00:00:02.410 --> 00:00:21.840
Lee Burton: Hello! I'm pleased today to be joined by Michael Barons. He's a good friend of mine, and he's also an expert birder, has done a lot of work, study, and ornithology. Michael lives here in Texas. He splits his time between the coast and the central Texas area. Here in Austin
00:00:21.840 --> 00:00:41.060
Lee Burton: he runs birding on broad Mead, which he started, has done a lot of bird walks and local tours as well as been had extensive aldman and doing bird counts data collection and knows a lot about nature connection from his own
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Lee Burton: personal experiences and some of the other work that he has pursued. So, anyway, thank you, Michael, for joining us and appreciate your time. And can you tell us a little bit more about your own background, and and how you got into burning.
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Mikael Behrens: Sure thanks for the invitation to be on the podcast. So way back in the
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Mikael Behrens: early nineties, I went to the University of Texas at Austin. Here
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Mikael Behrens: I ended up getting a computer science degree. But along the way I
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Mikael Behrens: I developed an interest in nature and and zoology. I guess I I
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Mikael Behrens: ended up taking a biology course as a non
00:01:28.720 --> 00:01:37.960
Mikael Behrens: as a science sequence. Part of my degree and ornithology sounded interesting. After After that, after the intro biology courses
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Mikael Behrens: and ended up taking
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Mikael Behrens: a zoology course per semester for sort of the second half of my college career there, and learned a lot.
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Mikael Behrens: And somewhere along the way also I.
00:01:51.890 --> 00:02:00.910
Mikael Behrens: While I was in college, I came across Tom Brown, Junior's book, the Tracker, and that captured my information, captured my imagination and
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Mikael Behrens: kind of was introduced to those ideas through that through that book.
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Mikael Behrens: And
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Mikael Behrens: since then birds have kind of stuck with me the most over the years. I think that's
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Mikael Behrens: and that's not very unusual, I think, with birds, because
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Mikael Behrens: birds
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Mikael Behrens: occupy this sweet spot of accessibility. You know they're easy to see in their heat, and here they're beautiful. Most people think they.
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Mikael Behrens: They look and sound beautiful. They're there's a variety of them. There's this just to right amount of variety of them that is challenging to
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Mikael Behrens: to learn them all, but not usually not so challenging as to be too intimidating to most people, you know.
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Mikael Behrens: and and you can really see things that birds are doing. You know they
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Mikael Behrens: they're so accessible, since one of the reasons they're so easy to see is because this they have this easy escape route. They can fly, you know. So
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Mikael Behrens: that's one of the reasons You can just walk outside your door and see how you see in here a half dozen species of birds. But you don't see any reptiles, or you don't see any mammals or amphibians. So for that reason, I think birds
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Mikael Behrens: have have developed the biggest human community around them that's interested in them than other other kinds of animals. And
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Mikael Behrens: and it is, I guess, the same with me.
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Lee Burton: So, yeah, it's I I haven't really thought of it quite from that perspective, although I've I've heard John Young say some similar things. But so you're saying it's a great gateway. If you're, you know, not really a nature oriented person, or you didn't, maybe you grew up in a city and never paid much attention.
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Lee Burton: I mean, I found this to be true. Just thinking back on it really is an easy way to drop in.
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Mikael Behrens: Yes, yeah, and
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Mikael Behrens: it's. And we have so many resources related to them as well. You know that's the very first modern Field Guide, I guess, was a bird field guy made by Roger Tory Peterson, and
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Mikael Behrens: and we've just been building upon that for decades, you know. And now we have a technology coming into the picture with E. Bird
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Mikael Behrens: and
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Mikael Behrens: assistant apps, you know, to help you learn birds. And
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Mikael Behrens: so it's it's just a really. It's like, I said, yeah, it's one of the more accessible areas, and it's a
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Mikael Behrens: but you can. There's still
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Mikael Behrens: a lot under the initial surface to to dig into and challenge you and
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Mikael Behrens: and and form, like you, said a a strong major connection.
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Lee Burton: So just curious about this and and people I talk with, and on this podcast. And just in general
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Lee Burton: we have an affinity for the things we're talking about and connection to nature, etc. It always seems to fall into 2 buckets. Maybe there's a middle ground, too, but it's people who grew up very close to nature. You know.
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Lee Burton: Ranch Kid Farm kid, what have you, or or maybe just personal interest.
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Lee Burton: or it's somebody who really didn't grow up at all, and then they had an aha moment, you know, Took a class like you're saying, and
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Lee Burton: they seem to end up oftentimes in the same place. But your situation when you were a kid natured, you know. Were you around it much your parents, you know, trying to get you interested in it, and just didn't take, or just didn't really have the opportunities.
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Mikael Behrens: Yeah, it was more, I guess, like your the latter description you had. I I didn't grow up and join nature so much. I yeah. I had kind of a typical suburban upbringing and the
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Mikael Behrens: middle class upbringing in the seventies and eighties, I guess.
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Mikael Behrens: and my parents didn't steer me either direction to towards or from nature, and
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Mikael Behrens: I really didn't.
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Mikael Behrens: I guess it didn't spark my interest on my own until, like I said when I went to college and got into it at that point in my life.
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Lee Burton: Yeah, that's very interesting. And the other reason I wanted to have you on here is because
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Lee Burton: and and I find it very interesting and and not very common. You have both a a scientific background from studying it. But you also have this nature connection, background, which I I think, is a great mix on the more science
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Lee Burton: a side, if you will. Can you talk a little bit about. You know just how much you've been involved. You know some of the bird counts you've done, or I know you've done some other delivery data collection projects with other species as well besides birds. But can you just describe those experiences, and you know.
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Lee Burton: how did they benefit you? You know, were they valuable and and ultimately help, you know, facilitate. You know where you are today and and stoked your interest.
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Mikael Behrens: Yeah. Well, you know, I've never really been a scientist conducting
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Mikael Behrens: experiments or anything. But I've always seen the value of
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Mikael Behrens: of collecting data. And I,
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Mikael Behrens: You know I've read about the benefits of of journaling, and, you know, keeping records for yourself. But I was always.
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Mikael Behrens: I was never all that motivated to keep records. If I knew they were just gonna sit on my bookshelf, you know, and just you know, maybe I would go look at them again. Maybe I wouldn't.
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Mikael Behrens: So
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Mikael Behrens: I got. You know I was initially interested in citizen science projects where you know the data I would collect would would be contributed to the central source and use, you know, and and
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Mikael Behrens: I guess the first one of those types of things are are the Christmas Bird counts that the National Audubon Society organizes all over the world. I think they're the
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Mikael Behrens: oldest now known Citizen Science project over a 100 years old.
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Mikael Behrens: and they're still very important. They're still going strong.
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Mikael Behrens: And then, when Cornell lab of ornithology released Ebert.
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Mikael Behrens: I got really interested in that, because
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Mikael Behrens: all of a sudden I could go out like it was a Christmas bird, count. Every time I would burden, keep a list of all the species, and how many of of of of each one of those I found.
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Mikael Behrens: and
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Mikael Behrens: it would be contributed to a worldwide central database that
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Mikael Behrens: that I had access to not only my observations, but summaries of everyone's observations.
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Mikael Behrens: and you know. app, you know it in the Ebert enabled things like.
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Mikael Behrens: Hey, You know, Years ago our local Travis autumn on society in Austin came up with this
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Mikael Behrens: little seasonality chart of you know what birds to expect when during the year, and this was painstakingly compiled, you know, by hand, based on
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Mikael Behrens: bird observations over decades, you know, I guess, in the seventies and eighties, and then Ebert comes along, and all of a sudden you get these types of things automatically, and you can pull them up for different counties all over the State and different States, you know. And and
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Mikael Behrens: so that really made me
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Mikael Behrens: value the idea
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Mikael Behrens: of keeping the records like that, plus the other thing heaper does, which wasn't so much a factor with me is a lot of people get into burning as kind of for kind of the collectors attraction.
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Mikael Behrens: where you know kind of a collector's mentality of of. They want to build up their life list of species they've seen.
00:10:04.470 --> 00:10:12.510
Mikael Behrens: Sorry, Big year. Well, there's all kinds of different, you know, flavors of it. There's
00:10:12.710 --> 00:10:17.110
Mikael Behrens: yeah the big year that the that movie, that book of the movie made famous. But
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Mikael Behrens: burders get into.
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Mikael Behrens: You know their total life list of all the species they've seen in their life. How many species have I seen this year? How many species have I seen in my county this year. You know how many species have I seen from my yard? There's some
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Mikael Behrens: crazy, mostly retired burgers that have the time to do this in Texas, called the
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Somebody, came up with something called the the this Texas Century Club.
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Mikael Behrens: where the goal is to observe 100 species of birds. and each in 100 different counties in Texas.
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Mikael Behrens: you know, and I I I don't think I have the
00:11:02.680 --> 00:11:20.510
Mikael Behrens: the the i'm not that patient with driving, and I don't want to leave that big of a carbon footprint, but that it just goes to show you. You know there's there's a lot of this drop that kind of drive in the burning world as well, and Ebert really serves that because it organizes all your lists.
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Mikael Behrens: and it keeps all keep. You know it.
00:11:23.920 --> 00:11:28.550
Mikael Behrens: You can keep your list on paper and submit it on their website, or now they have
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Mikael Behrens: an app that makes it easy to keep track of, to keep your list in the field, and it already knows where you are, and what time of the year it is, and what county you're in, and puts that on the right place in their database.
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Mikael Behrens: so that
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Mikael Behrens: not only are you contributing to this worldwide knowledge and database of
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Mikael Behrens: of bird
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Mikael Behrens: bird frequency, but it's also feeding this organizational desire that a lot of burders have to to maintain all these different kinds of lists.
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Lee Burton: Yeah. So i'm not gonna ask you like how big your life list is. I don't actually have one. If I did it, it would embarrass me. But I know You've been doing this a long time.
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Lee Burton: But do you have one, or or maybe 2? But let's just say one
00:12:19.150 --> 00:12:31.580
Lee Burton: really just experience it. Kind of mind blowing in terms of seeing a species or something you didn't expect. Is there anything that comes to mind? You know that you look back on and go? Wow! That that was that. Was it hard to top that moment.
