Category: Links

The Danger of Amusement Parks for Birds

Nervous excitement

The website for the SpringShot ride at Morey’s Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey tells you to “Climb up. Strap in. Hold on as spring power and steel aircraft cables send you straight up into the air.” Left off from the last sentence, a young girl recently learned, was the phrase “and directly into the flight path of a seagull.”

Sudden apprehension as she spots potential trouble

Kiley Holman undoubtedly got closer to the birds than ever she expected when she and her friend were launched into the air on the ride. Just a second after the ride began, her path crossed with that of a seagull flying above.


Since every possible moment in time is a moment when one can be birding, we should pause to ID the innocent victim gull. Doing so turns out to be pretty easy. From the picture above, we see nearly all black primary tips, dark gray upper wings, a white bar on the trailing edge of the wing, and a white tail. The still below gives us a great look at the gull’s dark hood and white arc above the eye. Given the location, we can basically rule out Franklin’s Gull, and conclude that’s an irony-free Laughing Gull doing a face-plant on this girl at an amusement park. 

Laughing gull on the right, not laughing human on the left (laughing author of blogpost not pictured)

Links to Good Stuff

Atlantic Puffin Maine

Atlantic Puffin, Bar Harbor Pelagic, Maine, July 2017

Birding, Race, and Inclusion

  • The New Yorker talks to Corina Newsome, one of the organizers of #BlackBirdersWeek. “I’m always on guard. I try to prominently display my gear. Even if I don’t see a bird, if I see white folks approaching me, I immediately look through my binoculars. I need them to know what I’m doing. There’s no way I’m going in a remote area, or the woods, without a white person as cover.” 
  • Recordings of two conversations among Black birders are available here and here
  • An ABA podcast looks back on Black Birders Week, and more importantly, looks ahead.
  • PBS Nova and Christian Cooper talk birding and inclusion.

Blogs and other highlights

  • A rare Terek Sandpiper in Rhode Island, chased by boat: “Having the boat as our mode of transport was looking rather fortuitous. We decided to give it a shot.”
  • The White-throated Sparrow is changing its song, and Canada is not happy about it.
  • IUsedtoHateBirds keeps it real: “Black lives matter and wear a fucking mask.”
  • NPR’s Short Wave does a Birding 101 podcast.
  • Seagull Steve distracts us with always welcome Costa Rica trip reports