Friday, April 12, 2024

Announcing my new book: Dinosaurs to Chickens - How Evolution Works

Really proud to announce a new book from Workman Publishing called Dinosaurs to Chickens: How Evolution Works. 

This is a book I would have loved to have read as a kid. How did modern species evolve to look the way they do? How did bees evolve their stingers? How did Poison Dart Frogs evolve their poison? How did Giraffes get their long necks? I explore these and dozens more examples, reaching back through the fossil record and the tree of life. It's really fun, and I hope readers (everyone 10+!) enjoy it too.

The book is out in August 2024, but it's available for preorders now. Preorder here!

Monday, April 1, 2024

Cumberland County March Madness

March is usually the boring-est birding month. You've seen all the wintering birds, or they've left already, and (at least in Maine) spring migration is really only in its earliest stages. 

March is a slog of a month, and consequently one that, along with February, usually sees my lowest birding effort of the year.

I wanted to change that, for no real reason other than birding is fun. I challenged myself to see 100 species of birds in my home county, Cumberland County, Maine, in March 2024. I had seen just 47 in each of the previous two years, and a personal record of 58 during that first pandemic March in 2020 when there was nothing else to do than bird all day long.

Here's how it went:

March 1 - Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

1. American Woodcock. 

I left a restaurant in Falmouth with my family and heard the distinctive PEENTing. An early record for sure, but in an area that I've seen woodcocks before. A good omen, and a great start to the month.

March 2 - Prout's Pond, Scarborough

2. Canada Goose

3. Gadwall

4. Mallard

5. American Black Duck

6. Ring-necked Duck

7. Hooded Merganser

8. Common Merganser

9. Mourning Dove

10. Herring Gull

11. Red-tailed Hawk

12. American Crow

13. Black-capped Chickadee

14. American Robin

15. Northern Cardinal

Some friends and I took a trip down to Kittery, in York County, to see the long-staying first state record Spotted Towhee that's been there all winter. We got good looks, then stopped at some spots on the way back home. 

March 2 - Spurwink River Crossing

16. Bufflehead

17. Turkey Vulture

The big push of TUVU into Maine doesn't start until later in the month, but there are some around all winter these days. 

March 2 - Route 1

18. Pileated Woodpecker

A flyover, but you never know when one's gonna show up otherwise.

March 2 - Dyer Point, Cape Elizabeth

19. Common Eider

20. Harlequin Duck

21. Surf Scoter

22. White-winged Scoter

23. Black Scoter

24. Long-tailed Duck

25. Common Goldeneye

26. Black Guillemot

27. Great Black-backed Gull

28. Common Loon

29. European Starling

30. Northern Mockingbird

31. House Sparrow

32. House Finch

33. Song Sparrow

March 2 - Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth

34. Brant

35. Horned Grebe

Brant are another easily miss-able species.

March 2 - Mill Creek Cove, Portland

36. Red-breasted Merganser

37. Ring-billed Gull

38. Glaucous Gull

White-winged gulls are really hit-and-miss, especially later in the winter, and so it was nice to see this bird which I think was the only one regularly reported in the county all month.

March 2 - My house, Cumberland

39. Eastern Bluebird

March 2 - Winslow Memorial Park, Freeport

40. Barrow's Goldeneye

41. Red-bellied Woodpecker

42. Blue Jay

43. Common Raven

44. Tufted Titmouse

The same day I was down in York County with pals I knew I needed to see some of the less-common species in the county before they left. Barrow's is at the top of the list, so I picked up my son from home and drove him up to this park where they're regular. We played football on the trail all the way up and back from where the ducks are.

March 3 - My house, Cumberland

45. Pine Siskin

Absent from my yard all year, but they hung out most days this March.

March 3 - Brunswick

46. Rock Pigeon

Got em!!!!!

March 3 - Wharton Point, Brunswick

47. Bald Eagle

March 3 - Broad Cove Reserve, Cumberland

48. Cooper's Hawk

49. Northern Harrier

Really luck to snag these two raptors here, though I'd see plenty over the rest of the month. Beat my previous two years' species counts by March 3.

March 4 - Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, Falmouth

50. Wild Turkey

51. Downy Woodpecker

52. White-breasted Nuthatch

53. Cedar Waxwing

54. American Goldfinch

55. American Tree Sparrow

56. White-throated Sparrow

My office. A great birding spot. The friendly flock of turkeys has inspired thousands of kids to a love of nature, and it's probably the state's most reliable spot for American Tree Sparrows.

