This week: raptor blog tour and happy hour

When I first disclosed that I am an avid birdwatcher, some sportsmen were astonished. But yes, I don’t just shoot birds. I like to look at them too.

My wife Linda and I got started six years ago when we noticed our neighbor, Dona Seegers, out in front of our house with her binoculars focused birds in our apple tree. We rushed out to join her. And once you’ve seen a stunningly beautiful Blackburnian Warbler, you’re hooked for life.

Since we got hooked on birding, we’ve taken three trips to Texas to birdwatch and one trip to Costa Rica. For the last two years, we’ve enjoyed Maine Audubon’s annual spring birding adventure to Monhegan Island. And we’ve been out and about with Maine’s top birding guide, Bob Duchesne, including annual August walks on the public sand bar in South Lubec, perhaps the best place in the state to see migrating shorebirds.

Bob’s the author of our birding bible: the Maine Birding Trail, published by Down East. And of course, he writes a popular birding blog here on the website of the Bangor Daily News.

Not to cut into Bob’s territory, but I want to tell you about an online birding adventure offered this week by Princeton University Press. I established a relationship with Princeton about three years ago, receiving and reviewing birding guides and learning about birding from their outstanding website.

This week they are featuring raptors, including a “blog tour” of articles from over 25 blogs about raptors. You can learn about raptor mythology, read poems about raptors, figure out how to identify all the different species of raptors, and lots more. They are even running a contest with a raft of great sweepstakes prizes from binoculars to bird feeders, and a Friday night Raptor ID Happy Hour – a free web event from 6 to 7 pm. The sweepstakes end on Friday too.

And of course, Princeton is shipping its new Crossley ID Guide; Raptors to retailers today. I can’t wait to get mine!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.