I.O.C. Version 8.1 Update Completed

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) USGS

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) USGS

“The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.” (Isaiah 34:14 KJV)

The I.O.C. Version 8.1 Update is finally completed on this blog. After issues with my Excel spreadsheet, all the pages are now current. It must have been some feathers from that family of birds they through up in the air. :) See: Hang On To Your Hat – I.O.C. 8.1 Update Underway the Thamnophilidae – Antbirds Family).

There actually was so many changes that I am only going to mention some of them. Here are the new families. The birds were taken from various families and given new places to dwell. Listed are the families at the end of the Passeriformes Order. Some were divided and others had avian wonders pulled from families and placed in these new ones. DNA research is the reason for Most of this shuffling.

Western Chat-Tanager (Calyptophilus tertius) ©Flickr Rafy Rodriguez

Emberizidae – Buntings – Split of New World Sparrows
Passerellidae – New World Sparrows – New
Calyptophilidae – Chat-tanagers – New
Phaenicophilidae – Hispaniolan Tanagers – New
Nesospingidae – Puerto Rican Tanager – New
Spindalidae – Spindalises – New
Zeledoniidae – Wrenthrush – New
Teretistridae – Cuban Warblers – New
Icteriidae – Yellow-breasted Chat – New
Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles and Blackbirds – Same
Parulidae – New World Warblers – Gave up birds
Mitrospingidae – Mitrospingid Tanagers – New
Cardinalidae – Cardinals, Grosbeaks and allies – Same
Thraupidae – Tanagers and allies – Gave up birds

“The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.” (Psalms 104:16-17 KJV)

I realize that for most casual birdwatchers, this means very little. Yet, some birders take photos, myself included, and we like to put the correct name on the birds. Also, my photos are stored by families. This helps when writing articles or just trying to find a photo. The desire is that these updates also assist those reading and using the blog.

There are other changes and the best way to find them is by going to these pages from the I.O.C.:

Be sure to check out the Birds of the World pages:


Which “Rail” Family Bird is This?

King Rail (Rallus elegans) Viera Wetlands 12-26-17 by Lee 2

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.” (Psalms 9:10-11 KJV)

Dan and I visited the east coast of Florida last week for several days. The first day, we stopped in to look around Viera Wetlands. It was around noon, and not the best time to view birds. It was quiet, but there is always something there to see. It was closed for some time after Hurricane Irma, and this is the first time we have been able to check out the birds there since then.

Knowing your common and local birds is important for birdwatching. Then, when something out of the ordinary appears, it may well catch your eye. As is the case with this bird. At first, pouring over the bird books and software, I thought it was a King Rail. If it is, then it would be a new LIFE bird for me. Now, I am not so sure what it is.

It appears to an immature bird, and most likely in the Rail Family. I would appreciate any who could leave a note with the correct ID for this bird. Here is another photo. Both of these were zoomed in and also cropped.

King Rail (Rallus elegans) Viera Wetlands 12-26-17 by Lee

Thankfully, as the verse above says, I do know the Lord’s Name and have put my trust in Him. Also, He knows our name. Now, if I just knew this bird’s name. :)

*** My First Bird of the Year was a House Finch at our feeder. ***

If you want, you can leave your 1st Bird of the Year below.

Fly Away: Tips on Getting Started with Bird Photography

Fly Away: Tips on Getting Started with Bird Photography

~ by Joan “Jones” Kissler

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26

Are you enjoying the newfound appreciation for life, nature, and God’s undying love that birdwatching has taught you? Take it to the next level by documenting it through photography. But do not take just any photo—bring out the exquisite beauty of birds with these bird photography tips for beginners:

First things first: get the right equipment

Birds are God’s work of art. So make sure you get the gear that allows you to easily glorify the Great Artist through your photos. Most bird photographers use a DSLR camera since its interchangeable lenses feature gives more control. For beginners, experts suggest using at least a 20mm lens.