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Mikael Behrens: Not just one or 2 that stand out. But there is this period. After I bought a house here in Austin in 2,004,
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Mikael Behrens: and
00:12:48.810 --> 00:13:01.070
Mikael Behrens: I hadn't, you know I hadn't been looking around for a you know, a really bird friendly area. but I kind of got lucky and bought a house in the neighborhood. That was a good bird, friendly area.
00:13:01.280 --> 00:13:10.410
Mikael Behrens: and I I started intensely burning my neighborhood. Once I was discovering this because I was
00:13:10.640 --> 00:13:15.920
Mikael Behrens: excited about finding you know more birds than I expected in
00:13:16.640 --> 00:13:18.380
Mikael Behrens: in my neighborhood, and
00:13:20.850 --> 00:13:25.630
Mikael Behrens: eventually I started to find rarities
00:13:26.040 --> 00:13:32.450
Mikael Behrens: like a lazuli bunting. Just a brief glance or a yellow headed blackbird, and and
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Mikael Behrens: and it
00:13:35.770 --> 00:13:44.020
Mikael Behrens: it made kind of a subconscious or irrational impression on me. You know that because up until that point in my
00:13:44.140 --> 00:13:55.590
Mikael Behrens: birding I knew these birds. We're possible that that these birds, you know, pass through during migration. Occasionally they could be found here. but
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Mikael Behrens: I had never found them. You know. I would read reports of other people that it found them. Maybe occasionally. Go try to find a bird that someone else a river that someone else had found and reported somewhere.
00:14:07.680 --> 00:14:21.090
Mikael Behrens: But until I started intensely burning, you know my home patch and finding these birds myself. It really that's when it finally like sunk into my consciousness more that
00:14:21.360 --> 00:14:33.460
Mikael Behrens: what? How, what diversity was all around us, you know, and what i'm I'm. Occasionally seeing these things. And how many things am I missing, you know.
00:14:33.570 --> 00:14:48.340
Mikael Behrens: and so that that kind of like changed my perception of reality a little bit, and and changed my mentality enough. So that's yeah, it wasn't just one or 2 experience. But it was. It was just like that time period of like 2,000
00:14:48.490 --> 00:14:54.610
Mikael Behrens: 5 to 7, or it's somewhere in there, or 2,005 to 2,008, maybe, that
00:14:54.980 --> 00:14:57.010
Mikael Behrens: I kinda
00:14:59.050 --> 00:15:09.350
Mikael Behrens: kind of cleaned up all my hobbies and kind of shook it things up and just paired things down. It started intensely burning more, and was able to experience that sort of shift.
00:15:10.480 --> 00:15:14.030
Lee Burton: Well, that's that's awesome. And I think, if I remember correctly.
00:15:14.170 --> 00:15:31.020
Lee Burton: at some point in that timeframe, or thereafter is when you started leading. A bird walks right, and during some tours at local preserves, and which I I find is great, because you you know a lot. But it's also just great to
00:15:31.020 --> 00:15:45.510
Lee Burton: be out with other people and and get to share your knowledge and learn together. So you have any comments about that in terms of you know those experiences and and what leading those walks are like, and both for you and and the people on them.
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Mikael Behrens: Yeah. So that came from
00:15:49.510 --> 00:15:58.810
Mikael Behrens: the same kind of you know. My kind of evoked my sense of wonder at all these birds I was finding in my neighborhood, you know, and and I didn't have to
00:15:59.930 --> 00:16:03.420
Mikael Behrens: travel to some exotic location or anything. These birds were.
00:16:03.620 --> 00:16:08.170
Mikael Behrens: We're appearing here just where I already was, and I wanted
00:16:08.240 --> 00:16:12.280
Mikael Behrens: I wanted more neighbors to know about this. You know I had encountered like
00:16:12.320 --> 00:16:28.040
Mikael Behrens: one other burning couple in the neighborhood, you know, walking by binoculars, that I would say I met them, you know. So through the Neighborhood Association I started leading a monthly bird walk on
00:16:28.770 --> 00:16:31.660
Mikael Behrens: in an area of
00:16:31.960 --> 00:16:38.170
Mikael Behrens: playing fields that eventually became Lake Creek trail in Northwest, Austin and Williamson County.
00:16:38.260 --> 00:16:47.490
Mikael Behrens: The county eventually built a sidewalk trail that goes along Lake Creek, which is
00:16:47.740 --> 00:17:00.150
Mikael Behrens: Little creep that doesn't go dry anymore, because it's it's fed by a wastewater treatment plan on the other side of the highway. and despite that, you know, the creek is always full of a fish and turtles.
00:17:00.220 --> 00:17:12.810
Lee Burton: and there's nutrient rich, right walks with you, and it's amazing how many shore birds you get, and you know who come because it's always got food for them. It seems like.
00:17:13.280 --> 00:17:17.599
Mikael Behrens: yeah, and it has it. Not only has some shore bird habitat.
00:17:17.800 --> 00:17:32.170
Mikael Behrens: which is, seems to be mostly used when during drought conditions when the shore birds can't find other. You know bigger patches of habitat, but there's also patches of riparian woods, with, you know, some dense undergrowth that
00:17:32.400 --> 00:17:43.060
Mikael Behrens: type of thing people don't like to leave in their yards, you know, but that's a whole nother category of habitat with different species of birds that that enjoy that there's a
00:17:43.120 --> 00:17:46.670
Mikael Behrens: Then the playing fields themselves, you know, is
00:17:46.860 --> 00:17:59.560
Mikael Behrens: can be a a more open type of habitat. There's open sky available, so it's been so. Those birdwalks eventually grew, and they kind of grew into
00:18:01.300 --> 00:18:08.610
Mikael Behrens: by word of mouth. They became less of a neighborhood thing and more of sort of an an existing burger thing
00:18:09.730 --> 00:18:13.920
Mikael Behrens: where I was still getting a few people from the neighborhood, but some.
00:18:13.970 --> 00:18:21.460
Mikael Behrens: you know, there were some people. There was a a retired couple that would drive up from Weberley to Northwest Austin to go to my Bird Walk, and
00:18:22.610 --> 00:18:26.160
Mikael Behrens: and that
00:18:26.500 --> 00:18:30.310
Mikael Behrens: was a really good experience
00:18:30.370 --> 00:18:40.440
Mikael Behrens: for me. I like to. I think it was a good experience for the people on the walks, because it was a popular walk. and I always got good feedback.
00:18:40.550 --> 00:18:52.310
Mikael Behrens: but it was also sort of the next phase, and in learning for me, too, you know one thing when I started using e bird.
00:18:52.320 --> 00:18:56.860
Mikael Behrens: that may be, it made me a better burger, because it made me look at every bird
00:18:56.930 --> 00:18:59.770
Mikael Behrens: it made. You know. It made me
00:18:59.960 --> 00:19:02.920
Mikael Behrens: optimize. Identification.
00:19:04.160 --> 00:19:09.040
Mikael Behrens: and really kind of. you know, Embrace
00:19:09.070 --> 00:19:18.760
Mikael Behrens: the idea of, hey? You know you don't necessarily have to look at your at a bird through binoculars to identify it. You can see a lot with your naked eye you can hear a lot.
00:19:20.240 --> 00:19:27.780
Mikael Behrens: And so that developed. You know that overall Id skill. And then leading the bird walks.
00:19:29.660 --> 00:19:43.290
Mikael Behrens: kind of shook that up, because you know, that sort of learning was kind of going towards the more just the the gestal type of identification where you take all of the everything in it once, and and your brain identifies it, You know. First
00:19:43.900 --> 00:19:51.620
Mikael Behrens: kind of the first stage and identifying birds is learning a list of field marks to go through, you know, and then you do that enough.
00:19:51.840 --> 00:20:00.480
Mikael Behrens: And then, after a while, your brain just recognizes the whole bird by itself, you know. Once sort of like, we recognize our faces, each other's faces
00:20:01.490 --> 00:20:07.500
Mikael Behrens: when you get into that, and you start to forget the others, the field marks. And so
00:20:07.580 --> 00:20:13.240
Mikael Behrens: then, leading the bird walks, people would ask, Well, how do you know it's that?
00:20:13.420 --> 00:20:24.540
Mikael Behrens: And you? It makes you kind of relearn, you know. See? See how they're seeing the bird again, and kind of brings those 2,
00:20:24.970 --> 00:20:37.980
Mikael Behrens: you know. Identification skills together again refreshes the other one, and it kinda makes you confront your ego as well, you know, because there's this little voice. You know. Well, how do you know it's that I know I've been burning a long time.
00:20:37.980 --> 00:20:45.200
Lee Burton: Yeah, my AI algorithm in here. It's like it's it's. Calculate this. It can be wrong.
00:20:45.400 --> 00:20:48.700
Mikael Behrens: Yeah. And and you know it keeps you humble because
00:20:48.710 --> 00:20:54.750
Mikael Behrens: you're wrong sometimes, and you need to have to be okay with being wrong in front of, you know, a dozen people. And
00:20:55.040 --> 00:21:00.110
Mikael Behrens: and then there's still some times where still happens to me where
00:21:00.370 --> 00:21:06.880
Mikael Behrens: everybody in the group is looking at a bird asking me what it is, and I haven't found it Yet you know
00:21:07.810 --> 00:21:09.190
Mikael Behrens: so
00:21:09.390 --> 00:21:15.980
Lee Burton: Well, I can. That's not much gets by, and you're not wrong very often. That's what you see in here. So
00:21:17.320 --> 00:21:34.200
Mikael Behrens: yeah. So So leading those bird walks was very much the kind of the next stage and my own learning. and I think that's kind of a general principal to is, you know, once you get to some point in learning a subject you teach it, and that's kind of the next
00:21:34.740 --> 00:21:35.840
Mikael Behrens: phase.
00:21:35.860 --> 00:21:39.490
Lee Burton: One of my first jobs. I had to be a trainer and
00:21:40.070 --> 00:21:46.580
Lee Burton: on a pretty complex software product. And I was so nervous. But that's actually how I learned it was by.
00:21:46.790 --> 00:21:51.010
Lee Burton: So what is this? I don't know. Let me go find out.
00:21:51.150 --> 00:22:00.320
Lee Burton: So yeah, there's a little bit of pressure there, too, when you you know, especially if it's your job. Yeah, and they're paying for it. But yeah, no, it is. It's. It's a incredible way of learning.
