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Subject: rec.birds Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Part 2/2)

This article was archived around: 25 Apr 2006 04:22:18 GMT

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Archive-name: birds-faq/wild-birds/part2 Last-modified: August 24, 2001 Posting-frequency: Every 37 days
rec.birds Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Part 2/2) This is part 2 (of 2) of the Frequently Asked Questions list for the Usenet newsgroup rec.birds. The FAQ is posted every five weeks. Its current editor is Lanny Chambers; send suggestions for new questions and other comments to him. Remember the FAQ is intended as a living document about rec.birds, constant updating is welcome! This section of the FAQ contains information about rec.birds and about wild birds. The other section of the FAQ contains pointers to more information about wild birds. Do not send articles to the FAQ editor for posting. rec.birds is an unmoderated newsgroup, so you may post articles yourself. If you are a newcomer to Usenet, please read the official articles about etiquette in the newsgroup news.announce.newusers before you post. This section of the FAQ contains pointers to more information about wild birds. The other section of the FAQ contains information about rec.birds and about wild birds. Contents: 2.0. How can I get this and other FAQs by anonymous FTP? On the Web? 2.1. Which field guide should I buy as a first purchase? 2.2. I'm going on a trip. How can I find out where are good places to go birding? 2.3. How can I get on-line bird checklists? 2.4. What are good wild-bird magazines? 2.5. What are good wild-bird-related organizations? 2.6. What is BIRDCHAT? EuroBirdNet? 2.7. Are there good computer programs for maintaining bird lists? 2.8a. Where can I get digitized pictures of birds? 2.8b. What are some birding resources on the Internet and the Web? 2.9. Where can I find recordings of birdsongs? 2.10. Are there field guides for nests, eggs, and nestlings? 2.11. Are there newsgroups or mailing lists for my part of the world? 2.12. Bird House Information 2.13. Acknowledgements ------- 2.0. How can I get this and other FAQs by anonymous FTP? On the Web? Many Usenet FAQs, including those for rec.birds, are archived on rtfm.mit.edu. Here is a URL that will get you there: rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/rec/birds ------- 2.1. Which field guide should I buy as a first purchase? The most general advice one can give is this: Go to your bookstore and buy any field guide in which the birds are illustrated with paintings rather than photographs. Paintings in field guides pose the birds for maximum learning, and call attention to the distinguishing features that are most important in the field. Regrettably, the National Audubon Society's field guide uses photos, and is thus of limited learning value. On the other hand, photo field guides do show birds as they would appear under actual lighting conditions, so they can be valuable in making identifications. You may wish to consider a photo-based field guide as a later purchase; it's common for birders to own and use several field guides. The ultimate advice for a first-purchase field guide is this: go to a bookstore and select whichever book for your area you feel most comfortable with. Enjoyable associations with the birding hobby have begun with all. In North America, the four most popular painted general-purpose field guides are the following: National Geographic Society: _Field Guide to the Birds of North America_ ISBN: 0-87044-692-4 Peterson, Roger Tory: _A Field Guide to the Birds_ (eastern and central) and _Western Birds_ (published by Houghton Mifflin) ISBN: 0-395-26619-X, 0-395-51424-X Zim, Herbert S., et al: _Guide to Field Identification: Birds of North America_ (published by Golden Books, hence called the "Golden" book) ISBN: 0-307-37002-X and 0-307-33656-5 (pbk.) Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the Peterson books are easier to carry in the field than the NGS book, because each covers only half the continent. Beginners may find it helpful that each Peterson volume shows only those birds likely to be found in its covered region, so there are fewer confusing choices (of course, birds do wander). The NGS book and the Golden book both present each species' range map on the same page as its description, a great convenience. The Golden book is the only one of the three to to present "sonograms," graphical representations of birds' songs and calls, but these graphs are difficult to use correctly. All of the books include a few paintings which some birders find questionable. North American beginners who feel overwhelmed by the number of birds in these all-purpose books should consider the _Peterson First Guide: Birds_. It displays the most common North American birds in a convenient format. An often recommended European field guide is Lars Jonsson's _Birds of Europe, with North Africa and Middle East_, although it is a bit large for easy portability. In the U.K. and central Europe, Harris, Tucker, and Vinicombe's _The Macmillan field guide to bird identification_ will be useful. (The book is available in French and German as well as English.) David Allen writes that the Macmillan guide does not cover all species; rather, it shows those species most easily confused with one another. Peterson, R., Mountfort, G., and Hollom, P.A.D.: _A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe_ (Collins, 1993) ISBN: 0-00-219073-7 "The basic Peterson guide with painted plates and pointers; maps and descriptions separate. The new edition is certainly available in Spanish, and I think in French and German as well." --David Allen Heinzel, H., Fitter, R., and Parslow, J.: _The Birds of Britain and Europe with North Africa and the Middle East_ (1995) ISBN: 0-00-219894-0 Expanded from the 1979 version, with improved plates. Fits into a pocket. "Especially good on geographic forms." --Derek Turner Perrins, C.: _New Generation Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe_ (Collins, 1987) ISBN: 0-00-219769-3 "More plumage variants than any other small guide, maps and text opposite illustrations, and a whole section on general ornithology topics, anatomy, behaviour, etc. BUT four of the illustrations fit onto a postage stamp. My favourite guide for use in the field."--DA Ferguson-Lees, J.; Willis, I.; Sharrock, J.T.R.: _The Shell Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland_ (Michael Joseph, 1983) ISBN: 0-7181-2220-8 "Vignette illustrations, painted, including plenty of action shots showing typical poses. Maps, text, and illustrations all together. Split into two sections: regulars and rarities."--DA Jorgen Grahn recommends _The Hamlyn Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe_ by Bruun, Delin, Svensson; illustrations by Singer, Zetterstrom. Select a recent edition. The most commonly used field guides for Australian birds are Simpson and Day, _Field Guide to the Birds of Australia_ (Penguin Books, Aust.); and Slater, Slater, and Slater, _The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds_ (Weldon) King et al., _A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia_ (Collins, London) has also been recommended (although it now seems to be out of print). ------- 2.2. I'm going on a trip. How can I find out where are good places to go birding? There may be a "bird-finding guide" for the area you wish to visit. Bird-finding guides are books that cover the birdlife of an area in detail; they include discussions of promising sites, maps and directions, and indications of birds' seasonal abundance. The American Birding Association offers by mail order an enormous selection of these books, covering both North America and elsewhere, and their service is quite prompt. See section 2.4 for information on how to reach them. Please post your request as well to rec.birds. Locals (and recent visitors to the same area) may be able to give you up-to-the-minute information, and you might even find people to go birding with when you're there. Many traveling birders write trip reports for the benefit of others. There are several sources of archived trip reports on the world-wide web: Lisa Bryan's North and Central American trip report archive: http://www.azstarnet.com/~lisab/triplist.html Urs Geiser's archive of mainly Old World trip reports: http://www.xnet.com/~ugeiser/Birds/TripReports/TripReports.html Archive of trip reports posted to BIRDCHAT and BIRDTRIP: http://listserv.arizona.edu/lsv/www/birdtrip.html Trip reports posted to the