Saturday, November 11, 2023

Beautiful Backyard Bluebirds? Plus Possible Comet Spotting Opportunity (Comet Lemmon)


My heart skipped a beat this morning as looked out into my back yard at about 9:30 am. I almost spit out my coffee when I noted a pair of white and rufous breasted bluebirds perched in the hedgerow behind my house!

My son who is 11 was standing nearby and he always says that Eastern Bluebirds are his favorite bird, so I challenged him to spot one with my binoculars. He found one! He also stated that even though that was awesome, he would have preferred to see a Western Bluebird!

This scene below shows 4 of them perched in the hedgerow behind my house. 

I read an article yesterday that a comet is in view for people that appreciate astronomy and I thought I would share some information for those with scopes, binoculars and telephoto lenses.

Using Stellarium-Web ( ), you can locate this comet --- and it would be ideally located high in the western sky tonight (on Remembrance Day) at 6:30pm. It would be found in the constellation Aquilla, but --- sadly, the "magnitude" (brightness) is "10" which is only going to be seen with a telescope in "dark skies".  A long exposure of the constellation Aquila might reveal it though.

Anyway - good birding!


Saturday, November 4, 2023

70-80 North American Birds to be Renamed???


Blackpoll Warbler sitting on my back fence after flycatching from some nearby fruit trees.

A few people have mentioned this too me lately - so this is probably not a shock to any blog readers- but yes - it seems that many birds named after various people in North America will be renamed.

This happened already a few years ago with the bird formerly known as "oldsquaw" which was a derogatory name for indigenous women - and the bird was renamed as a Long-tailed Duck. I am perfectly content with that decision. Long tailed Duck is a perfect name for that species--- and we should not be disrespectful to indigenous peoples when naming waterfowl.

I had also read recently that a minority birder was not happy that John James Audubon was racist (John James Audubon - Paintings, Facts & Life (  I was sad to hear about this.  I don't  know the extent of his racism - but I don't know if we should just erase that part of ornithological history. He is a pioneer in birding, making field-guides and conservation.  Wokeness and political correctness is a theme in the last few years. The challenge is --- should we "throw people away" that didn't meet today's norms when we don't know or understand the cultural and historical context? Should we remove Sir John A MacDonald from our $5 bill and from our history books? Slavery and Racism are abhorrent and unacceptable. I have read article that state that there is more slavery today than at any point in human history (More slaves now than at any other time in history ( ) --- and what are we doing about that?   A recent Netflix Documentary "Sea-Spiracy" suggests that most seafood we eat - particularly from Asia - is probably connected to someone being exploited, servitude, or slavery. Watch Seaspiracy | Netflix Official Site.  Its interesting to me to think that even the Bible (old and new testaments) as well as the Quran have generous mentions of slavery. Its seems like God who created the universe would inspire the prophets to challenge the norms of their day. 

Here are 2 articles about this name-changing effort that is taking place:

This poor boy named Ibqal (from Pakistan) was sold into slavery at the age of 6, chained to a carpet weaving machine and forced to work 14 hours a day, at the age of ten he was freed from slavery but then he was killed by Mohammed Ashraf, (the owner of a factory in Pakistan) for protesting child labour. He died in 1995.

On a lighter note, I had seen lots of birds in my backyard, especially on weekends when I am not rushing off to work. Some photos below include a Swamp Sparrow, and a Grey-Cheeked Thrush which were pretty cool to see from my back yard.

Eastern Phoebe

Hermit Thrush

Grey Cheeked Thrush

Swamp Sparrow

This morning - (actually closer to noon) I had seen a bright yellow breasted warbler - a Nashville Warbler which is just starting to get late enough to be considered rare. I feel I have seen this same bird for the last 2 or so days! A Fox Sparrow and an Eastern Towhee were around as well. 

Can you find a Nashville Warbler in the photo above?

Good Birding,



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