Jays and Crows are experts at detecting hawks and owls, and harassing them with endless calls, screeches and screams. Chickadees and titmouse also do this, as frantically, if not as loudly. This is known as mobbing, and they do this as a way to alarm others and encourage the raptors to leave, because they know that hawks and owls prey on roosting and smaller birds.
If you are out birding and hear an incessantly long jay screaming or crows squawking, follow the sound, as it may lead to an unexpected owl sighting!
The American Birding Association (ABA) has arguably formed the backbone of the birding community for many years. In recent times, it has suffered from declining membership and lack of direction.
Today, the ABA is experiencing a new beginning! Newly-appointed president Jeff Gordon has jumped in with both feet to inject the organization with energy, focus, dedication and determination. Under his leadership, the ABA will once-again become a powerful voice by and for the birding community, promoting youth birding, supporting conservation initiatives, and facilitating the expansion and distribution of ornithological knowledge in many ways.
Take a fresh look at the ABA, and consider joining or renewing your membership today. Together, we can build a strong future for birds and birders alike. Your support is greatly appreciated. For details, go to www.aba.org
When looking to purchase new optical equipment, always try out a pair of binoculars or spotting scope first. This will give you an idea as to whether you like the look and feel of the product.
Good-quality optics will last a lifetime and can cost a lot of money, so you'll want to make sure that you are satisfied with your investment before the purchase is complete. Good places to test optics are at Birding Festivals, bird and nature stores.
Take the time to explore the natural surroundings - turn over a rock, feel the trunk of a tree, smell the moisture in the air, listen to the birds sing, watch a butterfly flutter from flower to flower, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty - Nature has so much to offer.
Always carry a small amount of cash in local currency, preferably in small denominations. This is very useful to cover tips, small purchases and haggling with local merchants where credits cards are not accepted.
Some of my most memorable wildlife experiences have occurred at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) here in the United States. Within an hour’s drive of every major city there is a NWR.
National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct 10-16, 2010, is the perfect time to visit your local refuge. Invite a friend to join you or take the family, to enjoy a day out observing the wildlife and experiencing the beauty of these wonderful natural treasures. Don’t forget to take your camera and bins!