Show notes for Episode 24 “Data Gluttony”

Shout outs

Fine Art Exhibition in Frisco

  • Kevin Megison and CJ Cowden
    • Kevin’s wife is a birder
      • complained about the building around her ranch and how the noise scared away her birds
      • had a lot of questions
      • why weren’t the birds stopping at the feeders regardless?
      • is this a sign of things to come?  Will the birds come back?

Cleaning out the Bird bath

Mystery ID from my trip out to Keller Tx

  • spizella sparrow of some sort, either a Chipping or a Clay-colored


Tim highlights: Loggerhead Shrike, American Kestrel, and yellow warblers (48 birds for the two week span)

American Kestrel facts

  • Beautiful bird with distinct eye markings, golden breast, and cool gray wings
  • originally called a Sparrow hawk
  • prefers beetles and mice over birds (I don’t think the birds know that…)
  • Austin has plenty of info!

Austin: American Kestrels everywhere, Franklin’s Gulls migrating, Monarch Butterflies

Segment — Is bird camouflage really a thing?

General observations

  • Sparrows – General hypothesis that female sparrows blend in with their nest and immediate surroundings
  • Penguins – black and white
    • White – belly helps confuse predators from below (er above if they are in the water)
    • Black – confuses predators from above
  • Birds see on a different spectrum
    • General thought is birds see in ultraviolet
    • Can hide from predators

Segment — Birds are vanishing from North America Postmortem

What books are we reading?

Tim: Book of Texas Birds by Gary Clark and Kathy Adams Clark

Austin: Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior by David Allen Sibley

Show notes for Episode 23 “Of Imidacloprid and Birds”

Shout out

  • Bear Creek Park Neighborhood
  • World Market

Bird Watching NC Contact Details

My website was created as a resource to bring birders, bloggers, photographers, tour guides and bird focused vendors together, across North Carolina.

If you’re a birdwatcher based in North Carolina and have a story to tell, with some great photos or video to go along with it, I want to hear from ya!

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Taking out the bird bath

  • How did Austin do with his interview?

Tim: 28 birds | Highlights: Wilson’s Warbler
Austin: 11 birds| 22 fish| Highlights: Orangethroat DarterSlender MadtomLog Perch

Segment – Migration from fall to winter

  • What you may be seeing or NOT seeing at your feeders right now
    • Hummingbird migration is still in full swing
    • Sparrows
      • Grasshopper sparrows / Fox sparrows (fall)
      • Harris’s sparrows / White-crowned sparrows (winter) / White-throated sparrows (winter) / Tree sparrows (winter)
    • Warblers
    • What does the farmer’s almanac say about our fall / winter season?

Segment – Color around rose bush dying

  • Witch’s Broom
    • Witch’s broom virus causes vigorous growth of affected rose canes.
      • Cause
        • Witch’s broom is caused by a virus spread by tiny woolly mites (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus).
    • Resources
    • Discuss birding and how its changed for everyone near where they live due to urban development, farming

Segment – Neonicotinoids kill

Neonicotinoids is considered an insecticide and shouldn’t impact organic foods…vegetarians rejoice!

The study


  • Imidacloprid, even at extremely low doses, has an appetite-suppressing effect on the sparrows.
  • High-dosed sparrows hung around the stopover site for an extra 3.5 days recovering from their intoxication
  • An extra 3.5-day delay in migration can mean the sparrows might miss their chance to breed

Segment — Why I love to bird

  • I bird every work day pretty much at the same place same time (which is noonish)
    • Imagine my surprise when I went down one afternoon and was surprised to hear new sounds…definitely warblers
    • Wilson Warblers we’re moving up and down vegetation growth devouring an oak tree
    • Never seen anything like it!Must be theBack Porch Birding Effect

Segment — Cool Warbler facts

Show notes for Episode 22 “Birds in Migration and Hurricanes”