Telephoto lenses allow you to capture every detail of a bird in its full glory. Image-stabilized lenses enable shooting in low-light conditions and while the bird is in motion. If you are not ready yet to shoot photos without support, you can use a monopod, a portable alternative to the heavy, bulky tripod.

When using your DSLR, make sure to set it to aperture-priority mode for the flexibility of a wide aperture and the ability to set the shutter speed to your desired setting.

On the other hand, some enthusiasts use smartphones for bird photography. They use a technique called digiscoping, which is combining a smartphone camera with a spotting scope. For on-the-go shooting, I recommend using an adapter to combine your phone and the spotting scope, so you can easily snap a photo instead of painstakingly trying to hold up your phone correctly against the the spotting scope. Also, you can install some apps and maximize your camera phone’s built-in features to churn out better-quality photos.

Parakeet being photographed by Phone

Parakeet being photographed by Phone

Know your birds

You do not have to look far to know where to find birds as your next subject. Just open your Bible, and you will find the answers:

  • In trees (Psalm 104:17, Ezekiel 31:6)
  • On the ground (Deuteronomy 22:6)
  • In clefts of rocks (Num 224:21; Jeremiah 48:28)
  • In deserted cities (Isaiah 34:15)
  • Under the roofs of houses (Psalm 84:3)

Read up on the behavior and habitat of different kinds of birds so that you will know how to get them to come to you or to get as close to them as possible.

If that is not your style, join an expert birder in taking photos. You will definitely pick up some pointers on which birds come out during which time and season, where they usually live and breed, and what they usually eat.

Feed them as the Father would

The Great Creator cares for birds so much that He makes sure that they are always fed well, as stated in Matthew 6:26. Show your compassion for these creatures by giving them something to eat when you are photographing them on location.

To make birds feel naturally at home, plant some shrubs and trees they normally feed on in your garden or lawn. For instance, expert photographer Matt Mcray planted Rose of Sharon and hibiscus to attract Ruby-throated hummingbirds to his yard.

You can also strategically put bird feeders where you want to shoot your subject. Just remember to place them on the side from where you’ll be taking the shot to keep the feeders off the frame. Also ensure good natural lighting in the area where you will stage your shots.

Make them feel safe

God created birds to be free, so avoid threatening their sense of freedom and respect their need to hop from one space to another and fly.

One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is to haphazardly approach their subject and click on the shutter button in haste. This normally ends up with the bird flying away and the shot being ruined.

To keep this from happening, remember these tips:

  • Do not disturb the birds in their natural habitat.
  • Do not come too near their nests, especially when their nestlings are there.
  • Give them ample breathing room so that they won’t feel threatened in your presence.
  • Do not shoot immediately.

Here are some tips on taking your first successful photo:

  • Go where the birds feed or drink.
  • Walk as calmly and quietly as possible around the birds.
  • Repeat for days or weeks until the birds get used to your presence (Yes, patience is a virtue).

After repeating these steps for quite some time, your subjects will eventually warm up to you, and you will be able to take several shots easily.

Capturing a shot of a creature as elusive as a bird reminds us of the gift of freedom that God bestows upon us. With the ups and downs of everyday life, it can be easy to forget that we are free. May your foray into bird photography serve as a constant reminder that we are.

Lee’s Addition:

Joan contacted me about putting an article on the blog. After reviewing this article, I think you will find this article fits well with the objectives of our blog. To honor our Lord. Thanks, Joan, and I trust that you will provide us with more interesting articles like this.

Birdwathcing Tips


I.O.C. Version 6.2 Update Complete

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) by Daves BirdingPix

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus – now Leuconotopicus villosus) by Daves BirdingPix

“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field;” (Genesis 2:20a KJV)

Since I.O.C. Version 6.2 Has Come Out, the rest of the changes are all now complete. I finished all the “First Name-Last Name” indexes. Now you can find your bird by either part of its name. Since the English alphabet has 26 letters, that is 51 pages that had to be changed. There aren’t any birds, whose last name begins with “Z.” There are also 9 other Index pages to change. Then the Family page for the individual bird has to be updated. And, I am just a website. Those that do the actual work at I.O.C. are to be commended for the weeks of work that they do.

