My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!


My Yellow Warbler review

I have been banding birds for 18 years and I would like to start a series on my recapture birds that I have encountered during my banding carrier. The first bird that I would like to share is the Yellow Warbler.

2015/01/img_0281.jpg (more…)

Red Crossbill (LIFER)

Red Crossbills feeding on salt in the road.
3 Red Crossbill’s in the road.

Today while driving along the roads near Quaker Lake (Allegany State Park) . . . . I saw a some larger birds feeding on the salt in the road. I slowed the vehicle down and needed to take a closer look at these guys. I realized they were crossbill’s and quickly grabbed my binoculars (which I luckily had in the truck) to discover they were Red Crossbill’s (CHECK) 45 species for 2013. This wasn’t any ordinary check this was a LIFER CHECK!!!


I was surprised this week with a copy of the new “The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds” sitting at my door step. I remember when Sibley came out with his new guide and everyone thought “it’s too big and it could never replace the Peterson’s guide”!! Instantly we find ourselves buying not one but multiple copies (one for the house, car, office, banding bag . . . etc.). Could the same thing happen with this guide?? My first impression of the Crossley ID Guide is WOW and I know for sure it will be used in my library but I have doubt it will replace Sibley or any of my iPhone apps. It is a “BIG” guide and probably why they are not calling it a Field Guide!! To the right birder, it is possible The Crossley ID Guide will be grabbed for help before the more traditional “painted” guides but it is defiantly a picture reference guide more than our traditional “Field Guides”.

Crossley ID Guide


My Christmas Bird Count 2010

Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting

Patty and I participated in the Saint Bonaventure Christmas Bird Count for the Cattaraugus County Bird Club in section 3 today as we do every year. Since I have moved over to Chautauqua County . . . . I had the opportunity to show my territory to Lisa who is new to the area and looking for a count spot to do. This probably will not be my last CBC with Catt. Co but this will give me the chance to explore other areas with other counters. Having an area that doesn’t include much water . . . I thought we had a great day with 21 species of birds!

Peterson Field Guide to the Birds [book review]

peterson field guide

This month Houghton Mifflin revised the Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America (4th edition) after not being updated in nearly 20 years. The Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America (6th edition) was also revised and was released on March 14th 2010. Both books include the many name changes and taxonomic splits and lumps, along with its typical Peterson style maps and arrows. These revisions include updated text and 40 new paintings for two series of books. New to these revisions include over 3 hours of downloadable Video Podcasts from many different categories.

New Birding iPhone App [BirdsEye]

BirdsEyeBirdsEye on the iPhone

This summer I purchased the iPhone after seeing the numerous applications available for birdwatchers (and I was jealous of Pattys iPhone)! I was holding out on purchasing iBird due to its expensive price and rumors that Cornell was coming out with a new application in August (which never came out until this December)! I currently purchased BirdsEye this week and for sure it is a good application . . . . but!!

Canada Goose Banding

Canada Goose Round Up 1
Rounding Up the Geese on the Lake

I had an opportunity to assist with some banding of Canada Goose this summer. I was amazed at the number of people required in banding these guys. People were first used to help direct them to the pen and then the masses of people would then help in quickly band the birds . . . then they would be released. For sure an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life!

Puffins at Machias Seal Island

Guest Post by my good friend Mike Desha


On Father’s Day 2008 my wife and I treated ourselves to a trip to Machias Seal Island in Maine (or Canada, as the boundary between Canada and the U.S. is still in dispute even at this late date). Cap’t Andy ferried about 17 of us to the island from Cutler, Maine, a fishing village about 10-miles away. As you can tell we were very fortunate that the ocean was almost as smooth as glass, That’s not always the case in the North Atlantic. Sometimes one is not able to land on the island because of rough seas.

Towhee and Grouse at CLDC

Blue-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler

On Saturday the 13th of June 2009 we opened the 2nd session of the CLDC MAPS banding station! We captured 14 different species and banded 13 newly banded birds with 14 recaptures (total of 27 individuals).

Kid Birders at SWAT

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

On Friday the 12th of June 2009 we opened the 2nd session of the SWAT MAPS banding station! We captured 14 different species and banded 17 newly banded birds with 16 recaptures (total of 33 individuals). The weather was very cooperative and we had a great steady number of birds being captured in the nets.

Banding Demo for Kids Last Friday

For the past 6 years I have had the opportunity to participate in Allegany State Park’s Great Outdoors Day with the Recreation Department. This year due to the scheduling conflicts . . . . I was only able to banding during the Friday Class Sessions. But I still had the opportunity to interact with over 200 children from numerous school districts.