March 4 - Canco Woods, Portland

57. Eastern Screech-owl

The coolest bird. Screech-owls are slowly but surely expanding their presence in Maine, and this is the first reliable bird I'm aware of in Cumberland County. It's been nesting at a publicly-accessible area and been enjoyed by many birders. I waited until after dark and heard him trilling, but never got a glimpse. 

March 5 - My house, Cumberland

58. Dark-eyed Junco

March 6 - My house, Cumberland

59. Common Grackle

Broke my previous record by March 6!

March 10 - My house, Cumberland

60. Red-breasted Nuthatch

61. Carolina Wren

62. Fox Sparrow

63. Red-winged Blackbird

Singing Fox Sparrow in the yard! Nice!

March 13 - Pownal

64. Northern Saw-whet Owl

65. Barred Owl

What a fun night. We were hanging at my buddy Ian's house to drink some brews and help him plan for a quick trip to Arizona. The hangout spot is this little yurt he's got deep in the backyard, and on the soggy walk out we wondered if we could conjure any owls out of the woods. We played a quick Saw-whet owl call from one our phones (I know playing calls is controversial but it's really not a big deal if used sparingly for any one individual!), and a bird immediately began responding from the trees. I'd never actually heard the "saw-whet" toot toot toot call before. Magic. "Well, how about a Barred, too?" we thought. We played another call and stared into the darkness. Again, almost immediately, I could make out against the slightly-less-dark of the path ahead and distinct from the very-much-black nighttime trees around us a gigantic dragon flying directly at me. I ducked, and the dragon / Barred Owl wooshed right over our heads and into a nearby tree. So so so so awesome. 

March 14 - Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, Falmouth

66. Brown Creeper

March 14 - Scarborough Marsh, Pelreco Building

67. Great Egret

68. Green-winged Teal

The egrets were super early and tripped a filter on me. Later seen by a few others.

March 15 - My house, Cumberland

69. Red Crossbill.

Never a sure thing, but I've had several Red Crossbill sightings in my yard this winter.

March 18 - Yarmouth

70. Merlin

March 19 - Florida Lake, Freeport

71. Eastern Phoebe

The weather was really balmy in the middle of the month, and everyone was expecting an early spring. This phoebe was an absolute treat, unexpectedly early and a sure sign of warm weather on the way.

March 20 - Thornhurst Farm, Yarmouth

72. Killdeer

I'd dipped a couple times on Snow Goose at this spot near by house. Alas.

March 22 - Dyer Point, Cape Elizabeth

73. Great Cormorant

74. Red-throated Loon

March 22 - Prout's Pond, Scarborough

75. Mute Swan

Rare and unwelcome in Cumberland County.

March 22 - Grondin Pond, Scarborough

76. American Wigeon

77. Greater Scaup

March 22 - My house, Cumberland

78. Brown-headed Cowbird

March 24 - Portland

79. Northern Flicker

OK, here's where the ish hit the fan a little bit. After a few weeks of nice weather, Maine got absolutely slammed by a ice and snowstorm. Up north it was pure snow, so things were fine, but along the coast it was snow and then rain and it froze overnight. We woke up to no power and everything coated in ice. Thousands of trees and limbs were down across the state, and everywhere you go there are branches and things across the road. People are still cleaning up. I didn't have any way of making coffee, so I took off across multiple towns and eventually found a gas station by the Portland airport. But I saw a few birds along the way.

March 24 - Greely Rd., Cumberland

80. Wilson's Snipe

A bunch of early migrants were really put off by the snow and ice. I drove past a field that Killdeer love and found them all just standing there on the ice, not sure of what to do. A mile or so later I passed a little wetland that sometimes holds ducks and herons, and spotted this Wilson's Snipe -- a good bird for March -- flying around and standing on the shore. Good bird.

March 24 - My house, Cumberland

81. Dickcissel

The bird of the month. The feeders in my backyard were bumping that Sunday, as is typical after a big snowfall when all the other food is covered up. I was stocking lots of seed and mealworms, and took a few minutes to stand in the frame of my back garage door to enjoy the flock. I happened to glance up into the top of this Alder Buckthorn at the side of my yard and saw a yellow and black bird sitting toward the back. A Dickcissel! Yard bird! Completely unexpected, and I wouldn't have seen it at all if I hadn't been standing exactly where I was - a place I never stand. I couldn't have seen it from inside, I don't think. I had my camera with me because I was shooting the flock, and so managed a couple of terrible, obscured photos. The bird left after just a few seconds. It never came to the feeders at all that I could tell, and I never saw it again. 

