Learn to identify birds in Florida, and make bird-watching even more enjoyable with Stan Tekiela’s famous Birds of Florida Field Guide. This book features 140 species of Florida birds organized by color for ease of use. Do you see a yellow bird and don’t know what it is? Go to the yellow section to find out.
This new edition includes more species, updated photographs and range maps, revised information, and even more of Stan’s expert insights.
Here are some amazing birds to watch out for:
The Crested Caracara is the largest member of the falcon family. The bird is often found in the open savanna or in tropical scrubland habitat.
The Crested Caracara mainly feeds on roadkill, often coursing (patrolling) at low elevations on roads at sunrise. It is very different from all other raptors in North America, using its legs to stalk and chase prey such as mice.
It is often seen in the company of vultures, but it glides on flat wings, unlike vultures in flight, which hold their wings upward in a semi-V shape. At night it roosts in trees.
One of Florida’s most dramatic-looking birds, commonly seen in the Everglades, is the Purple Gallinule. The bird uses its extremely long toes to walk on floating vegetation in freshwater and saltwater marshes, where it hunts for grasshoppers and other insects, seeds, and frogs. Family groups stay together, and the first brood sometimes helps raise the second. The Purple Gallinule moves out of northern Florida during winter and can be seen year-round in the southern part of the state. Individuals are known to wander well north of Florida.
Found in central Florida and nowhere else, the Scrub-Jay is well known for its cooperative breeding system in which the young from one year help to raise the young of the new year. The bird has a wide variety of raspy, hoarse calls and prefers a transitional scrubby habitat, usually of oak trees around 10 feet (3 m) tall with some openings. The Scrub-Jay is not a backyard bird, like the Blue Jay. Sadly, it is a threatened species and its population has declined up to 90% over the last century due to habitat loss.
So grab Birds of Florida Field Guide for your next birding adventure―to help ensure that you positively identify the many birds that you see.
About the author: Naturalist, wildlife photographer, and writer Stan Tekiela has written more than 175 field guides, nature books, children’s books, wildlife audio CDs, puzzles, and playing cards, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, trees, wildflowers, and cacti in the United States. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 25 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and Canada. He has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs.
Also a well-known columnist and radio personality, his syndicated column appears in more than 25 newspapers, and his wildlife programs are broadcast on a number of Midwest radio stations. Stan can be followed on Facebook and Twitter. He can be contacted via www.naturesmart.com.
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Little Washington presents 100 of the state’s tiniest towns. With populations under 2,000, these charming and unique locations dot the entire state―from Neah Bay along the Northwest coast to LaCrosse, a farming community in the eastern county of Whitman.
With full-color photographs, fun facts, and fascinating details about every locale, it’s almost as if you’re walking down Main Street, waving hello to folks who know all of their neighbors.
The selected locations help readers to appreciate the broader history of small-town life in Washington. Yet each featured town boasts a distinct narrative, as unique as the citizens who call these places home. These residents are innovators, hard workers, and―most of all―good people.
The locations range from quaint to historic, and they wonderfully represent the Evergreen State. Little Washington, written by Nicole Hardina, is for anyone who grew up in a small town and for everyone who takes pride in being called a Washingtonian. These towns may be small, but they have huge character!
Little Washington is Nicola Hardina’s attempt, 100 times over, to get to know the state she calls home. It’s part history, part travelogue, and a love letter to the Evergreen State.
About the author: Nicole Hardina has lived in Washington for more than 20 years, in towns big and small. Alaska-grown, she is a Seattle-based writer sharing an apartment with two cats, a guitar, and several overflowing bookcases. Her writing has appeared in Scope, Months to Years, Out There Outdoors, the Bellingham Review, Proximity, and elsewhere. She received a Grant for Artist Projects award from the Artist Trust in 2016 and is working on a memoir that is equal parts grief account and love letter to the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, she can be found on a flying trapeze or via her website, www.nicolehardina.com.
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The post Little Washington: A Nostalgic Look at the Evergreen State’s Smallest Towns appeared first on Adventure Publications.
As more and more people look to hiking for exercise, as a hobby, as a challenge, for improving their mental health, and simply as a way to enjoy nature, many need advice on where to go.
I often see Facebook posts from people asking for ideas on where to hike if they want to “jump in a lake” at trail’s end, to drive less than an hour from their home city, to see a moose, to watch a sunset or sunrise, or to take young children along. By my very unscientific math, these particular answers can be found, 9 times out of 10, through a recommended app.
Even though I do some online research ahead of hiking at times and use an app for tracking my miles and other details on trails, I’m still an advocate for using books over apps when I recommend trails. And my suggested answers to most hiking questions can be found in my book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver and Boulder. Or I can point you towards a very specific trail (which likely also happens to be one of the 60 hikes in my book).