00:22:01.510 --> 00:22:17.030
Lee Burton: and you know I know we could kind of go in 50,000 different directions with our remaining time on birding. But I wanted to focus, since we're in May, and you know we're right in the midst of migration.
00:22:17.190 --> 00:22:34.860
Lee Burton: If we could talk about that, because I I think it's a great time if someone's new to burning, even if you're not, there's just so much going on to pick up on. So maybe if you don't mind kind of just describing or explaining particularly those who haven't done much birding, you know what migration is.
00:22:35.010 --> 00:22:46.420
Lee Burton: and you know. And and why is it important, both from a ecological standpoint? And you know we're discussing earlier, you know, if you're out there, you know, looking for birds and trying to learn. Observe.
00:22:46.490 --> 00:22:50.240
Lee Burton: you know, why. Why should we care? Why is it important or interesting?
00:22:50.430 --> 00:22:51.690
Mikael Behrens: Yeah, yeah.
00:22:52.090 --> 00:22:55.600
00:22:55.990 --> 00:23:08.950
Mikael Behrens: again going back to the idea of hey! Why are birds so easy to see? You know they have this easy escape route. They can fly. They're so mobile. not only in short distances, but in long distances.
00:23:09.040 --> 00:23:11.850
Mikael Behrens: and so somehow
00:23:12.370 --> 00:23:17.710
Mikael Behrens: migration evolved, and migration is mostly
00:23:18.190 --> 00:23:30.720
Mikael Behrens: moving from a season seasonal movement of birds at a large scale. You know, in a hemispherical, sometimes global scale, where birds are
00:23:32.230 --> 00:23:33.730
00:23:33.920 --> 00:23:36.190
Mikael Behrens: some place during the spring.
00:23:36.580 --> 00:23:41.880
Mikael Behrens: that for the where they breed where they nest and breed.
00:23:42.060 --> 00:23:44.910
Mikael Behrens: and then, after breeding is over.
00:23:44.980 --> 00:23:49.110
Mikael Behrens: moving some place during the fall to spend the winter.
00:23:49.690 --> 00:23:51.090
Mikael Behrens: and
00:23:51.400 --> 00:23:55.770
Mikael Behrens: the temperature is linked in with this. You know that
00:23:56.140 --> 00:24:05.660
Mikael Behrens: in the birds will come north from. So in in our in our you know, in the in the Americas
00:24:05.680 --> 00:24:15.210
Mikael Behrens: a lot of most migratory birds. They're spending their winters down South and Central South America, all those for some birds Texas to sell.
00:24:16.290 --> 00:24:21.590
Mikael Behrens: and and you know the winters don't get as cold.
00:24:21.890 --> 00:24:28.310
Mikael Behrens: and or you know it's not winter. It's, you know. The seasons are flipped around and so.
00:24:28.990 --> 00:24:35.560
Mikael Behrens: or they're in the tropics, where really there is that you know that it. It doesn't get very cold very often.
00:24:36.740 --> 00:24:41.470
Mikael Behrens: and then they go when the weather is warm enough up north
00:24:41.520 --> 00:24:44.150
Mikael Behrens: they'll travel up there to to breed.
00:24:45.490 --> 00:24:46.760
Mikael Behrens: and
00:24:46.930 --> 00:24:50.190
Mikael Behrens: you know it's a huge expenditure of energy.
00:24:50.490 --> 00:24:57.210
Mikael Behrens: and you have to wonder Well, why. Why are they doing this? Why did this evolve as a successful strategy? And
00:24:58.530 --> 00:25:01.860
Mikael Behrens: I don't know for certain the the the
00:25:02.200 --> 00:25:08.370
Mikael Behrens: what the the theory that made sense to me that I learned way back in college was that
00:25:09.200 --> 00:25:20.500
Mikael Behrens: in the tropical environments like central Northern South America. once birds reach adulthood. life is pretty easy.
00:25:20.760 --> 00:25:25.550
Mikael Behrens: you know. There's plenty of fruit and and things to to eat.
00:25:25.730 --> 00:25:34.960
Mikael Behrens: but nesting success is is very low. and I think that's part of the reason You see such extreme
00:25:35.000 --> 00:25:45.160
Mikael Behrens: sexual selection, sex sexual dimorphism in tropical birds. You know, Cdc. These amazing, elaborate male birds with trit, long trailing
00:25:45.230 --> 00:25:49.190
Mikael Behrens: crazy feathers, and the females are very cryptic.
00:25:49.420 --> 00:25:58.090
Mikael Behrens: because the females are the ones on the nest, you know, and there's just a lot of nest predation in the tropics.
00:25:58.960 --> 00:26:02.940
Mikael Behrens: So somehow, you know, birds being so mobile
00:26:02.990 --> 00:26:13.960
Mikael Behrens: and just random experimentation and variation evolutionary urges, I guess. Somehow they figured some species figured out how to
00:26:15.430 --> 00:26:22.270
Mikael Behrens: how to breed in another place where where it's all. It was a little easier, and it was, they would
00:26:22.490 --> 00:26:33.770
Mikael Behrens: find places in North America and time time things, so that just as they were arriving to breed it was getting warmer, and there'd be this huge emergence of insect life.
00:26:34.070 --> 00:26:37.420
Mikael Behrens: you know. And so
00:26:37.570 --> 00:26:49.590
Mikael Behrens: those combination of factors, I think, or what kind of led to migration. this being something beneficial to these birds, and and
00:26:51.600 --> 00:26:54.790
Mikael Behrens: but it's, you know it's really risky.
00:26:55.230 --> 00:27:00.360
Mikael Behrens: A lot of little birds that you wouldn't think about actually.
00:27:01.910 --> 00:27:08.550
Mikael Behrens: when they're migrating north to the breeding grounds. There's pressure to
00:27:08.700 --> 00:27:18.030
Mikael Behrens: get their fat the first, and get your pick of the best breeding grounds, and so they'll cut across stretches of the Gulf of Mexico
00:27:19.920 --> 00:27:22.380
Mikael Behrens: and hit
00:27:22.760 --> 00:27:25.080
Mikael Behrens: and depending on the weather conditions.
00:27:26.520 --> 00:27:33.210
Mikael Behrens: You know they'll wait for good conditions. They'll wait for a tailwind, you know. A south wind behind them to take them across.
00:27:33.240 --> 00:27:36.150
Mikael Behrens: But you know whether
00:27:36.250 --> 00:27:39.800
Mikael Behrens: in Texas is really dynamic in the spring.
00:27:39.840 --> 00:27:47.540
Mikael Behrens: and you get all these cold fronts coming through, and and sometimes the the whether it's the wind turns around on them while they're out there over the Gulf
00:27:47.680 --> 00:27:50.870
Mikael Behrens: and makes it a much more difficult journey, and and
00:27:50.970 --> 00:27:56.810
Mikael Behrens: a lot of them don't make it, and the ones that are tired that once I do make it are tired and and
00:27:57.020 --> 00:28:02.940
Mikael Behrens: want to find the first patch of habitat they can when they hit the coast and rest there.
00:28:04.560 --> 00:28:07.800
Mikael Behrens: And those difficult conditions
00:28:07.890 --> 00:28:22.860
Mikael Behrens: on the birds make for some amazing bird watching conditions, you know, just like life changing for watching conditions, and especially if you have a front come through right, and I think they'll just.
00:28:22.920 --> 00:28:26.370
Mikael Behrens: I think, what the what we call a fall out these days
00:28:26.780 --> 00:28:33.880
Mikael Behrens: is nothing like what people used to see like in the sixties and seventies, and and even before that, you know.
00:28:35.350 --> 00:28:40.860
Mikael Behrens: but it's still just just because there were more birds then. Right? Yeah.
00:28:42.830 --> 00:29:05.450
Mikael Behrens: and but it still can be it's still. It's. It's an amazing experience. and people come from all over the country to the Texas coast at the this time of year. To to experience this, you know, even from other countries, bird watchers will come to, and and there's you know, birds are just funneling through
00:29:05.560 --> 00:29:11.490
Mikael Behrens: the Texas coast on their way to spread out over North America, and even up into Canada.
00:29:11.800 --> 00:29:13.030
Mikael Behrens: You know there are.
00:29:13.040 --> 00:29:19.080
Mikael Behrens: There are little birds that that make these amazing journeys. You know a lot of them just maybe go from
00:29:19.970 --> 00:29:22.990
Mikael Behrens: You know Central America, Mexico
00:29:23.070 --> 00:29:30.890
Mikael Behrens: up into, you know Texas, and in mid, you know the Middle States, but some of them are coming from
00:29:31.530 --> 00:29:37.590
Mikael Behrens: South America from like Central Southern South America, and going all the way up to the Arctic. You know
00:29:37.810 --> 00:29:48.200
Lee Burton: the will to be being the the largest migration, but it's kind of pales in comparison to the bird Migration doesn't it in terms of
00:29:48.200 --> 00:29:58.710
Lee Burton: you know distance, and probably overall number, and I I can't remember if you told me this or someone else. But I remember someone saying to one of these fallouts: you had a big cold front that
00:29:58.740 --> 00:30:07.660
Lee Burton: on an oak tree right there on the coast. I think they saw 12 different species of warblers, I think, in one tree something just incredible.
00:30:07.780 --> 00:30:11.280
Mikael Behrens: Yeah, it's. It's really amazing.
00:30:11.680 --> 00:30:21.790
Mikael Behrens: And i'm glad I've got to see that you know as many times as I have not not a whole lot of times, because if that if you don't get that when turning around. If
00:30:21.820 --> 00:30:23.530
Mikael Behrens: the birds still have that
00:30:23.570 --> 00:30:30.940
Mikael Behrens: sit tail when out of the south, they'll hit the coast and keep going, and the coast can be a pretty boring place, you know.
00:30:31.890 --> 00:30:40.050
Mikael Behrens: It's just, you know, being at the right place at the right time during those weather conditions that can be this amazing bird observation experience.
00:30:41.130 --> 00:30:51.800
Lee Burton: I remember one year I was down there, I think, doing a wildlife tracking Eval or something it at Lagoon, out of Scota with us a lot preserve, and one of these fronts, kind of unexpected, came in
00:30:51.870 --> 00:30:54.960
Lee Burton: right during this time, and I just so wanted.
