2013 Bird Migration Giveaway- Only Four Days Left!

Stephenson_WarblerGWith just four days left to enter, don’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event! In honor of the 2013 bird migration, we’re celebrating all through fall with some of our best books on birding, some of our best experts on identifying them, and with a giveaway with a chance to win some free stuff!

The Crossley ID GuideOur prize package includes a copy of three our our best books about birding: The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How To Be A Better Birder

How to enter? There are numerous ways to enter, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). Just follow the steps in the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember, the giveaway ends Tuesday night (October 1st) at midnight, so enter now!


And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, click on the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

 

The Raptor Round-Up: Identifying Birds of Prey

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or not, the sight of a raptor in the sky is an impressive image. From hawks, to falcons, to our illustrious bald eagle, raptors are the kings of the sky, so it seems only right to pay homage to them during this fall migration season.

Listed below we have five of Princeton University Press’ best titles about raptors, including The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, which you can win a free copy of (along with some other cool bird-watching gear) by checking out our fall migration giveaway. There are multiple ways to enter, all of which are outlined at the bottom of this page, or by clicking here. Enjoy!

The Crossley ID Guide
The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

By: Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan
Part of the revolutionary Crossley ID Guide series, this is the first raptor guide with lifelike scenes composed from multiple photographs–scenes that allow you to identify raptors just as the experts do. Experienced birders use the most easily observed and consistent characteristics–size, shape, behavior, probability, and general color patterns. The book’s 101 scenes–including thirty-five double-page layouts–provide a complete picture of how these features are all related. Comprehensive and authoritative, the book covers all thirty-four of North America’s diurnal raptor species.

Hawks At a Distance
Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors

By: Jerry Liguori
With a foreword by Pete Dunne
Hawks at a Distance is the first volume to focus on distant raptors as they are truly seen in the field. The field guide’s nineteen full-color portraits, 558 color photos, and 896 black-and-white images portray shapes and plumages for each species from all angles. Useful flight identification criteria are provided and the accompanying text discusses all aspects of in-flight hawk identification, including flight style and behavior. Concentrating on features that are genuinely observable at a distance, this concise and practical field guide is ideal for any aspiring or experienced hawk enthusiast.

Raptors
A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors

By: Brian K. Wheeler & William S. Clark
Whether soaring or perched, diurnal birds of prey often present challenging identification problems for the bird enthusiast. Variable plumage, color morphs, and unique individual characteristics are just some of the factors bird watchers must consider when identifying the different species. In this authoritative reference, two of the world’s top experts on raptors provide an essential guide to the variations in the species, allowing for easier recognition of key identification points. All the distinguishing marks described have been exhaustively tested in a wide range of field conditions by the authors as well as the colleagues and students who have learned from them.

Hawks
Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors In Flight

By: Jerry Liguori
Foreword by David A. Sibley
Across North America, people gather every spring and fall at more than one thousand known hawk migration sites, yet a standard field guide, with its emphasis on plumage, is often of little help in identifying those raptors soaring, gliding, or flapping far, far away. Hawks from Every Angle offers a fresh approach that literally looks at the birds from every angle, compares and contrasts deceptively similar species, and provides the pictures (and words) needed for identification in the field. Jerry Liguori pinpoints innovative, field-tested identification traits for each species from the various angles that they are seen.

Raptors
Raptors of Eastern North America: The Wheeler Guides

By:Brian K. Wheeler
Raptors of Eastern North America–together with its companion volume, Raptors of Western North America–are the best and most thorough guides to North American hawks, eagles, and other raptors ever published. Abundantly illustrated with hundreds of full-color high-quality photographs, they are essential books for anyone seeking to identify these notoriously tricky-to-identify birds.

Raptors
Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guides

By:Brian K. Wheeler
Raptors of Western North America–together with its companion volume, Raptors of Eastern North America–are the best and most thorough guides to North American hawks, eagles, and other raptors ever published. Abundantly illustrated with hundreds of full-color high-quality photographs, they are essential books for anyone seeking to identify these notoriously tricky-to-identify birds.