Before becoming a guidebook author myself, I often turned to a two-volume set of books called Colorado’s Best Wildflower Hikes (Westcliffe Publishers, 1998), and I have referenced many others just out of curiosity and for fun. This doesn’t always mean I have had the book in my backpack during a hike, but I would have read it ahead of time in search of inspiration and ideas for an outing with family and friends as we determined what we wanted: shade? wildflowers? a waterfall?
In my opinion, here are the pros and cons of hiking apps v. hiking books.
Available on portable handheld device
Latest updates on road and trail conditions
Hard to know bias or ability or experience of reviewer
Details can be for the wrong trails or outdated trails (I’ve seen this a few times, along with contradictory opinions/information.)
Advice of one or two people rather than dozens to hundreds of opinions
Condensed reference information per hike in one place
Also available on digital devices
Make great gifts
Types of hikes categorized to narrow down your search
Bulky to carry in a backpack
Neither books nor apps are always necessarily free, but both can be. Some apps are free to start, but as you increase what information you want, there might be a monthly or annual cost. Books might be available in a Little Free Library or found at a traditional library at no cost, though I like to encourage people to support local independent bookstores by purchasing a book or two or three.
There’s no reason that books and apps can’t be used in tandem for hike research; in fact, if you have the time, it can be helpful to cross-reference multiple sources. However, it’s also OK to explore and have a little adventure in the unknown too.
Birding is big—and getting bigger. As topsy-turvy as this year has been, its events have shaken up enough routines to cause people to notice new things in the world, and that includes the birds flying around their homes.
Maybe the boom in new birders is simply tied to the fact that many of us are safe at home and looking out the windows at times when we’d normally be stuck in traffic commuting. Or maybe, even during quarantine, people have found that they want to get outside and, for social distancing reasons, have discovered new places to go. Birding fills that bill nicely.
Of course, it could be that in a digitally-engaged-always-on-Zoom world, people are finally waking up to what birders have always known: Birding is fun, and you’re guaranteed to see some amazing things. As a hobby, birding gets a lot right.
- There’s a very low cost to get started.
- There’s a low learning curve.
- It works great for small groups.
- It works just as well for individuals.
- It takes you outside and away from screens.
- Birders are introduced to more about the world around them.
- It’s a hobby that you can participate in year-round.
This is why we partnered with award-winning author and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela for a whole new Bird Watching Basics series to help folks get started with birding.
Stan Tekiela’s Birding for Beginners
There are 7 books in the series that are available for preorder now. Each one is based on a different region of the United States, allowing readers the chance to focus quickly on whatever they see. So you’ll be able to find specific books for California, the Midwest, Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, South, and the Southwest. Each book focuses on what you are most likely to see and provides field markings on each photo to help you easily identify the birds in your backyard.
These books for beginning birders also have information on birdseed and other bird foods. Not all birds eat the same kinds of foods, and you’ll be amazed at how the mix of birds in your yard changes once certain foods, feeders, bird houses, etc., are put into use. The guides also have information on bird nests and trees, as well as a few words on the habits and migration patterns of some of the birds in each region.
So check out Stan Tekiela’s Birding for Beginners series and pre-order your regional guide today. Also, check out the publisher’s blog over at Adventure Publications for more detailed information about the series and to enter the great giveaway going on right now. There’s still plenty of time to enter!
Stay safe and get outside!
[Note: the following information was current as of August 1, 2020.]
The Bighorn Fire, named for the bighorn sheep that roam the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, began after a lightning strike hit those mountains on June 5th, 2020. Fanned by high winds and exacerbated by hot, dry weather often exceeding 100°F, the fire burned for almost 7 weeks, burning 119,978 acres (178.5 square miles) of forest. At its height, more than 1,000 firefighting personnel were involved in containing the blaze, and several helicopters and aircraft were used to dump water and fire-retardant slurry over remote areas that could not be reached by road.
The village of Summerhaven high on Mount Lemmon was evacuated, and many residents of homes in the Santa Catalina Foothills were also forced to leave. Fortunately, the fire crews were successful in saving the buildings and no lives were lost or major injuries reported. While some wildlife unfortunately did not survive, many animals were able to escape the fire. In fact, a herd of 14 bighorn sheep was seen strolling through a suburban neighborhood in late July.
The US Forest Service has closed all facilities in the Santa Catalinas until November 1st. With the annual monsoon rains expected through September, it is likely that the burned-out areas will not be able to absorb the rainfall and dangerous flash flooding will result. There have already been some flash floods of tarry water carrying blackened debris closing roads and potentially threatening homes. All trails have been closed until the flood danger is over and crews have inspected trails to assess if they are safe and passable.
