Sunday, March 8, 2009

Birding by ear opportunity in Ohio

Attention all Ohio birders! (And any other birders who might want to travel to Ohio!) I want to tell you about a very special birding by ear workshop that's coming up at the end of May. It's the 5th annual Birding by Ear weekend workshop, being held at the Wilds from May 29-31. If you've been to the Wilds before, you know what an amazing place it is. If you have not been before, this would be a great "excuse" for you to go. Here's a brief synopsis of the weekend, as listed on their site:
  • Learn from regional experts on birding research and sound ID
  • Find new list birds for the un-birded Wilds
  • Birding by canoe
  • Bird banding demo
  • Enjoy quiet nights around a campfire
  • Attract hawks with broadcasts
  • Search for owls and whippoorwills after dark
  • Explore the lands of the Wilds and AEP
  • Four catered meals provided by the Wilds' restaurant (Sat morning to Sun morning)
  • Bunk in Mongolian yurts for 2 nights (modern showerhouse is available)
I got my first taste of the Wilds last September when I attended a very cool weekend photography camp (which will be back by popular demand this year, this time on 2 separate weekends). It was someplace I had been wanting to go for years, and what better excuse to go than to get my photography learnin' on? Well, now I'm gonna get my bird learnin' on! I am so psyched!

To help me get prepared for both this trip and spring migration in general, I have two books that I'm using:

The Backyard Birdsong Guide (available for both eastern and western North America) is written by Donald Kroodsma, a "recognized expert on bird songs," according to the Cornell Lab. The book was written in conjunction with the lab, and all of the recordings are from the lab's own Macaulay Library. I haven't compared them, but I bet many of the recordings are the same as the ones on the lab's All About Birds pages. This book is unique in that it has an audio player built right into the book. The book also features range maps for each bird featured, as well as multiple recordings for most of the birds.

The Songs of Wild Birds by Lang Elliott comes with a CD that showcases the songs and sounds of 50 different birds, along with some commentary by the author. The book contains beautiful color photos of each featured bird, many of them actually caught in the act of singing.

A third tool in my birding by ear toolbox is a CD put out by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and it features the songs of the 99 most common birds of Ohio. (Ever notice that Cardinal wildlife icon over in my sidebar? The purchase of these special Cardinal license plates helps to support the Division of Wildlife, and to make projects like this CD possible.)

So, my fellow Ohio birders, are you up for some good birding fun at the end of May? If so, I'll see you at the Wilds!

By the way, I have a funny little "you know you're a bird geek when..." story to share. The other night Dave and I were watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and there were some birds on the planet they were exploring. Funnily enough, the song of the Eastern Wood Pewee (one of my favorites!) was used a couple of times. The first time we heard it, we were like, "Wait, was that a Pewee?" The second time we heard it, we knew it without a doubt. Yes friends, they have Pewees in the Delta quadrant - who knew?!


Kallen305 said...

Very cool and something I need to desperately learn. I have thought about the books but I am terrible learning that way. I am much better off learning with my own ears out in the wild but they may be good to confirm the songs after I hear them.

The tufted titmouse has been playing a lot of games with me lately with all of its various songs. I thought one was a cardinal today. HA!

Kelly said...

...sounds like something I'd like to do. Thanks for posting the info. I have the Ohio bird song CD...and the book...and the Lang Elliott CD too. We're birds of a feather... Great catch on the Star Trek episode. Have you seen previews for the new Star Trek movie? I can't wait to see it.

Monika said...

What a great idea! Learning bird calls is definitely hard, especially if you're trying to learn from a book! The best way is to get out there with other more knowledgeable birders. Unfortunately I'm too far away to attend this Ohio workshop....

Great story about Star Trek! I always notice bird songs in TV/movies, too, and it's funny how often they play a bird call in the wrong habitat....I guess the Delta Quadrant would qualify as just that!

KaHolly said...

Oh, I'm so envious!! I want to go! Hopefully, someday, I'll be able to travel to events such as this. Have lots of fun. You are certainly well prepared.

Shellmo said...

What a fun event Heather! I'll expect a full report afterwords! Laughing at your Star Trek - bird story! (My hubby and I were watching a movie the other day and I heard a chickadee in the background - lol!)

The Early Birder said...

I'm very jealous - the agenda sounds great. Have a 'sound' time.

RuthieJ said...

Sounds like a fun birding weekend....too bad I live so far away!

Heather said...

Kallen - All in good time. With migratory bird weekend coming up in a few months, be on the lookout for bird walks and other bird outings, which are always good places to learn birds calls and songs. And yes, the CDS are good for reinforcement of what you already know and/or what you're rusty on.

Kelly - You should totally come. Maybe you could even bring Matty! I have some vague recollection of a new Star Trek movie preview, but that's about it. If there's no Capt. Janeway, I don't want it!

Monika - I consider myself an "independent learner", so learning by listening to CDs (or the Cornell site) has actually worked pretty well for me, but instruction in the field sure doesn't hurt either! Wish you lived closer so you could come!

KaHolly - I think I'll consider myself a die-hard birder when I decide to travel out of state to go to a birding event. Luckily this is only a few hours drive for me. I can't wait!

Shelley - I do plan to report back after the weekend is over, so I'll tell you alllll about it!

Frank - The only thing I don't look forward to is getting up EARLY for morning birding (especially if we'll be up looking for owls and such late at night!). But it will be fantastic.

Ruthie - Ahhh, c'mon... I think we had someone from Arkansas attending the photo camp in the fall. hee hee! I'll tell you all about it after it's over... you'll feel like you were there.