The Crossley ID GuideDon’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win these awesome prizes? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, click on the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

Author Derek Lovitch’s Birding at Monhegan Island

Keeping with this feathered trend, Derek Lovitch, author of How to Be a Better Birder, has been blogging full steam ahead about his birdwatching this fall, including his adventures on Monhegan Island earlier this week. While there weren’t too many birds to be spotted this week, it didn’t stop Lovitch from taking some cool pictures and having a few rare sightings!

Be sure to check out Lovitch’s blog, MaineBirdingFieldNotes, and to scroll to the bottom of the page to check out our Fall Migration Giveaway.


Monhegan Island, 9/20-22/2013

On a morning with a big overnight migration in the fall, there’s no where I’d rather be than SandyPoint.  I just wish there was a direct ferry from there right to MonheganIsland.  Any other time, I would just rather be on Monhegan.

While our annual MonhegZEN Fall Migration Weekend coming up this weekend (still some space available), Jeannette and I headed to the island Friday through Sunday for a few days of birding and visiting with friends.  It was kinda odd being there without a group!  Not surprisingly, I did not bird much less hard.

I’ll post some radar images from the weekend on a forthcoming blog entry that I hope to post by day’s end.  A decent flight Thursday night into Friday produced a fair amount of birds on the island, even after our late (relatively speaking) arrival at 10:00am, and even though it seemed – as is often the case on calm mornings – birds that arrived at dawn continued on to the mainland.  Three of our first handful of species, however, were Philadelphia Vireo, Cape May Warbler, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  Welcome (back) to Monhegan.

The birding improved in the afternoon, highlighted by a Western Kingbird.
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A Lark Sparrow and two Dickcissels – all present for a few days – were enjoyed (here, one of the Dickcissels with the Lark Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow in the background). Typical “Monhegan Trash Birds:” birds that are noteworthy anywhere else in the state but are fully expected in an autumn visit here.
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We ended up with 67 species of birds on the day, including 11 species of warblers.  Yup, a slow day of birding on Monhegan beats a good day of birding almost anywhere else.  Light southerly winds that developed over the course of the day became calm by nightfall, and call notes early in the night were suggestive of birds departing the island.
IMG_1571
With a southerly flow aloft, I didn’t have high hopes of a lot of new arrivals for the next morning.  The radar image, simply put, was weird – some sort of temperature anomaly or perhaps a malfunction, so I couldn’t use that to confirm or alleviate my concerns.  A mere handful of bird overhead at dawn on Saturday morning confirmed it though – there was not much on the move overnight.

Fog rolled in and out for most of the morning, clearing out in the afternoon on an increasing south to southwesterly breeze.  We beat the bush hard, and covered a lot of ground, but birds were hard to come by.  There were quite a few more Yellow-rumped Warblers around than on previous mornings, Kristen noted, and we added plenty of species to our trip list over the course of the day.  While the Dickcissels apparently departed, the Lark Sparrow continued, and the island was now up to three Clay-colored Sparrows.
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Clay-colored Sparrows, Dickcissels, and Lark Sparrow, check:  the triumvirate of Midwestern regular-rarities out here.  Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a tarrying Eastern Kingbird, a Semipalmated Plover, and a good afternoon Northern Gannet show were the other highlights of what amounted to be an exceptionally slow day of birding for Monhegan in the fall.  Nevertheless, complaints were not uttered – we were on Monhegan! – and besides, I got to mooch a TV (Thanks Paul and Sue!) to watch Rutgers come from behind to defeat Arkansas in an exciting finish, and we visited the Monhegan Brewing Company.  Yup, tough day.
_MG_9963_edited-2
This young Peregrine Falcon – with a bulging crop from its last meal – also had a good day.

