Monday, May 18, 2020

"Cape May Owl" and "Peregrine:" Actionable Birding Information for Cape May county, NJ and NJ Statewide

[Cape May Owl, a new Cape May County, NJ actionable birding information alert system on GroupMe, see below for details. Birding info delivered by owl.]

[Peregrine is a new NJ statewide actionable birding intelligence network on GroupMe, see below for details.]

Hi Birder Friends, 

I created a new “Cape May Owl” birding information group using GroupMe.  That’s right, bird info delivered by Owl, yuk yuk. In addition, I also created the "Peregrine" on GroupMe,  actionable NJ statewide bird information list, now up and running (thanks for all the private feedback!).
If interested, you will need the GroupMe app and to get me your phone number and which list(s) you want to be added to. Email me your phone number at

There are at least two other Cape May bird groups using WhatsApp, but the number of subscribers is limited and apparently the “CMBO Bird Alert” is maxed out, apparently no one new or looking to rejoin can. Groups for northern NJ and Somerset/Morris also exist, run by other good people.

Basic rules for both Cape May Owl GroupMe and the statewide Peregrine GroupMe are :

1a) Only “actionable” birding intelligence for Cape May County, NJ (for Cape May Owl GroupMe) or all of NJ (for Peregrine GroupMe) is posted. “Actionable” means a field birder in or near Cape May County (Owl),  or NJ (Peregrine), or planning to be, would find the information useful in planning their movements.

1b) Birds on the NJBRC rarity list and/or are flagged on eBird and/or are the equivalent of the old ABA Birdfinding Guide rating system of “May see” (<25% of time for location and season) or rarer are posted; err on the rare side.

1c) Feel free to report intelligence relating to weather patterns or bird sightings outside Cape May County if the observer has the knowledge (many do) to think it will be Cape May - or NJ - helpful.

1d) Species name written out or four letter banding codes are acceptable, but best to spell out species with confusing codes, e.g Gray Kingbird and Great Kiskadee.

1e) be as specific as reasonably possible on locations. Don’t assume people on the list are “from around here.” Dropping a pin is great. Street address, City/county/known location important as well (e.g., "Beanery" or "Forsythe Wildlife Drive"). Walking directions from the access point to the bird are great.

1f) Please consider stating how long you will remain at the location if it makes sense to, no one is obligated to remain but it always helps to hand off birds.

2a) The bird must have a reasonable chance of being re-found.

2b) Reports of re-sightings are OK within reason, especially if the bird disappears for a while and then is refound.

3)No owls, no raptor nests, and be generally thoughtful about a bird’s vulnerability to being trampled or taped. NO private property or closed area birds unless there is specific access permission; if so give details.

4)This is not a clique, anybody can join. With GroupMe there is apparently no limit to # of people, unlike WhatsApp, which has a ceiling.

5)Publicly disrespecting anyone either directly or by allusion will result in immediate and permanent removal from the group (s). Be adults, contact people privately.

6)These are closed groups, meaning only the list owner (s) can add members. Owner (s) will need your full phone number for Cape May Owl or for Peregrine to add you. email

7)Remember, no one is being forced to join, to stay joined, to keep alerts on, or to read anything they’re not interested in.

8)Contact list creator/owner Donald Peter Freiday with questions or to join at . Eventually this info will be parked permanently  at .

Here are two YouTube reviews / how-tos about GroupMe (there are many others):

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday on Sunday: Of Adversity and Footprints

 [Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills, SD. The Black Hills are my spirit helper place, too.]

 "I think I just figured it out. Life, I mean. It’s about 2 things: overcoming adversity and leaving a footprint. We must pity those who never had to overcome adversity, because they will never leave a footprint. It took me 55 yrs to figure this out. Guess I’m slow."




Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Spring of Staying At Home: A Birder's Poem

The Spring of Staying At Home
A Birder’s Poem

People wear masks,
And Laughing Gulls laugh, (Donald Peter Freiday)
And the birds in the yard,
Make it not so hard. (Harvey Tomlinson Jr.)
We wait in lines so far apart,
Like swallows on a telephone wire, (Sarah Mccarty)
I’ll have more yard birds this year
Simply because I am here. (Stacie Cantu)
Sometimes feel I’ve been shackled,
Most definitely grackled! (Mary Watkins)
While birds go about their tasks,
Of building nests from feathers and chaff, (Tresa Jones)
While sandpipers pipe
Amd Wilson’s Snipe. (Dave Kiehl)
The cardinals continue to court and sing,
Not worried about safe distancing. (Betty Ashwood)
One can have fun in,
Consider a dunlin.
Please don’t come near here,
 Or you’ll watch me play killdeer! (TK Port Norris)
With few humans about,
More birds have come out. (Tammy Ehrhart)
No feathers are ruffled
By pishes so muffled (Kate Garchinsky)
Falcon talons dig deep,
The Rock Dove his treat. (Marc Breslow)
Like a verdin,
Touched for the very first time. (Chris Hajduk)
I wonder if the birds have noticed
We are gone. (Pete Dunne)
And you’ll finally know why
the Laughing Gulls are laughing. (Rich Kane via Brian Moscatello)


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Coronaeducation, Episode 4: What it's Like to Have Covid-19

[Sign in the Badlands, SD.]

One person's experience:

You're exposed. You later figure out where, and deal with idiots by phone with plenty of the f-bombs you so studiously avoid, because they had staff who were sick and stayed open.

You develop symptoms 5 days later, apparently a typical number. Fever, cough, aches, weakness, loss of appetite. You can throw in bloody nose. You talk to your doctor's office, and arrive at self-quarantine and 9-1-1 if you start having trouble breathing.

You wait. In a few days, you start feeling better, and think you skated like most seem to do. Go five days with no fever (CDC recommends waiting 3), and go out, wearing mask, social distance. Watch birds.

You start not feeling right. Quarantine. Fever, bad cough, bad aches, weak, no appetite. You wait.

One night at home breathing is hard, pulse is pounding. Can't cough anymore, ribs ache. You lay down with your phone dialed to 9-1-1, all you have to do is press the green button. You don't. You think those people have enough problems right now in this podunk county with weak healthcare being held up by some very good, strong and noble people. You have learned that basically they can't help until you need a vent, and that most people who need a vent eventually die.

And you ask, should I call my kids? My friends? All are far away, except a few friends, and it's not like they can do anything. Why should I worry them?

And then you think, who will find my body, and when? How long will it take for the neighbors to start thinking the local bird guy hasn't been taking out his garbage? It's not like anyone is visiting anybody, and rightly not.

And now you are two days without fever (apparently, thermometer battery is dead, but my trout stream thermometer says 98F.) And you know you are far better off than many.

["...Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation. . ." - The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication. Eventually, Coronaeducation (© Donald Peter Freiday) will find its way to a platform other than The Freiday Bird Blog. For now, if it's birds and nature that are what you need, I'm with you, and so if that's the case, skip down a blog or more or check "Time Machine" to the right for some of that. With Coronaeducation, it is not my intent to play epidemiologist, scientist, or politician, except when my brand of training and teaching lends itself to that arena. Mainly, this pandemic has set me to wondering, about humans, family, friends, life, the future . . .]

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Thoughtful Thursday: the Moral Arc of the Universe

"The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.