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Whatbird's Old Birders!


Sean C
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8 hours ago, SirVive said:

He hasn't been around for quite awhile - we've lost a number of quality contributors?  Time to get some of these youngins trained ?

The youngins are some of the more impressive members.  I wish I'd have had this interest in birds at a much, much, much younger age.  

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37 minutes ago, chipperatl said:

The youngins are some of the more impressive members.  I wish I'd have had this interest in birds at a much, much, much younger age.  

I can't complain about when I started, being that I was 12. Now if I can just make enough time to keeping birding some once I start really working.....

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I received a new set of hearing aids on Monday.  This is my second pair, replacements for a pair I lost several months ago.  The hearing in my left ear is okay but the right one is pretty bad.

This is a pair of Kirkland's, the house brand at Costco.   They're behind-the-ear models.  My lost pair were Phonak in-canal that I purchased back in '16 or so.  The Kirklands were less than half the price of the Phonaks.

So what does this have to do with birding?  The audiologist was never able to get the Phonaks 'balanced' to my satisfaction.  Sounds were louder in the left ear, and the aid in the right ear just never brought the sound on that side up to the levels of the left.  So sounds, including bird songs, seemed to come from my left, around the 10-oclock position.  Of course, when I turned to the left, the source of the sound remained around 10, shifting to the left as I turned.  This was most annoying, to the point where I often removed the units when birding since I couldn't tell where a bird was calling from.

The Kirklands do a much better job of balancing sounds between right and left, and the did it out of the box with minimal initial adjustment.  I birded yesterday for the first time with them and noticed immediately that if I looked in the direction a sound seemed to come from, the singing bird was indeed where I expected to see it.  It's only been two full days but the overall audio quality seems to be better.  It's so much of an improvement in quality and 'directionalism' that I may have inadvertently eliminated my primary excuse for not seriously trying to learn calls and songs.

While the unit behind the ear is a bit cumbersome to fit around my glasses (and can easily get tangled in mask straps), the smaller tube in my ear canal is much more comfortable than the in-canal Phonaks were.  I'm not sure how much of the audio improvement with the Kirklands is due to a change in manufacturer, change from in-canal to behind-the-ear, or just five years of improvements in technology.  I don't know who makes the Kirkland-branded units; I assume Costco buys them from a dedicated manufacturer of hearing aids.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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5 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I received a new set of hearing aids on Monday.  This is my second pair, replacements for a pair I lost several months ago.  The hearing in my left ear is okay but the right one is pretty bad.

This is a pair of Kirkland's, the house brand at Costco.   They're behind-the-ear models.  My lost pair were Phonak in-canal that I purchased back in '16 or so.  The Kirklands were less than half the price of the Phonaks.

So what does this have to do with birding?  The audiologist was never able to get the Phonaks 'balanced' to my satisfaction.  Sounds were louder in the left ear, and the aid in the right ear just never brought the sound on that side up to the levels of the left.  So sounds, including bird songs, seemed to come from my left, around the 10-oclock position.  Of course, when I turned to the left, the source of the sound remained around 10, shifting to the left as I turned.  This was most annoying, to the point where I often removed the units when birding since I couldn't tell where a bird was calling from.

The Kirklands do a much better job of balancing sounds between right and left, and the did it out of the box with minimal initial adjustment.  I birded yesterday for the first time with them and noticed immediately that if I looked in the direction a sound seemed to come from, the singing bird was indeed where I expected to see it.  It's only been two full days but the overall audio quality seems to be better.  It's so much of an improvement in quality and 'directionalism' that I may have inadvertently eliminated my primary excuse for not seriously trying to learn calls and songs.

While the unit behind the ear is a bit cumbersome to fit around my glasses (and can easily get tangled in mask straps), the smaller tube in my ear canal is much more comfortable than the in-canal Phonaks were.  I'm not sure how much of the audio improvement with the Kirklands is due to a change in manufacturer, change from in-canal to behind-the-ear, or just five years of improvements in technology.  I don't know who makes the Kirkland-branded units; I assume Costco buys them from a dedicated manufacturer of hearing aids.

To add a little to the hearing aid reference - I too had some older hearing aids (Starkey, behind the ear), which I quit using because they were falling apart and it was very difficult to use them with a mask during COVID.  Eventually I re-visited my Audiologist, and ended up with a very expensive pair of Phonaks (also behind-the ear), which have a second program that amplifies the higher frequencies that I can turn on when birding.  Whole new world out there.  I'm still not too sure about directionality, though.

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5 minutes ago, JP48 said:

Eventually I re-visited my Audiologist, and ended up with a very expensive pair of Phonaks (also behind-the ear), which have a second program that amplifies the higher frequencies that I can turn on when birding.

My Phonaks had that feature, but I would forget it existed for months at a time.  Even if I'd remembered to switch programs, the misdirection was still too distracting for birding.

