Wednesday, August 29, 2007


August can be a slow time for rarities in certain parts of the country, but there are some great "mega" birds for the ABA area right now, including Fan-Tailed Warbler in Texas, and an apparent JABIRU in Mississippi!!!

Rick Wright's blog has a photo of the Jabiru and also mentions a Brown Hawk-Owl that was apparently seen in Alaska this week. Check Surfbirds N.A. Stop Press for a really --and we don't like to use this word much-- cute photo of the owl.

Monday, August 27, 2007

New blog on the block.

Well, it looks like there's a new bird blogger on the block...none than David Sibley.

Should be an interesting blog to follow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Will the real Fishcrow please stand up?!?!?!

Wait, Fishcrow took down all of the anti-Cornell rants from his web page!

Who is this new Fishcrow, and what have they done to our beloved old Fishcrow?

Did Cornell take out Fishcrow? Maybe David Sibley? Or even Geoff Hill? Is Fishcrow now taking some sort of anti-ranting medication?

This is not a trivial matter. This battle is not just about the joy and sheer bliss we receive from reading Mr. Crow's thoughts before breakfast each and every day.

This is about the First Amendment. This is about academic freedom, and the scientific method. Important scientific work such as this must not be allowed to be intimidated. We're talking about saving a species here, for goodness sake. We cannot allow one of our top birders and bird conservationists to be silenced or censored. Or censured, either.

Was New Coke better than the old original Coke?


Were the two new Duke cousins they brought in for a couple of shows better than the original Bo and Luke Duke?


Was the new, smaller-breasted Pamela Anderson better than the old, larger-breasted version?

Again, no!

Is the new Fishcrow better than the old ranting Fishcrow?

Hell no!!!

So for the sake of science...

..for the sake of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker...

...and for the sake of humanity...





Or we can just check Google for the cached pages.

But really, we just want our old Fishcrow back!!!


*Whew* this looks like a false alarm...most of Mr. Crow's musings are back, just in a slightly different format.

You had us worried there for a minute, Mr. Fishcrow!

BINAC 2008 World Tour!!!

Folks, we have a very exciting announcement to make. The biggest tour since David Lee Roth was still in Van Halen. (Hey, they should get back together!) It's the

BINAC 2008 World Tour!!!

And, by participating in the poll at the right, you can choose where we will go in 2008!

This will be similar to the Van Halen reunion, except we're birders, not musicians, and we won't be replacing anyone with a 16 year-old fat kid named after Beethoven or someone.

Now, you may think that the poll is something we won't pay attention to, but you'd be WRONG. We will respect whatever choice the people make.

You might notice that one of the choices is Okinawa. Why Okinawa? Well, someone we know is scared of snakes, and we want to see how he will react every time we jump from behind the car and yell "Look out--Habu!!!" (Remember how, on the A-Team, they had to immobilize B.A. every time they went anywhere because he was afraid of flying? It's just like that, except without the mohawk and gold chains, and change the fear of flying to a fear into a fear of snakes.) We also here that there are a few Japanese WWII soldiers still wandering around, and we'd like to chat with them, or have some sake with them, or something like that.

So vote away.

Can we forget about chasing those gulls away now?

OK, now that the Shitty of Chicago has spent tens of thousands of dollars chasing gulls off of our "pristine" beaches, it rained. And in Chicago, when it rains, shit happens. From the Tribune:

Rain forces water district to open locks, sending sewage into lake
By Michael Hawthorne Tribune staff reporter
7:49 PM CDT, August 23, 2007

The deluge of rain today forced the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to open locks on the North Shore Channel in Wilmette, allowing millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage to flow into Lake Michigan.
Yes, they City is spending our tax dollars on trained bird-chasing Border Collies when our friends at the MWRD are dumping millions - yes, that's right, millions -- of gallons of raw sewage into the lake. So much for discouraging people to use bottled water. M. Miller, wherever you are, you called this one.
Have fun at the beach this weekend!
BINAC out.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Midwest Frigatebird Alert!

Here is a very interesting post to IN-BIRD from one of Indiana's most knowledgeable birders, Ken Brock:

FRIGATEBIRD (SEABIRD) ALERT. Tom Skilling, Chicago's crack meteorologist, has drawn parallels between hurricane Gilbert (1988) and hurricane Dean (currently approaching Cancun). Gilbert went ashore on 17 September and, according to Skilling, remnants of the storm reached Lake Michigan on 20 September. During the interval 25 September to 4 October a number of Frigatebirds (perhaps a half-dozen) were seen across the Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana).

