Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Birding with Baby and Toddler- Toy Binoculars

Your kid will want your toys. Get used to it.

Those toy binoculars made for kids are only temporary decoys. Our kid knows we don’t use them and wants what we have.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Birding with baby and toddler- wear them!

We don’t use a stroller, although I could see a stroller working in some birding situations. Instead, we use baby carriers. Cloth wraps worked when baby was light and small, and we switched to baby carriers with back support and strong straps as baby grew into toddler.

Wearing our baby allowed us to walk trails that a stroller would struggle with. It also allows hands-free walking for pulling binoculars to our eyes.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Birding with baby and toddler

In 2015, I started my most exciting bird adventure. My wife and I had our own little baby bird. Actually a little human, but you get the idea.

We first took out baby within 2 weeks of her birth. In her first year, she visited city parks, two state parks, and a national wildlife refuge. I am sure people thought we are crazy, but being birders, they already thought such things of us.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Laundry Birding

It’s a maintenance day- “adulting” as it’s come to be called. Instead of walking the trails and scanning the treetops, I am washing shirts, pants, and socks.

It’s laundry time. But that won’t stop me from spotting a few birds. Before each quarter goes in the machine, I scan it for birds.

What did I see today?

Roseate Spoonbill (left) and Anhinga (right)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#birdbx has arrived!

Birders in the Bronx are getting a new resource for sharing birds: the Twitter feed @Birdbronx and #birdbx.

Another birder and I tried tweeting in 2016 and early 2017 with the hasthtag #bronxbird, but it didn't catch on (you can search Twitter with that hashtag- Cackling Goose, Eastern Meadowlark, Cattle Egret were some of the birds we shared). In Manhattan, there is a Twitter account that automatically retweets tweets with #birdcp; the Bronx did not have such a thing. Thus, people could follow the Manhattan account and could see the tweets about birds in Manhattan. For people who bird the Bronx, this was not an option unless searched for the hashtag #bronxbird. There were still plenty of other ways to share news of a good bird sighting (word of mouth if you encounter another birder, posting to the state email listserve, texting/calling a friend, or seeing an eBird checklist). But Twitter is so fast and easy and now this option is available for the Bronx!

Here is how it works: https://bigmanhattanyear.com/bronx.

Here is the Twitter page: https://twitter.com/BirdBronx. "Real-time rare bird observations and birding news for the Bronx. Followed users can issue alerts by tweeting with #birdbx."

Looking forward to finding fun birds and sharing them #birdbx!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Birding is chancy!

Birding is chancy.

When I take a second loop around a trail or make a repeat pass at a spot visited earlier, it amazes me the things that I saw the first time that I did not see the second time (sometimes the second pass is better, and I feel lucky to have repeated my steps).

Birding is just like that. To connect with a bird, you have to be going in a direction that puts you in the path of a bird. Slightly different trajectories could cause the connection to be missed. For all the sightings I do make, there are probably many more that do not happen because a difference of a few feet of distance, a timing off by a few seconds or minutes, or a noise that calls my attention to the left but distracts me from the right. That birding is chancy is not a principle of birding that I stick by, but more a key understanding of how birding, and perhaps life, works.

I have been deepening this understanding since I started looking at birds, and even using that phrase, "birding is chancy," for years. Two recent experiences from the last couple weeks in the Bronx demonstrate the understanding perfectly.