00:30:54.990 --> 00:31:08.390
Lee Burton: you know, as much as I was interested in tracking to just take off and go, because I've never seen one of these, you know, big fallouts. I just wanted to drive the extra hour and and go check it out because i'd heard, you know incredible things about it.
00:31:08.630 --> 00:31:28.400
Lee Burton: So that's that's really. And I wanted to ask you, please continue on. But I I want to interject one thing about you know, really interesting about why birds come up here and and there's different strategies, too, right in terms of. I know there's a scientific term. I can't think of the top of my head. But success strategies about
00:31:28.400 --> 00:31:45.440
Lee Burton: getting earlier versus later. Like you said earlier, you get to. You know your territory first. You know more food, but there's more danger right? Because the cold weather in particular, you're not there that there's no guarantees that you know the earlier they get there, there still might be a freeze, you know, that comes in. And
00:31:45.450 --> 00:31:55.410
Lee Burton: so, even within the same species, they'll adopt different strategies in terms of you know, when they get there. There may be some individuals get there sooner rather than later.
00:31:56.020 --> 00:32:00.720
Mikael Behrens: Probably I hadn't thought about that
00:32:00.830 --> 00:32:07.200
Mikael Behrens: so much. But that makes me. That reminds me that either within one species of birds
00:32:07.550 --> 00:32:16.590
Lee Burton: there are different populations that migrate and don't migrate so like in in in Austin. We have turkey vultures.
00:32:16.840 --> 00:32:19.960
Mikael Behrens: and some of our Turkey vultures are here year round.
00:32:20.160 --> 00:32:26.640
Mikael Behrens: but turkey vultures are migrating to, and this time of year if you look up in the sky, and you see.
00:32:26.780 --> 00:32:36.060
Mikael Behrens: you know, 2030 turkey vultures drifting south. Those are not our year round. resident Turkey vultures. Those are
00:32:36.200 --> 00:32:43.450
Mikael Behrens: migratory ones, you know, that have been coming from the Northern States, and are just passing through it same species, different
00:32:43.740 --> 00:32:45.710
Mikael Behrens: populations and
00:32:45.820 --> 00:32:49.370
Mikael Behrens: and and strategies. I guess.
00:32:49.580 --> 00:33:00.490
Mikael Behrens: I think I remember reading something recent last year or 2 about monarchs even do that. I think there's a population that doesn't make it all the way down to Mexico. Just stays in Arizona. Yeah.
00:33:00.500 --> 00:33:16.250
Lee Burton: Yeah. So it's it's it's fascinating. But anyway. of species different species will adopt different strategies. In right, and I I guess, obviously find the one that works the best for them, or the ones who are most successful will continue reproducing.
00:33:16.760 --> 00:33:26.930
Mikael Behrens: Yeah. And one of the neat things about migration is that it's not a physical trait. You know. It's a behavior that that has a potential to change
00:33:26.960 --> 00:33:30.860
Lee Burton: much more rapidly than you know, an actual physical trait.
00:33:31.200 --> 00:33:32.590
Mikael Behrens: So
00:33:33.520 --> 00:33:41.390
Lee Burton: you know it's it's the like adapting to the climate, changing right potentially. Yeah.
00:33:42.270 --> 00:33:49.370
Mikael Behrens: And also just taking advantage of of different habitat types as pressure develops. You know.
00:33:50.700 --> 00:34:01.190
Mikael Behrens: You know you probably heard about white wing doves. He used to have to go down to the real Grand valley to see a white wing dove 67 years ago or 50 years ago even, and and
00:34:01.270 --> 00:34:03.740
Mikael Behrens: now they're the most numerous bird in my
00:34:04.030 --> 00:34:07.830
Mikael Behrens: North Austin neighborhood. Yeah, they they
00:34:08.370 --> 00:34:12.040
Mikael Behrens: They're experiencing habitat lost down in the real grand Valley.
00:34:12.159 --> 00:34:15.590
Lee Burton: and they figured out the trick to living in neighborhoods
00:34:15.780 --> 00:34:20.889
Mikael Behrens: and stopped migrating and started just expanding the range northward in neighborhoods.
00:34:21.150 --> 00:34:21.940
Lee Burton: Hmm.
00:34:22.659 --> 00:34:25.580
Mikael Behrens: And that worked out really well for them.
00:34:26.050 --> 00:34:31.360
Lee Burton: Yeah, there's there's another thing, too, which I wanted to ask you about.
00:34:31.600 --> 00:34:42.010
Lee Burton: and I I take my daughter out there. My son's too young, but you know, try watch a migration. In fact, last week we just saw a huge number of seagulls passing through.
00:34:42.090 --> 00:34:48.530
Lee Burton: I think it was a laughing goal, if I remember correctly, and you know a lot of other species as well. but it seems to be.
00:34:48.590 --> 00:35:03.050
Lee Burton: you know, different every year to some extent, and and I know there's the different flyways, and you talk about that. But do those alternate based on conditions and weather, or you know, and or timings from year to year? Or is it pretty much the same every year?
00:35:04.140 --> 00:35:05.900
Mikael Behrens: Oh, Gosh! You know the
00:35:07.010 --> 00:35:14.980
Mikael Behrens: the concentrations just depend on the weather conditions, like when I say concentrations, as you know, when you run into a group of birds
00:35:15.140 --> 00:35:18.880
Mikael Behrens: like a high diversity
00:35:20.570 --> 00:35:24.680
Mikael Behrens: group of birds during migration. That's just dependent on
00:35:25.110 --> 00:35:33.690
Mikael Behrens: Hey, Those birds encountered some difficult weather conditions, and so they're stacking up and and waiting out a storm or something in a in a patch of habitat.
00:35:35.660 --> 00:35:37.110
Mikael Behrens: But
00:35:38.530 --> 00:35:48.010
Mikael Behrens: you know a lot of the timing doesn't change very much a lot of different species very consistently show up in different
00:35:48.240 --> 00:35:56.880
Mikael Behrens: time periods in different places every year. and that's where you can look at those that those e bird.
00:35:57.960 --> 00:36:01.060
Mikael Behrens: those E. Bird bar charts of seasonality.
00:36:01.350 --> 00:36:14.550
Mikael Behrens: and see, you know, when start people see the first ruby Crown Kinglet, you know, and the in the fall, you know, or when the when people see the first
00:36:14.840 --> 00:36:18.630
Mikael Behrens: or here the first Acadian fly catcher in spring, you know a lot of those
00:36:18.680 --> 00:36:30.870
Mikael Behrens: species very consistently the first one show up with this on the same in the same narrow date ranges. It's really interesting. And you mentioned the the laughing Goals. Those were
00:36:31.170 --> 00:36:48.080
Mikael Behrens: prop actually Franklin's goals. That's right, and the laughing goals are the resident year Round coastal species. Franklin skills are one of those long distance migrants that winters in the west coast of South America.
00:36:48.240 --> 00:36:55.550
Mikael Behrens: and breeds up in like the Northern States and Canada in the inland lakes and stuff. And it's yeah, there's nothing like.
00:36:55.920 --> 00:37:06.160
Mikael Behrens: you know, walking around in Austin. And all of a sudden you hear seagulls. You look up and you yeah, it was incredible. You feel like you're on the coast.
00:37:06.180 --> 00:37:21.370
Lee Burton: Yeah, and it was interesting. Some of the well this gets in a little bird language, but some of the other ones were some of the other birds on the grounds interesting, watching their reactions, and you could tell that they were cautious. They changed their behavior, and and
00:37:21.540 --> 00:37:25.620
Lee Burton: and the other birds, I think, caused that to. But it's just interesting
00:37:25.950 --> 00:37:36.430
Lee Burton: observing the whole spectacle. You know, both from just the magnificence of it as well. It's just how it changes everything. And actually you. You brought up something I wanted to ask you about.
00:37:36.660 --> 00:37:44.310
Lee Burton: you know. Besides, I I think. to the kind of novice, and this is the way I I thought of it
00:37:44.580 --> 00:37:59.010
Lee Burton: that the difference between spring and fall migration just kind of reverse is, is that true? Or it's actually more nuanced that it. And how do they kind of interface? You know the same birds that you know come first.
00:37:59.010 --> 00:38:05.300
Lee Burton: you know. Leave last, or or do they leave first? How does that work? Is there any rhyme or reason to that?
00:38:07.330 --> 00:38:11.060
Mikael Behrens: There's sort of a general tendencies that
00:38:11.440 --> 00:38:13.950
Mikael Behrens: spring migration is more urgent.
00:38:14.030 --> 00:38:24.100
Mikael Behrens: and it's more concentrated in in a shorter period of time, you know, whereas because there's that advantage to getting to the breeding, get round sooner.
00:38:24.220 --> 00:38:27.370
Mikael Behrens: and taking advantage of the time to
00:38:27.550 --> 00:38:30.770
Mikael Behrens: to reproduce very important thing. Birds have to do
00:38:32.080 --> 00:38:34.300
Mikael Behrens: fall migration there.
00:38:34.510 --> 00:38:37.340
Mikael Behrens: They're done reading
00:38:37.710 --> 00:38:45.550
Mikael Behrens: some birds. Then we'll take that opportunity to to mold, to replace a lot of their feathers.
00:38:47.390 --> 00:38:53.260
Mikael Behrens: and then heading south, is more laid back. It's more spread out over time.
00:38:54.340 --> 00:38:56.900
Mikael Behrens: The birds can be a little more
00:38:57.120 --> 00:39:02.020
Mikael Behrens: cryptic, a little more harder to see. They're just passing through
00:39:03.260 --> 00:39:08.120
Mikael Behrens: a little more slowly on their way to get to the You know their wintering grounds.
00:39:08.590 --> 00:39:18.010
Mikael Behrens: So that's kind of the general idea.
00:39:18.060 --> 00:39:25.180
Lee Burton: Okay, interesting. Yeah. One of the things I find interesting, too, is. you know.
00:39:25.410 --> 00:39:41.150
Lee Burton: a lot of people. When I first started tuning into this very interested in, you know songbirds, and which they are, and there's so many varieties, and they're beautiful. But as I got more and more into bird language, and and then started teaching it. I became fascinated by the raptor migration.
00:39:41.370 --> 00:39:49.060
Lee Burton: and I noticed particularly where we live. In fact, I I just finished a semester teaching bird language at University of Florida.