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I went birding Sunday with the new hearing aids for the first time.  In addition to the previously noted improvements in volume for the right ear, and being able to more accurately tell what direction sounds come from, I noticed all calls and songs were 'richer' or 'fuller', for lack of a better term.

In fact, the improvement was so noticeable that I had a hard time identifying should have been easy.  Cardinals, titmice, and wrens drove me nuts.  They sounded different from how they sounded with the Phonaks or no aids at all.  They also sounded confusingly similar.  I spent a lot of time with Merlin repeatedly identifying these three species.

Others weren't a problem - Red-bellieds, chickadees, kingfisher, crows.  I may have to restart learning calls from scratch. On the other hand, it's not like I knew that many to begin with!

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  • 2 months later...
6 hours ago, Kevin said:

@Bird Brain How are you doing these days?

Hi, Kevin. Thanks for checking in on me!

I'm hanging in there, going through some not so pleasant times. Two years ago my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, unfortunately. That has pretty much ended my birding days. I haven't been birding but a few times since then, none at all in over a year. I spend almost all my time at home taking care of her. I want to keep her home as long as possible. I'm not complaining, that's just the hand that life has dealt. We had many good years together, and that's what I want to remember.

I'm on here every day (automatic login), and read what's going on and enjoy the site. I just don't have much to contribute but I keep up with it as time permits.

Thanks again for asking!! 🙂

 

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1 hour ago, Bird Brain said:

Hi, Kevin. Thanks for checking in on me!

I'm hanging in there, going through some not so pleasant times. Two years ago my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, unfortunately. That has pretty much ended my birding days. I haven't been birding but a few times since then, none at all in over a year. I spend almost all my time at home taking care of her. I want to keep her home as long as possible. I'm not complaining, that's just the hand that life has dealt. We had many good years together, and that's what I want to remember.

I'm on here every day (automatic login), and read what's going on and enjoy the site. I just don't have much to contribute but I keep up with it as time permits.

Thanks again for asking!! 🙂

 

Make sure you at least take the time to enjoy the ones out the window - it's one of the ways I help deal with caregiver fatigue. ❤️

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Bird Brain et.al.  Probably won't be seeing much of me for a while either - just had to make the hardest decision of my life and check my dear wife into a hopefully short term stay at a mental institution. Lifelong chronic pain, plus some rough things/grief in life recently and add on top a case of postpartum that turned really scary pretty quickly. Not sleeping well for over a month eventually turned into 3 hours total sleep in the past 7 days and took her mind with it. 😢 Not sure how anyone could keep going as long as she did. Anyhow I've got plenty of good help around but still trying to give 3 little kids 4 mo - 4 yrs as normal of a life as possible and also catch up on some things that have been neglected far too long at home while trying to fight this. 

Plenty of prayers appreciated - God definitely has had his hand in all of this even down to a last minute bed opening up in the facility 10 min from home just a couple hours before they were planning to transport her to the next nearest available place that would have been a 4-6 hr drive round trip.

Edited by SirVive
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10 hours ago, SirVive said:

@Bird Brain et.al.  Probably won't be seeing much of me for a while either - just had to make the hardest decision of my life and check my dear wife into a hopefully short term stay at a mental institution. Lifelong chronic pain, plus some rough things/grief in life recently and add on top a case of postpartum that turned really scary pretty quickly. Not sleeping well for over a month eventually turned into 3 hours total sleep in the past 7 days and took her mind with it. 😢 Not sure how anyone could keep going as long as she did. Anyhow I've got plenty of good help around but still trying to give 3 little kids 4 mo - 4 yrs as normal of a life as possible and also catch up on some things that have been neglected far too long at home while trying to fight this. 

Plenty of prayers appreciated - God definitely has had his hand in all of this even down to a last minute bed opening up in the facility 10 min from home just a couple hours before they were planning to transport her to the next nearest available place that would have been a 4-6 hr drive round trip.

@SirVive My prayers are with you. Faith and family are the key to making it through these rough times. May God bless and walk with you and help you all, my friend. ☹️ 

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  • 1 month later...

@lonestranger, @Birds are cool, @Peromyscus,  and anyone else who chimes in, thanks!

I get to work today but I had a decent weekend getting to know my new spotting scope and tripod.  I had lifer Greater White-fronted Geese at one site, although I didn't use the scope for them.  They were in a aeration pond of a brewery, where a very polite security guard told me I needed to back up 50 feet or so in order to be back on the public right-of-way. 

I broke the new toys out at a second site, had a personal record for that location, and picked up several 'First of Year' birds.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S126620104

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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2 hours ago, Birds are cool said:

Happy Birthday @Charlie Spencer

Hope you see a code 5 bird!

 

2 hours ago, Peromyscus said:

Yes, Happy Birthday! May you see 5 code 5 birds!

Is that a polite way of telling @Charlie Spencer to go do his birding elsewhere???? 🤣

Sorry, it just wouldn't feel right if I didn't gift Mr Spencer with some of my bad humoUr on his birthday. 😄

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