Saturday, June 23, 2012

Birding New Mexico

One of my co-workers is an enthusiastic birder (she's one of the top 100 eBirders in New Mexico!) & she's inspired me to take on a completely new subject today: birding or birdwatching.

You think you know birding?  My dad looks for birds in his backyard & on walks, & I've always considered him a birdwatcher, but there are whole aspects of birding I'd never considered. According to Wikipedia, "In the 20th century most of the birding activity in North America was done on the east coast. The publication of Roger Tory Peterson's field guide in 1934 led to the initial increase in birding. Binoculars became more easily available after World War II, which made this easier. About 4% of North Americans were interested in birding in the 1970s and in the mid 1980s at least 11% were found to watch birds at least 20 days of the year. An estimate of 61 million birders was made in the late 1980s." There are birding activities, such as planned excursions to foreign climes to observe birds; some birders participate in a volunteer census such as the Christmas Bird Count;& there are competitive birdwatching competitions such as "Big Day" (teams have 24 hours to identify as many species as possible).  Ever heard of "twitching" or "chasing"?  Not a synonym for birder, a "twitcher" is someone who travels long distances to see a rare bird to check it off a list. 

My co-worker took up birding several years ago & has totally immersed herself in the birding world!  If you are interested in learning about birding or taking field trips with other birders, she suggests that you "like" Central New Mexico Audobon Society on Facebook for updates; the Rio Grande Nature Center has guided bird walks on Saturday & Sunday; & she recommends the UNM campus (including the duck pond) & the Sandia foothills (where the east/west roads end) as prime birding locations.

Some new & recommended reads for adult birders:

Bird Sense: What It's Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead

Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song by Les Beletsky

The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior by David Allen Sibley

Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans by John Marzluff and Tony Angell

What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young

Zen Birding by David M. White & Susan M. Guyette

Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul

New Mexico Bird Finding Guide by John Parmeter, Bruce Neville, & Doug Emkalns

Birding Hotspots of Central New Mexico by Judy Liddell & Barbara Hussey

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik (the book was also adapted into a movie)


Know a child interested in birding or want to interest a child in birding?  Try these titles!

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns

Olivia's Birds: Saving the Gulf by Olivia Bouler

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

What's That Bird?: Getting to Know the Birds Around You, Coast-to-Coast by Joseph Choiniere & Claire Mowbray Goldin

Backyard Bird Watching for Kids: How to Attract, Feed, and Provide Homes for Birds by George H. Harrison


Online resources for birders:

Central NM Audobon Society

NM Ornithological Society

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

American Birding Association

1 comment:

Kristin said...

The Main Library is hosting a talk by Cole Wolf, experienced birder and Audubon Society member. If you want to know more about birds, birding or birders, you should plan to attend on Saturday, August 11 at 10:30 am.