3 SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP BIRDS THIS SPRING

People always ask me, “Hey look, it’s the Bearded ‘Burgher Birder Blogger in Boulder! Tell me, ‘5B,’ now that it’s the ‘spring migration’ for birds, what can I do to help?!” Thanks for the question! What a great question! I’ll answer it three times:

1) FEED the birds to help them survive the harsh springtime!

Here in Boulder we basically feed our pet chickens almost every day, so I thought I could help even more types of birds if I threw out regular birdseed with the chicken feed (food)! The results have been astounding!

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Look at the incredible outdoor aviary I have! Besides all our different-colored chickens, we feed all the local House Sparrows, European Starlings, and Eurasian Collared-Doves to help them survive, too! I ought to charge admission to come see this!

2) SAVE birds’ lives by making your garbage “bird-safe!”

Now that the weather is heating back up, most of us like to cool off with a refreshing six-pack of Mountain Dew. Unfortunately, the empty six-pack rings can get caught around the necks of garbage-loving birds like seagulls and ducks. (Really gives a whole new meaning to the name “Ring-necked Duck,” LOL!) So it’s very important to cut up your rings into tiny little pieces before throwing them away, and then go around to your local dumpsters to look for any more that you need to cut up!

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Every Monday and Friday you can find me at any one of Boulder’s sixteen dumpsters, doing my civic duty! All for the love of birds! And yes, since you’re probably wondering, that is indeed a cool bird tattoo peeking out from under my Peace Dove shirt! (Which leads me to the third and final way you can help birds:)

3) SHOW everyone how much you care about birds!

If you can’t carry your binoculars around everywhere (which all serious birders really should, because what if you see a bird?) then how else will people know your feelings about birds? Well, a nice start is to always wear T-shirts and baseball caps with birds on them, accompanied by tan swishy cargo pants to complete the essential “birder look.” But why stop there? Why not decorate every available space in your home with bird-related memorabilia?

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The online collage maker would only let me use a maximum of 25 images, but these are just a few of the ways that I show all my visitors how much I truly care about birds.

So this spring, make sure you do your part to help birds! Just remember: 1) FEED, 2) SAVE, 3) SHOW!!! It’s easy!

Posted in BIRDING, BIRDS, BIRDWATCHING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BIRDING IN THE PRESENCE OF GIANTS

Yes folks, I finally fulfilled a lifelong dream: birding with a celebrity birder!!! Or at least just a celebrity! Check out this eBird screenshot from my smartphone:
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Me and THE Donald Sutherland!

Wow, can you believe it?! Hollywood’s own Donald Sutherland, Kiefer’s dad and screen legend in his own right, known for such films as the film of the show MASH and those “Mockingjay” (not even a real bird!) movies, birding in MY county! What an honor! Yes, I suppose I didn’t actually meet him, since Panguitch is all the way at the other side of the county, 92 miles away. But still, the feeling of sharing “the field” with him is something I’ll always cherish. For such an American icon to choose to look for birds in this remote part of the country, possibly because my interesting blog inspired him, I am truly humbled.
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I couldn’t find any photos of him birding, which is nice that the paparazzi would know not to disturb him during such times.

I will point out that if you take a look at the species totals on that day, you will notice that I saw nearly 5 times as many birds as Mr. Sutherland, merely from my backyard alone, while he was out on a trail.
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No contest.

I’ll further note that this may not have been the celebrity Donald Sutherland, and instead just some regular birder with the same name, in which case, apologies. I’d still love to meet the real Donald Sutherland, though!

Posted in BIRDING, BIRDS, BIRDWATCHING, CELEBRITIES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

COOL VIDEO: Winter Birding Demonstration

Just like Hollywood Legend Ben Affleck, I decided to direct AND star in my own film production! It’s shot in the traditional selfie-documentary style, and it’s all about going birding in the winter! Enjoy, and learn!

Posted in ADVENTURES, BIRDING, BIRDS, BIRDWATCHING, INFORMATION, UTAH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THREE HUGE EXCITING PIECES OF NEWS!

