Birder's Guide

DEC 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 32 of 43

31 November 2015 | Birder's Guide to Gear If you want to supplement with an ex- ternal mic, consider a tiny "i-mic". The Edutige EIM-003 for iPhone ($54) is f- nally available again after months of short - ages in North America. If you don't carry a smartphone, consider a tiny, portable, digital recorder, available at big-box elec- tronics stores. 9 Phonescope Adapter | Phonescop- ing is currently all the rage. Whether this trend will last, or be superseded by alternate technologies such as cameras within scopes or binoculars, time will tell. But for now, physically clamping your smartphone onto your spotting scope is the game. There are three problems with smart- phone + scope. First, many of the con - nectors (called phonescoping adapters) are downright kludgy. Second, the adapt- ers are endlessly chasing the latest smart- phone size specifcations. A smartphone upgrade means another pricey adapter— and they typically cost between $50 and $100—relegated to your drawer graveyard of phonescoping pieces. Third, many of the adapters are not compatible with feld- appropriate protective cases that birders need outdoors. deeper than simply putting a name on a bird, then BNA is a great asset. It's an en- cyclopedia of each species' behavior and systematics, with in-depth coverage of topics such as breeding, molt, and food preference. With the advent of the internet, it's now Birds of North America Online, accessible via individual subscription of $42/year (or $5 for 30 days). But wait! Depending on your city or county's library system, you may already be paying for a subscription through your property taxes. For example, my home library has a subscription, which I can access for free through the county li- brary's database holdings using my library card as a log-in. Check with your reference librarian. Once you have access, you won't believe the treasure trove of information. Did you ever wonder if female Marsh Wrens also sing? Did you know that multiple female Smooth-billed Anis lay in a single nest, covering the previous eggs with twigs and leaves? Pick a species that you see today and look it up in BNA Online. You're guar- anteed to learn something. 8 i-Mic | The digital revolution isn't only visual; it has also extended to sound. Birding is rapidly moving toward the more frequent use of sound recordings for identifcation. Amateur birders are now contributing to sound databases, such as Xeno-Canto. It's no longer a stretch to say that every birder should have a way to capture sound in the feld. In the case of some species, such as look-alike Empi- donax fycatchers, your friendly neighborhood eBird reviewer is much more likely to accept your sighting if accompanied by audio evidence. Fortunately, this no longer means toting around a clunky recorder and parabola. Many of the built-in smartphone mics are very good, just as smartphones have engineered astounding camera quality. So for most of us, it will suffce to simply have a smartphone accessible and know how to quickly activate its re- cording features. your backlit screen, you can even refer to it while owling. 6 The Warbler Guide App .| I recently wrote a full- length article about The War- bler Guide App. (See "The Warbler Guide App," Birding, April 2015, pp. 60-63.) I'll stand by the subtitle of that article: Could this innovative app revolu- tionize our feld guides? It not only raises the bar for birding app design and imple- mentation, it's the start of a potentially new class of digital feld guides custom- created for a genre of birds. Every birder who enjoys warblers or is interested in studying warbler identifca- tion should get this app. 7 Birds of North America Online | Many birders are unfamiliar with "BNA," as it's often called. Birds of North America was a voluminous reference text that aggregated the state of knowledge of North American birds as gleaned from the scientifc literature. If you'd like to delve

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