Sometimes I go out birding and find myself questioning every bird ID because I didn't see it that well or hear it that well. Sometimes I start mixing up chip notes. Sometimes I mix up finch songs, accipiter shapes, goose calls, or take fifty photos of a distant Savannah Sparrow because it looks weird. Some days I feel like a terrible birder that is only getting worse.
We had an accipiter fly over the house in Lincoln City last weekend and I shot off a few quick photos. Once at home and staring at the photos I was confused, went back and forth with Sibley and photos on eBird. Finally I concluded it was a Sharp-shinned.
It has that no-neck look, a shorter tail, wings pushed forward, etc. Anyway. Then I posted this photo of the same hawk on Instagram that I thought looked cool as a photo quiz:
Someone guessed the ID on the first try.
I overthink bird ID's sometimes while other times I don't think hard enough. I recently told someone that a Green-winged Teal they had p…
An article about the 10-year challenge popped up while I was trying to think of ideas for a 10-year blog anniversary post. The premise is simple: post a photo of yourself from 10 years ago next to a current photo of yourself. Perfect. Here is the bird blog version.
Birding in 2009... The main difference between then and now is that then I didn't know I was birding. Yes, I was going out and taking lots of photos of birds and yes, I started this blog specifically to keep track of what I was seeing (and share it all with my mom who loves birds). But I didn't know birding was a thing. I had no idea what a life list was, or a county list, or eBird or OBOL or any of that.
Also, I ignored small birds for the most part.
Fall 2009, Jackson Bottom Wetlands
When I did venture a guess at a small bird I was wrong. I called this a Savannah Sparrow.
Bird ID in 2009... I would open up my Peterson's Guide and make my best guess, throw it on my blog, and wait to see if one of my …
A year ago I was encouraging my fellow birders to join a challenge with no even playing field and no prizes. I was expecting maybe 20 people to take on the 2019 5MR Challenge, but ended up with over 200. As the year progressed many dropped out though a few new ones joined up, even into fall. The final-ish list stands at 164 participants, mostly from the United States but also Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and Bangladesh.
I must admit, my goal was never to be competitive about it but it seemed like the best way to get birders to try a 5MR list. The amazing thing is that it worked. A lot of people chose to bird close to home this year, to drive less and explore more, to choose to bird nearby locations rather than the most visited hotspots in the county.
It turns out 5MR birding is also an excellent way to get to know a new area as Jacob and I have discovered with our new house in Lincoln City. There are a few hotspots around that I was familiar with but so many more areas …