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books, spring, etc

Hi C-birders,

For those birders who live in the Triangle, and still have space on
your bookshelves: I passed through Duke's Bryan Student Center this
afternoon. Noted two books of interest on the discount racks outside the
Gothic Bookshop: "Lords of the Air: the Smithsonian Book of Birds" (or
something like that), a big pretty hardcover for about $25. And "The
Nature of Natural History" by Marston Bates, for only $6.

No sign of any hummer activity at my feeder yet. My latest sign of spring,
beyond the increasingly ubiquitous Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, was seeing a
few fresh-looking Ant Lion pits along Erwin Road in Durham where it
crosses under 147... And some fiddleheads rising from the ferns we planted
in our wildflower patches last summer. Thought I heard a nighthawk last
night over the Duke medical center, but it didn't call again, maybe I
imagined it...

On Tue, 2 Apr 2002, Stephen Perry wrote:
> >
> > Am I the only one
> >to not know about this practice?  How do 'we' feel about mailing birds?
> I assume these are exotics
> (either breeds or species) and may add somewhat to the problem of
> introduced species when they fail to make it home...?

As the person who rants longest and most often about exotics on this
listserv, this isn't something that worries me. The few birds that escape
probably wind up joining flocks of city pigeons, and as such don't add any
problems that the pigeons aren't already causing. Releasing homing pigeons
at weddings is probably less harmful than releasing Monarch Butterflies at
the same events, and is **MUCH** less harmful than planting weeds like
Ligustrum, English Ivy, and my other usual targets, not to mention
protecting harmful pests like Mute Swans...

On Wed, 3 Apr 2002, Harrold, Eric S wrote:
> Other birds of note at Reedy yesterday were Northern Parula, Lousiana
> Waterthrush, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Other folks probably have better
> records date-wise of returning neotropical species, so just how "early" are
> some of these species, several of which have been mentioned as being seen by
> others?

Not really early at all, according to the Triangle Bird Checklist on Will
Cook's website. Eric's area in Charlotte shouldn't be *too* different...
Gnatcatchers are rated as "rare" as early as the first week in March, and
by the first of April rise to "fairly common". Northern Parula makes its
first appearance on the checklist by the third week of March, and is also
"fairly common" by the first week of April. Louisiana Waterthrush starts
the second week of March, but is never rated more abundant than
"uncommon". Will's website with the checklist is at

Good birding,


Joshua S. Rose
Duke University
Department of Biology (Zoology, R.I.P.)