JUN
2015
07

Putting Your Scope to the Ultimate Test!

So did you hear the one about the guy who fought off a Grizzly Bear with his spotting scope?!?… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, I know, but this is a true and amazing story. In spring 2013 the Leica Birding Facebook page was tagged in the rather random post above. Naturally, when you read a subject line like that you are curious, so I followed the link  to the newspaper story and read with amazement. The man in the story was actually an old friend I’d worked with when I used to do field research in Alaska, Toby Burke.…

Feathers Over Freeport

Now in its 9th year (see previous post LINK), the Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch in Pownal, Maine attracts an average of over 1200 visitors annually. Furthermore, many times that number visit the summit throughout our two month season and briefly chat with the Official Counter or read our count board and display. Of those 1200+ folks, many have never heard of, or at least never visited, a “hawkwatch” before, as the culture of hawkwatching in Northern New England isn’t as ingrained in the birding culture or as widespread as in such places as Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. For my…

MAY
2015
26

Leica Stories: An Interview with Danielle Brigida

I met Danielle Brigida (pronounced like London BRIDGE-i-da, as she’d tell you) three or four years ago when she taught a social media course I was taking at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. At the time she was in charge of social media for the National Wildlife Federation. We instantly clicked over a shared love of birds and running. I’m not sure that I’ve ever met someone with such an unabashedly enthusiastic sense of wonder about virtually every aspect of the natural world. (When you read on to find out what she does for a living, it’ll…

David Lindo: The Vote National Bird Campaign

Britain does not have a national bird. That is an unbelievable fact, given that Britain – the birthplace of birding – is well known as a nation of animal lovers. So why does the nation, in which I was raised, not have an emblemic bird? After all, many other countries have one. For example, the USA has the Bald Eagle (since 1776), Mongolia has the Saker Falcon and Sweden is endowed with the Common Blackbird. In truth, Britain already has a national bird, albeit unofficial. Back in the early 60’s the European Robin was given the title of Britain’s Favourite…

Champions of the Flyway Part III: Piecing it Together

This is part three in a series of blog posts about the Champions of the Flyway event, an annual bird race (big day) for conservation held in Eilat, Israel. A true international event, birders from all over the globe are coming together to make a difference during Champions of the Flyway: a bird race that is making a difference. March 25, 2015 was the second annual Champions of the Flyway race with international teams of birders trying to see (or hear) as many species of birds as possible, all the while highlighting and raising funds to support a global conservation effort. In 2015, Leica…

Photographing Critically Endangered Owls of Madagascar

Alan van Norman, a neurosurgeon from Bismarck, North Dakota, spends much of his spare time traveling the world to photograph owls. In November 2014, he excitedly boarded a flight destined for some remote Indian Ocean islands off the east coast of Africa. Not only did he want to find and photograph the Madagascan Red Owl, a Barn Owl look-alike except for its overall red-tinged coloration, but he also wanted to try and photograph some of the tiny owlets endemic to even more remote parts of this planet: the various forested islands of the Comoros archipelago. These volcanic islands lie between…

APR
2015
08

Dessi Sieburth: ABA Young Birder of the Year 2015

Each year the American Birding Association honors young birders from all over the country with the coveted “ABA Young Birder of the Year” awards. This year, the winners were Marky Mutchler of Liberty, Missouri and Dessi Sieburth of Montrose, California. These and the other young birders competed in an intense year-long competition that might seem difficult even by adult birding standards! Both of the winners were awarded brand new Leica Trinovid binoculars that they can use for future birding endeavors. Below is a note from winner Dessi Sieburth about his experience in this competition. I’m Dessi Sieburth from Montrose, California, and I’m twelve…

Champions of the Flyway Part II: The Lay of the Land

This is part two in a series of blog posts about the Champions of the Flyway event. A staggering 2,500,000 birds are illegally hunted, trapped and killed on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus each year. Birders from all over the globe are coming together to make a difference during Champions of the Flyway: a bird race that is making a difference. March 25, 2015 was the second annual Champions of the Flyway race. International teams of birders tried to see (or hear) as many species of birds as possible, all the while trying to find as many donors as they possibly could to…

Contrasting & Comparing Big Years

The movie “The Big Year” brought the concept of seeing as many birds as possible in a single year to the attention of many for the first time, but hardcore birders have known about these events and have been taking up the challenge for as long as I remember. In the movie, the contestants had limited themselves to the confines of a specific geographic area defined by the American Birding Association which is essentially the United States and Canada. It’s an enormous undertaking, considering the amount of territory in question and the difficulties at reaching the most remote corners of the…

Out of Albuquerque: The New Face of Leica Birding

With well over 100 hundred years of providing the world with the best optical equipment it’s probably safe to assume that Leica also takes care to hire only the best of the best to represent the company in the global marketplace; birding is serious business after all. Last year when the great David La Puma accepted his new position as Director of Cape May Bird Observatory we were challenged with finding a replacement birder worthy of the title “Birding Product Specialist” and “Leica Birding Team Lead”. So began the grueling, six month process of interviewing birders from all over the…