And So It Begins

Well, I've seen some nice purple martin action so far. That's a male and female above. I can never see and hear enough of these large swallows. They have such a musical song--most swallows have a more click-ish type sound--like little dolphins. Purple martins sing it loud and sing it proud.

I did a demo of birdJam outside. We got into the who ethics of calling in birds. When to do it, if you are going to do it, do it responsibly, etc. As we got into some of the controversy, I referenced an infamous story about a pygmy nuthatch. Years ago before I moved to Minnesota, a pygmy nuthatch was reported along the Red River in North Dakota. Just a short trip across the Red River puts you in Minnesota. The nuthatch was at a feeding station on the North Dakota side and someone played a tape and it flew over to the Minnesota side--and was a first state record...or was it? The jaunt across the river was minimal and the bird probably would have flown over of its own accord (if it hadn't already). It caused a huge rift in the birding community and accusations and arguments exploded all over. What is "artificial means of attraction" when it come to birds anyway? Technically, a feeding station is artificial attraction. The distance the bird flew was only a few hundred feet--was it really that big of deal? It wasn't nesting, it wasn't on territory--what did it matter?

Anyway, this story has reverberated throughout the birding community. I had heard of it, but never knew the parties involved. Last year at the Rio Grande Valley Bird Fest, Jeff Gordon referenced it during his program "The Top Ten Birding Moments of the last 100 Years". Well, as we were discussing it, a man laughed, raised his hand, and said, "That was me!"

Ah, connections.

And now I leave you with a male tree swallow. I must go to bed, I have to get up at 4:30am for my field trip. I'm so excited, the Country Inn and Suites in Detroit Lakes (where I am staying) is going to have breakfast and coffee going by 4:30am--sustenance--Whoot!