Our episodes will spotlight optics, destinations, products, gear, clothing, books, festivals, conservation projects, and anything birders want or need that enhances their birding lifestyle.
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.
Gem of a Birding Hotspot: Indiana Dunes
Did you know that the birthplace of ecology is Indiana? It’s true! The science of ecology was first described in good old Indiana—thanks in part to the spectacular forested sand dunes along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. In 2019, Indiana Dunes became the 61st national park.
In this installment of BirdSense, Kelly Ball, advertising sales director at Bird Watcher’s Digest, discusses this gem and its 15,000 acres of birding turf with Brad Bumgardner, executive director of Indiana Audubon, and Indiana Dunes National Park superintendent Paul Labovitz. In 2014, Paul posed the fateful question, “Why don’t we put on an event for birding?” In 2015, the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival was born!
This year’s event, May 13–16, will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual options. If you are interested in potentially getting 200 bird species in four days, check out this episode! Sponsored by the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival.
Did you know? Redstart Birding will be the optics retail sponsor for the 2021 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival. Attendees will be eligible for a one-time 5% discount on a purchase, PLUS Redstart Birding will donate 5% back to Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Stewardship Fund on all purchases made during the event.
Bird Conservation Efforts with the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Through education, long-term conservation studies, and awarding grants for conservation-focused land acquisition projects in all Gulf Coast states from Florida to Texas, GCBO is doing tremendous work on behalf of the millions of birds that inhabit or pass through the migration pathways along the Gulf of Mexico. Kelly Ball, advertising sales director, had the good fortune recently to chat about all of this and more with GCBO’s education and outreach manager, Celeste Silling. You won't want to miss this conversation—plus Celeste shares details about GCBO’s upcoming virtual Bird Bash this May!
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.