March 25 - My house, Cumberland

82. Hairy Woodpecker

March 25 - Higgins Beach, Scarborough

83. Piping Plover

It's always amazing to me that Piping Plovers return in March. 

March 25 - Portland

84. Fish Crow

I was at Dick's Sporting Goods getting something for my son's birthday and heard this bird calling from the corner of a building.

March 30 - Gray

85. Horned Lark

I sped up to Gray quickly to try to see a pair of Sandhill Cranes that had been hanging out for a few days. I pulled up to see my friend Michael's truck pulled over to the side of the road! He was also looking! The goddamn cranes weren't there! Dang! But we got some Horned Larks.

March 30 - North Yarmouth

86. Bohemian Waxwings

On the way home from the crane dip I saw a flock of Bohemian Waxwings at the side of some random road! I slammed on the breaks and pulled over in front of some house to confirm the ID!

March 30 - Highland Rd. Brunswick

87. Northern Pintail

88. American Kestrel

March 30 is crunch time. I had a bunch of birds left to get to 100 and no time to get them. I emailed a friend in Brunswick, Gordon Smith, and he sent me a bunch of good recommendations for his area for some final birds. These two were good pulls just a few hundred yards from each other.

March 30 - Brunswick Executive Airport

89. Eastern Meadowlark

March 31 - Dyer Point, Cape Elizabeth

90. Red-necked Grebe

91. Double-crested Cormorant

The last day of the month and 11 birds to go. My birthday. My wife let me take the entire day off, and friends agreed to join me to help me get the remaining species, if we could. 11 is a LOT for one day this late in the month, and we were really hoping that some migrants had come in overnight. Ed and I started in Cape Elizabeth at 6:30am, and got these two birds. The hunt was on.

March 31 - Trundy Point, Cape Elizabeth

92. Purple Sandpiper

Dipped on these birds several times this month, but finally caught up to this flock at a lovely spot I'd never been to before. 

March 31 - Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth

93. Golden-crowned Kinglet

94. Great Blue Heron

March 31 - Black Point Rd., Scarborough

95. Belted Kingfisher

March 31 - Scarborough Marsh

96. Savannah Sparrow

97. Glossy Ibis

98. Tree Swallow

The sparrow and the ibis were great spots by Ed. Wind was picking up at this point and birds were slow, but these were huge to get us to 98. Striking distance, but few reliable options left. Northern Shoveler? Not reported in days. Peregrine Falcon? No good single spot. Purple Finches? Absent this winter. Pine and Yellow-rumped Wablers? Still a few days away. We decided to drive up into Falmouth for a reliable Wood Duck spot and hoped to get lucky on a final species.

March 31 - River Point Conservation Area - Falmouth

99. Wood Duck
100. Sharp-shinned Hawk

I showed up to River Point after than Ed and Michael because I'd stopped in Cape Elizabeth on a fruitless search for Ruddy Ducks. As I was walking down to meet them a Wood Duck buzzed overhead. Number 99, and one that only I saw. We were close, but had few ideas. We poked around for Winter Wren, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Hermit Thrush. Nothing. We were exhausted and wanted to go take naps. I was searching eBird and considered heading out to check out a Red-shouldered Hawk report in some random yard in Yarmouth. We paused on the bridge over the railroad and scanned the skies. All day we'd been looking for migrating raptors, but the wind picked up from the north and seemed to quiet the skies. But then there it was - an accipter in the distance. It looked small, small-headed, and flappy. We agreed: Sharp-shinned. Number 100! We'd done it! We celebrated and went home to relax for a few minutes before all joining again for a birthday dinner. What a fun day to cap a fun month.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Recent Article and Appearances!

 Hello my dear friends. Here's a quick update with some things I've been doing recently.

WSKI appearance

I grew up snowboarding at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, and spent mornings there watching the tiny local TV station, WSKI. It's a delightful channel, footloose and unserious and joyous in all the best ways that a ski mountain vibe can be. I'm honored to now have been asked onto the channel a few times in the past year to talk about birds in the area. My latest appearance was last weekend, and as always I enjoyed the back-and-forth with host Greg Powers.

Birds and A.I. in Slate

Generative A.I. is the stupidest thing. I hate it, but it wasn't until it started getting personal that I took to Slate to complain to a wider audience.