As the title above says, I’ve got three huge exciting pieces of news, so let’s just get right to it, shall we?! Yeah!!!

1) O.K., the gig is up! I’ve been holding out for way too long, almost bursting with excitement to announce: I CAN FINALLY AFFORD A SMARTPHONE!!!!!! (I’m typing this on my old computer because it’s much easier to type on, otherwise of course I would have thrown a ton of emojies in there!) But yes yes, I know I’ve praised the superiority of my trusty old Verizon LG Cosmos 3, and yes yes, the bird photography I took with that phone was potentially award-winning, but I could no longer pass up the chance to be able to constantly check the Facebook page for this blog from anywhere in the world, even while out birding! But apart from the obvious perks of having Facebook in my freaking pocket, this smartphone came with a “Hi-Def” camera (on the front and the back!) that takes pictures of birds (and of course selfies!) that are even clearer and wider than ever before! Check it out!:

kestrel

Just look at the exquisite details of this rock feature, exquisitely framing an American Kestrel, the smallest and therefore fastest of the falcons & hawks. Another amazing “Space Age” feature of my cool phone is it has a pen in it! I can use it to circle and thereby accentuate the birds in my photography (as demonstrated above) or perhaps even draw other birds in the frame! 😉

peace

The “selfie-mode” on my new phone has allowed me to explore the art-form in ways I never imagined possible, because now I can actually see and prepare my selfies as I’m taking them! And the larger lens is much better suited for depicting more of this long tall birder body of mine, including the remarkable Peace Dove shirt I often wear, so I was able to fully portray the true meaning of peace with this image. Except I do dislike how the shirt’s peace symbol is made out of feathers, because plucking a bird to get those feathers doesn’t seem so peaceful to me. 😦

2) I got a couple of LIFERS! recently!!!!!! For those readers who aren’t professional birders like me and merely enjoy my writing and photography skills, allow me to explain what a “LIFER!” is: it is a bird you are seeing for the very first time in your entire life, not per say an individual bird in particular but more so, say, a species of bird in particular. Each LIFER! increases your life list, which means getting one is the most important moment in a birder’s life, because it makes you an even better birder!

First up was a bird I’ve been searching for ever since I learned what birds even were, but I had only searched for it at night, because they are nocturnal, and unfortunately it’s hard to see birds at night! But then I found one that must have been blind or something and didn’t realize that it was out in the daytime: a Long-eared Owl!

longeared owl

I had not considered how much harder it would be to use my extremely large smartphone to take a photograph through my binoculars, and so this was still the best shot I could get. I realized this was a Long-eared Owl instead of the nearly identical Great-horned Owl when I saw that those were in fact ears on its head, not horns!

Beyond the regular old LIFER!, the absolute finest moment in all of birding is when you get to add another bird to your life list without even going birding! Ha! Imagine that! But yes, sometimes generous scientists decide to give us birders a “freebie” by declaring that one species is actually two! Ha! Just outta nowhere, they decide “Hey, this should probably be two different birds” and boom that’s it: got yourself a free LIFER! while you were sleeping! Ha!

woodhouse

Obviously I had already seen plenty of Western Scrub-jays all around here, but suddenly they have become Woodhouse Scrub-jays, so here is the picture of my LIFER! visiting two of my eighteen feeders!!! These ones are now called Woodhouse Scrub-jays because they primarily nest in wood birdhouses.

3) My dog Huck died! But don’t worry, I got another dog!!!, and this one I named after a bird!!!!!! At first I wanted to go with a desert species in honor of my desert heritage, so I considered simply naming her “Phainopepla,” or better still “Pyrrhuloxia,” but it seems both of those birds are actually found in more extreme deserts farther south than this part of Utah (which explains why I could never find any!), so I changed directions! ‘To the mountains,’ I thought! Southern Utah is known for its mountains, and we’ve got a doozy here in Boulder: Boulder (Mountain.) Sometimes I’ll even drive up on that mountain for a little while, so I’ve obviously seen plenty of mountain birds up there! ‘Yeah, why not a mountain bird?’ I thought, as I let out a little hum. ‘Hum? Well how about a mountain humming-bird, in fact?’ So I named her Calliope after the mountain humming-bird: the Calliope Humming-bird! These in turn were named after the Greek Goddess who had the prettiest song, because they are the humming-birds with the prettiest songs! (So far Calliope the dog doesn’t seem to have such a pretty voice, but I only ever hear it when she’s growling and snarling and barking at birds, which I just find kind of cute and funny.)