From the top of the main indexes:

These pages contain Lee’s Birds of the World, based on the IOC World Bird List 6.2 contains 10,637 extant species (and 154 extinct species)  classified in 40 Orders,  239 Families (plus 2 Incertae Sedis) and 2289 Genera and 20,490 Subspecies.  All the ORDERs and the Families are listed. Please enjoy looking around at the references to the numerous birds that the Lord has created.

(All the Indexes are now up to date and it makes it easier to find them with theTaxonomic List of the Birds. (The use of your “Search” or “Find” on your browser is very useful on long lists. “Control + F” is the shortcut for Find. I use it quite frequently.)

So, what did they do this time? They added 22 new species, changed the names of 9 birds, changed 4 genus names and the hardest to update was the Woodpecker-Picidae family. (Never thought I would get that one straight.)

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee

The new Species added are many times subspecies moving up to full genus status. The family with the most new additions is the Bowerbirds – Ptilonorhynchidae family. There were 3 Catbirds; the White-eared, Green, and Spotted Catbirds. Now, there are 10 Catbirds.

Ochre-breasted Catbird (Ailuroedus stonii) – NEW
White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) NA
Tan-capped Catbird (Ailuroedus geislerorum) – NEW
Green Catbird (Ailuroedus crassirostris) NA
Spotted Catbird (Ailuroedus maculosus) – NEW
Huon Catbird (Ailuroedus astigmaticus) – NEW
Black-capped Catbird (Ailuroedus melanocephalus)
Northern Catbird (Ailuroedus jobiensis) – NEW
Arfak Catbird (Ailuroedus arfakianus) – NEW
Black-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus melanotis) – this was a name change. It was the Spotted Catbird (Ailuroedus melanotis)

Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove now the Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis) ©WikiC

Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove now the Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis) ©WikiC

The Pigeons, Doves – Columbidae Family also had 8 new additions added. Before doing that, they changed the names of  four more birds.
Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis) – was Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove
Sultan’s Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia doreya) – NEW
Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia emiliana) NA
Enggano Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia cinnamomea) – NEW
Barusan Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia modiglianii) – NEW
Timor Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia magna) – was Bar-necked Cuckoo-Dove
Tanimbar Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia timorlaoensis) – NEW
Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia macassariensis) – NEW
Philippine Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia tenuirostris) NA
Brown Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia phasianella) NA

Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia emiliana) ©WikiC

Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia emiliana) ©WikiC

White-faced Cuckoo-Dove (Turacoena manadensis) – was the White-faced Dove
Sula Cuckoo-Dove (Turacoena sulaensis) – NEW
Black Cuckoo-Dove (Turacoena modesta) – was the Black Dove

They also added:
Sula Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus mangoliensis) – NEW
Kosrae Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus hernsheimi) – NEW

As for the Woodpecker family, it was a change of genus names and resuffling that was mostly involved. More on those later. I still want to double check that they are right on the page.

There were other changes, but enough for now. Those are the biggest changes. For once there were not deletions.

For those who are photographers, these changes can affect how the bird names are filed and given. Which means, names of photos have to be updated also. No one in the bird hobby or profession has ever “arrived.” There is always something to do, after the “shoot”.


Wordless Birds

Alternative Bird Lists

Various Lists

Various Lists

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Number every firstborn male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names. (Numbers 3:40 NASB)

Saw this on Alternative Life List from About, which was a side-link from Keeping a Life Yard List.

“Many birders keep a life list, but the guidelines for what birds count on a life list that will be accepted by organizations or competitions can be strict. Fortunately, there are many alternative ways to keep a life list, from serious to silly, and each one adds a new dimension to enjoying the record-keeping side of birding.