The AOS Bird Name Change in Slate

I am really excited about the AOS' decision to rename eponymic bird names. It's going to be fun, but it's also going to be hard to settle on a name. I wrote about that challenge for Slate.

Rare Bird Stakeout Etiquette for National Audubon

Showing up to a rare bird stakeout is one of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of birding. You never know whether the bird will be there until you arrive, and it's easy to get frustrated if it doesn't show up. It helps to help each other, and so I wrote a quick Dos and Don'ts piece for Audubon about how to make the most of your time with a rare bird.

Nature and Video Games for Atmos

Finally, I'm quoted in this really interesting piece from Lewis Gordon writing for Atmos called From Pixels to Politics: How Video Games Can Inspire a Green New World. "As manufactured as it was, that sensation of abundance, the ‘everyday-ness’ of nature, the ever-presence of nature, is not something we feel in the same way anymore. Red Dead Redemption 2 gave me what felt like a glimpse of that.” 


Monday, December 4, 2023

Birds in Video Games: Grand Theft Auto 6 Trailer

The trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6, maybe the most-anticipated video game in history, leaked on social media last night. It looks pretty goddamn rad. The game returns to Vice City, a fictional town based heavily on Miami, and the trailer is set firmly in the nutso world of South Florida. 

Plus, there are a TON of birds.

Birds and other wildlife appear throughout the trailer, especially early on when the setting is being established. As I do, I wanted to take a close look -- going on the trailer and trailer alone -- and give my thoughts on how things look.

The very first image in the trailer includes some birds flapping and wheeling in the upper left. They are .. odd. They've got broad wings and are spinning in a kettle like Black Vultures would do, only they're flapping really quickly unlike any bird at all. Honestly they look like fruit bats. 

There are birds in very next scene, as well: some goose-looking birds flying over the barbed wire in the top left. The structure looks pretty good for geese, though they never fly in scattered flocks like this. Would be great to get the in a realistic formation, but they may not be geese at all.

The trailer kicks into gear (the Tom Petty soundtrack rules) with a flying shot over a beach, with a bunch of pelicans cruising past. They look pretty good for Brown Pelicans (I think the odd whiteness on their wings is just an artifact of the bright sunlight), which are the expected birds here. Not bad.

Check out this awesome shot of an airboat cranking through some Everglades-y landscape. Ducks are flushing from the grass, and they look pretty good for Mallards or other Anas. Getting South Louisiana vibes more than South Florida, but what do I know?

The moneyshot! Look at this goddamn image! This looks more like the Everglades, and has just a boatload of what look to be pretty accurate American Flamingos flying around. 

It's pretty funny. I know the summer of 2023 was a wild one for flamingos in the states, but they're much less common than many non-birders believe. As in, there's sometimes only a single known individual in all of Florida at any one time. A flock like this hasn't been seen anywhere in the U.S., not even South Florida, in centuries. Still, cool.

There are some other birds in this shot, too. There are some cranes on the left side that @ramone_rita pointed out on Twitter look okay for juvenile cranes, which have orange feathering up their necks, though the plumage isn't quite right for either Sandhill or Whooping.

There are also some ducks and/or geese on the right side, just over the back of a flamingo. 

 Birds aren't the only wildlife in the trailer. A bunch of gators make appearances (along with a pod of dolphins in one of the early overhead ocean shots), including one menacing its way into a convenience store. This image above, which appears to be from the social media account of some kind of in-game wildlife group, makes me think that there's probably a mechanic or side quest in the game for capturing troublesome wildlife. I bet there's a Green Anaconda round-up, or maybe some feral hog wrangling. We'll see.

Birds make a brief appearance in the very final image, too, flying by right above the guy's arm and behind the middle telephone line. Birds are all over this game, though my initial sense is that there's some work to do to make them as accurate as the rest of the South Floridian world playable in the game. We'll know more when the game comes out in 2025. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Know Your Birdseed!

When I was a kid and we wanted to fill our bird feeder we reached for one thing: birdseed. It came in a big bag from the store and we used a scoop to dump it onto our feeder. What kind of seeds were in birdseed? We had no idea. Did some birds like some seeds more than others? The thought never crossed our minds. It was birdseed, and it was what the birds ate.

But it turns out that it pays to understand your birdseed. Different birds prefer different seeds, and so knowing exactly what you’re putting into your feeders can help you attract the birds you want. And maybe just as importantly, some companies fill out bird seed mixes with certain seeds birds don’t like, and count on consumers not knowing the difference.

