here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

stunning video from Audubon

My good friend Ethan Duke, Assistant Director of the Missouri River Bird Observatory, sent me this link
to a superb Audubon video - don't miss this one!

And while you're at it, check out the MRBO website, too - look for it here. Thanks, Ethan!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

recent news from BirdLife International

The latest news from BirdLife International can be found here.

Also, see information about BirdLife's new Forests of Hope campaign, at this link.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

raptor identification taken to the next level

Possibly the best-ever raptor identification guide in print, Jerry Liguori's new Hawks At a Distance (Princeton University Press, 2011) is now available. If you are serious about identifying birds of prey, whether at a hawk-watch site, or during your everyday birding, the advances made by the author with this book can assist you in achieving that goal in ways few books have done previously. In the forward to this volume, Pete Dunne (whom some might say is a very accomplished raptor watcher) describes the historical leaps forward in the publication of raptor ID books. That includes the groundbreaking book Pete himself coauthored with Dave Sibley and Clay Sutton, Hawks in Flight - which has been the standard to which I compare other raptor books for twenty-plus years. Pete suggests that Jerry Liguori has made yet another leap forward with this book, and I am inclined to agree completely.

One of Jerry's conceptual advancements is showing highly detailed photos of the birds as they are actually seen in the field. Although there are occasions when we see a raptor at relatively close range, most of the time they are at a distance, and even high-quality binoculars and telescopes still only provide a view that reveals shape and relative features, dark and light patterns - but not the "portrait" view shown in many field guides. Hawks At a Distance does this task in a way books have rarely done in the past: great details, but images matching what we often really see - not just what we wish we saw. The postures adopted by birds of prey when in flight often confuse the intermediate or beginning birder - raptors don't always appear as seen in the single illustration many field guides use to portray them, and individuals can easily look like "some other species".

Jerry's book also displays the other plumages or color morphs seen in some species. Written descriptions accompany the many fine images, drawn from years of raptor photography by Jerry and his wife Sherry, along with those of 14 other expert raptor photographers.

This is an easy book to take in the field - and that's what I'll do with mine. Highly recommended.

Friday, March 11, 2011

ornithological and conservation news

Birds as vectors of heavy metals may contribute to pollution: read a summary of this surprising research result at this link.

A set of reviews of excellent new books can be found at this link.

Read an article on feral cat predation on songbirds at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's website, here.