Well, I thought today was International Bird Day. I found the holiday on the About.com Homeschooling website via a web search of bird holidays. I have not found reference to this holiday on any bird science or advocacy sites like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. What I did find on the USFWS website is reference to International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) which is celebrated in May, though I could not find a specific date. The Smithsonian National Zoological Park will celebrate IMBD from April 24 to May 1 while the Region 9 Forest Service will celebrate on May 17.
Regardless of the existence of International Bird Day, today is as good as any other day to celebrate birds, in particular urban birds. Local ecology is a participant in the Urban Bird Studies program at Cornell. The five bird projects are PigeonWatch, Gulls Galore, Dove Detectives, Birds in the City, and Crows Count. Celebrate Urban Birds! focuses on sixteen, easily identifiable bird species. I receive print and digital materials from the Lab of Ornithology including most recently a letter about the 25th annual World Series of Birding (WSB), a “carefully timed plan to find the most birds in 24 hours” to be held in New Jersey! You can pledge cents or dollar amounts per species to be observed at the WSB website.
I also received a well designed poster of pigeon color morphs - red, checker, pied, spread, white, red- and blue-bar. The Project PigeonWatch website has a “question of the month” feature. This month’s question is: Why don’t I ever see baby pigeons? You can view the video response here. Unlike the rock pigeon, the red-tailed hawk is not one of the program’s 16 species. However, a hawk at Fenway Park in Boston made headlines after scratching a teenager visiting the stadium last week [via Birding Girl].
At the Fulton and Ward intersection in Berkeley, I heard a woodpecker pecking a hole in a nearby tree. I no longer see cedar waxwings at the mountain ash in my yard; they have eaten all the berries and moved on. Today, happily, I browsed the nature shelves at Cody’s on Shattuck and found the following bird titles (visit our book shop):
Parrot by Paul Carter
Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird, Andrew D. Blechman
Condor: To the Brink and Back–the Life and Times of One Giant Bird, John Nielsen
Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World, Candace Savage