Last time, I introduced you to four birding shows on YouTube: Cornell's Inside Birding, Nikon's Birding Adventures, Rolling Stone's Birding With Charles, and Topic's Birds of North America. For those who haven't had a chance to read it yet (I posted it a couple days ago), I briefly mentioned but skipped Inside Birding, couldn't fully suck myself into James Currie's adventures, and realized I should've watched the shows Rolling Stones tried to one-up. If you've read that post far enough, you can probably guess what's up next. To avoid spoiling too much, I'm not going to embed every video and comment line for line like I did last time, but instead summarize and comment with a few standout moments from each episode and embed the links in buttons so you can watch them on your own. To quote Stu Preissler: "You're big boys now. You'll be fine without me."
While I watched this episode for continuity, I don't think I need to review this one because it's just on how to use binoculars. There is a funny moment when Jason "spots" a Blackburnian Warbler, but it's actually his brother Jeffrey holding the picture of one from Merlin on a phone. I got a good laugh out of that.
This episode focuses on Jason and Jeffrey's friendly competition and how the latter got hooked on birding around the same time as Jason did. Fun fact: in my first official year of birding (I've been aware of and looking for them since 2010, but not to the extent I do now), I helped Jeffrey get his lifer Great Crested Flycatcher on my first trip in Central Park. (1:20 - 2:08) This is the kind of compelling reason to look for birds I like, it's not just waking up one morning and thinking "Birds are cool and I love them." Birds are often viewed as symbols of freedom for their ability to fly between areas, although it is hard to move around when there's not much to sustain you. And the whole part about competition sharpening your senses, that's true as well.
This episode takes us into the bird collection at the American Museum of Natural History, which I really want to see one day (I've seen most of the animal exhibits)... The fact about field guides being based on museum specimens was something I didn't know before.
This episode has the most birders that Jason talks to, and is the first that I am aware of to have a misidentified species. Well, two: A flock of Wood Ducks labeled Canada Geese and a Merlin labeled American Kestrel. It's interesting to hear all the different stories from birders and how they bird, especially if it differs from yours. At (5:48) I found it funny how one of the stands had a figure of the yellow cardinal that everyone has heard of whether they wanted to or not, and that a few days after the festival took place, another bird that I've vented enough about took the media spotlight away. I never talk about that cardinal, but if I had to pick between it and Hot Crispy, yellow is the lesser of two evils.
This episode focuses on researchers counting visible migration, or "vismig," of raptors and songbirds and fitting birds with GPS trackers. There is a funny moment at the beginning of the episode where a nuthatch lands on the boom they were using to film with.
This episode features Dr. Drew Lanham, a professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University who writes and speaks about his love of nature, as well as being a prominent birder of color. Oh, and he's a poet as revealed later in the episode. Definitely watch this episode for great discussions about birding styles.
This episode starts out at John James Audubon's grave site, then focuses on those bird murals strategically placed throughout New York you may have seen from time to time if you've been in Manhattan (in fact, I've seen a few of them).
This episode definitely has a Birding With Charles feel to it, although unlike Rolling Stone's show, the celebrity guest was more interested in birding, and even poses a good question right at the beginning. I think it should've been obvious from my tone when I reviewed the other shows, but whenever you have a non-scientist celebrity host/guest on a nature show, they either rise to the occasion or act incredibly stupid. Fortunately, Cenac managed to do a good job in this episode because they're just looking for birds, how hard can that be? (Don't answer that). Good thing they weren't birding with Valee when Wyatt spotted the teenagers trading drugs at (5:49).
This episode focuses on the Feminist Bird Club, an organization dedicated to promoting diversity in birding, and acts as a safe space for birders of various sexual orientations and races, which many birding organizations have made advancements to make these people feel welcomed. As Jeffrey says near the end of the episode: "It's the perfect 2018 bird club."
This episode takes us to Maine in December (you can predict where this is going), where the Ward Brothers join Nick Lund (The Birdist) and Rosemary Mosco (of Bird and Moon Comics fame) for a Christmas Bird Count. (1:00) That's what I referenced last time in my rebuttal of Rolling Stone's description of Birding With Charles, but here, Nick goes into a little more detail. (2:40) I really like this particular comic as well for the inspirational message, but didn't realize people would take the part where the owl catches a moose seriously. (3:35) Red Dead Redemption 2 in a nutshell. (4:41) Seriously, going to the beach in winter is a criminally underrated activity. (5:20) Ah, Google Street View Birding, right up there with Redpolling as one of the crowning achievements of the social media birding community, as well as an unconventional way to scout birding hotspots for future trips.
I'm going to skip this episode because while I like watching birders debate hot topics, I don't think I can describe it too well. And also, "the Donald Trump of birds" is a much better for this duck than "Hot Crispy".
Like many birders, including myself of course, Jason chose to end season 1 with the big bird of 2018, one that quickly and rightfully eclipsed the "feathered zeitgeist of the moment" (I still don't know what that means) upon its rediscovery. The episode does builds up to the hawk in an interesting way: first he has no luck, then towards the end Jason begins to doubt his success. Just when they are about to give up, they get an alert it has been refound and when we see the hawk, Jason's reaction is exactly what I was feeling when I saw the bird, and the finale brought back good memories for me. To recap, here's a quick summary of everything that makes this a good show:
The YB Odyssey Facebook Page
My Flickr site
Leica Nature Observation Blog
Young Birders of the Round Table
crazed4birds (Drew Beamer)
Blue Ridge Birding (Max Nootbaar)
Whimbrel Birders Club
The Eyrie (ABA Young Birders)
The Birding Place (Aidan Place)
Lost In Nature (Jared Gorrell)
Bird Boy Canada (Ethan Denton)
Prairie Birder (Charlotte Wasylik)
Wing Tips (Tessa Rhinehart)
Soar Birding & Nature Tours (Noah Kuck)
Setophaga dominica (Oscar Wilhelmy)
Is yours not featured? Let me know