Kenn KaufmanKenn Kaufman zeroed in on birds at the age of six and went on to pursue them on all seven continents. He has worked for Audubon in various editorial capacities since 1984, but much of his time goes into book projects, including his own field guide series, Kaufman Field Guides, with volumes on birds, butterflies, mammals, and insects. He and his wife Kim (also a talented birder and educator) make their home in northwestern Ohio near the famous bird migration hotspot of Magee Marsh.
Kenn Kaufman's blog
Blackpoll Warblers, migrating long distances across the open waters of the Atlantic in fall, are especially vulnerable to the effects of tropical storms. In 2012, most of them had gone south before Sandy arrived, but some other birds were not so fortunate. Photo by Kenn Kaufman.
Sandy was a thousand miles wide and had winds of close to 90 miles per hour as she approached the coast of New Jersey. Most migratory birds weigh only a few ounces, or even less than an ounce for some smaller birds like warblers. Considering the collision of tiny birds and big winds, it stands to reason that bird migration would have been disrupted by the powerful storm. But the effects on birds varied quite a bit, depending on the species involved; here are a few noteworthy examples.!--/end tags-->
Say you’re sitting in your living room and a friend calls to tell you that there’s a big parade coming down your street. You would at least go to the window to look out, right? Well—I’m your friend, and I’m calling to let you know that the parade is out there. It’s outside your window right now.
In the March-April 2008 issue of Audubon, Jane Braxton Little profiled Malkolm Boothroyd and his parents, Ken Madsen and Wendy Boothroyd, and their "Bird Year" project. The trio left their home in Whitehorse, Yukon, on the summer solstice (June 21, 2007), heading south on a year-long, fossil-fuel-free pursuit of birds. Since then they have biked south through California, east across Arizona and Texas to Florida, then back along the Gulf Coast to the upper Texas Coast by late April.
If you head out for a bicycle ride, how many kinds of birds are you likely to spot? If you are teenager Malkolm Boothroyd, the answer is now over 500 species. The boy wonder from the Yukon is ten months through his twelve-month quest, has bicycled way over 10,000 miles through Canada and the U.S., and has identified over 500 species of birds while raising nearly $12,000 for conservation. Now, that is an impressive feat of birding!
All across the northeastern and central U.S., an invasion is under way. This invasion has gone unremarked by the traditional press, but those who pay attention to the real world have noted a huge invasion of tiny birds. Hordes of Red-breasted Nuthatches are creeping southward, possibly pausing in a back yard near you.!--/end tags-->
Along the south shore of Lake Erie, near my home in northwestern Ohio, the fall migration of warblers has been well under way for the last month. Most of these tiny insect-eaters migrate south early in fall; by the time fall foliage colors are at their peak, most of the warblers are long gone to the south.!--/end tags-->