Andrew's Birding Page
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My Birding Intro
This page is basically dedicated to one of my favorite pastimes, birding.. For those of you that don't know what "birding" is, it's basically running around the world with a pair of binoculars, various bird guides, and a notepad pencil trying to find and identify all the birds you see while out watching..
There are a few things about this hobby that are good I guess, once you have a few bird guides and a good pair of binoculars you can do it anywhere and everywhere in the world, also it motivates me to get out and see the rest of the world, after all there are plenty of places with interesting birds.. For me it's also very relaxing and helps to get your mind off other more stressful issues of the day..
Of course while out birding most birders will keep lists or journals of all birds they see, their location, and any other details they notice about the bird, it can be as simple as a list of bird names or as detailed as a journal with sketches or other added information.. I keep all my lists fairly basic with the bird names, location of the bird spotted including closest city, county, and state the bird was found in.. I do keep quite a few different lists, from Minnesota County lists, to other State lists, and Yard lists, Birthday lists.. You can find all of my different life lists on my Life Lists page.. I record them all in Microsoft Excel so pretty much anyone can view them..
I also love to to photograph birds, so I try to bring my camera with whenever I'm out birding or traveling. You will find many of my bird pictures here on my web pages, I hope you enjoy viewing my bird photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them..
Besides just looking at birds I also feed them, while I'm feeding them (They eat a ton by the way) I'm also counting them in the winter for Project Feeder Watch and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which uses this collected data for science and research.. I have worked on this project since 1998 so I have a few years worth of data I've contributed to the project, here are copies of my submitted PFW data:
For My New Hope MN Yard: 1998/99 - 1999/2000
For My Corcoran MN Yard: 1999/2000 - 2000/01 - 2001/02 - 2002/03 - 2003/04 - 2004/05 - 2005/06 - 2006/07 - 2007/08 - 2008/09 - 2009/10
2010/11 - 2011/12 - 2012/13 - 2013/14 - 2014/15
Another great sight for submitting your birding information is eBird a joint venture from Cornell Lab and the National Audubon Society, you can create a free ID and password on this sight and enter your birding observations on their WEB pages, the data collected is again used for science and studies but the cool thing is you can get lists and other reports out of the site for all your data that you've entered over time, not only your data but all data entered into the sight is accessible for searching, it's very cool and I recommend highly that you check it out..
One of the main birding organization in the state of Minnesota is the Minnesota Ornithologist's Union or MOU of which I'm a member and support, this organization is one of the best spots on the web for getting birding information on Minnesota and any other area in North America really.. They have a listserv setup there you can subscribe to for receiving/sending rare bird sightings in the state by email.. You can also setup an ID on the MOU sight and enter seasonal reports and trip reports of all birds you have spotted on any birding trips around the state of Minnesota.. If you have looked at my Life Lists page you can see that I do a most of my birding in Minnesota so I'm always entering data into the MOU pages, you can see my MOU Checklists on these pages..
One of my very favorite places to watch birds in Minnesota is in Duluth Minnesota at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.. It is located up on the side of the hill from Lake Superior on the east end of town along Highline Drive.. The best time of year for birding here is in the fall when a huge raptor migration is going from Canada to South America, basically a large portion of Canadian raptors fly over the place on their way south for the winter..
There are a few things that make this place special, when the winds are heavy out of the north west for a few days the birds flying south from Canada get pushed against Lake Superior and are forced to funnel down the side of the shore towards Duluth and Hawk Ridge, the birds will not cross large bodies of water on their migration south.. Hawk Ridge is located almost on the crest of the hill coming up from the lake so you can get some exceptional views or raptors and other birds flying past a time at eye level.. You get such good views of the birds that of course it's a great place to shoot pictures and I've taken a few shots of my own while visiting the area..
Hawk Ridge has a banding station here and in fact traps and bands more raptors than any other spot in North America, some of the birds trapped and banded here are displayed to visitors at ridge to educate them about these magnificent birds, their migration habits, feeding and hunting habits, field marks and other interesting information are all discussed using these birds so that people can get a very close up view of these raptors.. Besides raptors they also trap and band Passerines and bring them up to display to visitors along with the raptors.. After birds are displayed visitors are offered the chance to adopt any of the displayed birds for donation fee that is used to help fund the raptor banding and passerine banding programs at Hawk Ridge..
With Adopt-a-Raptor and Adopt-a-Passerine you simply pay a fee (varies depending on the species of bird adopted) and they take down your name, address, email etc., you then get to hold the bird, get your picture taken with the bird, and you get to release the bird back into the wild, also if this bird is ever recaptured or recovered you are notified about that since you are the birds sponsor.. While at Hawk Ridge I have adopted many birds over the years and have even gotten information back on one of my adopted birds, it was my very first Northern Goshawk I adopted, well by now you all should know that I'm all about birds and lists so it should be of no surprise that I have a list of all My Adopted Hawk Ridge Birds with information and pictures of most of them..
Of course all the time I spend watching birds occasionally one will hit my front window, usually it's getting chased by a Hawk or some other bird that scares them into the window. When that happens I'm all ready to go because I've constructed my Bird Rescue Box ahead of time and with that I have a nice protected spot to put the bird while it rests up and recovers the the trauma..
Now if you have a bird that's injured beyond just being dazed from hitting your window you might need to find a qualified wildlife rehabilitator to help you or give you advice on where you can take the injured bird. Here are the Minnesota contacts from the list by states..
Birding Supplies And Tools
My most important birding tools I guess are my binoculars. My main pair of binoculars are Swarovski 10*42 ELs, I carry these with me basically everywhere I go.. While I'm at home birding, usually while PFW counting, I have a pair of Swarovski SLC 10x50WB, these are a lot heaver then my ELs that's why they stay at home..
My feeders I usually get at All Seasons Wild Bird Store out in Wayzata MN, it's just west of I494 on the north frontage road of I394.
For my Hummingbird feeders I only use Aspects brand feeders, the HummZinger model feeders are all I have, they are simply the best, in design and ease of use.. I specificlly use the Mini HummZinger at the beginning of the season until I start getting more birds, then I switch to the Excel HummZinger when I need more food out, it the birds are really fighting over the feeders than I'll switch back to the Mini and hang them on spots out of sight from each other so that one male can't sit and guard both feeders. Below is info on this feeder..
Special Birding Links
For information on Hummingbirds the best web page by far is www.hummingbirds.net by Lanny Chambers.. It's a must for spring because he has a Spring Migration Map that he publishes each year as the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate north, this way you know exactly when to put out your hummingbird feeders for the migrating birds.
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