Our episodes will spotlight optics, destinations, products, gear, clothing, books, festivals, conservation projects, and anything birders want or need that enhances their birding lifestyle.
Rescuing and Rehabilitating Oiled Birds
International Bird Rescue was formed in 1971 when Alice Berkner, a volunteer at a San Francisco oil spill site, recognized a need for centralized organization of bird rehabilitation efforts. IBR was established, creating protocols for oiled sea bird recovery after oil spills, and pioneering best practices for washing oiled birds.
Kelly Ball recently discussed with International Bird Rescue’s executive director, JD Bergeron, how the organization has played a key role in relief efforts following highly publicized disasters such as Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon, as well as the October 2021 Huntington Beach spill. Kelly and JD also discuss where oil spills occur, and how rescue efforts vary based on their location. Then JD shares common misconceptions about oiled bird recovery efforts and suggests that we all “dig in” to understand where local facilities and organizations dedicated to animal rehabilitation operate so we all can help wildlife in distress. Kelly even busts out a tiny bit of her seldom-used Russian language skills!
To help International Bird Rescue prepare for the next wildlife emergency, visit their donation page.
This episode is sponsored by International Bird Rescue.
Land Conservation in British Columbia
Conservation work occurs in part by acquisition of highly biodiverse habitat. Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC), a nonprofit land conservation organization, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, as well as its remarkable contributions to preserving British Columbia’s most critical habitat for vulnerable wildlife. As Canada’s westernmost province, and contiguous with Alaska, Idaho, and Washington, British Columbia’s landmass serves as a stopover and breeding grounds along the migratory Pacific Flyway. To date, NTBC has bought more than 500 properties of private, ecologically important land, totaling 178,000 acres.
NTBC also supports affiliate programs such as Pacific Birds, a habitat joint venture between government agencies, First Nations, private landowners, and businesses in both the US and Canada to benefit birds, other wildlife, and people. Chief executive officer Dr. Jasper Lament discusses with host Kelly Ball the connection between the United States and Canada in preserving shared migratory habitat for birds, and how programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act enable conservation on an international scale. As Dr. Lament puts it, “Do what you can, where you can.”
You can join and learn more about NTBC at the FREE 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala on Friday, October 6, starting at 4 p.m. eastern time.
Click here to learn more about the annual Brant Wildlife Festival celebrated every March.
Do you have a question for Dr. Lament? He’s happy to answer! Contact him via Instagram @drjasperlament today.
This episode is sponsored by Nature Trust of British Columbia.
FLAP: Creating a Collective Front to Prevent Bird Window Collisions
It is estimated that one billion (yes, that’s one billion) birds—primarily neotropical migratory songbirds—collide with windows across North America annually. In the late 1980s, Canadian Michael Mesure began collecting and documenting birds that had collided with the windows of downtown office buildings in his native Toronto. This effort inspired him to devote himself to raising awareness of window collisions, and in 1993, he co-founded FLAP, or Fatal Light Awareness Program. Editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest, Dawn Hewitt, interviews Michael, who serves as FLAP’s executive director, to learn why birds collide with windows; how North America’s topography is essentially a giant migratory corridor; and what every person who cares about birds can do during a community science event called Global Bird Rescue (September 27–October 3, 2021) to document window strikes around the world.
Are you interested in taking action to help migratory birds from colliding with windows?
Register at globalbirdrescue.org to participate in the 2021 Global Bird Rescue Week.
Visit birdsafe.ca to assess the threat rating of your home’s windows to birds.
For products to retrofit existing windows with the goal of reducing window collisions, consult Flap.org and Birdsafe.ca.
This episode is sponsored by FLAP.
Virginia Beach: A Premier Birding Destination!
Nestled in the southeastern corner of Virginia, Virginia Beach is a premier destination for birding and assorted outdoor adventures. Host Kelly Ball chats with Kelli Norman, director of tourism & sales at Visit Virginia Beach, about the three types of beaches—Chesapeake Bay; Atlantic Ocean; and Sandbridge—that make this a unique and birdy locale. Then Brandon Holland, secretary of Virginia Beach’s Audubon chapter, breaks down the area’s target bird species and shares his pick for the ideal time to bird Virginia Beach. Brandon encourages anybody who might like a birdy beach break during winter to consider attending the Winter Wildlife Festival, scheduled for January 28-30, 2022. To help visitors plan a trip packed with year-round outdoor adventure opportunities, check out Virginia Beach’s Get Outdoors Pass. This mobile-exclusive passport is a collection of curated attractions, tour operators, rentals, and more, offering deals and discounts to redeem during your visit. This episode is sponsored by Visit Virginia Beach.
BirdBuddy: A State-of-the-art Feedercam
A camera that messages you when there’s an unusual bird at your feeder, identifies it for you, shows it to you, and asks if you want to photograph it? That’s the BirdBuddy! It uses artificial intelligence to recognize birds, knows the “regulars,” and texts you if it thinks there’s a visitor you don’t want to miss! The Bird Buddy was crowdfunded by more than 30,000 backers! Although this product is in production and not yet commercially available, it is destined to be a must-have by backyard birding addicts! In this episode, Dawn Hewitt, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest, discusses this revolutionary feedercam with BirdBuddy’s co-creator Franci Zidar. This episode is sponsored by BirdBuddy.
Photography Tips from a Tamron Image Master
Are you a birder who has always wanted to take up photography? Perhaps you’re already a bird photographer and interested in learning more about high-quality, affordable, mirrorless camera and DSLR camera lenses. Maybe with warbler season kicking into gear, you’d like a few tips to make photography more enjoyable.
If this describes you (and even if it doesn’t!), be sure to check out this conversation with Tamron Image Master, lifelong birder, and owner of Bear Woods Photography, David Akoubian. He shares with Kelly Ball, Bird Watcher’s Digest’s advertising sales director, his experiences from 40-plus years of birding photography; his recommendations for the best all-around lens to use when shooting bird photos; and tips for becoming an ace bird photographer. David even turned his yard into a certified wildlife sanctuary, and he describes how that has allowed him to study birds on the regular. This episode is sponsored by Tamron.
Love the content of the one episode about Big Bend. Gave this a lower star due to the poor audio quality on his end. His comments were difficult to hear with much clarity.