A great birding destination for new and veteran birders
The Lower Rio Grande Valley holds a special place in the hearts of US birders and is surely one of the top five places to visit in the country for birds. The combination of great winter weather and a wealth of bird species that can only be found in the ABA area in this corner of southern Texas is a big draw for the new birder. For the veteran birder, the chance of wandering vagrant bird species from Mexico (especially during winter) is what keeps people coming back time after time.
As an example in one of the tour vans I was driving at this year’s event I had a woman visiting for the first time who had already added 48 life birds to her life list in the previous three days and a couple of friends who had first visited the festival over 25 years ago and were back for their tenth visit.
The nature conservation organization New Jersey Audubon pursues the goal of early awakening the fascination for the uniqueness of nature through special offers for children. It thus makes a valuable educational contribution to the environmental and nature conservation of the future.
In her recent Nature Blog article, Michaela Sulz introduces the Young Birders Club of the New Jersey Audubon. Michaela shows us impressively how the organization inspires many children year after year for their native flora and fauna by diverse and interesting educational offers.
Marbled murrelets are small seabirds from the North Pacific. Unusually for seabirds they nest in old forests or on the ground at heights where trees cannot grow. Due to the decline of their population, numerous forest conservation programs have been established to preserve the marbled murrelets.
Peter Stangel tells us about the typical challenges concerning the protection of this rare bird species. The Western Rivers Conservancy's project plays a crucial role for their conservation. Although it was meant for improving the water quality of salmon habitats, there are also huge benefits for marbled murrelets.
Every year in November, birders from around the world celebrate the return of sandhill cranes and snow geese to the Bosque del Apache Refuge in New Mexico. The Festival of the Cranes is the oldest birding festival in the U.S.
ZEISS has been an integral part for the Festival of the Cranes for many years and will continue their support in the future. Stephen Ingraham tells you about the fascinating scenery and the stunning wildlife around the Rio Grande Valley.
Some feel a little bit unmasked, others just get amused about well-known habits and a few think the portrayal is too exaggerated: In the film „The Big Year“ David Frankel shows partly realistic and partly overdrawn how three US Americans run a Big Year. The Big Year of birding originated in the Anglo-Saxon countries and nowadays has different new variations across the world. For exactly one year, more specifically from 0 o’clock at the 1st of January local time until 31st of December 24 o’clock, you have to see or hear as many different species of birds as possible. It could become high performance sport, but in the original positive sense it is a sabbatical in nature or enough leisure time for a favorite activity. We show some variants and facts about a Big Year.
2016 was a record year worldwide as well as in North America. The Dutch Arjan Dwarshuis set the world record with 6,833 bird species in one year. The most well-known competition for a Big Year certainly is the one in the ABA-area of North America that is defined by the American Birding Association. Thanks to “El Niño“ 2016 was a perfect year to see rare species in Northern America you usually do not see. Besides the meteorological phenomena John Weigel’s success is also due to some few new splits in species taxonomy, which enabled him additional listings. John Weigel surpassed all his predecessors with 783 species as well as his competitor for the year, Olaf Danielson.
Nestled in the southwest corner of Florida and perched at the north end of Myakka River State Park, the 1,143 acre Triangle Ranch teems with birdlife. Christmas Bird Counts conducted since the 1940’s have recorded more than 280 species on the property and surrounding areas, including Florida Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks, and Crested Caracaras. Now, thanks to the vision of the local philanthropist-turned rancher who purchased the property, leadership from the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, which secured the funding to purchase a conservation easement on the land, and a grant from the Healthy Watersheds Consortium, this property is now protected forever from development.
Its natural features and ranch lands will provide habitat for birds and help keep water supplies clean for people and nature. Triangle Ranch, which is part of the Myakka Island Conservation Corridor Project, is one of dozens of watershed protection programs underway across the United States that are supported by the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. This partnership includes the federal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the not-for-profit U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. In the first two years of the partnership, more than $4.1 million in grants has been awarded to 25 projects in 30 states. The partnership is planned to continue for at least four more years.
Come see the Carl ZEISS Sports Optics team at the American Birding Expo, September 16 to 18, 2016, at the Grange Insurance Audubon Society/Scioto Audubon MetroPark in downtown Columbus, Ohio in the United States.
Not only can you see the entire ZEISS line of premier optics at the Expo, you can also enjoy the exquisite original artwork of Catherine Hamilton, one of five ZEISS Birding Ambassadors worldwide.