mailing list EuroBirdNet: http://ebn.unige.ch/ebn/trip.html Worldtwitch (tm), a repository of recent sightings and searches for rare birds around the world: http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/9684/ Finally, Tina McDonalds armchair traveler's birding web site, "Where do you want to go Birding Today?", has many useful links, grouped by location, and worldwide coverage: http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/birding.htm ------- 2.3. How can I get on-line bird checklists? An excellent collection of lists is available at Jack Siler's website: http://www.birdingonthe.net/birdlists/ A checklist of the birds of North America is available on floppy disk from the American Birding Association (see section 2.4 below). Santa Barbara Software Products will send bird lists for any region by e-mail at no charge. Their e-mail address is sbsp@aol.com. ------- 2.4. What are good wild-bird magazines? That depends on your purpose. Bird magazines have three main offerings: interesting articles, compelling photography, and records of unusual sightings. Many publications have strengths in only one area. Below is a list of many magazines, with their organizations. Bernard Volet supplied much of the European information. Also, see the next section, as its subject matter overlaps this one's. North America: _Audubon Field Notes_ (five issues; important repository of sighting records; in financial difficulty; US$30/yr) P.O. Box 490 Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 700 Broadway USA (editorial address is 700 Broadway, New York, New York 10003, USA +1 212 979-3000) _Birders Journal_ (bimonthly; general-interest; C$34/yr) Circulation Department 8 Midtown Dr., Suite 289 Oshawa, Ontario L1J 8L2 CANADA _QuebecOiseaux_ (4 issues/yr; C$16) Box 514 Drummondville, Quebec J2B 6W4 Canada _Birder's World_ (bimonthly; general-interest; outstanding photos; US$19.75/yr) Subscription Dept. 434 W Downer Pl Aurora, Illinois 60506-9919 USA _Birding_ (bi-monthly; with _Winging It_, a monthly newsletter; US$36 with membership) American Birding Association, Inc. P. O. Box 6599 Colorado Springs, Colorado 80934 USA Toll-free phone (North America) (800) 850-2473 ABA Sales: in North America (800) 634-7736 Otherwise +1 719 578 0607 _Birds of the Wild_ (quarterly; C$16.00/yr) P.O. Box 73 Markham, Ontario L3P 3J5 CANADA _Bird Watcher's Digest_ (bimonthly; aimed at novices and backyard feeders; US$17.95/yr) Pardson Corporation P. O. Box 110 Marietta, Ohio 45750-9977 USA In North America (800) 879-2473 _Living Bird_ (quarterly; US$30 with membership) Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology 159 Sapsucker Woods Road Ithaca, New York 14850 USA _Partners in Flight/Aves de las Americas_ (free quarterly) National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Suite 900, Bender Bldg. 1120 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20036 USA _WildBird_ (monthly; general-interest; US$23.97/yr) Subscription Dept. P.O. Box 52898 Boulder, Colorado 80323-2898 USA In the United Kingdom: _British Birds_ (monthly; Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. US$73 or 38.60 pounds sterling. Sample issue requests should be directed to Erika Sharrock at this address, mentioning this FAQ) Fountains Park Lane Blunham Bedford MK44 3NJ ENGLAND _Birds_ (quarterly; 20 pounds sterling/yr) Royal Society for the Protection of Birds The Lodge Sandy Beds SG19 2DL ENGLAND Switzerland: _Nos Oiseaux_ (quarterly; bird behavior and distribution, local bird sightings, in French with German and English summaries SFr.33/yr) Musee d'Histoire Naturelle 2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds SWITZERLAND Phone and Fax: +41 039 23 39 76 France: _Alauda_ (quarterly; bird studies in France and Africa, in French, FFr.260/yr) Museum d'histoire naturelle Laboratoire d'Ecologie generale 4, avenue du Petit-Chateau 91800 Brunoy FRANCE _Ornithos_ (quarterly, field ornithology, national rare birds report, in French with English summaries, FFr. 270/yr) Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux BP 263 17305 Rochefort Cedex FRANCE _L'Oiseau magazine_ (quarterly, more general public oriented, bird protection, in french, FFr.140/yr) Same address as Ornithos Germany: _Limicola_ (six issues, field ornithology, in German