Monday, April 11, 2016

Season at the Point: The Birds and Birders of Cape May by J. Connor (1994)

**This book was recommended to us from a friend, who is active in the FL Audubon Society.

Summary from Amazon:
Cape May Point, New Jersey, is home to a natural phenomenon of stunning proportions. Each autumn millions of migrating birds converge here on their annual flight to wintering grounds as far away as Brazil and Peru. Season at the Point, the rich and telling story of the birds and birders of Cape May, evokes the sense of mystery and excitement that pervades the Cape as birders gather to count owls by the hundreds, hawks by the tens of thousands, and shorebirds and songbirds by the hundreds of thousands.

Available on Google Books:
Discussion Questions:
1. Is it possible to really understand migration patterns? What information would be needed to obtain this?
2. What were the some of the different approaches to birding amongst the birders, such as Al Nicholson versus others?
3. What role does banding play? To what degree does banding answer the questions to migration? What are some of its limitations?
4. Discuss the variability and difficulties in counting birds. Why was this type of information not considered to be solid data historically? 
5. Discuss the role of migration, orientation ability and timing and what it takes to successfully migrate.
6. Discuss the different birders, who they are and what perspectives do they bring.
7. How did the radar based data generated by the Clemson researchers change the way the hawk migration was viewed?
8. What impact has the hawk platform, bird counts and other birding events had on Cape May?

A 25th Anniversary of the writing of the book was celebrated on May 21, 2016 at The Grand Hotel in Cape May. The author did a reading and then led a panel discussion including several birding experts, who were highlighted in the book, including Pete Dunn, Paul Kerlinger, Jeff Boulton, and 
Pat and Clay Sutton. 

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