Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

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 20 of 95

Photo © Nigel Kiteley 19 March 2017 | Birder's Guide to Travel #15 • Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Redstarts are among our most stunning summer breeding mi- grants, with bright orange-red tails, which they often quiver. Males in breeding plumage look very smart with their black faces and wings, orange rump and chest, and gray upper parts. These birds are mainly distributed in oak woodlands, in hedge - rows, and along streams of the north and west, with the greatest numbers in Wales. For me, on the east coast, this is one of the most common migrants, often found in coastal scrub, thickets, and woodland. Redstarts are in an Old World family that also includes the European Robin and the wheatears. "Start" means tail, and the American Redstart, which also has orange-red in the tail, was named after this bird. #16 • Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus Like the Bearded Tit, the Long-tailed Tit isn't really a tit; instead, it is in the same family as the Bushtit of North America. "Lotties" are frequently found in family parties of eight to twenty, announc- ing their presence with their distinctive and bubbly prrt-prrt call. Easily identified by its patterned, soft, pink-and-black plumage, small size, and long tail, this fluffy little garden bird is one of the nation's favorites. Long-tailed Tits have amazing, enclosed, oval-shaped nests constructed from moss, hair, and cobwebs, and lined with hundreds of feathers. It is not unusual for family mem- bers to help feed and rear chicks in the breeding season, and in the winter, they huddle together at night to stay warm. #17 • Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Shy and secretive birds, bullfinches are more often heard than seen. The song is a rather mournful soft piping note that carries surprisingly far. The male is unmistakable: a burst of color with its stunning pinkish-red breast and cheeks, gray back, black cap, and bright white rump. A pair of bullfinches forms a strong and lasting bond; it is usual to see birds in pairs throughout the year. The name "bullfinch" comes from the bird's front- heavy, bull-headed appearance. Its short, stubby beak is adapted for feeding on fruit tree buds, which puts it at odds with fruit farmers. In some parts of Europe, it is the bullfinch and not the robin which appears on Christmas cards. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a nation consisting of four constituent "countries"—really more equivalent to U.S. states or Canadian provinces in terms of their sovereignty. England, Wales, and Scotland together make up the island of Great Britain. To the west of Great Britain is the island of Ireland, the northeast corner of which constitutes Northern Ireland. The remainder of the island makes up the Republic of Ireland, a separate nation. Together, the islands of Great Britain (often re- ferred to as just "Britain") and Ireland make up the British Isles. # 18 # 17 Photo © dingopup

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