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Here’s my little darling Calliope, probably sniffing out some birds to chase around, lol. Sorry this isn’t the best quality photograph since my fingers are in the shot, but my phone is just so gigantic that it’s sometimes hard to hold.

Wow, I hope you’re all as excited as I am!!!!!! O.K., well for now I’m gonna get back on my phone to see if any of yinz guys commented on my Facebook or posted any cool Buzzfeed articles (which you can do here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Bearded-Burgher-Birder-Blogger-in-Boulder-783726771715479/, or just go to https://www.facebook.com and then in the search bar type in the words “The Bearded ‘Burgher Birder Blogger in Boulder”) but I hope to have more higher quality posts like this in the near future!!!!!!

Posted in BIRDING, BIRDS, BIRDWATCHING, PHOTOGRAPHY, TECHNOLOGY | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Bout Being a Bigger, Better, Bolder Birder in Beautiful Boulder

After reading about my fearlessly epic takeover of the Utah birding scene, I’ll bet hundreds of my faithful readers have been compelled to ask this very question but simply forgot to leave any blog comments: “Hey BBBBinB, what exactly is it even really like to be a birder in Boulder? Tell us all about what exactly it’s even really like to just live out there in the genuine Wild Wild West!”

Well, hypothetical questioner, I sort of already did that here: 2015: My “Big Year” of Birding in the Utah Desert and here: A tad bit more about myself: Why I’m such a birding expert, not to mention the post I wrote about my 2014 Thanksgiving visit to Utah: Happy “Turkey Day” from the BBB… Out West!, oh and I dearly hope you haven’t forgotten this captivating report about my first tantalizing taste of Garfield County eBird glory: Nov. 24th – Dec. 10th, 2014: The ‘Burgher Birder Blogger’s Better Birding in Boulder, but yeah let me tell you all about what exactly it’s even really like to be the best birder in Boulder, and beyond!

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Now that I’m fully acclimated to the Utah birding lifestyle, don’t I just naturally look the part of the best birder within a hundred miles?! Check out my cool camo binocular suspenders, my cool hairstyle, of course my cool bandanna, and how cool it is to be able to get away with drinking a thirst-quenching and respectably low-in-alcohol can of beer while out birding in the middle of the desert, because it is truly LAWLESS out here, just like in the movies!!!

goldfinch

We still have some regular American Goldfinches here like back in the ‘Burgh, but right in my Boulder backyard (you can tell it’s mine since there’s a bird feeder) I found this other yellow (gold) finch, known as the Lower Goldfinch. These males are not quite as vibrantly colored as the American Goldfinch, which makes sense, since nothing shines brighter than America.

falconer

Again reiterating that this is called “The Wild Wild West,” there are actual falconers out here! And here’s me in front of a real live falconer’s falconing falcon! You can tell this one is a juvenile due to the extensive barring on its chest and the extensive barring on its window.

So those three images nicely exemplify my current birding life: how cool I look while birding, plus a couple of endemic birds of The Wild Wild West! And all this sweet birding action has pretty much totally paid off big time, as I’m already over ONE HUNDRED birds for the year,  which is over TWICE as much as the sorry second-place competition (my girlfriend Heather): Top 100 eBirders in Garfield County, 2016

But delving deeper, allow me to demonstrate how a desert dweller like me must fully appreciate and utilize the entire desert landscape in order to survive, not merely the beautiful birds. There are even some decent-looking rocky areas to look at! Sadly there aren’t really that many plants around since it’s the desert and all, but otherwise I would be forced to admire even those!