00:39:49.140 --> 00:40:03.860
Lee Burton: And here, you know, in Texas our raptor population. I don't have the numbers, and and you might, but it just seems like it explodes, particularly among exhibitors, you know, numbers or Cooper's hawks in this area. And so from a bird language perspective.
00:40:03.900 --> 00:40:21.130
Lee Burton: I I find it really interesting time, because in many respects the the resident birds here and and i'm sure the ones that are migrating through it becomes a very dangerous time, because the the density you know of these bird killers, these exhibitors who are specialists and hunting birds as well as other hawks.
00:40:21.130 --> 00:40:29.840
Lee Burton: goes way up. And so I actually really enjoy when the fall migration is finished, because even a lot of people think it's kind of a downtime year for birding.
00:40:30.080 --> 00:40:49.860
Lee Burton: at least here it picks up. Now, that's not true. Up North, like I had a student point out he was taking the class remotely in Massachusetts. He's like Well, most of our rafters left. So a lot of these things i'm starting to see now, right, you know. You can't please everybody. But anyway, I just that was a real eye opener when I started, you know, observing that.
00:40:49.860 --> 00:40:52.760
Lee Burton: and you know, and
00:40:53.100 --> 00:40:54.480
Mikael Behrens: and
00:40:55.950 --> 00:41:06.700
Mikael Behrens: that kind of links into the changing of priorities and birds lives through the seat, through it through throughout the year. You know where
00:41:07.940 --> 00:41:11.790
Mikael Behrens: in the winter time, and and here in Texas.
00:41:12.060 --> 00:41:22.560
Mikael Behrens: you know, I I mentioned before. We're north for some birds. We're south for some birds. so we don't have, and we and then we have year round birds, too. So
00:41:22.680 --> 00:41:35.570
Mikael Behrens: all winter long we have our year round birds, and we have a group of winter resident birds, which includes some of the predators like you're talking about like sharps and talks more cooper's, hawks, 3 kinds of falcons.
00:41:35.660 --> 00:41:38.250
Mikael Behrens: and so
00:41:38.420 --> 00:41:54.750
Mikael Behrens: their prey, You know there's these little songbirds grouped together in these mixed species, foraging flocks, and are watching for these predators, and and making call notes to each other across species, and making alarm calls to each other across species.
00:41:54.800 --> 00:42:07.680
Mikael Behrens: And that's really one of that's I love burning in the winter for that reason, because you know your pat, everything can be just dead in the woods, and then you'll hear some really soft contact calls, and then
00:42:07.750 --> 00:42:17.240
Mikael Behrens: your path crosses with one of these mixed forging flocks moving around in the woods, and all of a sudden, you know, there's 6 or 8 species of birds, you know, and it's a
00:42:17.350 --> 00:42:23.040
Mikael Behrens: It's really a lot of fun. It's awesome. I mean. I see so many more alarms, I mean, probably
00:42:23.190 --> 00:42:38.800
Lee Burton: like 4 or 5 times as many, even though you know the overall bird activities less certainly song. And you know even the feeding, because they're not having to feed young anymore. It's it's just incredible. I I really enjoy it. I know most people kind of think of it as a off time a year. But I I don't look at it that way.
00:42:39.170 --> 00:42:45.320
Mikael Behrens: Yeah, yeah, me neither. And like you said it's a different story in some of the Northern States and Canada.
00:42:45.800 --> 00:42:54.770
Mikael Behrens: But another things are kind of changing in the summer, in the spring of the summer here, and just in the last
00:42:54.830 --> 00:42:57.890
Mikael Behrens: less than 10 years
00:42:57.950 --> 00:43:02.000
Mikael Behrens: more hawks are using neighborhoods
00:43:02.010 --> 00:43:09.510
Mikael Behrens: in Austin, and I've I've read that it's a more general phenomenon as well. You know. Maybe enough time has gone by. Finally.
00:43:09.660 --> 00:43:15.250
Mikael Behrens: where, you know hawks. it used to be for a long time.
00:43:15.840 --> 00:43:26.410
Mikael Behrens: Hawk saw a person that person wanted to shoot it, you know, and maybe it's maybe that's shifted enough that now.
00:43:26.580 --> 00:43:29.900
Mikael Behrens: just in like in the past less than 10 years
00:43:30.000 --> 00:43:37.020
Mikael Behrens: there are more Cooper's hawks here in the summer, nesting in in neighborhoods. Here
00:43:37.040 --> 00:43:46.360
Mikael Behrens: there are broad wing talks one of the migratory. spectacularly migratory species of hawks that
00:43:46.440 --> 00:43:56.790
Mikael Behrens: that nest one nested in my front yard a couple of years ago, and now there are also Mississippi kites nesting in neighborhoods all over town.
00:43:57.970 --> 00:44:02.090
Mikael Behrens: They're around my yard every day, you know, their past
00:44:02.210 --> 00:44:06.360
Mikael Behrens: month or so since they started arriving again. And
00:44:06.740 --> 00:44:10.580
Mikael Behrens: so it's. You know it's something new that's happening.
00:44:10.910 --> 00:44:12.640
Mikael Behrens: and and i'm hopeful.
00:44:14.210 --> 00:44:17.110
Mikael Behrens: You know neighborhoods are one of those
00:44:17.630 --> 00:44:26.310
Mikael Behrens: well habitat types that's actually growing. And if we could get enough people to appreciate that and
00:44:26.530 --> 00:44:29.630
Mikael Behrens: and make some tweaks to make them even more.
00:44:29.700 --> 00:44:42.250
Mikael Behrens: you know, attractive to birds, and maybe try to convince more people that you know your homogeneous lawn isn't the most beautiful, aesthetically pleasing thing in the world. You know that
00:44:42.330 --> 00:44:51.080
Mikael Behrens: let's get, you know, have some undergrowth in your yard, more native plant species and stuff it's there's a lot of, I think there's a lot of hope for neighborhoods as a
00:44:51.290 --> 00:44:53.930
Mikael Behrens: as a habitat type for birds and other wildlife.
00:44:53.960 --> 00:45:09.460
Lee Burton: This is just kind of a side note, but my neighbors may not like me for this, although I've got a fence around my property. But yeah, I I let my yard kind of go fer all this year, and and intentionally let native grass move in over the last several years, and I've got pretty deep top soil, but
00:45:09.560 --> 00:45:11.460
Lee Burton: it's amazing. Just
00:45:11.710 --> 00:45:28.040
Lee Burton: I don't know about so much increase in bird activity. But you know, insects, but I've got just a tremendous amount of fireflies. We have had a lot of rain this spring so far, but it's amazing when you do a few things like that, you know you can create better habitat which benefits everybody. And
00:45:28.170 --> 00:45:40.430
Lee Burton: of course, on the other hand, I I totally agree with you. In fact, when I was a kid and my parents small town a couple of hours west of here. I mean, we hardly ever saw a red shoulder hawks in town, and now they're all
00:45:40.820 --> 00:45:57.990
Lee Burton: you know. Yeah, they're a year round resident. Yeah, yeah, I I feel, you know. But usually like you said they were skittish, you know. They seem to be much more skittish, I mean. I don't have the actual data, but i'm i'm pretty sure of that I I feel sorry for the poor song birds, because obviously they they take a hit.
00:45:58.190 --> 00:46:04.280
Lee Burton: and you know some of my students would be saying, oh, I saw a couple of hawks, or even kites, and
00:46:04.370 --> 00:46:16.590
Lee Burton: you know I noticed, you know songbirds got quiet, and they're like, but I think it might have been because the neighbor's dog started barking. I'm like, Well, I don't know about that. These guys are killers, you know. It probably has more to do with that.
00:46:16.820 --> 00:46:30.950
Lee Burton: Yeah, I have a neighbor who has a couple of photos of Mississippi kite carrying a purple martin, and it's I. I had a student do exactly. She goes. I saw 2. I think they were. Was it Long tail kites? And you know we
00:46:30.950 --> 00:46:43.350
Lee Burton: was saying. Oh, you know, I think it was a lot more. I'm like man. Those things are incredibly maneuverable, you, you know. As you know, I've watched them actually Mississippi kites catch dragonflies, which I mean extraordinary feat of
00:46:43.350 --> 00:46:52.410
Lee Burton: athleticism. So I can only imagine how birds view that. And and actually I I think that's that's a good segue into
00:46:52.500 --> 00:47:03.470
Lee Burton: this whole aspect of your own journey if you don't mind talking about it. How getting into birding and migration and things we've been talking about, and bird language
00:47:03.580 --> 00:47:11.460
Lee Burton: has facilitated. You know your own nature connection, and the way you view nature and your relation to it, if you can comment on that.
00:47:12.620 --> 00:47:15.570
Mikael Behrens: Yeah. Well, I mean. I think
00:47:16.280 --> 00:47:23.610
Mikael Behrens: the obvious thing. Is it just all these other aspects that come in to play make everything more engaging, more immersive?
00:47:25.020 --> 00:47:28.730
Mikael Behrens: You know it's. It's when you start to
00:47:29.800 --> 00:47:33.170
Mikael Behrens: realize the seasonality of birds.
00:47:34.600 --> 00:47:40.760
Mikael Behrens: and they're different priorities through the year. And you start to observe that you know and see
00:47:40.870 --> 00:47:46.000
Mikael Behrens: the ramifications of that in the birds, actions and reactions
00:47:47.510 --> 00:48:01.370
Mikael Behrens: That's just satisfying it's it's it's a it it it. It connects you with that aspect of nature more directly than than you had before.
00:48:05.670 --> 00:48:12.560
Mikael Behrens: and that that that makes me think about, you know. Getting into burning by ear more and more, too, is
00:48:12.610 --> 00:48:15.420
Mikael Behrens: bringing another sense into play
00:48:17.080 --> 00:48:20.970
Mikael Behrens: is makes it that much more engaging and immersive.
00:48:22.670 --> 00:48:24.180
Mikael Behrens: And
00:48:25.690 --> 00:48:27.440
Mikael Behrens: as you.
00:48:28.610 --> 00:48:30.190
Mikael Behrens: when you get to.
00:48:31.410 --> 00:48:36.140
Mikael Behrens: when you get to a level where you can see a lot of these things happening.