Cleaning out the bird bath


  • Flight paths and destination
    • Types of bird migration
      • Seasonal: move between breeding and non-breeding ranges.
        • Latitudinal: often determined by geographic features, however, such as mountain ranges and available habitats.
        • Longitudinal: where geographic features encourage birds to move longitudinally rather than latitudinally.
      • Altitudinal: the move to lower elevations in winter, when harsh weather and deep snowfall may make staying at upper elevations impossible. Birds that use altitudinal migration may not venture far in terms of overall mileage, but just a few hundred feet of elevation can make a great difference in habitats.
      • Loop: including two distinctly different routes to and from breeding grounds, often taking advantage of varied resources at different times of the year.
        • rufous hummingbirds follow a coastal route in spring on their way from Mexico to Alaska but take advantage of mountain wildflowers on an interior southbound route in autumn. Loop migration is also common with many seabirds and shorebirds as they use seasonal variations in wind patterns to aid their flight.
      • Nomadic: This movement is less predictable and can be erratic depending on available food and water resources.
        • robins, waxwings, phainopeplas, zebra finches and black swans.
        • Irruptive: large numbers of birds into unusual areas, most often in winter.
          • redpolls, varied thrushes, evening grosbeaks, crossbills and snowy owls.
      • Dispersal: juvenile birds are forced away from their hatching grounds and must seek out their territories as their parents continue to use the same range.
      • Leap Frog: where a northern population will migrate a greater distance to skip over a sedentary(normal residents)population of the same species.
        • Canada geese
      • Reverse: when young birds can become confused or disoriented and instead of migrating along the expected route go in the opposite direction.
      • Molt: Some birds migrate only to accommodate their annual molting periods.
        • summer tanagers, American Redstart
        • American Redstart molting on migration
      • Drift: large numbers of migrating birds have “drifted” away from their typical migration routes, often pushed by storms.
        • More temporary in nature 
        • European drift migration pattern example
    • Resources
  • Altitude

Prepping for hurricanes

  • Birds are safeso don’t worry about them, worry about your feeders and backyard instead!


  • Keep feeders filled in the days leading up to the storm so birds can easily find nutritious foods as they instinctively prepare.
  • Consider adding extra high-fat treats to the feeders, such as shredded suet, peanut butter, or shelled nuts.
  • Just before the storm arrives or you evacuate, store feeders securely in a shed or garage so they do not become wind-blown projectiles.
  • Store bird baths, hanging hooks, or other accessories in a secure area so they are not tangled, lost, or damaged by wind or debris.
  • Check any bird houses to be sure they are as secure as possible. If necessary, remove and store them unless birds are actively nesting.
  • Prune loose branches or any heavy branches overhanging your home before the storm, and consider adding them to a brush pile.
  • Use ropes or stakes to secure a brush pile so it will not be blown apart during the storm and expose any sheltering birds.
  • Resource


  • Tim’s bird count swing
    • Birds preparing for migration
    • Could be due to regional
  • Hummingbird
  • Eastern Phoebe cool behavior observed
    • Check out the cover art for more details!

Show notes for Episode 21 “Responsible Development”

Birding at Stillhouse Hollow Lake

  • I watched a male cardinal feed the first clutch comprised of two fledglings
    • not sure if my photography captured it
  • Wearing Off spray…heeding my own advice
  • Question for Austin: When I see a birding hotspot on eBird…does that mean its a hotspot now at this moment of time or has been noted as a hotspot in the past?

Radiolab episode, new miniseries entitled G about intelligence

Book update

Segment:  Are pigeons a sign of things to come?