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Scenes like this are all too commonplace out here. While this provided a fine enough vista for the solo picnic outing I took last week, can you even imagine how much more incredible this would look if they Rushmored it?! Maybe carve a few of our modern heroes up there, like Ronald Reagan, or even Nancy Reagan, rest her soul.

ashtray

There actually are some pretty neat desertological features out here, like this magical place known collocally as “The Cosmic Ashtray,” which I guess is because it’s filled with some sort of reddish-brown ashes. Though I should really point out the coolest part of this photograph: my cool bird bandanna that I only wear to magical places like this and the dishwasher’s station at work!

But beyond walking aimlessly and sweatily around the empty desert, and finding every last bird in the county, there really isn’t really a whole lot to really do out here in Utah really… So unfortunately I don’t have many other breathtaking photographs or delightful tales about my life Out West, sorry fans. Thank Godwit I’ve got the title of Best Ever County Birder to boast about, otherwise one might think I’m wasting my time being out here when I could easily be living somewhere more fun like Downtown in the ‘Burgh or even Buffalo, NY.

cliff geese

I do need to show off my biggest local birding achievement to date: I discovered the county’s first record of nesting Cliff Geese! I think that must be their nests tucked up under the ledge there, which I deduced scientifically by simply observing that this would be a safe place for warding off predators, so that is naturally where the geese’s instincts would tell them to nest! Darwinism at its finest!

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And here’s a shot of a “family moment” between Heather & me. While I was trying to photographically depict my cooler new mullet hairstyle and cooler new bandanna with feather, little did I know Heather was pranking me by making this selfie too raunchy and thus unsuitable to print and frame like all my others!

One final amazing Western fact involving that last image: since this is the desert, there is only one local bird big enough and black enough to have left behind that feather which I grandly thrust into my bandanna like a modern day Yankee Doodle: the California Condor! As you may have heard, these birds are now extinct, so in a way, this photograph is a poignantly symbolic homage to the countless extinct tribes of Native Americans, who also wore feathers in their bandannas like I do. Having spent a full year Out West, I can now confidently say I wholly understand the plight of the American Indian.

Posted in ADVENTURES, BIRDING, BIRDS, GEOLOGY, SCIENCE, UTAH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video Study: Nightjar Vocalizations

If you’ve ever been outside, then you ought to know that birds sure make some kooky noises! (Or should that be cuckoo noises? 😉 ) Well, I finally made an instructional video for yinz to understand just what the heck kinds of birds you might be hearing! Enjoy!

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A tad bit more about myself: Why I’m such a birding expert

Okay, jeez. My “so-called” fans have spoken, as two different people have informed me that my last post didn’t include any photographs of birds, or even say a single thing about birds. But come on people, I gave vital insider insight into how I skyrocketed to the top of the ranks, a quite candid and dare I say “no holes barred” look into how we professional birders really do business. Another two people doubted that I really even am much of a birding expert. Ummm… WRONG!!! Did you even read that last post???! I’m the number one birder EVER in Garfield County! I trust you’ve seen this already: http://ebird.org/ebird/top100?locInfo.regionCode=US-UT-017&year=AAAA

Ummm… yeah. That Ryan McDermott.

But to humor the doubters and the “haterz,” allow me to introduce myself: I’m the All-Time Birding Leader for Garfield County, and here’s why:

A geese

This is just a primo example of me in my straight up natural environment. Note: the birds easily approach me without hesitation, whilst my beleaguered colleague holds out his hand in vain. They are only drawn towards me! [Disclaimer: this was taken in St. Louis, Missouri in March 2014, so it unfortunately didn’t count towards my “Big Year” of 2015, but how cool would that have been?]

B ducks

Further evidence. Note: not only have I allured 3 different species within the span of 2 images (Canadian Goose, American Brown Duck, and Swan), but I think the other gentleman’s expression truly says all you need to know: I am an AMAZING birder!!! Further note: my binoculars are cast off behind me, because I often don’t even need them to identify birds!!!!! (I do apologize for this shot being slightly NSFW, since it shows off my “lower rump region” as all we serious bird experts refer to it.)

