Showing posts from 2010

These are a few of our favorite things...

Many of our recent posts have had a very serious tone, so I thought it might be nice to take a breather and think about something a bit more light and festive. Kenn and I would like to share some cool things that we'll be gifting to the people we love this holiday season. We hope you'll consider some of these wonderful gifts, too!   Winged Journey: a 16-month calendar of birds. With lovely photos from photographer Bryan Holliday (I mean, come on, his name's "Holliday" for goodness sakes!), and beautiful poetry by Sally Deems-Mogyordy, this calendar makes a perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list: birder and nonbirder alike! One calendar fan told us that she bought a calendar for all of her friends and family and wrote in reminders of all the special dates, like birthdays and anniversaries.  Isn't that a great idea?! And, as if you needed any more reasons to order your copies right now ,  a portion of the proceeds benefits Black Swamp Bird Obs

The Quest for Responsible Wind Energy Continues

From Homebase in Oak Harbor, a very tired Kimberly Writes: Today, Black Swamp Bird Observatory hosted a meeting in Port Clinton, Ohio, to discuss the far reaching implications of wind turbines in migratory bird stopover habitat. We approached the issue from several angles, with experts speaking on ecotourism and the preservation of our last remaining scenic landscapes, the bird and bat mortality issue, and even the efficiency and economics of these machines. We gave a large gathering of community leaders--as well as representatives from the wind energy industry who were in attendance--a great deal to consider. Certainly no one there today can continue to claim ignorance about the fact that wind turbines in this region will share the air column with millions of migratory birds, including the critically endangered Kirtland's Warbler, the state endangered Sandhill Crane, and one of the largest concentrations of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. Today, we took the first step in

Marsh Mellow

The past few months have been among the most challenging of my life.  I have never fought so hard for something that seemed so unattainable. I have never been more angry, frustrated, bitter, confused, and even depressed, as I have been since BSBO decided to speak out about the wind turbines that are creeping their way into migratory bird stopover habitat in northwest Ohio. That's certainly a neat and tidy little term, isn't it?  "Migratory Bird Stopover Habitat."  All  scientific and clinical.   This is what it really is... It is a part of our history  The Lake Erie Marsh Region of northwest Ohio is all that is left of what was once referred to as The Great Black Swamp It is our heritage The marshes were historically owned by duck hunting clubs before eventually being transferred to the state and federal wildlife agencies.  Think what you want about duck hunting, but were it not for the foresight and absolute respect for the resource shown by hunt

The Battle of the Blades

Six months ago, all of us here in northwest Ohio were at the center of the birding world. Six months ago we were awash in a whirl of warblers and their watchers. Vast numbers of migratory birds poured in from the tropics, while semi-vast numbers of birders poured in from all over the United States and beyond to celebrate the “Biggest Week in American Birding” here in the “Warbler Capital of the World.”     Six months in the future, in May 2011, we expect it all to happen again. But right now, as fall migration fades in November, the scene in northwest Ohio is getting quieter. The traveling birders are mostly elsewhere now, celebrating specialties in south Texas, chasing rarities in California or Florida. They haven’t necessarily forgotten about us, but at the moment, we might not be on their minds. And that’s unfortunate. The timing of this is bad for the birds, from one particular angle. Right now there are threats to the stopover habitats here in northwest Ohio, the very spots t

New Day at ABA

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been very preoccupied for the last three months by the current situation at the American Birding Association. (In fact, I’ve been so preoccupied that the blog hasn’t been updated since the end of August.) In early July, I was asked to be on the search committee for a new president / executive director for the ABA. This fine organization had just gone through some tough times, owing to a few bad decisions and a lot of bad luck. The previous president had been fired, the staff was upset about a variety of issues, membership had been declining, and the financial situation was going from bad to worse. Things were looking shaky for the ABA. But because this organization had done so much for me in the past, I agreed to try to help. It has been a time-consuming and complicated process, as you might guess if you read the previous entries on this subject. But ultimately we had over a dozen serious applicants for the p

For what it's worth...

A message from Kimberly: I have watched in awe as Kenn and many others navigated some turbulent seas to get the ABA on track. Kenn and I have had some "lively" discussions about the issue, ; ) and while I was not directly involved in the process of searching for the new Executive Director (I'm officially casting my vote for axing the term "President"), I have been actively engaged in studying the whole process and have learned a great deal from it. Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support for the ABA---and for Kenn. If the dude wasn't so determined to write field guides that help people discover and enjoy nature (and so wonderful at it, I might add!), I'd encourage him to take the job himself. But, whomever the next ED is, I'm sure they can count on Kenn as a resource and I certainly hope that they will do just that. So, consider this my "shout out" to Kenn and all those who are working hard to get the ABA back on its feet. I

ABA: Let's Look Forward

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: Six weeks have passed since Dick Ashford, chair of the board of the American Birding Association (ABA), contacted me out of the blue and asked me to be on the search committee for ABA’s next Executive Director (or President, as the position is currently called). Being part of the search has been far more time-consuming than I had expected initially, but it has given me some rewarding insights as well. Shortly after getting involved, I wrote about the ABA’s situation on this blog, and the outpouring of comments was remarkable -- highly detailed comments came in from more than 40 people, including no fewer than seven former ABA board members and other well-known leaders of the North American birding community. During the same time period, I had conversations with most of the current ABA staff, dedicated long-term members of the organization, and many others. After the first couple of weeks my outlook on ABA’s future was not very positive, for three re

ABA: Inclusiveness

Mallard on the park pond, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at the migrant trap, Wandering Albatross over the Drake Passage: would you enjoy looking at any of these birds? If so, you're a good birder. From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: The intense discussions this summer regarding the future of the American Birding Association (ABA) have led some people to question just who the organization should be for. Predictably, a few have suggested that it should be a group designed for "good birders." I have strong opinions about that idea, I’ve expressed them in the past in other settings, and I want to repeat them here. Forgive me if it seems immodest for me to quote from myself. But I wrote something a long time ago that still seems relevant: "Birding is something that we do for enjoyment; so if you enjoy it, you’re a good birder. If you enjoy it a lot, you’re a great birder." I wrote that back in the 1980s, and apparently it rang a bell with some people. The editors of B

Which Way for ABA?

From a state of contemplation, Kenn writes: The American Birding Association (ABA) has been an important part of my life ever since I joined, at the age of 16, back in the 1970s. The ABA was a brand-new organization then, and it served a unique role in connecting the active birders of the U.S. and Canada. Its little bimonthly magazine, Birding, was a treasure trove for me as a teenager, giving me tips on bird-finding and bird identification that I wouldn’t have known about in any other way. When I started traveling, as a hitch-hiking, teenaged birder, the ABA connected me with other enthusiasts and with prime birding hotspots, and helped to put me on a course as a professional naturalist. In subsequent years I was involved with ABA in many ways. I taught bird I.D. workshops at many of their conventions, and later I began giving evening keynote talks at these events; for a while, I had spoken at more ABA conventions than anyone else. I wrote dozens of pieces for Birding magazine, and