  • I heard this A LOT from local birders
    • I joke grackles are a great sign of fast food
  • Facts: Pigeons were likely the first tamed bird around 4500 BC
    • They are super comfortable around LOTS of people as we are a source of their food and construction of their habitat in skyscrapers
    • Pigeon poo is highly acidic and is known to be corrosive
    • It can cost tens of thousands of dollars
      • I’m not even going to bore Austin with the details on what it takes to clean up this mess
      • Contamination from droppings leads to tons of fines
      • Which makes me wonder if its a government building, the taxpayers are most likely to be the ones to pick up the tab
  • But just because you see pigeons in your backyard does not necessarily mean its the sign of bird end times  
    • Article dated Jan 4 2017
    • According to the University of Wisconsin there are three classifications of birds today
      • Listen up Back Porch Birders!  Think about the following categories I’m about to read off and figure out which ones you think you can attract to your feeders
    • Adapters, Exploiters, Avoiders
      • Researchers from the University of Washington say as forests turn into subdivisions, certain species of human-shy songbirds – dubbed “avoiders” – are losing their mates as they flee for more propitious territory, causing some to miss as much as half of their breeding years
      • Adapters
        • Adapters are birds that take advantage of the new foods and nesting opportunities that exist in suburban settings.
          • chickadees, goldfinches, Canada geese,starling,and red-tailed hawks.
      • Exploiters
        • Exploiters are even more in tune with humanity than are the adapters. They often have “house” or “barn” in their name, such as barn swallow, barn owl, cowbird, and house finch. 
      • Avoiders
        • our activities are as deadly as the meteors of the past. 
          • northern spotted owl, Pacific wren,western tanagers, black-throated grey warbler, and Wilson’s warblers
  • Resources

Segment: Birding Focused Restoration Projects

  • Army Corpsof Engineers
    • “It is we engineers who hold most of the keys to the solutions of the world’s environmental problems” – Lt. General Henry Hatch
    • Exampleof how prolific the army core of engineers are from the past and to today
      • 1990-1991 included roughly $1 billion for environmental restoration projects, which ranged from hazardous waste cleanups at military bases to the creation of wetlands.
      • Environmental enhancement and restoration projects comprise one-third of new Corps projects (including reconnaissance “surveys”) proposed for FY 2004 (U.S. Department of the Army, 2003).
    • Ecological engineering is relatively new
      • Ecosystems are inherently self-designing, and restoration efforts should recognize this process through the application of sound environmental engineering principles. Traditionally, restoration efforts have focused on improving land and water resources for specific plant and animal species and have not taken a holistic approach to planning and management. 
    • Resources


  • Tim: 12 species
    • White-eyed vireo
      • Migration Schedule
        • Apparently they are breeding in Texas
  • Austin:48 species
    • American Kestrel
    • Blue Grosbeak

Show notes for Episode 20 “Birds Learning How to ‘Bird’”



Austin to discuss highs and lows of research

  • Lows
    • Extreme weather
    • Strenuous
      • hard to drag rope across a field
  • Highs
    • getting to see all of the birds when they finally fledge
    • collect data which will be used to inform
  • Resources

Tim(19): Great-horned owl (lifer), heard an unknown wren…not a bewick’s
Austin(26): Great-tailed Grackle, Great Egret

Show notes for Episode 19 “Birding with Clay Taylor”

Meet Clay Taylor

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Backyard


The next pandemic could come from bird poop

Dozens of birds drop out of the sky in suspected poisoning: The scene looked like a horror movie

Segment – Discussion with Clay

  • Clay’s backyard in Connecticut to Texas
  • Tips for birders moving from one climate to another

Segment – Digiscoping

  • What is it?
  • How did Clay get into it
  • Average price to entry

Segment – Birding versus counting versus bird photography

  • Thoughts on eBird / Merlin / and traditional record keeping
  • Changes in birding over the years

Description:  This is time where we discuss the birds we saw for the week.  Highlighted birds are reserved for lifers, birds showing unusual observed activity, or anything else about the bird we believe our listeners would be interested in

Tim (10): dove with what appears to have a deformed beak
Austin(25): Redhead (lifer), American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt


Show notes for Episode 18 “Nature Shall Rest in Peace”

Cleaning out the Bird Bath
Facebook Page Group Created! You may find it here.