00:48:37.860 --> 00:48:43.230
Mikael Behrens: you can. You can go outside for a very short period of time
00:48:43.550 --> 00:48:45.620
Mikael Behrens: and see something
00:48:45.680 --> 00:48:50.960
Mikael Behrens: satisfying and meaningful, or observes, You know, some reaction to birds
00:48:51.180 --> 00:48:56.370
Mikael Behrens: which just makes life easier to deal with. You know it's like a
00:49:00.110 --> 00:49:08.540
Mikael Behrens: There's this. there's this inherent desire in in most people. Some people think all people, you know, to have this connection with nature.
00:49:10.370 --> 00:49:12.320
Mikael Behrens: and there's
00:49:12.830 --> 00:49:20.010
Mikael Behrens: there's kind of like a lack of understanding of how to make that connection, you know.
00:49:21.710 --> 00:49:26.830
Mikael Behrens: and John John Graves wrote a book called Goodbye to a River.
00:49:26.940 --> 00:49:28.080
Lee Burton: Yeah.
00:49:28.270 --> 00:49:31.890
Mikael Behrens: I think the browser
00:49:32.340 --> 00:49:40.100
Mikael Behrens: at the time in the fifties, when he wrote the book, there are plans to dam it, and he had spent a lot of his childhood there, and he made a
00:49:40.960 --> 00:49:42.090
Mikael Behrens: a
00:49:43.510 --> 00:49:49.120
Mikael Behrens: like a month long camping trip on the Via canoe down the river, and he wrote about it, and
00:49:49.630 --> 00:49:55.720
Mikael Behrens: and he he really captured. Well, it's it's. He has this quote that describes, you know
00:49:57.190 --> 00:50:00.590
Mikael Behrens: there's this desire to be to have.
00:50:01.100 --> 00:50:09.260
Mikael Behrens: Nature is this important factor in our lives, but our number one priority always has to be the layer of
00:50:09.420 --> 00:50:14.890
Mikael Behrens: of existence we've built on top of that, you know. He calls it like prickly machine humming
00:50:14.940 --> 00:50:18.080
Mikael Behrens: world that we've built on top of Nature.
00:50:18.090 --> 00:50:32.380
Mikael Behrens: and that has to be our number one priority to you have to pay or pay your rent, you know you have to deal with the you know. Get your driver's license when you all this, you know, do your job
00:50:32.400 --> 00:50:36.610
Mikael Behrens: all the these multitude of things, so that
00:50:37.030 --> 00:50:38.460
Mikael Behrens: appreciation
00:50:39.140 --> 00:50:44.690
Mikael Behrens: of nature and learning about it and studying it, has to take
00:50:44.840 --> 00:50:47.710
Mikael Behrens: a lower priority. And
00:50:49.050 --> 00:50:57.190
Mikael Behrens: but I think birds really optimize that lower priority place. you know, in our lives.
00:50:58.390 --> 00:51:09.950
Mikael Behrens: just because, you know, I've already said how accessible they are. They occupy the sweet spot of of being able to see them just about anywhere you are. Hear them.
00:51:11.370 --> 00:51:25.230
Mikael Behrens: and then, once you're if you have, or able to invest the time to get more in tune with them. seasonality their their priorities throughout the year. You can, just. you know, go outside for 5 or 10 min in the morning
00:51:26.460 --> 00:51:28.450
Mikael Behrens: and see something, you know.
00:51:29.890 --> 00:51:37.910
Mikael Behrens: and take that that with you, you know. and that's really satisfying thing to do you know you didn't have to
00:51:38.010 --> 00:51:45.350
Mikael Behrens: drive anywhere You didn't have to invest the whole morning or day, you know, hiking somewhere.
00:51:45.460 --> 00:51:55.650
Mikael Behrens: There's just this accessibility of of nature connection that birds make for us in these little snippets of time.
00:51:57.960 --> 00:52:01.100
Mikael Behrens: like I think it was one.
00:52:02.550 --> 00:52:04.700
Mikael Behrens: It was last fall, I think.
00:52:06.400 --> 00:52:10.660
Mikael Behrens: I went out for a few minutes with my cup of coffee before it started work in the morning.
00:52:12.080 --> 00:52:15.460
Mikael Behrens: and. like in my neighbors
00:52:15.640 --> 00:52:21.370
Mikael Behrens: backyard behind me, I heard a little. This is a blue gray, that catcher call.
00:52:21.750 --> 00:52:23.630
Mikael Behrens: and then
00:52:23.930 --> 00:52:32.430
Mikael Behrens: and that was to the south, and then to the north. I saw, or I heard another, his. You know. These 2 blue-grade net cultures came from the north.
00:52:32.920 --> 00:52:37.790
Mikael Behrens: and this one behind me came up and joined them. And the 3 of them, you know.
00:52:37.920 --> 00:52:39.750
Mikael Behrens: continued on their way south.
00:52:41.290 --> 00:52:48.700
Mikael Behrens: and I thought, had they already been together, you know, had had these 2 been together in this third one hooked up with them. You know. This little
00:52:48.710 --> 00:52:56.790
Mikael Behrens: right is in that, you know. 30 s I was there to to to to see it and and experience it.
00:52:57.230 --> 00:53:00.490
Mikael Behrens: It's a cool stuff out there.
00:53:01.280 --> 00:53:09.590
Lee Burton: Yeah, I that's great. And yeah, when you were Tom back goodbye to River Don Henley wrote a song on that
00:53:09.640 --> 00:53:19.200
Lee Burton: about the book, and really well, yeah, he, you know, he grew up in North Texas. I I think he lives up there again now. His old dad's farm or something. But
00:53:19.500 --> 00:53:21.910
Lee Burton: yeah, it's very Edward
00:53:22.360 --> 00:53:28.650
Lee Burton: Abbeyesk, you know. Desert solitaire. I remember when you were talking about that, and
00:53:28.810 --> 00:53:38.570
Lee Burton: and John Graves a little more laid back than yeah. Yeah. He was about going down the the Colorado River right before. I believe his Glen Canyon Dam was built.
00:53:38.800 --> 00:53:48.080
Lee Burton: you know. And I think those are. Those are questions for our our time about. Yeah, you know, we can't go back to Stone Age. Obviously, we're not going to. But
00:53:48.270 --> 00:53:52.870
Lee Burton: you know how do we not only protect what we have, but how do we engage with it and give it?
00:53:53.100 --> 00:54:07.200
Lee Burton: You know Alder Leopold talked about this extensively. Give it the value it deserves, and participate in it, because I'm. Of the belief. And you were saying this, I think, in a in a way it's in our DNA, everybody.
00:54:07.260 --> 00:54:12.540
Lee Burton: and it's good for us. I I just literally had a student right me
00:54:12.570 --> 00:54:28.570
Lee Burton: as the semester ended. I always have them. Do They have a final project. We have to do like a research proposal, and also they they have to do it kind of a group, experiment or group sit and record those, but then they also have a final reflection which is really just their
00:54:28.960 --> 00:54:47.190
Lee Burton: time to opine. You know what they learn, and you know, in terms of what they pick up on bird language, you know it's you can tell it's most of them are still kind of early stages, and what they observe, and that's fine. But the thing that I'm really impressing really glad is they got across the idea of just the nature connection.
00:54:47.230 --> 00:54:57.400
Lee Burton: and I don't know if it's the right word, but being able to empathize with birds and observe them, and understand. you know, not only struggles, but just their life, and paying attention to it.
00:54:57.560 --> 00:55:14.580
Lee Burton: And not only is that good, I think, for birds, and on the long term of us, you know, having because i'm again, i'm firm belief that the more you identify with nature connect with it, the more you want it protected. But it's good for us as well, and I had a couple of students. One in particular said that
00:55:14.660 --> 00:55:24.130
Mikael Behrens: you know she was going through some depression, anxiety, and it literally just going out and doing birds. It. It made a profound impact on her. You know
00:55:24.290 --> 00:55:34.240
Mikael Behrens: there's a whole area of therapy being developed, called ego therapy. I. Last time I was at my doctor I saw a little
00:55:34.390 --> 00:55:43.650
Lee Burton: flyer on the wall. Ask about a nature prescription.
00:55:43.850 --> 00:55:54.920
Lee Burton: That sounds like a Bill Murray line about Bob Prescription to take a vacation from your problems. But No, it's, it's true, and I I think you sent me something about a
00:55:54.920 --> 00:56:11.250
Lee Burton: I. It was on Npr. Something about fly fishing and a a woman who chronicled. And so there's a number of different ways, I I think birds is, and I know John Young believes this is one of the very best ways of of doing that, because all the reasons you describe the accessibility.
00:56:11.250 --> 00:56:16.440
Lee Burton: you know. In fact, we can see them, and you know just all their behaviors
00:56:16.600 --> 00:56:23.180
Lee Burton: so well with our remaining time. I wanted to just ask you, because you've already alluded to it
00:56:23.210 --> 00:56:35.510
Lee Burton: with Ebird. But can you talk about for people who you know, maybe again, or just getting into it. Or even if they've been doing this for a while. the best ways of using technology
00:56:37.270 --> 00:56:59.390
Lee Burton: and and and technology can even be binoculars. But in this case probably more talking about, you know, online tools, applications. all also the pros and cons of it when you use it one not. And what are some of your favorites? I know you mentioned E. Bird, but what are some of your other favorite tools that you would recommend to people that that won't be. I'm big about not being overwhelmed. I just wrote a blog recently about You know.
00:56:59.390 --> 00:57:05.980
Lee Burton: Kind of putting your smart phone down when you're outside, but at the same time they can be very powerful learning mechanisms. So
00:57:06.140 --> 00:57:11.340
Lee Burton: you know, I think you're a good person to understand the balance between those 2. So if you could speak to that.
00:57:12.240 --> 00:57:18.120
Mikael Behrens: sure, yeah, I love technology. If you
00:57:18.140 --> 00:57:25.690
Mikael Behrens: said to me, okay. you have to. You have a choice. You have to get rid of your binoculars or your iphone, which is going to be. That would
00:57:25.730 --> 00:57:29.050
Lee Burton: that would be a tough decision for me.
00:57:30.520 --> 00:57:39.820
Mikael Behrens: So back in 2,007. The first iphone came out, and what finally pushed me over the edge to to get one was
00:57:39.940 --> 00:57:50.810
Mikael Behrens: a product called Birdpot. which was sort of an app before there were even apps, and it was originally made to put on an ipod.
