Bird's eye phone

Apple's famous iPhone has already influenced numerous outdoor activities with plug-ins to calculate bike gearing, report ski and surf conditions, and locate geocaches. Now a new app is set to change birding forever.

A world-class team of birdwatchers has unveiled BirdsEye, a new application that offers a wealth of interactive info to help you find, identify and enjoy the world's flyers.

"BirdsEye is the best invention for birding since binoculars," said Kenn Kaufman, a noted author and likely the most influential birder alive, in a release. "I wrote each of these short accounts as if I were giving advice to a friend who was hoping to see this bird for the first time."

In addition to Kaufman's expert musings, info was contributed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Academy of Natural Sciences. The app includes bird lists by location and real-time observation data, as well as images, audio and extensive ecological notes for 470 North American species.


Meteor Madness

Outer space saved the best for last this year. Up to 100 meteors per hour will streak across the night sky during the Geminid shower, set to peak in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, Dec. 14.

This is one not to miss, says Sky & Telescope, a leading astronomy magazine. The new moon won't wash out the sky. In the mid-northern latitudes, the radiant - a common point from which meteors seem to fly - will be high in the sky by 9 p.m. Dec. 13.

A meteor shower occurs when Earth meets a stream of debris from a passing comet. The "shooting stars" seen during the Geminid shower appear as 3200 Phaethon, a dormant comet coated with dust, advances towards the sun. They should appear bright and yellow.

Showers usually are active a few days before the published peak. If you can't stay up the night before work, check out a two-mile viewing hike at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at Chestnut Ridge Metro Park in Carroll.


Trout Ticket

A limited number of opportunities to fish Cold Creek, one of the state's only trout streams, is up for grabs through an annual lottery held by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

About 90 adult and 50 youth permits will be issued to fish a half-mile section of the creek near the Castalia State Fish Hatchery. The adult season runs March 29-June 3 and Aug. 23-Oct. 29, while anglers aged 16 and under will be allowed to fish the months in between.

Applications are due by Jan. 31, and winners are selected randomly by a computer.


Weekend Warrior

Continuing their regular suburban tours, active-lifestyle group Columbus Outdoor Pursuits will lead a leisurely ride through Groveport starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Riders plan to meet at Groveport Middle School, ride to Ashville, stop for brunch and return home. Plan on riding 28-40 miles at a social pace.


Outdoor Tip of the Month

Knowledgeable riders know to keep sleet and slush off their bike. Just don't forget about your lock, advises Chicago Bike Winter, a cycling site. To avoid freezing, keep your lock's keyhole covered and pointed away from any precipitation. De-icer used for cars can help in a pinch, but it can dry out the lock. If you use some, put lube or oil in the keyhole when you get home. Click to for more great advice.

**Photo credits

Bird phone 1, 2: Birds in the Hand, LLC

Refer: For more outdoor adventures and Nature Notes, click to the Venture blog at zzz.