First Day at CLDC for 2009

Wilsons Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler

Last Sunday after the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage we started banding over at the CLDC MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. We placed bands on 14 species and we placed new bands on 19 individuals. In addition to the newly banded birds we recaptured 2 Song Sparrows, 4 Common Yellowthroats, 1 House Wren and 1 Indigo Bunting which were previous year banded birds (for a total of 27 individuals).

Roger Tory Peterson Birding Festival

Reposted from: The Peterson Journal, June 2009, Volume 6, No. 2

Cattaraugus County Bird Club

A highlight of our year-long Schedule of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roger Tory Peterson is the inaugurating of an annual birding festival to be held this year on June 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2009. The focus of the festival will be Eastern North American Warblers on the Allegheny Plateau. During the course of the festival we will visit habitats where Peterson birded as a youth that are likely to hold singing males on territory, with a goal of sightings all or most of the 25 species of warblers that are known to breed in this area. (more…)

April BOS Count 2009


Sunday was the annual April BOS Count and I truly enjoyed the most beautiful spring day looking for all these birdies! I ended up with 54 species and 441 different individuals observed within the Allegany State Park’s area of Section 24. What was even more exciting was the nine first of the year birds that I located.

American Woodcock Display [Video]

Bird Club
The Cattaraugus County Bird Club

Today the Cattaraugus County Bird Club had a field trip to watch the display of the American Woodcock in Allegany State Park. We started a little after dinner searching for spring migrants but the main purpose of the trip was to find the American Woodcock.

Ten reasons I miss summer

Baltimore Oriole and Orange
( 10 ) Giving the birds your leftovers!


Turkey of a day!

Today I had the opportunity to assist the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) band a dozen Wild Turkeys here in Allegany State Park. This is the final year of their project looking at the harvest and survival rates of the male Turkey in New York State.

Turkey and Tom (me)
That’s me and the Turkey


What Woodpeckers Eat

Downy Woodpecker

The woodpecker’s main diet is insects that are heard from under the bark of the tree. They will drill a hole and then use their awfully long tongue for pulling the insects out. The tongue is sticky at the end which is helpful in grasping the insect from the center of the tree. You can think of the woodpecker as a tree doctor removing the insects that could potentially do harm to the tree (that’s how I think of them)!!

for the BIRDS [Book Review]

The book “for the BIRDS: A Month-by-Month Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard” was written by three sisters “Anne Schmauss”, “Mary Schmauss” and “Geni Krolick”. I found this book just as cute inside as it appears on the outside cover. The first 50 pages gets into the basics explaining the pro and cons of different seed types, bird suet, nectar, bird baths, and nest boxes that should be used in the habitat that you have created in your backyard. The rest of the book is broken down into a month-by-month explanation of expected birds that you would find at your feeder, suggested seed mixtures to be used and other backyard tips to improve the birds in your yard for that month.



2009 Annual Waterfowl Survey

Today a few of us from the Cattaraugus County Bird Club participated in the NYS DEC / NYSOA annual waterfowl survey. Each January a quarter of a million ducks across New York State are counted by bird clubs, state officials and your average birder. In years past we had participate in the Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey, where we would help locate Eagles wintering along the Allegheny River (while also looking for waterfowl) . . . . But for some reason these dates did not overlap as they had previously. The results of this survey will help determine the long-term monitoring of waterfowl within New York State during the winter months.

Common Goldeneye in the Snow
Common Goldeneye in the Snow (more…)

Northern Saw-whet Owls Report for 2008

Saying So Long for Another Season

This year the Allegany State Park (Northern Saw-whet Owl) banding station was open for 15 nights and captured 26 different individuals (not including 1 Barred Owl). We didn’t capture as many owls per day like we did last season but the number of days we could open the station was reduced due to weather conditions. (more…)

The Life of Roger Tory Peterson [Book Review]

The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

Recently author Elizabeth J. Rosenthal asked me to review her newest publication, “The Life of Roger Tory Peterson”. I contacted my friends at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute ( who raved at how accurate Elizabeth was able capture Mr. Peterson’s legacy. They stated some of her research was done at the institute ( so that was a plus for me before even starting to read the book) but she had also collected interviews with a hundred of Roger’s closest colleagues. (more…)

The Owls Have Arrived

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

We caught our first of the year Northern Saw-whet Owl Saturday night! Been a slow start to their movement but I believe that is due to warmer temperatures and the bright moon shining down on the nets. Their numbers should be picking up in a week or two as soon as the moon starts rising later in the evening!

Scarlet of a Day

Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanager

Last Saturday we had a scarlet of a day banding at the CLDC station! We capture 10 different species and handled 36 individuals (18 newly banded birds and 18 recaptured birds)! Highlights were the Scarlet Tanager, Blue-winged Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers and Cedar Waxwing! Will turn this into an “almost” Wordless Wednesday! The pictures will tell you how exciting our day went!