00:57:52.200 --> 00:57:55.480
Mikael Behrens: and when the iphone came out it was also an ipod.
00:57:56.650 --> 00:57:59.950
Mikael Behrens: and this company had taken the
00:58:00.440 --> 00:58:05.190
Mikael Behrens: A. 4 CD set of North American birds sounds
00:58:05.360 --> 00:58:09.520
Mikael Behrens: and songs, and had figured out how to
00:58:09.700 --> 00:58:11.490
Mikael Behrens: put it onto an ipod
00:58:12.840 --> 00:58:17.200
Mikael Behrens: in a way where each bird had its own track.
00:58:17.500 --> 00:58:24.050
Mikael Behrens: and they skipped over the person, announcing each bird like, Remember those old bird tapes and stuff where
00:58:24.080 --> 00:58:33.980
Mikael Behrens: even on CD. One track would have like 2 or 3 or 4 birds, and there'd be somebody announcing Northern cardball, and they're you know. So
00:58:34.210 --> 00:58:35.200
Mikael Behrens: they.
00:58:35.540 --> 00:58:41.780
Mikael Behrens: you know the ipod was revolutionary in a lot of ways. You could navigate through your music so fast and and so
00:58:43.570 --> 00:58:47.940
Mikael Behrens: so when the iphone came out. It also had a little built in speaker.
00:58:48.160 --> 00:58:57.720
Mikael Behrens: and I could put this I this bird pod product on it. and have this out in the field with me, and here's some birds. Here. A bird.
00:58:57.850 --> 00:59:09.690
Mikael Behrens: Make some guesses to what it was on my iphone to pull it up pretty quickly and compare it to the recordings, and that was a game changer for learn my burning by ear.
00:59:09.850 --> 00:59:15.040
Mikael Behrens: you know, and and learning bird sounds. So that was.
00:59:15.440 --> 00:59:28.230
Mikael Behrens: you know one of the one of the big boosts that technology gave me, even out in the field, and I already talked about E. Bird making me a better Burger, and facilitating just the citizen science of collection of
00:59:28.330 --> 00:59:32.810
Mikael Behrens: data from. you know, worldwide, the whole burning community.
00:59:34.640 --> 00:59:42.460
Mikael Behrens: I, as part of my enthusiasm for burning in my neighborhood.
00:59:42.590 --> 00:59:49.770
Mikael Behrens: When I was doing my bird walks getting those started. I got into photography with the
00:59:49.810 --> 00:59:55.140
Mikael Behrens: motivation of documenting. You know these birds I was finding, and
00:59:55.750 --> 00:59:57.780
Mikael Behrens: you know, especially if
00:59:57.820 --> 01:00:08.090
Mikael Behrens: if I built up some skill with the camera being able to capture identifiable pictures of birds. Not only can I share them on a blog, you know, make neighbors more aware. But I can
01:00:08.290 --> 01:00:11.500
Mikael Behrens: document rare species that show up, you know, and
01:00:11.710 --> 01:00:22.750
Mikael Behrens: and the local, you know rare bird. Alert committees will be a lot, you know, more likely to accept a photo than a written description. You know, especially from a
01:00:22.890 --> 01:00:26.960
Mikael Behrens: a burger that doesn't have an established, you know, reputation for
01:00:27.370 --> 01:00:30.300
Mikael Behrens: identification, skill.
01:00:30.850 --> 01:00:32.180
Mikael Behrens: And
01:00:32.620 --> 01:00:40.480
Mikael Behrens: and now you know, photography has just gotten better and better you can get.
01:00:41.090 --> 01:00:49.570
Mikael Behrens: You know there's still some some monetary investment required. But you can get cameras.
01:00:49.600 --> 01:00:59.100
Mikael Behrens: and unfortunately, your smartphone camera usually doesn't work. But you can get cameras where it's easier and easier with big zooms on them.
01:00:59.140 --> 01:01:07.340
Mikael Behrens: and it's easier and easier to get at least an identifiable picture of a bird and some people to then subverting that way.
01:01:07.450 --> 01:01:13.940
Mikael Behrens: They're taking pictures of birds before they know what the birds are, and then they go home and figure out what the bird is.
01:01:14.020 --> 01:01:23.650
Lee Burton: and that's where tools like Merlin. Now, you know, obviously both by song and also by photo, can help right? So you don't have to get home
01:01:24.760 --> 01:01:29.450
Mikael Behrens: right? Yeah, if you can feed the picture into the
01:01:29.470 --> 01:01:34.860
Mikael Behrens: I guess. Yeah. Some people you you can take a picture of it on the screen on the back of your camera, maybe.
01:01:36.200 --> 01:01:39.710
Mikael Behrens: but the you know the the photography can also, you know.
01:01:39.820 --> 01:01:52.570
Mikael Behrens: become kind of a burden. I'm kind of been taking a break from it recently for the past year. So just because it's so easy to go out there and take a bunch of pictures.
01:01:52.630 --> 01:02:00.020
Mikael Behrens: and then well. if you want those pictures to to contribute to something.
01:02:00.060 --> 01:02:02.700
Mikael Behrens: you know to be more data
01:02:02.830 --> 01:02:17.370
Mikael Behrens: that for E. Bird, or or you know more observations, for I, naturalist, you have to process them, you know you have to spend time in front of your computer at home to deal with them and put them in all the places, edit them, put them in all the places you want them to live.
01:02:19.090 --> 01:02:21.380
Mikael Behrens: and that can be kind of a
01:02:21.500 --> 01:02:23.450
Mikael Behrens: that. That's been kind of a
01:02:23.850 --> 01:02:32.160
Mikael Behrens: psychic burden on me the last recently in the past year or so, so I've been going out a lot just my without my camera lately, just to
01:02:33.630 --> 01:02:38.670
Mikael Behrens: to get back to this, that enjoyment in the moment to you know it. Can.
01:02:39.260 --> 01:02:45.290
Mikael Behrens: It can take a little bit of that away if you're more worried about getting a photo of a bird than you are of
01:02:45.400 --> 01:02:48.450
Mikael Behrens: of seeing it and experiencing it yourself.
01:02:50.760 --> 01:02:55.970
Mikael Behrens: So I talked about E. Bird before I mentioned. I, naturalist just now.
01:02:57.640 --> 01:03:03.750
Mikael Behrens: I, naturalist, is a really interesting platform. That's now.
01:03:04.110 --> 01:03:08.030
Mikael Behrens: It's hosted by the California Academy of Sciences.
01:03:09.440 --> 01:03:14.130
Mikael Behrens: It's sort of structured like Facebook.
01:03:14.200 --> 01:03:27.900
Mikael Behrens: but you know how Facebook has at its center. You have a status update. You said. You tell the world, hey, what you know, what's going on. and people who follow you see that, and they can comment on it, and
01:03:28.290 --> 01:03:32.360
Mikael Behrens: people keep in touch with each other that way. Well.
01:03:32.450 --> 01:03:33.850
Mikael Behrens: I naturalists.
01:03:34.050 --> 01:03:38.130
Mikael Behrens: has at its basis the nature observation.
01:03:38.260 --> 01:03:41.880
Mikael Behrens: usually with a photo, but it can also be a sound.
01:03:43.520 --> 01:03:51.140
Mikael Behrens: And you post these nature observations in a Facebook like format and people who follow you, or people who are.
01:03:51.240 --> 01:04:00.410
Mikael Behrens: follow a certain subset of taxonomy that you posted something in can find it and
01:04:01.680 --> 01:04:05.090
Mikael Behrens: post comments on it, but also post identifications to it.
01:04:06.430 --> 01:04:11.310
Mikael Behrens: And of and I, you know Ebert is just birds. I naturalist is
01:04:11.520 --> 01:04:22.860
Mikael Behrens: plants and animals of all kinds all over the world. and and so they have this sort of crowd. Different different crowdsourcing technique of
01:04:24.530 --> 01:04:29.270
Mikael Behrens: once enough people agree on an identification of
01:04:29.340 --> 01:04:47.240
Mikael Behrens: you know my observation. It's considered research grade, you know, when they have the you can filter on just research grade observations, and you'll have a little bit more of a confidence that you know. At least some people agree on them, and it won't. Be, as you know, randomly incorrect
01:04:47.520 --> 01:04:49.410
Mikael Behrens: as otherwise. And
01:04:50.600 --> 01:04:56.660
Mikael Behrens: and you can also post observations that you don't know what it is yet. and have people, you know.
01:04:56.690 --> 01:05:12.270
Mikael Behrens: contribute and and figure out what what what things are in that way. And they and they have various ways of presenting this observational data. You can define geographical places, and then see all the observations in that place
01:05:12.310 --> 01:05:15.130
Mikael Behrens: organized by, you know.
01:05:15.230 --> 01:05:17.860
Mikael Behrens: taxonomically, you know.
01:05:18.480 --> 01:05:19.890
Mikael Behrens: And
01:05:20.100 --> 01:05:23.020
what's really interesting is that
01:05:23.270 --> 01:05:25.560
Mikael Behrens: the 2 platforms have these
01:05:25.660 --> 01:05:38.190
Mikael Behrens: different mission statements. You know E. Bird's mission is about harnessing the burden community to learn more about birds, you know, and to learn more about bird distribution especially.
01:05:39.570 --> 01:05:50.310
Mikael Behrens: and I, naturalist, if you look up their mission data collection is part of their mission, but their number one priorities connecting people with nature. and
01:05:51.530 --> 01:05:58.920
Mikael Behrens: and that, you know that's resulted in their different user interface. You know they're more of a social network.
01:05:59.040 --> 01:06:02.890
Mikael Behrens: and I've just been realizing the past
01:06:03.070 --> 01:06:06.950
Mikael Behrens: year or so talking to more people
01:06:06.990 --> 01:06:08.630
Mikael Behrens: involved.
01:06:08.650 --> 01:06:16.750
Mikael Behrens: There's a monthly naturalist, happy hour around Austin that a friend of mine organizes, and and these a few people
01:06:16.760 --> 01:06:29.210
Mikael Behrens: have been showing up that aren't really in the Burden community. They aren't part of the local master naturalists their I matters they call I naturalist users, I adders, and
01:06:29.560 --> 01:06:37.050
Mikael Behrens: they're kind of a different personality type. They want to dive into these details and see as many different things.