Unfortunately, an increasing southerly wind overnight precluded much in the way of any migration.  Take a look at the next blog to see what “almost nothing” looks like on a radar image.  Clouds were thick by dawn, too, but the rain held off until after breakfast.  After another fulfilling and scrumptious breakfast at the Trailing Yew, Jeannette, Kristen, and I headed down to Lobster Cove for a bit of seawatching.  We could see the wall of rain on the radar, and we could now see it on the horizon.  But as it marched closer, tubenoses joined the gannets.  In a mere 15 minutes or so, 20+ Great Shearwaters and 6+ Sooty Shearwaters zoomed through my scope.  And then the skies opened up.  This is what a line of rain – ahead of a cold front – looks like on the radar.
IMG_1573
The southerly winds were diminishing as the rain tapered off rather quickly over the course of the morning, but seawatching was less productive before lunchtime – apparently those tubenoses were all on the move just ahead of the precipitation.  But with the sun beginning to peak out after lunch, at least more birds were more visible again: two of the Clay-colored Sparrows, a Philly Vireo, etc.  Joined by Paul and Doug, we encountered a – or the – Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and then a calling flyover Lesser Yellowlegs became my 202nd species on Monhegan.

Moments later, Paul spotted a night-heron in a narrow drainage, and Doug soon relocated it.  A juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron!  Once a more regular bird in Maine, and even on Monhegan, it had been about a decade since one had made an appearance on the island.  But this bird showed up a couple of weeks ago, and was often seen foraging on grasshoppers in lawns.  Rumors of its continued presence were circulated, but there were no confirmed sightings for over a week.  Until today.
_MG_0216_edited-2
Monhegan bird #203!  And two island birds in about 10 minutes.  Now that’s the way to finish strong.

When it was time to go, we were very happy to see the waves were rapidly dropping off.  Seven foot seas this morning had been reduced to 3-4 at most as we hopped on the Hardy Boat for the trip back.  A Great Cormorant on the Outer Ducks was our 88th species for the Monhegan tally for this trip, but 88 –including a mere 13 species of warblers – was a fairly low total for three days out here at this time of year.  That being said, it could have been much lower had we not continued to beat the bush.

Two juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls joined some hopeful Herring Gulls following the boat to shore, and westerly winds were increasing as the cold front pushed through.  There would no doubt be a lot of new birds come morning on Monhegan.  While I would be sorry to miss them, I knew fun was going to be had at SandyPoint, so I was not upset.

And I was right…


How To Be A Better BirderDon’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win these awesome prizes? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, click on the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

West Coast Warbler

Following up with another crosspost from TheWarblerGuide.com, the news today is a visit to Crater Lake and a cool bird sighting to match it. Check out the fun post below (and keep scrolling to the bottom to check out our cool giveaway)!


West Coast Warbler

On a recent trip with my girlfriend, I visited Crater Lake in Oregon.  What a cool place!  Crater Lake was formed by a massive eruption about 7000 years ago, and it’s the deepest lake in North America at about 1900 feet.  It took us all morning to drive around the rim.

_DSC1625.JPG

Aside from the fascinating history and geology, there were lots of great birds, including Clark’s Nutcracker, Prairie Falcon, tons of Juncos, Western Tanagers, and so on.  One little feeding flock we came across had kinglets, chickadees and warblers, and I got a shot of this bird:

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Pretty cool!  This is definitely a west coast warbler…if I look at the West Coast Finder in the Warbler Guide (p. 113), I see that the plain, all yellow face with a dark cap and nape and white throat and body is a unique combination – Hermit Warbler.

westcoastfinderhermit.jpg

Just to take it a step further, I went to the Aging and Sexing section for Hermit Warbler – looks like this bird is a not an adult male (no black throat), and probably not a first-year female (pronounced streaking in the back), but I think that’s as far as I want to take it – adult females and first year males are similar, and this photo makes it hard to see any more useful details like the centers of the median coverts.   So it looks like an AdF/1yM Hermit – that was fun!