This means that trails described in the Mount Lemmon, Sabino Canyon, and Santa Catalina Foothills sections of the book are closed. Also, Sabino Canyon and the Catalina State Park are closed until further notice. The Mount Lemmon Highway was temporarily closed during the fire but reopened on August 1st with restricted access to Summerhaven. Because parking space is limited, the road may close temporarily until space is available. Further information is available on the Pima County Sheriff’s Road Condition Report at (520) 547-7510.
Saguaro National Park is open. However, both visitor centers are closed until further notice.
I live 2 miles south of the evacuation zone in the Catalina Foothills. During most of June and into July, I could see the fire burning, huge clouds of smoke billowing, and firefighting helicopters and aircraft passing overhead. Often, I could smell the smoke. Most residents of Tucson and the surrounding communities experienced the same to a greater or lesser extent. 2020 has been an abnormal year for everyone, and Tucsonans got hit with a little bit extra.
When things improve in the fall, I will report back with details of which trails are reopened. Meanwhile, stay safe, stay hydrated, and please wear a mask in public places as mandated by Pima County and the city of Tucson.
About the Author: Rob Rachowiecki is the author of Five Star Hikes: Tucson, which focuses on 38 Spectacular Hikes around the Old Pueblo. He has authored hiking and climbing guides to Central America and the Central Andes, as well as travel guides to Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the American Southwest.
Although I grew up in Colorado, I did not grow up hiking with my dad. I really don’t know why this was the case, but at some point, he was a single dad of two with a full-time job, while I was a sassy teen with a part-time job and homework and friends and crushes. Hiking together just wasn’t part of our world.
Yet, when I set out to update 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Denver and Boulder, my dad was one of the people I ended up doing some memorable hikes with through the seasons. It hadn’t occurred to me before to ask him to join me, honestly, and I was so pleased that he wanted to come along.
I’ve got a few tips for enjoying a hike with your dad (or stepdad or grandfather or uncle) as I share a few stories from our hikes.
01: Go ahead and extend the invitation. Dad saw my posts on social media about my first few hikes and called me to ask if he could hike with me. It wasn’t that I deliberately did not invite him—I wasn’t so organized to have a list of hiking partners—but I hadn’t thought of him yet. Maybe you think hiking isn’t something your father likes or he hasn’t done it before, but don’t let that stop you. If it’s new to him, start with something relatively flat with places to stop and rest along the way. Even if he says no, it will make him feel good to be included.
02: One interesting thing about being an adult child is that sometimes you forget you’re still someone’s kid. I was humbly reminded of this on a gorgeous hike outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, to the top of Greyrock Mountain where little lakes filled with talkative frogs dwell. The hike had been hotter than expected, so it felt longer; by the time we were scrambling up rocks near the top, my legs were wobbly. My 70-something father hoisted himself up, and I stood there looking at my hiking poles and looking at the rocks and back and forth. “You want me to take the poles?” he asked. “No, I’ve got it.” I said. Like he can’t see right through me! I finally abandoned the poles and gave him my hand and he half-pulled me up. You’re never too old to still need your dear old dad.
03: Remember to pack your sense of humor along with your water bottle and other hiking necessities. One of my earliest hikes for my book was not in the previous edition, so I did a little research and headed off to meet Dad on a late-summer afternoon. Like many trailheads, this one had several trail options, and I misread the distance. As we walked and talked, it became clear this hike would be longer than we expected—by about a mile, it turned out. “How long did you say this hike is?” he asked me as we began the loop back. I had to confess that I no longer knew, and this seemed hilarious to us. On our various hikes we laughed about all kinds of mishaps—from those in the past to our getting lost en route to the trailhead—and this made us want to go on another hike together.
04: Try new things together—from taking selfies during the hike to having a meal together after the hike. Even though you’re all grown up, you can still make memories together. Just because we didn’t spend my childhood going on lots of hikes didn’t mean we couldn’t start now. Now retired, my dad has the time to hit the trail and spend the next day recovering, if needed. We have so much to talk about as we hike, and we laugh a lot about past and present stories we share. Next thing you know, we’ll have new hiking experiences to talk about over Christmas dinner with more family members, and our relationship and history will just keep evolving through these shared moments.
05: Adjust your hiking style. If you’re a weekend warrior bagging peaks with your buddies, that’s cool, but that’s maybe not quite what your father can handle. There’s a lot to be said for slowing down and simply appreciating the company you’re with and the time outside. If it’s your dad who is the budding athlete while you’re a weekday desk jockey, ask him to go at your speed so you can hike together.
Out of the more than 70 hikes I did for my research, only a handful of those were with my dad, but those were some of the best ones, and I have indelible memories from each one. We were both awed by the beauty we saw, and we easily laughed off our foibles. It wasn’t a trip down memory lane, but a chance to keep building remembrances in our lives together.