June 16, 2011

Bird Watch: Top 10 methods for studying birds

Mourning dove in nest

Writing for BirdScope (Vol. 25, 2), Laura Erickson listed the "top ten technologies for studying birds" as:

1. Field guides and binoculars
2. Numbered leg bands
3. Cameras
4. Microphones and recorders
5. Radio and satellite transmitters
6. Radar
7. Spectrograms
8. DNA analysis
9. Telecommunications
10. Autonomous recording units or ARUs

Red-tailed hawk (male, Bobby) on cross atop Judson Memorial Church
(See the Washington Square Park Blog via Urban Hawks blog for a map of Bobby's "haunts")
We have used several of these technologies: field guides and binoculars (#1), cameras (#3), and telecommunications (#9). Most recently, we have been following the "hawk cam" of the red-tailed hawks nesting on the Bobst Library on West 4th Street. The New York Times published an excellent hawk resource list on June 3.  When we photographs birds or nests, we verify our sightings with field guides or with online resources like the Celebrate Urban Birds project.

To Laura's list I would add natural history books such as Crow Planet (which was reviewed by Metropolitan Field Guide), Pigeons, and Red-Tails in Love.

Which of these methods do you use regularly and which ones would you like to try?  You can follow more of Laura Erickson's writing at Laura's Birding Blog.

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