Segment:  Birds Nesting in Your House


  • Tim: Least Tern
  • Austin:Chuck-will’s-widow, Black-crowned Night Heron (cover art)

Back Porch Birding Challenge

Show notes for Episode 17 “Do not feed the baby birds!”

Cleaning out the bird bath

  • Austin blog update
  • Morning Dove update


Nazca drawing courtesy of M. EDA
  • Nazca Bird Drawings Mystery Solved!
  • Rare bird discovery in UK
    • Orange bird not really able to fly well
    • Those who sighted the bird”rescued” it somehow driving it t Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital
    • Upon further inspection…cleaning…er taste testing for that matter what was a rare bird turned out to be a sea gull covered in tumeric!
    • Wondering how bird was logged in eBird
      • Possible curry bird sighting?
    • On a serious note
      • Tumeric is used in Indian customs all the time
      • It’s the main spice in Kumkuma — a powder seen in red, pink, blue, or yellow used on social occasions and religious markings
        • Sprinkled on animals to indicate their holy nature
        • Unfortunately in this case, the sea gull was not able to fly because it was caked in the spice
  • Resources

Segment – What and how much do baby birds eat?

  • Every 10 to 20 minutes for 12-14 hours day
  • Resources
  • And should I set out anything different at my feeder?
    • Don’t feed baby birds!
    • If you believe the birds to be malnourished then call a bird rescue organization
      • Ask Austin what are the signs to look for when a bird is malnourished
    • If you see the same family visiting your feeders more than once or twice a day then its probably best to put the feeders away for a few
  • Know what kinds of food wild birds eat!
    • Frugivorous – fruit eating birds
      • Think orioles and waxwings
    • Granivorous – seed eating birds
      • Most sparrows and finches
    • Insectivorous- birds which feed on mosquitoes, dragonflies, gnats, and other insects
      • Reserved for flycatchers and warblers
    • Resources
  • Food to put out for the parents


  • Tim- 20 species
    • Highlights – Ruby-throated hummingbird, Green Heron
  • Austin- No checklists
    • Highlights – baby Barn Swallows (show cover)

Show notes for Episode 16 “Let the bird grow up will ya!”

Cleaning out the bird bath

  • Funniest thing happened to me the other day
  • National Geographic concert was unreal!
    • KELLY CORCORAN conducting
    • Dallas symphony played while video was playing of some of the most iconic National Geographic imagery and video throughout the past hundred years
      • Just got goose bumps when the National Geographic theme played
  • Congrats to Sarah Winnicki on defending her thesis!
  • AOS is going on in Alaska right now and if any listeners are there I hope you checked out Dylan Smith’s poster about the effects of drought on grassland birds, great info, great visual, and my name is even on it!


  • Last week of June…Here comes July!
    • What comes to your mind?
      • 4th of July and sound!
  • I took plenty pictures of birds with their beaks open appearing to be dying of thirst
    • What are they really doing?

When birds leaves the nest

  • What could be happening?
  • What is Austin seeing in nests out in Kansas today?
  • Example(s)
    • I photographed a young baby blue jay looking around for its momma


  • Tim: 14 species
    • Highlights: Tufted titmouse
  • Austin: 9 species
    • Highlights: Black-capped Chickadee using warning calls (I got four “Dees”), Common Nighthawk, American Crow making unusual noise

Show notes for Episode 15 “Birds of Summer”

Audubon Calendar 2020

  • Focus on photographers who entered the Audubon Photography Competiton
  • Run through birds of the month

Cleaning out the bird bath

  • New listeners
    • Anyone is welcome to post on our main thread
    • We love to share photos with the community…especially when they are cowbird related
  • Prehistoric penguin: Hesperornis regalis

Bird Intelligence

Tail feathers

Tim:  14 birds, Swainson’s Hawk (lifer)Swainson Hawk facts

Austin:Still no checklists, but some cool nests.