with English summary, DM 69/yr) Limicola Uber dem Salzgraben 11 OT Druber D-37574 Einbeck GERMANY Phone +49 (05561) 82224, Fax 82289 _Ornithologischer Jahresbericht Helgoland_ (annual, report of bird sightings on the famous island, in German with English summary, DM 15) Ornithologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Helgoland e.V. Postfach 869 27490 Helgoland GERMANY Spain: _Ardeola_ (biannual, papers in Spanish and English with summaries in both languages) SEO Facultad de Biologica 28040 Madrid SPAIN Fax +34 1 549 5740 The Netherlands: Dutch Birding (in Dutch and English) Postbus 75611 1070 AP Amsterdam THE NETHERLANDS ------- 2.5. What are good wild-bird-related organizations? Start locally. Your local bird club, or, in North America, chapter of the Audubon Society, organizes birding trips that will help you hone your skills. Many states and regions have independent ornithological societies. The National Audubon Society, once a bird-oriented conservation group, is now trying to be a broad-spectrum environmental organization; whether it is succeeding is a matter of debate. National Audubon Society 700 Broadway New York, New York 10003 USA What was formerly the Canadian Audubon Society is now: Canadian Nature Federation 1 Nicholas, Suite 520 Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7B7 CANADA In North America, the organization dedicated to birding as a sport is the American Birding Association. American Birding Association P.O. Box 6599 Colorado Springs, Colorado 80934 USA Toll-free phone in North America (800) 634-7736 Otherwise +1 719 578 0607 Professional ornithological associations, by and large, are much more welcoming of amateur members than those of other sciences. They publish scholarly journals, which may be had very reasonably with membership. The American Ornithologists' Union, US$35/yr (publishes _The Auk_ quarterly) 810 East Tenth Street Lawrence, Kansas 66049-8897 USA Western Field Ornithologists (Covers Western North America US$18/yr (outside U.S. US$23)) c/o Dori Myers, Treasurer 6011 Saddletree Lane Yorba Linda, CA 92696 The British Ornithologists Union, 18 pounds sterling/yr (publishes _The Ibis_ quarterly) c/o British Museum Sub-Department of Ornithology Tring Herts HP23 6AP ENGLAND Ontario Field Ornithologists Box 1204, Station B Burlington, Ontario L7P 3S9 CANADA Vogelbescherming (the Dutch Society for the Protection of Birds; publishes _Vogels_) (member of BirdLife International) Driebergseweg 16c 3708 JB Zeist THE NETHERLANDS +31 03404 37744 fax +31 03404 18844 birdinfophone +31 03404 37773 Norsk Ornitologisk Forening (publishes _Vaar Fuglefauna_ quarterly) Seminarplassen 5 7060 Klaebu Oslo NORWAY Bird Observers Club of Australia (publishes The Bird Observer, monthly except January; A$40/yr, overseas A$60 includes airmail) 183 Springvale Rd Nunawading, Victoria 3131 AUSTRALIA fax +61 3 894 4048 Birds Australia (RAOU), A$64/yr (publishes _The Emu_) 415 Riversdale Road Hawthorn East Victoria 3123 Australia +61-3-9882-2622 fax +61-3-9882-2677 mail@birdsaustralia.com.au http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/ AUSTRALIA Papua New Guinea Bird Society P.O. Box 1598 Boroko, NCD PAPUA NEW GUINEA Southern African Ornithological Society, around R65/yr (publishes _Birding in Southern Africa_; scientific members [around R20 more] also receive _Ostrich_) P.O. Box 84394 Greenside Johannesburg 2034 SOUTH AFRICA +27 11 8884147 fax +27 11 7827013 Here is a sampling of international conservation organizations: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds The Lodge Sandy Beds ENGLAND +44 01767 680551 http://www.rspb.org.uk BirdLife International (formerly International Council for Bird Preservation; quarterly journal, US$35/yr) Wellbrook Court Girton Road Cambridge CB3 0NA ENGLAND +44 223 277318 (U.S. affiliate : World Bird Club P.O. Box 57242 Washington, DC 20037-7242 +1 202 778 9649) British Trust for Ornithology The Nunnery Thetford Norfolk IP24 2PU ENGLAND http://www.bto.org See the previous section for more such organizations. ------- 2.6. What is BIRDCHAT? BIRDCHAT is one of a family of mailing lists dedicated to wild birds. BIRDCHAT is for discussion of general wild-bird topics; the subjects are much like those raised on rec.birds, but the tone is substantially more