The Warbler GuideDon’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, check out the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

The Cape Cod Bird Festival

How To Be A Better BirderIn our continuing quest to bring you all things avian this fall migration season, below is a blog post by Derek Lovitch, author of How to Be a Better Birder. On his blog, Maine Birding Field Notes, he posts all about his bird-sightings and bird events, including the Cape Cod Bird Festival.

Derek Lovitch has worked on avian research and education projects throughout the United States, has written numerous articles for birding publications, and was a columnist for Birding magazine. He now owns and runs Freeport Wild Bird Supply in Maine.

Plus make sure you check out the bottom of this post for some exciting free downloads and giveaways!


A Weekend at the Cape Cod Bird Festival

Other than a departure point for pelagics, it has been over 15 years since I have birded Cape Cod.  Too long.  Every late summer and early fall in particular, it’s “we really should get to the Cape” for shorebirds, especially South Beach and Monomoy Island.  Well, my visit this weekend only wet my pallet for a future, more birding-intensive visit.

I was asked to join the Leica Sports Optics team of good friends Jeff Bouton and David La Puma at their booth for the first annual Cape Cod Bird Festival.  As the only Authorized Leica Optics dealer in Northern New England, I had multiple roles to play.  First, it was to be the retailer of any optics sales.  Secondly, I was there to use my first-hand experience in telling the story of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.  Leica has recently become a leading sponsor of the international effort to save this unique species.  And finally, I was there to sign some copies of my book.  Oh yeah, and do some birding and beer-ing with Jeff and David, of course.

The weather forecasts as of Thursday suggested that some good movements of migrants were about to occur.  I went to bed optimistic that the first flight would occur behind the front for Friday morning (see previous blog entry), but as I woke up to rain still falling, I knew that this was not to be.  Therefore, I began my trek southward, stopping for a short visit at Fort Foster in Kittery.  That short visit lasted a little longer than expected, as I found not one, but TWO Connecticut Warblers!

With rain still falling, I left the camera in the car.  Of course, this usually results in some exceptional photographic opportunity.  Yup, sure did.  A Connecticut Warbler (CONW) – normally a frustratingly secretive skulker in migration, walked out (the fact that it was walking, one foot in front of the other, rather than hopping itself helps to clinch the birds’ identity) onto a low branch at the edge of thick brush.  I lamented the lack of a camera, but was enthralled with my view.

A short while later, I was even more shocked to see a second CONW walking out into the relative open!  This time, I remembered that there was an iPhone in my pocket, and out of sheer desperation, I held it up to my binoculars and shot away.  It actually worked…a phone-binned CONW!  (This, as a friend pointed out, may have been a first-ever occurrence).  My best shot – relatively speaking of course – was this one.
CONW_edited-1

But this other shot nicely shows the very pink legs and exceptionally long undertail coverts.
CONW2_Fort_Foster,Kittery, 9-13-13

Oddly enough, with the exception of plenty of Common Yellowthroats, I only encountered three migrant warblers this morning…and two were CONW!  (The other being my first Palm Warbler in southern Maine this fall).  After stopping at Kelly’s Roast Beef, I finally arrived at my destination for the weekend, The Cape Codder in Hyannis.

Meeting up with David and Jeff, we got to work, and it was nice to run into quite a few other friends over the course of the weekend.  David – radar guru and creator of www.Woodcreeper.com – and I were (I know this will come as a surprise) glued to the NEXRAD images and wind forecasts in the evening, hoping to make a sound prediction for the hot birding.

IMG_1556_David_Leica,9-14-13
David works with the next generation of Leica fans.

Well, perhaps we should have tried elsewhere, as Harding Beach in Chatham was not the place to be.  In fact, we tallied the reorienting migrants on one hand (although we didn’t exactly make it there in time for sunrise).  There weren’t many passerines around the woods at Morris Island, either.  Looking at the overnight radar images, and seeing that winds were light north (instead of the forecasted NW), it was obvious that the big flight out onto the Cape just didn’t occur.  I guess the silver lining to this was that we didn’t have too hard of a time pulling ourselves away to spend the rest of the day inside.

