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Vermilion Flycatcher by Jon Friedman

Vermilion Flycatcher by Jon Friedman

    Introduction Many birders may not necessarily remember the first time or place they experienced seeing a new species. Due to its brilliant coloration, which its name aptly describes, most birders will remember their first experience observing the Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus). This should not be surprising, for a variety of reasons. Flycatchers are generally not particularly colorful. Many flycatchers have some pale yellow underparts but are otherwise rather unremarkable in color. A few exceptions are worth noting: such as the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (rarely seen west of Texas in the southwest); the Rose-throated Becard (a local rarity, best seen...

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Early Birdwatchers and the Birth of Ornithology (Part 3)

Early Birdwatchers and the Birth of Ornithology (Part 3)

By Jon Friedman Thoreau Early in his career, Darwin, like all naturalists before him, used a gun to collect bird specimens for intensive, detailed and up-close study of their physical make-up, field marks and anatomical structures. Later in his career, he found it more valuable to his understanding and study to keep the animals and birds he collected alive, close at hand, and available for longer inspection. In this manner, he was able to gather more information, over an extended period of time, allowing for a much greater understanding of their whole being. Early on, in 1845, Thoreau took a...

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Early Birdwatchers And the Birth of Ornithology (Part Two)

  By Jon Friedman Alexander Wilson was probably the most heralded ornithologist of his day when he met John James Audubon for the first time in a Kentucky tavern, in March 1810. Audubon documented this meeting in his personal notes and described it in detail: “One fair morning I was surprised by the sudden entrance of Mr. Alexander Wilson, the celebrated author of the American Ornithology. How well do I remember him! His long, rather hooked nose, the keenness of his eyes, and his prominent cheek-bones, stamped his countenance with a peculiar character. His stature was not above the middle...

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Trogons in Southern Arizona

Trogons in Southern Arizona

  Article By Jon Friedman   (This is an enlarged and updated version of an article with the same title that was first published in the July, 1997 issue of the Wild Bird Store newsletter.) Elegant Trogon photo by Skye Bloodgood Photography Many thousands of resident and visiting birders travel to rural and remote areas along the Arizona/Mexico border each year, where they hope to sight several of the neo-tropical birds known to migrate here to breed or forage. Among those rare and exotic specialties, sought after by “listers” and more casual birders, are the Aztec Thrush, Zone-tailed Hawk, Whiskered...

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While Trout Fishing the Upper East Fork of the Black River with Ken Lamberton

While Trout Fishing the Upper East Fork of the Black River with Ken Lamberton

By Walker Thomas I glimpsed a great blue heron downstream.  With practiced stealth, I worked a wide circle around it, parted some branches and got off a quick shot before it took flight from the clack of my Nikon. My pride was immense. Ten minutes later, as if to tell me my success was no big whoop, the heron flew up to a nearby rock to watch me fish, and for an hour gobbled up the entrails of trout I caught. When I had a dry spell, it flew past me to do its own fishing just upstream. In five...

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