Friday, March 27, 2009

This Just In: Tree Swallow

This morning when I took Phoebe out to the bus, dawn was barely breaking and there was a heavy dew on the ground. By the time I took out Liam to his bus, just after 8 am, the dew was still there, and it was joined by a heavy, filmy mist, which obscured the sun. As we walked to the garage, the silhouette of a bird sitting on the power line caught my eye.

"Is that a tree swallow?" I asked myself. Liam overheard me and said "Walll, you know what preddy-mush all the birds are Daddy, so, yep, it prolly is!" He was right! It WAS a tree swallow.

Now THAT'S a good sign of spring's arrival.

Bus duties completed, I tossed a handful of dried eggshell bits up onto the dark-shingles of the garage roof. The tree and barn swallows eat these eggshell bits all spring and summer. I know it's early, but it felt good to start yet another spring ritual: The Feeding of the Eggshells.

Also in full song this morning: eastern meadowlarks, eastern bluebirds, house finches, a red-shouldered hawk, and all the usual suspects (cardinals, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, song sparrow, wild turkey) joined by some het-up dark-eyed juncos who are getting a head start on their spring concertos.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

This Birding Life #13

There's a new episode of my podcast, This Birding Life, available for download from Podcast Central on the Bird Watcher's Digest website. This episode is a conversation with Donald Kroodsma, bird song expert and author of the best-selling book The Singing Life of Birds.

This Birding Life and Podcast Central are sponsored by the good folks at Houghton Mifflin.

We offer most TBL episodes in two formats: MP3 (audio only) and M4a (enhanced with images and some interactive links). Either format can be enjoyed on your computer. The MP3 version can be played on any MP3 player (iPod or similar devices), but you'll need a video-ready iPod or media player to watch the enhanced M4a version.

Podcasts are a relatively new medium and we're constantly learning about how to create, improve, and distribute them. We welcome your feedback on our episodes of This Birding Life. Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions, or ideas here in Bill of the Birds. Or you can e-mail me via the Bird Watcher's Digest website.

I've been recording new TBL audio files during my travels this past year, so watch for more episodes in the near future. We're going to try to maintain a once a month schedule for TBL, if possible.

Don't forget you can also subscribe to This Birding Life both at Podcast Central and on the iTunes website (search for "This Birding Life" under the Podcasts category.)

I hope you enjoy this new episode.

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