At least I had my brand new review copy – thanks to the good folks over at the Houghton Mifflin booth – of the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching: Eastern Waterbirds in Flight by my friends Ken Behrens and Cameron Cox to page through.
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And look who I found inside!
IMG_2095_edited-1

Come evening, we enjoyed seeing Pete Dunne in his native habitat: captivating a room full of birders with his story-telling.
Pete_Dunne_atCCBF,9-14-13

Afterwards, David and I checked the radar once again.  And once again, we saw birds on the radar, but few birds east of Boston.  Take a look at the 1am radar and velocity images from the Boston area NEXRAD.  The winds were just too light to push birds well out of Cape Cod Bay, apparently.

1am radar,Boston,9-15-131am velocity, Boston,9-15-13

At least we didn’t have to make a decision as to where to start the day, as the three of us were on our way to the harbor to take part in the festival’s pelagic trip.  Like the waters north of Cape Cod (until your reach the waters off of Mount Desert Island), the summer seabirding has been dreadfully slow overall, so expectations were not too high.  The first half of the trip was living up to said low expectations, but things really picked up in the last few hours, as were well east of Cape Cod.  While the least expected seabird (for the season and the area) was probably the Leach’s Storm-Petrel, the highlight for me was this cooperative juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger.
DSC_0022_juvLTJA2,offCapeCod,9-15-13DSC_0024_juvLTJA1,offCapeCod,9-15-13

Although a fairly dark individual, we can see the fairly slim build, small head and bill, and overall more “gentle” appearance.  I flight, it seemed slim and attenuated.  The photos show the two white primary shafts on the upperwing, and the rounded central tail feathers.

We also saw at least two Parasitic Jaegers, including this one chasing a juvenile Common Tern.DSC_0013_PAJA_ad2,off Cape Cod, 9-15-13DSC_0016_PAJAad1,offCape Cod,9-15-13

Four more unidentified, distant jaegers added to the strong finish – any day with jaegers is a good day in my book.  Other highlights included a Black Tern, 14 Sooty, 5 Great, and 1 Manx Shearwater, some good looks at Red-necked Phalaropes, two Basking Sharks and a Mola Mola, but only a couple of Minke Whales.  The cloud of Tree Swallows over Monomoy was quite impressive, as were some of the offshore landbirds: a Cape May Warbler, a Magnolia Warbler, a Northern Harrier, and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron – the latter of which was voicing its displeasure about being about 15 miles from shore, heading back north towards the Cape.  Three bats – at least one that I conclusively identified as a Red Bats, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two early Great Cormorants, and a “pelagic” Cloudless Sulfur rounded out what, in the end, was actually a fairly productive outing.

It was a long drive home afterwards, however.  Luckily, southwesterly winds suggested I wouldn’t have to wake up early to get to Sandy Point for dawn.  However, take a look at the radar image.  Once again, I’ve included the 1am image for the example.  It looks like a ton of birds!
1amradar,9-16-131amvelocity,9-16-13
But the velocity image suggested little to no speed for whatever was in the air (it was not foggy last night), so I do not know what it was.

There was little overhead in the morning in either our yard or at Old Town House Park, so I don’t think I was mistaken about this not being a big flight of birds.  Furthermore, in a short listening session before going to bed, I heard very, very little.

Tonight, however…well, let’s just say that I will be at Sandy Point tomorrow morning!  I just hope the winds stay more northwesterly than north, or – gasp – northeasterly by morning as currently suggested by the wind forecast I like to use.
11pm wind forecast,9-16-13

To check out the post on Derek Lovitch’s blog, click here.


Plus, don’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, check out the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

The Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle Fall Warbler Warm-Up

StephensonTom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, authors of The Warbler Guide, have begun blogging like crazy as the fall migration season begins. Their blog, TheWarblerGuide.com, contains posts like the one below, which we will be posting here as well for your bird-viewing pleasure.

