May is bird month.
I don’t think that there’s any formal designation. No “National Bird Month” or anything like that. However, May has been National Bird Month for hundreds of centuries. It just goes without saying.
May is the culmination of bird migration in both the Western and Eastern hemispheres, the time when birds shift north from wintering habitat in the tropics to summer breeding territories in temperate North America and Eurasia.
Here in the “New World”, most of those migrant birds are called “Neotropical” migrants. That means that they’ve departed South or Central America sometime in February or March and begun to inch north to places like California, New Jersey, Canada, or Wisconsin.
In general, we’re talking about some of our most striking songbirds; thrushes, vireos, orioles, tanagers, flycatchers, and warblers. They fly by night – in order to avoid predatory diurnal hawks – and plop down in woods each morning to replenish their empty tanks with bugs. Yummy!
Here at WQOW, May also means that it’s time for another installment of “The Bird Dimension”. Okay, sure…I’ll take any excuse I can think of to tackle a “bird story”. I like to pretend that we’re Western Wisconsin’s “Discovery Channel” (but without the bad Sarah Palin PR…). There are so many interesting things about birds that it’s easy to think of new angles to cover.
This year – beginning on Monday, May 31st — we’ll be airing another set of three topic pieces:
“Boogie Bird” – on the courtship behaviors of Sharp-tailed Grouse.
“The Birds We Love to Hate” – on well, a trio of birds we don’t much like…and
“When You Fall in Love With Birds” – a reflection on the many and easy ways it’s
possible to appreciate wild birds.
I fell in love with birds when I was still a teenager; even before I’d enjoyed my “first date”. To this day, my wife swears she’s not a “birder” – though I get regular updates on “big-birds-seen-while-driving-to-work”. Hey – there’s no reason to be ashamed of strong feeling!
I love to listen to birds, and I love watching them at all times. Taping them, though, is a bit more work. You see birds can’t seem to sit still, and what I’ve learned is that anything short of three seconds of “focused and stable” video is worthless for airing.
If only the birds we’re more cooperative. Smile pretty for the camera now!
To date, I’ve managed to air more than 300 species of birds on local television. It’s a little game I play. I want to bring the birds to you. I want you to see just how colorful they are, just how beautiful, just how fascinating.
I want you to fall in love with birds too. Because love is a beautiful thing. Because… love is all you need…
All year ‘round…
Posted under Artist? Scientist? Philosopher? Camera Guy?
This post was written by sbetchkal on May 26, 2010