01:06:37.220 --> 01:06:39.750
Mikael Behrens: you know, and catalog them as they can.
01:06:39.820 --> 01:06:52.060
Mikael Behrens: and they organize what they call these bio blitzes on my naturalist. You know where they me, you know there'll be a day wherever a bunch of. I net users meet at some area
01:06:52.080 --> 01:07:01.510
Mikael Behrens: that maybe doesn't have a whole lot of observations yet, and they just spend a day just going crazy, making I naturalist observations and whatever areas they specialize in
01:07:01.640 --> 01:07:04.880
Mikael Behrens: and build up data for that area, you know.
01:07:06.640 --> 01:07:10.740
Mikael Behrens: So that you know, that's those are 2 big
01:07:10.900 --> 01:07:14.160
Mikael Behrens: technology platforms that
01:07:14.280 --> 01:07:19.740
Mikael Behrens: are really contributing, and in these different, sometimes complimentary ways to
01:07:21.390 --> 01:07:26.250
Mikael Behrens: to you know knowledge and and and even nature connection as well.
01:07:26.600 --> 01:07:36.220
Lee Burton: Well. that's great. Thank you. Let's wrap up here. I have a question for you. I think you're maybe the perfect person to answer this.
01:07:36.480 --> 01:07:56.880
Lee Burton: What do you see coming in? And with that I know you could probably talk for 45 min on this. But just in, you know a minute or 2. What do you see coming down the pike. I mentioned Merlin earlier. I I had students use it. I I think it's a really useful tool. It's an app on the iphone people out there, and it will identify does pretty good job, depending on the
01:07:57.100 --> 01:08:05.330
Lee Burton: You know how well the audio registers, how loud it is clear it is identifying a bird, and and by pictures as well. I
01:08:05.340 --> 01:08:08.940
Lee Burton: you said, if you can get a picture into it.
01:08:08.980 --> 01:08:24.689
Lee Burton: But what do you see coming in terms of artificial intelligence. Obviously it's that's all over the news right now, and I've been taught some other people who are doing work on just animal communication and and using artificial intelligence
01:08:24.880 --> 01:08:31.540
Lee Burton: with respect to burning. How do you see that impacting things going forward? And
01:08:31.580 --> 01:08:36.630
Lee Burton: you know potentially, from a user's perspective, how that could could help, if anything
01:08:37.990 --> 01:08:42.830
Mikael Behrens: Well, about the only application of artificial intelligence
01:08:43.109 --> 01:08:49.149
Mikael Behrens: I'm aware of is like you say, with Merlin, and a little more background on Merlin. Merlin is a
01:08:49.250 --> 01:08:59.359
Mikael Behrens: smartphone app developed by Cornell lab of Ornithology, based on E. Bird. You know they're the people behind Ebert as well based on all this e bird data they have.
01:08:59.359 --> 01:09:14.990
Mikael Behrens: and it started as kind of a modest. Just beginners aid tool for identifying birds where it would ask you questions about the bird you saw, and it would use the seat, the time and time of year, and your location to help you narrow down what bird you saw. Then they added, like.
01:09:15.490 --> 01:09:19.840
Mikael Behrens: you know, can try to identify a photo that you put into it. Of a bird.
01:09:19.859 --> 01:09:30.890
Mikael Behrens: They added more information, information like range maps and descriptions and sounds where you can just play sounds, you know, for each bird. So it grew into
01:09:31.120 --> 01:09:33.609
Mikael Behrens: its own field. Guide app.
01:09:33.689 --> 01:09:41.779
Mikael Behrens: That's as good as the other leading field guide apps out there. And
01:09:42.270 --> 01:10:01.210
Mikael Behrens: oh, yeah, one of the things I love about it is the range maps usually don't stop at the real Grand Valley, you know. People ask you. Well, where's that bird? Go in the winter? Most North American field guys, you don't know. You know. They they just show you. Well, this is its North American range, but the Merlin range maps
01:10:01.320 --> 01:10:05.840
Mikael Behrens: will often show you where it goes in the southern hemisphere as well.
01:10:06.210 --> 01:10:07.650
Mikael Behrens: So
01:10:08.690 --> 01:10:16.190
Mikael Behrens: you know. A few other apps had tried to start to identify bird sounds.
01:10:18.140 --> 01:10:19.140
Mikael Behrens: and
01:10:20.350 --> 01:10:22.910
Mikael Behrens: none of them did a really good job.
01:10:24.320 --> 01:10:31.910
Mikael Behrens: A friend of mine had one called Song Sleuth, that she would bring on bird walks just to make fun of it, you know, because it was wrong so often.
01:10:32.060 --> 01:10:35.180
Mikael Behrens: So, Merlin. They just kind of
01:10:35.240 --> 01:10:41.320
Mikael Behrens: announced a couple of years ago. Oh, by the way, we added sound identification. No big deal.
01:10:41.460 --> 01:10:43.480
Mikael Behrens: and it was better than any other.
01:10:43.590 --> 01:10:45.870
Mikael Behrens: Yeah, I tried it yet
01:10:45.970 --> 01:10:47.730
Mikael Behrens: I think it's great.
01:10:49.560 --> 01:10:53.460
Mikael Behrens: I it's it's a huge help
01:10:53.750 --> 01:10:57.980
Mikael Behrens: to bird to burden by ear. You know it's
01:10:58.030 --> 01:11:05.270
Mikael Behrens: as much as that little bird. Pod thing helps me. I think Merlin will help people like 10 times more.
01:11:05.290 --> 01:11:11.540
Mikael Behrens: I've heard concerns of other people that
01:11:11.550 --> 01:11:25.600
Mikael Behrens: I I've I've heard concerns from other Burders that they've seen beginning burders, or even non Burders just trusting it. you know implicitly, and arguing with experienced burders, You know, Marilyn said it was this.
01:11:25.760 --> 01:11:29.140
Mikael Behrens: and you know there's maybe there's something
01:11:29.350 --> 01:11:31.760
Mikael Behrens: implicitly more trust, you know.
01:11:31.920 --> 01:11:39.930
Mikael Behrens: intuitively more trustworthy when you see it printed on an app, you know, and it's really cool the way it listens. You know it's a
01:11:39.950 --> 01:11:54.550
Mikael Behrens: in real time it will display the name of the species that it hears. It'll keep the list in in, and it's recording the sound, too. You can save the recordings, and it will have all the birds that it thinks we're on that list.
01:11:55.470 --> 01:12:06.370
Mikael Behrens: But the best way to use it, I think, is to try to find that bird that it says you're hearing and verify that it's out there.
01:12:06.550 --> 01:12:12.690
Mikael Behrens: and I even know a burger who's lost a lot of hearing. You know, in his old age that
01:12:13.770 --> 01:12:23.460
Mikael Behrens: uses Merlin. That feature of Merlin now is kind of a substitute for the hearing he lost, and he doesn't trust it, you know, but he knows to
01:12:23.480 --> 01:12:36.860
Mikael Behrens: maybe look for these birds. You know that he might. His hearing can't pick up on, but Rowan picked up on it, and he'll he won't. Put it immediately on his e bird list, but he'll look for those birds, and often find them that he wouldn't have seen otherwise. You know.
01:12:37.110 --> 01:12:42.220
Lee Burton: I've tried to fool it a few times by making some calls and cardinal, and it. It.
01:12:42.560 --> 01:13:00.090
Lee Burton: It registers human voice most of the time. I have fooled it on. Crow calls a few times, which I was kind of proud of. But yeah, that my wife makes fun of me for trying to. But yeah, that it'll be interesting to see where all this goes, because a couple of guys I
01:13:00.090 --> 01:13:09.750
Lee Burton: had some contacts, and working with a little bit. George Buman, who's with Yellowstone Institute, and he really is an animal communication expert. He's writing a book and a colleague of his is
01:13:09.760 --> 01:13:29.620
Lee Burton: using AI to interpret a parrot, tip, mice, and chickadee calls, and I think in the future we'll see. These were not only recognizes calls. But we'll tell you much more about behavior. You know, maybe, what that bird's actually doing potentially, and what this specific call means, and it'll be really in, since here that goes which is exciting.
01:13:29.900 --> 01:13:49.110
Lee Burton: you know, like everything else with technology, there's can be downsides. And you know, I could also see you know people may be misusing it trying to call birds in, and you know, get other birds to come in, which is already happening anyway, as you well know, but i'm sure you'll get more sophisticated. So it it will be.
01:13:49.110 --> 01:13:51.050
Mikael Behrens: I'm wondering also if maybe
01:13:51.500 --> 01:14:01.100
Mikael Behrens: AI will be. Take a larger part in data analysis. You know just the huge volume of data that I, naturalist and Ebert, both have. Now.
01:14:02.520 --> 01:14:10.010
Lee Burton: you know, just finding patterns. I don't know.
01:14:10.100 --> 01:14:13.000
Lee Burton: They say they're making advances already. So
01:14:13.110 --> 01:14:25.130
Lee Burton: that's that's definitely coming. Well, Michael, thank you so much. This has been really interesting. You have a lot of insights you want to find Michael. He's got a website burning on Broad Mead.
01:14:25.190 --> 01:14:36.920
Lee Burton: If you're down in the Austin area and he happens to be doing a a walk, I highly recommend it and really appreciate your time. And thank you so much.
01:14:37.690 --> 01:14:39.430
Mikael Behrens: Thanks. Yeah. I
01:14:39.490 --> 01:14:47.080
Mikael Behrens: I haven't been as active as I've been in previous years. But one of the new things kind of new things I've been doing is leading a
01:14:47.180 --> 01:14:51.010
Mikael Behrens: burning by your workshop for our local Travis Audubon Society.
01:14:51.040 --> 01:15:00.290
Mikael Behrens: whenever I can. You know, on the calendar single morning activity that's been really satisfying, and a lot of people seem to like it. So
01:15:00.510 --> 01:15:11.060
Mikael Behrens: check, You know you can check Travis Audubon's calendar for that, if you're in the Austin area. And yeah, thanks, Lee. This has been a lot of fun talking about my favorite stuff.
01:15:11.470 --> 01:15:19.570
Lee Burton: Well, great, and I look forward to doing some more especially now pandemics over doing some more birding with you. Get my kids out there with you. So
01:15:19.910 --> 01:15:23.750
Lee Burton: yeah, sounds great. Okay, All right, Take care.