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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cell Phone Birding

So I couldn't find my digital camera when I headed out to Peace Valley this morning, so I thought I would play around with my cell phone. Shooting through my old scope on a window mount in the snow and rain wasn't optimal, but an interesting experiment. My scope eyepiece wasn't ideal for the job. I'll have to play around with that some more.

Not too bad, until I tried the digital zoom, which I suspected would be pretty worthless, and really just made for a smaller image.

This last photo was through my bins with the digital zoom set at the highest setting. It was easier to hold the phone steady against the binocular eyecups, but at least on zoom I didn't get much to work with.

Of course, since it's about time to get a new phone, I can look into getting one with a better camera. I'm on Verizon, so any suggestions would be welcome :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cool Pygmy Owl Video

Check out this story about Northern Pygmy Owls from Oregon Field Guides. Fantastic video of these little birds. If this doesn't make you want to bag your job and just head out to study birds for three years, you're either missing the birdloving gene or you've got a fantastic job already :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Phrase Origin: For the Birds

Ever wondered where the phrase "for the birds" came from? Check it out here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count Withdrawals

For the past five years, my favorite part of working for Audubon was working behind the scenes of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Almost as soon as I was hired, Paul Green (now with Tucson Audubon) put me in charge of the regional reviewers and customer service emails during the count. I loved spending the whole weekend connecting with thousands of people out counting birds. Doing everything in my power to get more people out counting more birds.

Since I was let go by Audubon last summer, I'm obviously not working the GBBC this year.

I miss it. A lot.

This weekend during the count, I find myself looking at the GBBC website. Wondering how the numbers compare with last year at this time in the count. Wishing I still had access to the behind the scenes metrics to know how the count is going. Looking at the count now from outside.

Serious GBBC withdrawals.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Taming of the Turkey

Latest study published yesterday on the domestication of the Wild Turkey has it occurring at least twice--first in Mexico about 800 BCE, and then again in the American Southwest about 200 BCE. See a news story about this research here, the actual article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is here.
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