ABOUT ME - My name is Amy and I'm a birder living in central Florida. On this blog I post book and birding product reviews as well as birder gift ideas and announcements related to my birder gift shop on this site. I also have a personal birding blog called Powered By Birds.

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Unless otherwise stated, all books and other products reviewed on this blog were purchased or independently acquired by the reviewer. Readers who make a purchase by clicking on links in product reviews or featured t-shirt posts (T-Shirt Tuesday) may result in the blogger receiving a commission or referral fee.
Archive: May, 2011

May Giveaway: Caption Contest!

Posted on May 31st, 2011 in Contest, Funny, Giveaway

With all the chaos I’ve experienced these last few weeks, I thought it was a good time to post my first caption contest with this funny (?) photo. It is Photoshopped from an original I’d really like to link to, but my computer is in the shop and I can’t find it in my jumble of backup files. So you’ll just have to trust me that it’s not really modified that much, I just removed a couple of stray geese. If you click on the image to see the large version, you can see the extent of my Photoshopping skills (not so hot). Post your clever caption as a comment on this blog post. Up for grabs is our shop-branded I Brake For Birds license plate frame.

The contest is open to everyone (global). Post your caption by Friday, June 10th. The winning captionist (or captionista) will be chosen and notified sometime on Saturday, June 11th (hopefully – told you things were kind of chaotic around here). Good luck!

Book Review: A Supremely Bad Idea

Posted on May 18th, 2011 in Book Review, Books

A Supremely Bad Idea: Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See It All by Luke Dempsey. First published 2008. As reviewed and pictured: softcover, 264 pages.

I’ve been blogging about my birding “adventures” for a few years now. I started this blog way back in late 2005, but it wasn’t until almost three years later that my posts started really reflecting my own experiences and not just interesting bird-related tidbits I was picking up here and there in the news. Even though I have been birding for at least five years (longer than that, really, but it was within this time frame that i became aware of the birding culture and started to embrace it), I still consider myself a beginner, and happy to be so. I’m not really willing or able (at this point, anyway) to put in the amount of time needed to really be a skilled birder, and I’m okay with that. I still consult my field guide out in the field, I enjoy birding with others, and I am not ashamed to ask for help or guidance from more experienced birders. I’ve also still got a lot of easy gaping holes in my lifelist that can easily be filled but I’m content to let those ticks come as they may.

Fumbling through the hobby as I am makes for a few interesting blog posts, I hope, and I’m sure a lot of tedious ones, especially to anyone more experienced than I. I’m blogging to share my experiences with the greater world, obviously, but also with my future self. Blogs are great snapshots of a place and time.

This sort of enjoyable fumbling is where author Luke Dempsey seems to be in his birding career. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, obviously. But to me A Supremely Bad Idea reads like the misadventures of a mediocre birder, and the material varies wildly from somewhat compelling to rather uneventful. With an ambitious subtitle, Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See it All, I was expecting a big-year-style adventure. Instead, the book’s chapters, which covers Dempsey’s birding trips outside of his home base in New York to various birding hotspots in the United States, are virtually stand-alone travelogues. Dempsey often travels with an eccentric birding couple, whose antics are sometimes good for a laugh and sometimes annoying as hell to the author, and this reader, too. All of these tales would have made interesting blog fodder, but they fall flat as a birding book.

Dempsey’s writing is easy to follow, and he tells his story with humor and wit, but the material itself just wasn’t all that compelling to me. If he writes another birding book, I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss it. I just better be about something. Meanwhile, I give A Supremely Bad Idea 2.5 Goldfinches out of 5.

April 2011 Giveaway Winner

Posted on May 9th, 2011 in Contest, Giveaway, Warbler Neck Awareness

Thank you to everyone who entered my April giveaway! I used a random name picker to select the winner. Congratulations to Melissa Mayntz on winning a Warbler Neck Awareness shirt of her choice. Melissa, I’ll contact you via email to get your details.

Bird blog & online contests for May 2011

Posted on May 2nd, 2011 in Contest

Here’s a list of current (as of May 2nd) blog & online contests by birders, for birders, and/or offering bird- or birder-themed prizes. Click on the links to learn more, check eligibility, and enter to win! If you are running a contest or know of something that should be added to this list, let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. This is a monthly post appearing on the first Monday of every month. I will add any updates I find during the month as a comment on this post. If you’d like to stay updated, you can subscribe to the comment RSS feed for this post.


Princeton University Press is giving away a copy of Hummingbirds of North America. Simply “like” PUP on Facebook to enter; see more details here. Giveaways occur each week; this one ends next Monday, May 9th.

Several new Etsy giveaways this month have owl or other bird themes. Click the following links for details on your chance to win (deadline in parentheses): Three Owl Greeting Cards (May 4th); Bird Nest Earrings (May 5th); Owl Embellishments (May 9th); Good Luck Owl (May 14th); and Crochet Penguin Hat (May 31st)

Two-Fisted Birdwatcher is giving away a blog-branded hoodie. Find this month’s hidden bird (Ferruginous Hawk) to be eligible for the drawing. This monthly giveaway usually ends by the end of the month, so submit your answer before May is over! See the contest page for details.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds program is sponsoring the Funky Nests in Funky Places 2011 challenge. Prizes include Kaytee bird feeders and nest boxes. Enter before June 1st.

ONGOING CONTESTS of interest to birders

BirdWatching Magazine runs a Photo of the Week Contest. Check out the Photo of the Week page to find out how to enter. Prizes include gear from Zeiss optics.

Duncraft hosts a caption contest on Facebook every week. Become a fan of Duncraft to see each contest posting. Enter to win a $10.00 Duncraft Gift Coupon. New caption contests start each Monday.

WildBird on the Fly occasionally gives away books and other prizes with fun, short-notice contests. Follow her blog and her Twitter account @WBeditor to get in on the prize giveaways.

Each month the Birds & Blooms website runs the Where’s Webster? contest. Find Webster the duck on the website and enter to win. Prizes vary and the contest runs month to month.

The Eagle Optics Email Contest is ongoing for anyone subscribed to their newsletter. A new winner is chosen every month and prizes vary. Click here for details.

Birder’s Lounge runs a monthly ID Challenge. Contestants play for their favorite bird/nature/conservation charity. The prize is a $10 donation to the winning charity, in the winner’s name. (Thanks to Amber for the details!)