A little knowledge can help both you and the birds in your backyard. Let’s get educated about the different seeds out there.

Black Oil Sunflower 

Black Oil Sunflower seeds have the broadest appeal for backyard birds. The combination of a large, nutritious seed with a thin, easy-to-crack shell means that they’re popular with everything from larger birds like Blue Jays and Mourning Doves to smaller species like Pine Siskins and nuthatches.

Tips: Birds prefer the all black Black Oil seeds to the similar-looking Striped Sunflower seeds, whose thicker shells make them better for people to snack on but are too tough for some birds. Also, sunflower seeds are sold both as regular seeds and with the outer shells already removed, known as “shelled” or “Sunflower Hearts.” Birds love both, but losing the shells means there’s less mess under your feeders.

Safflower Seeds

These white seeds are enjoyed by many of the same birds as those that eat Black Oil Sunflower, but Safflower seeds are perhaps more interesting for what doesn’t eat them. Their bitter taste makes them unappealing to squirrels, grackles, starlings, and other species that can sometimes take over feeders. 

Tips: Safflower seeds are not as common on grocery store shelves as Black Oil and some other seeds, and so shoppers may need to find a dedicated wild bird store or similar outlet. These seeds may need to be introduced gradually if using for the first time to help birds get accustomed.


Also known as White Proso Millet, this grass seed is a common component of many seed mixes. These small, round seeds may be white or red, and appeal to a number of smaller birds, like sparrows and finches.

Tips: All birdseed can get moldy when wet, and millet is particularly quick to ruin in the rain. It can be tempting to load backyard bird feeders up with seed, but it’s better to fill only a little bit at a time to avoid exposure to moisture.


This thin, black seed is the food of choice for small-billed finches like goldfinches, redpolls, and Pine Siskin. Though often referred to as “thistle,” and appearing similar to the seeds of those spiky plants, nyjer seeds actually come from African yellow daisies.

Tips: Nyjer seed is so lightweight that it will simply blow away if placed in a feeder with bigger, heavier seeds. This seed is best delivered in special feeders with smaller openings, or dumped into nylon “socks” with holes just the right size for prying finch beaks.


Milo, also known as Red Milo or sorghum, is a seed to be careful of. It looks for all the world like something that birds would love, but most of them don’t. Unless you’re especially trying to attract turkeys, quail, Mourning Doves, ducks, geese, and other large birds, you won’t want to put Milo in your backyard feeders.

Tips: Though few birds eat it, inexpensive Milo seed is often used as filler in bargain birdseed mixes. This Washington Post expose found that Milo made up to 75% of some mixes. Read the ingredients on the back of the package and buy something else if Milo is listed. Your money will be wasted on food that birds don’t eat, and the seed may rot when it's left in the feeder by uninterested birds.

There are lots of other great things to feed your backyard birds – suet, cracked corn, peanuts, fruit, native berries – but birdseed is still the most popular item on the menu. I hope now you have little more info to help you give your birds the feast they deserve.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Shearwaters in the Gulf of Maine

There are four regularly-occurring shearwaters in the Gulf of Maine: Great (the most numerous), Cory's, Sooty, and Manx. Telling them from one another can be tricky, especially when the boat is rocking and/or you're actively barfing. I took a whale watch boat out of Boothbay Harbor this week and got pretty good looks at all four species, and so wanted to take a moment to compare them for you. 

Shearwaters are encountered offshore, usually seen resting on the water, skittering awkwardly out of the way of your tour boat, or flying incredibly gracefully low over the water. I think it was that old philosopher, Wikipedia, who said it best: "These tubenose birds fly with stiff wings and use a "shearing" flight technique (flying very close to the water and seemingly cutting or "shearing" the tips of waves) to move across wave fronts with the minimum of active flight." 

Sooty Shearwater

These guys are the easiest so I'm getting them out of the way first. Sooty Shearwaters are all brown. They're the only all brown ones. Their underwings are flashy silver, which may help in certain lighting conditions or when you see one far away, but their all-brownness is the thing. They're about the same size as Greats.

Great Shearwater

The Great (not Greater!) Shearwater is the most common shearwater seen in the Gulf of Maine, oftentimes by a factor of 20 or so to 1. It's the default species, and so getting a good mental image of their size, plumage, and structure is important to use as a baseline to compare other species.

