Sunday, March 24, 2013

Herons, Loons, Grebes, Ducks, Towhees- Oh my!

By Matthias Benko

Matthias (on-scope) with other IYB's checking out a Ruddy Duck!
Yesterday, The IYBC took an amazing field trip to the Heron Rookery in Hamilton County. All who participated in the event are now experts on Great Blue Herons.  A few facts about herons include that they have something called nuptial plumes connected to their head during breeding season (February-July), there is almost no way to tell males and females apart, and they nest in trees! That’s kind of counterintuitive  right? I thought wading birds nest on ground near water.  I was totally wrong. However, besides seeing tons of Great Blue Herons and their nests, we saw much more. There was a Common Loon that flew over the place where we met.  Among the Loon, we also saw the following (brace yourselves, there is a lot): European Starlings, American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds,  a Pileated Woodpecker, a pair of Wood Ducks, a male American Kestrel, a female Northern Flicker, and a male Eastern Towhee (a new bird for me, I had only seen a female twice before.) Then, after someone had guessed the “secret duck” for a field guide, we decided to head off on another adventure.

IYB's on 3-23-13!!  Matthias (left)
The Star of the Show!  A Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Ceth Williams
The Morse Reservoir is a place I had never visited before. I honestly had no idea what I was missing out on! There were Common Loons in full plumage (a lifer for me), Horned Grebes in mid-molt (another lifer), Mute Swans, American Coots, Mallards, and Ruddy Ducks (yet another lifer). I also found out by talking to Rob Ripma that one of my spark birds was a Harris’s Sparrow! (At that time, I was not a very seasoned birder.) All in all, this trip was worth it in so many varied ways. I am proud to call myself a part of the Indiana Young Birders’ Club.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

IYBC Field Guide Giveaway!

 By Chad Williams

I can remember how excited I was when I turned the pages of my first field guide!  I knew there were a lot of birds out there and, I knew that there were a lot of different birds out there but, I didn't have a clue that there TONS more all around!  I also didn't know that they came in so many shapes and sizes! When looking at the first pages, I realized immediately I had to learn as much as I could about as many birds as I could and then find a way to go see them – in real life. 

It’s been many years since my first Peterson’s Guide but, still today I am not sure the sun has ever set before I have opened the pages to one of my many field guides.  Whether I’m using a guide to identify a specific of bird or simply using it to fantasize about my next adventure – I incessantly have my nose buried in a field guide.  An entirely new world opened the day I turned the pages of my first guide and I haven’t looked back since.

The Indiana Young Birders Club is on a mission to get new field guides into the hands of any young birder that has a passion for birds and that needs a field guide to help expand on his/her passion.  To date, we've given over 100 field guides away (free of charge) to young birders/naturalists with a fiery desire to learn more about birds and we want that number to grow!  So, throughout 2013 we will be giving away field guides at IYBC programs and via our website simply by submitting a short online essay about birds, a birding adventure, or a favorite bird species.  Our only request in return is that each recipient sends us a picture of themselves showing off their new guide.  Simple!

To learn more about the IYBC 100 Guide Giveaway, to apply for a field guide, or to donate to our field guide mission, please check us out at

Please help spread the message about this amazing opportunity!

Happy Birding!!!

Pictures left to right and top to bottom: Carlynn and Benji B. (top left), Kamden M. (top right), Lorena and Serena W. (middle), Naomi and Kiana V. and Grandma (bottom left), Joshua and Mary R. (bottom right)