Friday, October 05, 2007
BirdHawk is Not Just for Hawkwatchers
Even if you’re not a hawkwatcher but if you are a birder, I’d recommend joining the BirdHawk listserv. Why, you ask? Well, who else but hawkwatch counters can spend all day outside looking at the sky for whatever flies by?
Counters spend their days recording lots of birds they see other than "just" hawks. Nearly every hawkwatch in the U.S. submits its daily hawkwatch count data to BirdHawk every evening after their site closes. These are the messages that appear on BirdHawk.
After all the sightings and non-sightings of raptors for the day, at the bottom of each message is a listing of non-hawks that were sighted that day. Monarch butterflies, dragonflies, warblers, waterfowl, bears, everything that is seen is listed. If you read what others are seeing at a hawkwatch near you or even at a hawkwatch north of you (if it’s fall migration), you’ll soon have a pretty good idea of what you should be seeing around your own local patch of woods and when.
You’ll soon know what are the big migration days, when the black-and-white warblers or the Canada geese are moving, who saw a green parrot migrating past their hawkwatch and lots of other cool stuff. So even non-hawkwatchers can benefit from the list.
I do recommend that you get the list in "digest" form or you’ll soon be getting about 50 more e-mail messages a day (during migration) than you normally do. If you’re interested, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and make the first line of the message "subscribe birdhawk." Once you’re subscribed, send them another message with the command "set Birdhawk digest" as the first line of the message. You’ll get an e-mail when you sign up that gives you a lot of the commands and instructions you need to sign off the list or otherwise manage the messages you get.
If Birdhawk still sounds like more work than you care to undertake, you might want to find out if any of the hawkwatches near you have their own Web sites where they post their daily results, including all those non-hawk sightings. Every year, more and more hawkwatches, even the small ones, have their own Web sites. You can even contact me, and I’ll let you know what your nearest hawkwatch in the U.S. is and if they have their own Web site.
I took today’s photo last evening as the sun was getting low. Yesterday was a good migration day apparently, though I only saw the very end of it. I saw lots of killdeer, a sharpie (that’s sharp-shinned hawk for non-hawkwatchers) and a kestrel moving past the new pond. Four flickers were harassing the kestrel by crowding it and making a lot of noise until the kestrel flew off.