Here are some of the List they suggest:

  • Geographic Lists:
  • Seasonal Lists:
  • Photographic Lists:
  • Subspecies Lists
  • Sound Lists
On Way to Lowry Pk Zoo - Crossed County line at 8:42

On Way to Lowry Pk Zoo – Crossed County line at 8:42

Then they list Silly Options For Fun Life Lists:

  • Captive Birds: (See them often)
  • Extinct Birds: (That might be a little difficult)
  • Taxidermy Birds: (Don’t do too many museums)
  • Hollywood Birds: (That might be interesting, you hear them in the backgrounds a lot)
  • Book Birds: (Yep, not too hard)
  • Dream Birds: (That would be hard if you don’t dream much – Wish Birds might be better)
  • Missed Birds: (That might be REAL easy)

I think I need to keep a Captive Bird List (my Zoos, Aviaries, Wildlife Rehabs and other places that have birds that are not free to leave.)

The Photographic Life List also sounds interesting. (I have plenty of “proof shots”)

eBird Report

eBird Report

Do you keep a list of birds? I do, but am not always faithful to record them. As we go on trips, I record all the birds I see as Dan drives. I include even the county, time, temp, and whether clear, cloudy, etc. I use eBird to keep North American birds, but again, don’t always log my findings until later. (or when I re-find my notepad)

Here are photos of some list written on trips and outings. You can tell if I forgot my Notepad, I am resourceful.

My List of ALL the Birds I Have Seen is really a combination of many of these.

I have written about Birdwatching Lists before, but found that article interesting and thought you might like to see how I do some of the listing. As you can see, it is not very scientific. Sometimes I draw a marking or shape to help ID it later. Now days, I try to capture my unknowns with my camera. Easier than drawing and I get to keep my eye on the bird.

What ever way you keep a list or lists is up to each one. The main thing is to get out and enjoy the beautiful birds the Lord has created for us to enjoy. I would rather miss getting something on my list, than missing the opportunity to watch the bird as long as possible. For some birds will only give you a glimpse of itself before it dashes away.

Finding a verse to use that had the word “list” in it required me to use my e-Sword again. Looking at different versions I was able to find some The KJV used, “number of their names,” the CJV used “determine how many there are,” DRB used “shalt take the sum of them” and the CRV used probably the best for this, “Write their names on a list”

Check out some other articles we have written about this:


Birdwatching Term – Mobbing

Crow on Eagles Back ©©

Maybe A Little Too Close – Crow on Eagles Back ©©

Birdwatching Term – Mobbing

In the recent article, The Old Orchard Bully – Chapter 2, the whole group of birds united to chase off the Black Cat. That is called, “mobbing.”

Some ask why don’t the bigger birds fight back? Here are a few quotes from various sources:

“This behavior – like calling your family for help – is used by many bird species. The best time to observe mobbing is spring and early summer, when breeding birds are trying to protect their nests and young. Birds including swallows, blackbirds, and even these American Crows, seen here mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk, know that there is strength and power in numbers. And they’ve learned to join forces to protect themselves. Be sure to watch the video!”

Quote from Why Don’t Hawks Fight Back? :All agreed that if a red-tailed hawk reached out and grabbed a crow with its talons, that would be the end of the crow. Or as one of the professionals put it, in scientific terms, “the crow would be toast.” But although large raptors have the necessary weapons, the energy cost of pursuing or otherwise attempting to catch a crow is normally not worth it. Crows are agile creatures and would be very difficult to catch in flight. So a hawk typically ignores the crows or flies away.”

A Great Horned Owl being mobbed!


Just as the Lord helps His Created critters, the Lord gives us promises about seeking His help:

But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” (2 Kings 17:39 NKJV)

Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies. (Psalms 60:11-12 NKJV)

I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. (Psalms 18:37 NKJV)

O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. (Psalms 25:2 NKJV)

My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. (Psalms 31:15 NKJV)

For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. Selah (Psalms 44:6-8 NKJV)

Some interesting links about mobbing:

Small Birds Mob Big Ones – Bird Note, with audio

Mobbing – RSPB

The Superb Fairywren – The Corporate Mob ~ by a j mithra

Birdwatching Terms

Birdwatching Tips 

Watching Birds

Wordless Birds