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.

Show notes for Episode 14 “We are back!”


  • In the past two weeks
    • Hockey
      • St Louis Blues win
    • Basketball
      • Raptors winning

Back Porch Gossip

At Optic 2019 (Cool technology)

  • Gathering of nature and landscape photography nerds
    • some were even of the bird variety
  • I got to sample cool technology
    • Austin to remind us how he shoots birds
    • Digiscoping
    • Traditional camera work
      • Sony just announced their 600mm f4
        • with teleconverters that’s pretty powerful
  • Some interesting bird “facts” I heard from the show
    • Birds in Flight seminar
      • birds like to poop prior to taking off
    • Photographer photographs hummingbirds in flight
      • Using flash-4 flash setup
      • low low light
  • Resources

Central Park Birding

  • When you hear the sparrows chirping you know there are people and cars nearby
  • met birders from all over
    • met birders from Connecticut
    • met a retired schoolteacher (librarian) birder
      • has an old journal and binoculars
      • upheld the honor system
    • met a random birder.
  • Park mythology
    • Captain’s chair
      • a captain sat in this chair always disgruntled at the birders who would wonder into his area
    • Turtle Pond
      • “No more turtles in the pod”
      • people would keep turtles in the bathtub.  Parents dumped them in the pond.
  • Resources


  • Tim
    • 37 species
    • Lifers: Yellow-billed Cuckoo,Black-crowned Night-Heron,Warbling Vireo,Wood Thrush, Wood duck
      • I was shooting a catbird when I noticed a mockingbird looking bird with a curvy beak.
      • Had a great vantage point of a pond when the warbling vireo just perched in front of me
      • Wood Thrush has the prettiest song
      • Wood duck
        • magical moment
          • photographing Mallards when all of a sudden a Wood duck emerged from grass brush
    • Highlights: Gray Catbird and Great Crested Flycatcher
      • never seen so many catbirds
  • Austin
    • No checklists, I’ve been too busy
    • Still some lifers
      • Tons of Mississippi Kites in town, a swan (unable to identify) at a park, Sora’s at one of our study sites, Great-tailed Grackles during a run through the fairgrounds

Show notes for Episode 13 “Celebrating red, white, and blue”

Austin update from the field

  • What is the process of identifying eggs in a nest?
    • Do’s and dont’s

Bird Sayings / Myths / Superstitions

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
    • it’s better to be content with what you have than to risk losing everything by seeking more. []
  • Better breakdown on [Urban Dictionary]
  • About
    • derivative from 700B.C
      • “and a sparrow in thy hand is better than a thousand sparrows flying;”
    • Story of Ahikar
      • “one of the earliest ‘international books’ of world literature”. [Wikipedia]
      • influenced the development of Jewish wisdom literature early in the Hellenistic period [Encyclopedia Britannica]

Segment “Nature in Red, White, and Blue!”

  • Red
    • Cardinals
    • Tanagers
    • Woodpeckers
    • Yellow-crown Night heron
    • Kentucky warblers the Pink Eggs – scroll through Austin’s Instagram feed
  • White
    • Great Egrets, Yellow-crown Night heron
    • Cattle Egrets
    • Northernbob-white eggs
    • Cowbird eggs speckled black and brown
    • Carolina Chickadees 
  • Blue
    • Blue Jays
    • Stellar’s Jays
    • Scrub Jays
    • Red-winged blackbirds eggs
    • Dickcissels egg
    • Gray Catbirds eggs
    • Robins eggs

Austin: Black Bellied Whistling Duck (#221), Mississippi Kite (two nesting pairs outside of our field house)
Tim: Great Crested Flycatcher, Canada Goose Goslings

Show notes for Episode 12 “A Tribute to Backyards”

Cleaning out the Bird Bath

  • Update from Kevin Archer
    • I used a Nikon d7200 and sigma 100-400mm contemporary lens.
    • I did my first bird count this past December for the Christmasbird count. I had plans for big day already.  Y’all still did inspire me to go out even in the inclement weather lol.  The winds were up to 60mph and torrential rains.  I logged 20 species before I ended because of the weather. I did see a common loon that should have left already but hasn’t and is still in the area.

In the News

  • Feral Parrots taking over America(Gizmodo)
    • 56 parrot species living in the wild across 23 U.S. states. Of those, 25 species have formed breeding colonies
    • How do scientists know?
      • The researchers determined that a bird population was “established” if birdwatchers had observed the species 25 or more times (a purposely high but relatively arbitrary number) and if records included observations of breeding
      • monk parakeet accounted for more than a third of the observations, while red-crowned Amazons and Nanday parakeets accounted for 13.3 percent and 11.9 percent of the sightings
      • Monk Parakeets are particularly good at surviving in human-altered habitats.
  • Source

SegmentTim reads from Facebook

  • Inspiration for this show
    • From The Texas Birding Facebook Group
  • Advice? Suggestions? This simple feeder is the only one I have. We have a pair of cardinals that enjoy it and I’d like to keep them! However, everyday when my husband gets home from work he removes the feeder because by evening time there will be more than 10 doves and probably more than 20 sparrows and now cowbird too – all sitting in the Crepe Myrtle tree or on the ground under it. They are noisy and busy. My husband worries they annoy the neighbors. I’d rather just encourage our cardinals! What to do?
    • What would Austin do?
    • What would Tim do?



Caption this bird

Great Egret by Back Porch Birding Podcast Listener Kevin Archer
Mockingbird with a cricket in its beak by Back Porch Birding Podcast host Tim Harris
Killdeer by Back Porch Birding Podcast Co-host Austin Roe


  • Tim
    • 34 species
    • Highlights (Lifers)
      • Mississippi Kite
        • Cross between a falcon and a Kestrel, but solid gray.
      • Blackburnian Warbler
    • Checklist
      • Yellow Warblers
        • Immatures are partially gray
        • Good way to tell, at least to me, is who else are the birds next to.  Takes out some of the guessing work.
      • Waterbirds on my lunch break!
  • Austin
    • 36 species
    • Highlights
      • Purple Martin (#220)
        • Males are completely dark purple/black
        • Females are dark purple/black with a white/gray underside
        • I heard Common Nighthawks vocalizing and wanted to see them in my yard, then heard another bird that I wasn’t familiar with and noticed them at the neighbors bird house
      • Eastern Wood Pewee
        • First of the year
        • Heard this morning and started imitating
        • Always confuse with Eastern Phoebe