Showing posts from August, 2012

Auction action: Roger Tory Peterson

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes:   It's August 28, 2012.  Roger Tory Peterson would have been 104 years old today.  If he were still alive, I suspect he would have spent at least part of the day painting birds ... as he did on the last day of his life, in July 1996, when he was almost 88.  Recently I've been thinking about Peterson's artwork a lot ... mostly because some of it is going to be auctioned off soon.  On September 8, Guernsey's Auctioneers in New York will be offering 500 lots of material from the Petersons' estates.  Basic information on the auction is available here. Although the writeup says that it's an auction "consisting entirely of the work of Roger Tory Peterson," the online catalog tells a slightly different story.  A number of original Audubon prints are also included, presumably from Roger's private collection.  Quite a few matted photographic prints are being offered, and a few other odd items, including older binocula

Sharing the Joy of Birding: It's easy!

For a first-time birder, something like a male Baltimore Oriole, shining in the sun, can be worth its weight in golden feathers. From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn and Kimberly write:   Quick quiz.  When you go birding, what is one of the best things you can do to ensure a bright future for birds?  Answer:  Take someone with you, someone who has never tried it before, and introduce them to the fascination of birds and birding.  Building up the birding community is one of the best ways to build support for conservation. Getting more people to care about birds and nature is vitally important.  Over the years we have taken many hundreds of people out on their very first bird walks, so we've had a chance to see what works and what doesn't, and we wanted to share some results of our experience.  How do you make sure that someone will catch the spark and develop a lasting interest?  We sometimes use the analogy of teaching people how to swim.  One approach is to just throw everyo

Ode to Shorebirds

This time of year, in many parts of the country, birders are out watching shorebirds. Identifying shorebirds can be more than a bit challenging. Some birders love it. Some...not so much! ;-) On the Birding Ohio Facebook group recently there's been a lot of discussion of shorebird identification, and my friend Susan Williams threw down a challenge. If we all loved shorebirds so much, why didn't we just write a poem about them? Several of us took her up on her challenge. I thought you might enjoy reading a few of these Odes to Shorebirds. Shorebirds are travelers From fields far flung With lovely names like "plover"  that roll right off the tongue ~kimberly kaufman I seen this little bird,  it wasn't out too deep,  I double checked my field guide,  and thought it was a peep.  ~jeff loughman If a Dunlin doesn't know  whether a Willet will not show  how a Turnstone tosses stones  while leaving Solitaries alone  to watch t

The birds, the butterflies, and The Gage

From back home in Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes:   West Texas is big country.  As a teenaged birder, hitch-hiking across the southern tier of states, I crossed Texas many times, and in the western part of the state I always looked around in fascination at the rugged, beautiful Chihuahuan desert and at the angular hills ringing the horizon.  I always appreciated the fact that Western Kingbirds, which had been my favorite birds in my early teens, were common along the highways out there.  But it seemed I was always in a hurry to go somewhere else (if hitch-hikers could be said to be hurrying), so I never really spent the time necessary to explore this region. Western Kingbird: a classic roadside bird of western Texas. Because of my long-standing curiosity about this region, I was especially pleased when two sharp young naturalists, Matthew York and Heidi Trudell, moved to the town of Marathon in west Texas and starting blogging about it.  Their regular posts in Big Bend - Texas Nat

If I could be like Mike

Remember when Michael Jordan was at his peak and there were commercials featuring him dunking the ball in some of the most insane moves ever perpetrated on a basketball court? There was a catchy jingle that accompanied those commercials. The chorus was a sing-song phrase that said, "Like Mike -- If I could be like Mike." I'm not all that into sports these days, but I have immense respect for anyone who has a passion for something and strives to be the best at it that they can possibly be. I live with a man who has dedicated nearly his entire life to his passion, so I recognize the beauty and honor in it. Michael Jordan's been retired for several years now, yet he still has legions of fans. But he's not the Mike I would choose to be like. In my world, I'd much rather be like this Mike. This is Mike Fitts. Mike isn't a superstar sports hero. He's not some hotshot, expert birder. In fact, he's jus