C items

Exhibit C: My own Sibley Guide to Birds (note how worn out it is from me constantly reading it), my Birding Utah guide (which has helped me find nearly every bird in Utah), Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (a treatise on why you should be kind to animals, including birds), and my napkin rings which are shaped like ducks.

That enough for ya? Yeah, I thought it might be, but let’s go deeper, dawg. Allow me to show you the true lengths I go in order to be the “numbero uno” birder around.

D xmas

That’s right, I’ve done a little something called THE CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, ever heard of it?! I love birds so much, I spent Christmas with them like they were my own family, instead of being with my real family. And you bet that’s the finest quality bird seed behind me, and you better bet that I always feed the birds outside my house, inside my house, and everywhere else I go! In other words: birds depend on me for survival.

E whistle

Here’s a peaceful image of me just whistling away, like a bird. You can’t hear it since it’s just a selfie, but let me assure you: I sound just like one!

The main reason I’m such a Bird Master is that I’m highly-trained in all the ancient birding techniques. One such insider method is a little thing we do called “pishing,” wherein one produces this whispery sound by pushing air through one’s teeth, making a noise sort of like “pish pish pish.” This sound attracts birds, because it is very annoying, so sometimes they’ll fly right up and try to peck you so you’ll stop. I swear by the pishing system, it’s how I’ve seen every single bird I’ve ever seen. This one time, I was pishing near some bushes, and I heard a mysterious bird from deep within the bushes, so I pished harder. I stood there just pishing and pishing, I probably pished for a solid five minutes! It flowed right out of me, sometimes it feels so good to pish! Then I noticed some family with small children walking past me while I was awkwardly just standing there pishing into the bushes, but what could I do, I had to pish! Their little boy came over and curiously watched me while I pished, and then he started to pish himself! It was so cute! Unfortunately I never did see that bird.

F art

Yinz all know I’m a renowned bird artist, as demonstrated here: Drawing Study: Beaks of the Finches. But I’ll have you know these skillz extend into the 3-D(imentional) realm, as well! Why, from an ordinary flat piece of paper, I’ve crafted the unmistakable likeness of a swan! (I had forgotten this was supposed to be a swan when I took this photograph and mistakenly provided comparison images of geese, but I suppose it could be a goose, too. That’s the beauty of talented art: always open to interpretation!)

G Florida

Here I am just sippin’ my morning brew (Clamato) out of, yep, you guessed it: a mug with birds on it! [Disclaimer: I have never seen parrots in the wild nor ever been to Florida.]

Given that it ain’t just called “The Wild Wild West” for nothin’, I’m even allowed to own birds out here!!! When I was informed by the thought police at eBird HQ that my Utah State Record ostriches were most likely farm birds and thus wouldn’t count towards my score, I was annoyed, but also a little excited, because that meant maybe it was possible to own an ostrich of my very own! After researching the requirements for keeping an ostrich (yes, I’ll humbly admit, sometimes I don’t know everything about birds, and occasionally I need to look things up), I decided to go for a smaller variety, so I got some chickens. Their names are Chickenzie, Repecka, Ericluck, Egglizabeth, Leslie Niels-Hen, Chicken Soup For My Soul, and Porky 1 and Porky 2, just because I love those movies Porky’s and Porky’s II: The Next Day.

H Chickenzie

LOL, the chickens just love me! And I love them too, obv., which is why I’ll certainly never kill them or eat them and always let them have all the food and attention they could ever want, so don’t go tweeting PETA on me or anything! As I consider them all my children, I don’t even let myself eat their eggs, since that would be akin to eating my own unborn grandchildren.

I proof

As the final proof of my prowess, I give you this photograph taken out in the real world, A.K.A. The Wilderness, where I’m holding up these cool bird feathers that I easily found all by myself. (Expert advice: you should always wear safety gloves when handling wild bird parts, because birds are filthy little critters and you don’t know where they’ve been.)

Still want to doubt I know a thing or two about birds? Nah, didn’t think so, bro.

Your Honor, I rest my case.

 

 

 

 

Posted in ADVENTURES, ART, BIRDING, BIRDS, cool, PHOTOGRAPHY, UTAH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments