Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Birder Survey

Taking a clue from Patrick of The Hawk Owl's Nest, I've taken a crack at completing his birder survey. My responses:

What state (or country) do you live in? West Virginia, USA.
How long have you been birding? 42 years (off and on).
Are you a "lister"? Once upon a time, but not currently .
ABA Life List: 500+ (or thereabouts), including ca. 230 in Alaska .
Overall Life List: I have no idea (but it includes additional species seen in the British Isles and Europe).
3 Favorite Birding Spots: Aleutian Islands, AK; Warren Woods State Park, MI; Point Pelee National Park, ON.
Favorite birding spot outside your home country: Scotland (the only other country in which I’ve ever really spent much time birding).
Farthest you've traveled to chase a rare bird: An overnight, round-trip drive from Anchorage to north-central Alaska to see a Red-breasted Sapsucker, the first for Alaska.
Nemesis bird: White-tailed Ptarmigan.
"Best" bird sighting: Kirtland’s Warbler (a self-found bird while still in high school).
Most wanted trip: south Texas in the spring.
Most wanted bird: Greater Prairie-Chicken.
What model and brand of bins do you use? Nikons.
What model and brand of scope do you use? None at present.
What was the last lifer you added to your list?: Little Blue Heron.
Where did you see your last lifer? Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
What's the last bird you saw today? European Starling (can't we declare them "illegal aliens" and ship them all back home?).
Best bird song you've heard ever: Wood Thrush.
Favorite birding moment: Imagine sitting amongst the jumbled talus of an auklet colony at Buldir Island, Alaska, on a summer evening, with auklets of four species (Parakeet, Crested, Whiskered, Least) whirling about in massive flocks and individual birds sitting briefly atop boulders before entering or departing their nesting cavities, add in Horned and Tufted puffins for good measure, and top it off with a roaring symphony of Steller’s sea lions in the distance. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Least favorite thing(s) about birding: Mosquitoes, ticks, poison ivy, heat & humidity, and hay fever.
Favorite thing about birding: The birds!
Favorite field guide for the US: Robbins (still one of the best, and you can actually carry it into the field with you without feeling over-burdened)
Favorite non-field guide bird book: Joseph J. Hickey’s A guide to birdwatching.
Who is your birder icon? Sorry, I can’t settle on just one, so here are several people that I admire. I’d have to put Chan Robbins at the top of the list for bringing us the Breeding Bird Survey and his field guide (the first to cover all North American species in one volume), Roger Tory Peterson for his innovative field guides that I (like most others) slept with and cut my teeth on; and David G. Sibley for his birding skills and artistic talent and for standing up to the Cornell establishment regarding the supposed identification of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas.
Do you have a bird feeder(s)? No.
Favorite feeder bird? Red-breasted Nuthatches (when I did have feeders) gathering peanut butter to carry back to their young. And flying squirrels!

2 Comments:

Blogger Patrick Belardo said...

John,

Thanks for doing the survey. It sounds like you've seen a lot of great birds and had a lot of great Alaskan experience. I have a copy of Robbins' guide on my shelf that was my dad's from the 70's. I think I should give it another look!

November 03, 2006 9:12 AM  
Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

Wow I'm not sure I could answer many of those... one trip? One bird? Definitely would need to ponder...

Little Blue Heron??? Bro, you musta spent a WHOLE lotta time out west and up north!

November 03, 2006 11:39 PM  

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