Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mike McDowell's close encounter of the shrike kind

Sometimes when I read birding stories recounting thrilling experiences other birders have had with birds, I feel uneasy. Birds have far better vision and hearing than we do, so it's pretty much impossible to watch them while they're completely unaware of our presence, except in rare instances when the bird is so focused on a rival, prey item, or potential predator that it really doesn't notice observers. But it IS possible to be so unobtrusive that birds get used to our presence and continue with their normal activities even in our presence. Stories about these encounters are my favorite birding stories.

Mike McDowell, my favorite digiscoper, understands how to approach birds, and he's spent so much time at his favorite birding spot, Pheasant Branch, that the birds probably consider him part of the scenery. He had a thrilling encounter with a Northern Shrike this weekend that he writes about in his blog. It's worth a read!!