serious. It is not forbidden to post an article both to BIRDCHAT and rec.birds if the content is not frivolous. BIRDEAST, BIRDCNTR, and BIRDWEST, other mailing lists in the family, contain reports of rare birds (transcribed by volunteers from hotlines) from eastern, central, and western North America, respectively. To subscribe to BIRDCHAT, send a message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU containing this command: SUBSCRIBE BIRDCHAT _Your Name_ To unsubscribe, send this message: SIGNOFF BIRDCHAT BIRDCHAT subscriptions can generate many e-mail messages to you per day. If you would like to receive only one daily message which will contain all of that day's traffic, send this message after subscribing: SET BIRDCHAT DIGEST For more information, send this message: HELP See also EuroBirdNet below. ------- 2.7. Are there good computer programs for maintaining bird lists? Commercial computer programs exist for this purpose; they are advertised in the back pages of many birding magazines. One prominent commercial program, AviSys, is reviewed in the August 1992 issue of _Birding_. _Birding_ has reviewed several such programs in the past few years, including Plover. _Living Bird_ reviewed nine PC-based programs in its Summer 1992 issue. Many shareware and public-domain programs also exist, such as LifeLister. Check public-domain archives to get copies of these programs. Carena Pooth <HFDH09A@prodigy.com> graciously provided the following list of names, addresses, and phone numbers. If you find any problems with it, please notify her as well as the FAQ maintainer. All prices are U.S. dollars. FOR MS-DOS or Microsoft Windows: AviSys ~ Perceptive Systems, P.O. Box 369, Placitas, NM 87043. (In N.A. (800) 354-7755) The latest version is AviSys 4.58 for Windows 3.x, 95, 98, Me, XP, NT, 2000. It is priced at $99.95 + $4 S&H. Information at http://www.avisys.net BirdBase for Windows: http://members.aol.com/sbsp Santa Barbara Software Products, 1400 Dover Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93103 [BirdBase for Windows 3.X, 95, 98, ME, XP, NT, and 2000, including the world species list, is US$59.95 + US$4.00 shipping to the U.S. and Canada, or US$8.00 shipping to elsewhere; with the North American/Hawaiian species list it is $US$39.95 + US$3.00 S&H] Birder's Diary: http://www.thayerbirding.com Thayer Birding Software PO Box 110613, Naples, FL 34108 [Birder's Diary 2.5 is compatible with Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000, includes four different species lists (Sibley, ABA, AOU, Thayer) and the last edition of Charles Sibley's ornithological reference - "Birds of the World". US $140 + $5.95 shipping to U.S. and Canada, $20 shipping to elsewhere.] BirdRecorder 32, Wildlife Computing: http://www.Wildlife.co.uk <mailto:sales@wildlife.co.uk> [US$125.00 for the Windows version (Including World Bird Data)] FOR MACINTOSH: BirdBrain 4.0, Ideaform, Inc., P.O. Box 1540, Fairfield, Iowa 52556 (In N.A. (800) 779-7256, or +1 515 472 7256). [US$79.95 or US$99.95 with World Birds Data] MacPeregrine, Whole Life Systems, P.O. Box 162, Rehoboth, NM 87322 If you use a bird-listing program, please post a review to rec.birds. ------- 2.8a. Where can I get digitized pictures of birds? 2.8b.What are some birding resources on the Internet and the Web? Here is a sampling. Jack Siler's page: http://www-stat.wharton.upenn.edu/~siler/birding.html http://www.im.nbs.gov http://www.im.nbs.gov/bbs/bbs.html http://www.audubon.org/ http://www.fws.gov/~r9endspp/endspp.html http://www.interlog.com/~gallantg/ontario.html ------- 2.9. Where can I find recordings of birdsongs? For North American birds, Houghton Mifflin's Peterson series includes Walton and Lawson's _Backyard Bird Song_, a simple introduction to common birds, as well as _Birding by Ear_, a more advanced course. These are available in CD and cassette format. They also offer "aural field guides" for North America on cassette and compact disc: there is an Eastern/ Central and a Western volume. The National Geographic Society (In N.A. (800) 638-4077) offers an audio field guide. Lang Elliot offers a series of recordings called _Know Your Bird Songs_ that are very useful for advanced and intermediate birders. Bernard Volet suggests the following for European bird songs: Roche, J.