The most notable field mark, I've found, is the white on their head. Both in flight and on the water, Greats have white feathering that wraps most of the way around their neck, giving them a capped appearance. For me, that cap is the first thing I look for when seeing a shearwater: if it's got a cap, it's a Great. 

Cory's Shearwater

These shearwaters are bulkier than Greats, without a capped appearance and all-brown on top. Their yellow bill, if you can see it, is a cherry on top. On our recent trips these birds numerous, and for some stretches about equalling the number of Greats. 

There are two subspecies of Cory's in the Atlantic: the borealis subspecies (the expected on in the Gulf of Maine), and the diomedea subspecies, known as Scopoli's Shearwater. The easiest way to separate the two is by the amount of white in the underwings, with Scopoli's showing more white in the primary feathers near the tip of the underwing. 

Manx Shearwater

Manx Shearwaters are the smallest regular shearwater in the Gulf. They are, oh I dunno, 2/3 the size of a Great? That feels about right. Though they have white on the face, it's much more limited than on a Great, and doesn't really give them a capped appearance in flight (thought it does on the water a little bit). They're a darker brown, close to black. The bottom photo shows a Manx taking off above a Great, making for a helpful comparison. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Birds at Large: The Birds of Elden Ring

I know I'm about a year late on this but who cares. Elden Ring is a video game, and it rules. It's the latest in a series of games from a company called FromSoftware where the player travels some forsaken countryside killing monsters and knights and ghouls and all kinds of other what-have-yous. It's the first game in the series that I've ever played, but I've been obsessed with it for the past bunch of months.

Not everything in the Elden Ring universe is, like, a murderous skeleton or a blood-spewing demigod. There's also wildlife! They're just hanging around and living their little lives in the middle of an insane world of death and despair. There are deer and sheep and bears and pigs. And birds. Let's talk about the birds.


The first bird you encounter in Elden Ring are these eagle-looking birds, just hanging out on cliff edges. They're vaguely Golden Eagle-looking, though aren't exactly that. They make a sort of chirping noise that I can't really place, and they fly when you get close. Maybe the most numerous bird in the game. 


The cliffside eagles aren't hostile, but there are some other eagle-type birds that do come after you and they're a real pain in the ass. Warhawks have blades attached to their legs (some of them also have falconry hoods), and they're massively annoying when they come attack you. Players just getting started through Stormveil Castle know what I'm talking about, but they're not any easier later in the game, like a nasty gauntlet of them in Crumbling Farum Azula, which you have to run through while also dodging a lightning-casting dragon. Ugh. 

Here I am about to get chonked in the back by this jerk in Stormveil Castle. 


These alcids are fairly common on the oceanside cliffs and beaches in the southern part of the map. Fitting with the UK bent of the wildlife in this game, this bird is what we in the states would call a Common Murre (EDIT: or, perhaps more likely, a Thick-billed Murre). The Guillemots in the game call when you're close to them, but it doesn't sound like the sound of real Common Murres, not sure what it is.

Here I am sneaking up on some of these MFers on a beach. So confiding! Maybe they're sick, from all the death. 


The least common of the cliffside birds, in my playing experience, is this owl. It's clearly a Northern Hawk Owl, but it sits on cliffs rather than on the tops of trees like real hawk owls. The Elden Ring owls make a soft hooting noise instead of the undulating sounds of a hawk owl. A missed opportunity if you ask me. 

A Bunch of Birds That Swirl Around 

If you climb up near the top of Mt. Gelmir, real close to where you have to fight that big rock bull guy, there are all these birds flying around. They sound like crows, but they're barely rendered and look more like swallows or something. I dunno. They're birds. 

Here's my dude climbing up the ladder and you can see some of the birds in the background. This isn't a funny post or anything these are literally just the birds from this video game.

Oh god no those Giant Crows

Some of the game's scariest and toughest non-boss enemies are these nightmares found around Caelid and Mohgwyn Palace. The Mohgwyn ones are covered in disgusting bloody sores, for good measure. I hate these shits and never want to see them again.


There are four of these "field bosses" that appear at night in certain areas of the map. They're birds, I guess, in that they have "bird" in their name and they have, like, the skull of a giant baby owl. But they also have wings and arms, and are just generally not very birdlike. They're skeletons for chrissakes. Plus each and every one of them kicked my ass multiple times before I could find the right cliff to stand on to smoke them with arrows from a mile away.

Thanks that's all! Great to see you all!

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