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Good news!!!

The Wilson's Plover has stuck around for almost a week, just about everyone who has tried has seen it, and no one has been shot, robbed, or killed*! This will be a first state record, there have been a few other reports but we don't think that any of those were ever formally accepted by the IORC. It isn't too often that a chaseable first state record shows up and sticks around for so long, but hey, we're not complaining!!!

And passerine migration is starting up as well--we just saw our first window-kill of the "fall" this morning in front of our building, Common Nighthawks should be moving through right about now, and things will start to really get hopping soon.

*That we know of!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wilson's Plover at Rainbow Beach--Birding *discovers* a Crime???!!!

Mega-news: A Wilson's Plover was seen today at Rainbow Beach. The first e-mail on the bird was sent out at about 9:10 am. Apparently the bird was first spotted on Wednesday but was not confirmed until today. Once the word got out, the bird was seen well for most of the day, and was last seen flying away from the beach over a breakwater shortly before 4:00 pm.

Mega-scary news from the Chicago Tribune:

Body found on SE Side beach
By Jeremy Gorner Tribune staff reporter
7:45 PM CDT, August 4, 2007

An 18-year-old man was found fatally shot this morning at a Southeast Side beach, Chicago police said. According to a preliminary report from police, the death was being investigated as a homicide. An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday. The body of the victim, whom authorities would not identity pending family notification, was found at about 9:20 a.m. at Rainbow Park and Beach, in the 2800 block of East 76th Street. He was shot in the head behind an ear.
"He was just lying there when police came, so it's just a true mystery," said Chicago Police Officer JoAnn Taylor. Calumet Area detectives were investigating.

OK, so we know that Rainbow Beach is, let's put it this way, a good place to go birding with a few friends. Large mean-looking armed friends. But it has gotten much better over the past few years, so that fact that a rare bird was reported at 9:10 and a dead body was reported at 9:20 is pretty disconcerting. Did a birder find the body? Was a birder the body? Did a birder kill someone who tried to flush the Wilson's Plover? C'mon, somebody must have seen some police cars or something, right? Anyone know exactly what happened out there today?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

91 Willets and *poof* they're Gone!!!

Yesterday a long-time Chicago birder posted that there were 91 Willets -- yes, 91 Willets -- on Montrose Beach. As he was watching the flock of Willets, a dog owner and his mutt went into the protected area (which is off-limits to dogs) and flushed the entire flock.

Now, 91 Willets is probably a lot of Willets for just about anywhere in the U.S., but in Chicago, it's simply incredible. We've been birding for a long time and in our collective lifetimes we haven't seen a total of 91 Willets in Chicago, much less in one single flock. So this sighting is a big deal, and it was ruined -- again -- by a stupid, inconsiderate, and law-breaking dog owner.

We realize that for a lot of our readers it might seem unusual that we spend so much time on certain issues...dogs on the beach, addling of goose eggs, chasing gulls with Border Collies...but in an urban environment, that's what we have to work with. There is really no shorebird habitat (apart from the Calumet area) in Chicago except for these heavily trafficked beaches, and these beaches are absolutely critical stopover habitat for things like Willets.

So let's tie things together...the idiots at the City of Chicago are supposedly paying outside contractors upwards of $45,ooo to use dogs to chase gulls off of Chicago beaches including Montrose Beach. The City, in its infinite wisdom, instead of keeping its stupid decisions to itself, decides to heavily publicize this effort on the local media.

Let's imagine that a big flock of Willets lands on Montrose Beach. To the average non-birder they probably don't look any different from a flock of Ring-billed Gulls, especially at a distance and without binoculars.

So is anyone really surprised when a stupid dog owner sees nothing wrong with unleashing his mongrel on the flock of 91 Willets? Is the City of Chicago going to spend $45,000 to see that this doesn't happen again? And how can they enforce the dog-ban on that part of Montrose Beach when they're actually hiring companies to run dogs a few feet away on the rest of the beach? Doesn't the City realize the messages they are sending to the public at large -- that it's OK to have your pets chase away all of those dirty birds on the beach?