-C.: _All the Bird Songs of Britain and Europe_ 4 cassettes covering 420 species or 4 CDs covering 396 species, Comments in French and English. "For research, teaching, identification problems, covering Western and Eastern Paleartic, Afro-tropical, Oriental, Australasian, Nearctic, Neotropical and Antarctic, inquire at: British Library of Wildlife Sounds (BLOWS) National Sound Archive 29 Exhibition Road London SW7 2AS ENGLAND Fax +44 071 412 7441" The British Library maintains an archive of wildlife recordings. See their web page at http://www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/wild.html . ------- 2.10. Are there field guides for nests, eggs, and nestlings? Yes, but they must be used with great caution. Never interfere with nesting birds, and spend as little time as possible in the nest's vicinity. Needless to say, do not touch the nest's contents. The main North American reference is: Harrison, Colin: _A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds_ (published by Collins, 1978). ISBN: 0-00219-316-7 Be sure to read this book's introductory text; don't skip right to the species entries. If you have an interest in nests and eggs, the FAQ editor suggests that you seek out and get involved with an organized bird survey. ------- 2.11. Are there newsgroups or mailing lists for my part of the world? EuroBirdNet is a private mailing list for relaying information about birds in Europe (or actually the whole Western Palearctic region), consisting of, for example, rarity reports and trip reports. Join by using the link http://www.listserv.funet.fi/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=ebn&A=1 and only if that fails by writing to the list administrator at ebn-request@listserv.funet.fi. There is now a newsgroup uk.rec.birdwatching for birding in the United Kingdom. A mailing list UKBIRDNET also exists; to subscribe, send e-mail to ukbirdnet-request@dcs.bbk.ac.uk with the word "subscribe" in the body. Subscribers to UKBIRDNET automatically get all EuroBirdNet traffic. ------- 2.12. Bird House Information This section is meant only to give several internet links to Web sites which contain more detailed and complete information about specific topics related to birdhouses that you may want to explore on your own topics like birdhouse dimensions, placement, timing, etc.. I couldn't begin to rewrite all of that information here. For you builders and handypeople out there, several sites on the Web provide dimensions and drawings for many of the birds who are cavity dwellers. As of March 12, 1998, the following sites contain this information. At least one is principally devoted to Bluebirds, and the struggles they've had against rival, non-native birds like the House sparrow and Starling. Enjoy: http://audubon-omaha.org/bbbox/index.htm (bluebird site, BB box drawings, etc. - good one) http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/adv/birding/birdhous/birdhous.htm (Nestboxes and bird houses) http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~tross/by/house.html (Homes for Birds) http://www.fws.gov/r9mbmo/pamphlet/house.html (Homes for Birds plus some commentary) http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/nathis/birds/birdfedr.html (How to Build a Bird Feeder basic) http://www.pacifier.com/~mpatters/bird/nestbox.html (Building a Basic Birdbox - good one) http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/nreos/forest/steward/www16.html (Song bird nesting box plans) Further, web sites which contain information about birds/birding and related issues abound and one need only to do some searching to find them (also discussed in FAQ 2.8b). Try the following sites: http://www.birdware.com/owbf.htm (Overview of Wild Bird Feeding) http://birds.cornell.edu/ (lots of stuff - good one) http://www.naturesongs.com (principally devoted to bird sounds) http://home.sol.no/~tibjonn/index.htm (has many links to other, specific sites - good one) http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/birding.htm (birding hot spots around the world) Bill Oldroyd, Gail Spitler and John J. Collins provided the links and information above. Much thanks. ------- 2.13. Acknowledgements The acknowledgements list is maintained in part 1 of this FAQ. *********end of part 2 (of 2) of the rec.birds FAQ*********