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My Favorites!

posted by CarlIngwell at
on Friday, February 11, 2011 

People always ask me what my favorite bird is, and I’ve never really known what to say. Today, I actually thought about the answer to that question. I couldn’t name 1 particular favorite. I broke my answer up into two different categories: Non-Utah Birds & Utah Birds. Here’s the list.

Utah Birds- Ferruginous Hawk (probably the closest you can get to #1), Sandhill Crane, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Common Poorwill, Stellar’s Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Brewer’s Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow.

Non-Utah Birds- Brahminy Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Pied Imperial-Pigeon, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, and Red-headed Honeyeater.

Okay, so I only put on species that I’ve seen. If I were to add a few that I haven’t seen, I’d have to put on Harris’s Hawk and Great Gray Owl. That was fun. What are everyone else's favorites?



Blogger Vic Berardi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 11, 2011 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Vic Berardi said...

Although I love raptors, I'd have to say my favorite bird is a Herring Gull. They are beautiful in breeding plumage, have very few natural enemies, are highly gregarious, are expert flyers, can land virtually anywhere (land, water, top of poles), can tolerate hot or cold weather and readily eats everything without ever gaining weight. What a life!

February 11, 2011 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

Whichever one I'm looking at.

February 11, 2011 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I have never been able to limit what I like to favorites, not even colors. The thing I love about birding is the variety and endless surprises. I often think that the last one I saw was my favorite, but I definitely put Ferruginous Hawk at the top for raptors. The Spotted Towhee is my hook bird. I remember hearing one for the first time and wondering "What the heck is making that sound?". I walked toward the sound, spotted the bird,watched it, and then went home and drew my rendition of it in a journal. I subsequently looked it up in a field guide. I remember thinking, "I have lived in Utah for years and I had no idea that bird even existed." I've been hooked ever since.

February 11, 2011 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The magpie is the bird I associate most with and miss it when I'm in Texas. After that it is the bird I'm looking at, but I have an especially fondness for the birds that have escaped near extinction, whooping cranes, peregrine falcons, California condors, eagle.

Pat Bean

February 12, 2011 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger Bernie Sloan said...

Wild Turkey, hands down.

Bernie Sloan

February 12, 2011 at 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Oh Vic...I'm not sure we can be friends anymore...Herring Gull! That's not a raptor. Since I have great respect for you, I'll have to accept that. Funny thing is, Wildbird did a piece on this subject years back asking birders their favorite bird, and I said "Carolina Chickadee". So, I guess we are both suckers for non-raptors...but don't tell anyone. I'd have to say though, its no doubt raptors are my favorite, I just can't choose which one. Merlin, Kestrel, and Red-tail are right up there though.

February 12, 2011 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Birding is Fun! said...

My favorites are Bullock's Oriole, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Lazuli Bunting. Their vivid colors captured my soul and enslaved me to the passion of birding. Chickadees of all varieties easily cheer my heart and bring a smile to my face.

There are a couple dozen other birds that do the same thing for me. Even the common birds that aren't so brilliant in appearance, when I take the time to pause and enjoy their uniqueness, bring a sense of contentment and peace.

I would like to rib Jeff Bilsky a bit for his first esoteric, carpe diem, idealisticn, and perhaps elitist answer...but he does have a good point!

February 12, 2011 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Western Tanager... I mean it's a pretty amazing bird. However after Costa Rica I think my favorite will be a toss up between the Speckled Tanager and the Yellow-billed Cotinga. Crap we could make this really hard--I should have stuck to Utah Birds!

February 12, 2011 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Vic Berardi said...

Jerry . . . Carolina Chickadee??? I think I need to evaluate that in comparison to my first answer of Herring Gull and get back to you. However, a chickadee is hawk food, so I guess it fits into the raptor picture somehow.

So, yeah, I've come around in the past 24 hours or so and have to admit that I probably would end up voting for Merlin. I think if I was a bird I'd want to be a Herring Gull for the reasons I stated, but a favorite? Hands down, a Merlin!

February 12, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

Starling! :)

February 13, 2011 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Bilsky you may be joking, but I do think starlings are actually really cool birds. If it weren't for what has happened with them in America they would probably be a favorite for many people. The breeding colors are pretty amazing in the right light. The sheen can show purples, greens, Blues, and reds, along with the yellow bill. Too bad they are such a damn pest!

February 13, 2011 at 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Bill Fenimore said...

I am often asked this question when making presentations. My answer is the "one with feathers." You gotta love them all.

Picking up on Tim Avery's Starling comment, my brother when returning from an African birding trip last year told me that he would never have believed he would see the day when he would describe a starling as being splendid. However, he said there is a bird called, Splendid Starling in Africa that is truly beautiful.

Bill Fenimore

February 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Steve's Bird Blog said...

Loggerhead Shrike, They are so interesting to watch they have such interesting and beautiful markings. When I conduct classes for scouts I love telling them about the curious habits of the Loggerhead Shrike the song bird that acts more like a bird of prey. How they impale their prey on a thorn and even keep a food storage for lean times. No doubt the Loggerhead Shirke is my favorite bird.

February 14, 2011 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Ryan O'Donnell said...

I had to think about this for a while, but I think I'd have to say Dark-eyed Junco, at least among Utah birds. They are common and cute but actually can be quite challenging to identify if you try to keep track of subspecies, plus I find them to be a fascinating example of evolution in action. Watch this blog for some upcoming posts about learning to tell the subspecies apart. . . .

February 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger deneb said...

Oh, it just puts a big fat smile on my face reading all you guys talking about birds and how much you love them. I gotta say, bird people are good people.
And my favorite has to be the prairie falcon because it was the first raptor I ever caught. Not only was the capture a thrilling experience but holding it, banding, processing, and releasing it was truly one of those life-changing experiences. And spotting a prairie is always a treat. Another bird I spot often and is still a joyous treat: the lesser goldfinch. Can't you just hear that little squeak, telling us that everything is gonna be all right? ahhhh. Thank you so much.
Good blog, guys.

February 15, 2011 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger CarlIngwell said...

Thanks for all the replies, everyone! It really makes us feel good about writing the blog.

February 15, 2011 at 10:26 PM  
Anonymous M is for Mike said...

I started looking at birds after asking a guy in Cape May, NJ what he was pointing his scope at. It turned into my first morning of "bird watching", and at some point I asked him* the "favorite" question. His answer was the same as one posted earlier: "Whatever I'm looking at". Since I still don't know 90% of the birds I'm looking at, I'll go with a couple I recognize: any kind of Falcon, little or big, all the Buteos, especially Swainson's, Scrub Jays, Chickadees.
*I had no clue who I was talking to until I got back to Utah, went to the library for a bird book, and saw his name on some of the spines. Doh! I hope to always remain as gracious and patient whenever meeting any curious person in the field.

February 17, 2011 at 11:01 AM  

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