Tom Stephenson’s articles and photos have appeared in Birding and Bird Watcher’s Digest, at Surfbirds.com, and in the Handbook of the Birds of the World. He has guided groups across the United States and Asia. A musician, he has had several Grammy and Academy Award winners as clients, and was director of technology at Roland Corporation.

Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, New Jersey, and has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and is a onetime New York State Big Year record holder.

Plus make sure you check out the bottom of this post for some exciting free downloads and giveaways!


Fall is here (for birders, anyway) and warbler migration is underway!  We thought it might be a good time to try a quiz on one of the more frequently confused warblers… here it is:

CAMWAR100911_25v2.jpg

Quiz photos can be a little weird since you only get one look at the bird, and they lack all the other useful cues we use when birding like habitat, behavior, probability, etc…but that’s part of the fun!  Let’s supplement a little here – this bird seems smallish, it’s actively picking insects out of this low cedar, and it’s in Cape May, NJ in September.  Once or twice we see it chase another warbler away from the branch it’s on.  So now that the scene is set, let’s get started.

First, this is a drab bird.  Mostly gray, with some greenish/yellowish tinging, the first issue with this bird is finding ANY field marks!  Actually, that impression of a “lack” of field marks is a good clue, and is a common experience with this bird.

Looking at the finders in the Warbler Guide, I see a few possibilities…

07-11_Warblers_109,115_110-111v1.jpg

So what can we look at that might narrow it down?  Let’s get beyond the “plain gray” thing and see what we can see…the bird has a fine pointy bill, and it looks slightly drooped or decurved.  There is some blurry streaking that goes through the flanks, and maybe the faintest, patchy yellow tinge around the breast.  If I look at the finder, I can eliminate the birds that don’t have distinct streaking:

07-11_Warblers_109,115_110-111v2.jpg

I see two other birds I can eliminate here…the Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) has yellow shoulder patches, and a white malar/throat, which our bird lacks, and the Palm Warbler has a yellow undertail and wide supercillium, while our bird’s undertail is white, with only an eyeline and eye arcs.  Also, Palm warbler is a habitual tail-pumper, and this bird isn’t doing that.

So now we’re down to three birds: Blackburnian, Blackpoll and Cape May.
07-11_Warblers_109,115_110-111v3a.jpg

Cape May_230-231.jpg
There are a couple more details about this bird that I think will confirm our ID.  First, look at the wings – see the greenish edging on the flight feathers?  Also note that there is actually a greenish-yellow rump on this bird.  Both those marks are excellent…the greenish edging to the feathers is diagnostic for a grayish bird, and the rump is shared only by Yellow-rumped Warbler (which we eliminated) and Magnolia Warbler (which is a brighter yellow, and is actually higher up on the back…the base of the rump is black).  So I think we’ve arrived…it’s a Cape May Warbler!

Next time a drab gray warbler turns up, we now know to check a couple of things… greenish wing edging?  Yellow-green rump?  Fine, pointy bill on a smallish bird?  Aggressive behavior (hence the nickname “Tiger of the Woods”)?  Blurry streaks in the flanks, often with a little patchy yellow in the breast?  And finally (not shown in the quiz photo), fine streaking that extends across the upper breast?  All of these are good indicators that should nudge you towards a Cape May.  Let’s hope we see lots of these great birds this fall!

CAMWAR100911_25edge.jpg

To view this blog on TheWarblerGuide.com, click here.


Plus, don’t forget to check out our Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

And to check out the free downloads we’re currently offering, check out the links below:
Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

Migration Sweepstakes — enter to win everything you need to make the most of Fall birdwatching!

To kick off our Migration blog coverage, we’re taking to the skies with a Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler Guide, The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

How to win? There are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). Just follow the steps in the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

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The 2013 Bird Migration Series

The Warbler GuideAs the first day of fall fast approaches (September 22nd to be exact), bird migrations are already starting. To note this annual phenomenon, we are celebrating during the months of September and October with giveaways, free downloads, online quizzes, gorgeous pictures, and countless blog posts from some of the best bird writers we know.

To kick off this winged adventure, we’re taking to the skies with a Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler GuideThe Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

The Crossley ID GuideHow to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at blog@press.princeton.edu, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at http://press.princeton.edu/subscribe/,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

Plus weHow To Be A Better Birder have two free downloads that are available at our blog site:

Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

Most of all, stay tuned as we continue to post everything you ever wanted to know about bird migrations throughout the fall season.

Win a copy of The Warbler Guide, a pair of TERRA ED Binoculars, and an EcoClean Bird Feeder

Update: This contest is closer. Thank you so much for entering our sweepstakes!

 

Get ready for fall birding and warbler migration by entering our sweepstakes to win a copy of The Warbler Guide, a free download of the The Warbler Guide Song and Call Audio Companion, a WildBirds Unlimited EcoClean Feeder, and a pair of ZEISS, TERRA ED 8×42 binoculars. There are 5 easy ways to enter the raffle (and some can be done each day!)– see the details below.

We are very grateful to ZEISS for providing a prize for our sweepstakes. WildBirds Unlimited of Paramus, NJ is also supporting this sweepstakes by providing a terrific EcoClean bird feeder. Available exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited, EcoClean bird feeders protect themselves against the surface growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, fungus and other microbes.

WBU Paramus is also hosting an event with Tom Stephenson at 11:00 AM on August 3.  Please support our sponsor and join in the event if you are in the Northern Jersey area.

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Happy Birthday, Tesla!! Enter to win a copy of Tesla: Inventor of the Electric Age

Celebrate with us by entering our giveaway to win a copy of Tesla: Inventor of the Electric Age by W. Bernard Carlson.

“Carlson sheds light on the man and plenty of his inventions. . . . [An] electric portrait.”

–Publishers Weekly

“Superb. . . . Carlson brings to life Tesla’s extravagant self-promotion, as well as his eccentricity and innate talents, revealing him as a celebrity-inventor of the ‘second industrial revolution’ to rival Thomas Alva Edison.”

–W. Patrick McCray, Nature

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Win a copy of The Ultimate Quotable Einstein

We just surpassed 5,000 fans on the Facebook page for The Ultimate Quotable Einstein. To celebrate, we’re giving away 5 copies autographed by editor Alice Calaprice. Enter the sweepstakes before April 19 using the form below.

Join in the fun on Facebook where Calaprice posts regular Einstein quotes and answers readers questions!

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Why Our Banking System is Broken–and the Reforms Needed to Fix It

j9929[1]What is wrong with today’s banking system? The past few years have shown that risks in banking can impose significant costs on the economy. Many claim, however, that a safer banking system would require sacrificing lending and economic growth. The Bankers’ New Clothes examines this claim and the narratives used by bankers, politicians, and regulators to rationalize the lack of reform, exposing them as invalid. Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig argue we can have a safer and healthier banking system without sacrificing any of the benefits of the system, and at essentially no cost to society.

Learn more about it from Anat Admati’s interview from NPR’s Morning Edition:
http://n.pr/YwxWQK
Anat Admati argues that banks carry too much debt and have too little equity.

We invite you to read a book excerpt at npr.org at:
http://n.pr/16xGA8Q

The Bankers’ New Clothes:
What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It
by Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig

“Crucial . . .”–Jim Surowiecki, NewYorker.com

“Ms. Admati and Mr. Hellwig, top-notch academic financial economists, do understand the complexities of banking, and they helpfully slice through the bankers’ self-serving nonsense. Demolishing these fallacies is the central point of The Bankers’ New Clothes.”–John Cochrane, Wall Street Journal

We also invite you to try your luck and enter for a chance to win a copy of The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking & What to Do about It at Goodreads:
http://bit.ly/ZNAI66