For bird watchers and backyard birders, recognizing and identifying wild birds is easier when focusing on the four keys to bird identification – Size & Shape, Color Pattern, Behavior and Habitat.
Bird Identification – Bird Behavior
The way a bird acts is a big clue to what kind of bird it is. Unlike it’s plumage, a bird’s behavior is consistent throughout the year. Recognizing how a bird moves, flies and forages will provide many clues to its identification. Notice the posture of the bird. Does it stand more upright or horizontal while perched in a tree? How does the bird forage for food? Does its’ body repeatedly bounce up and down as it hunts for food? Also, study the flight style of the bird. Does it have a quick wing beat? Does it hover or fly directly to its destination? Along with the other three keys to identification, these behaviors will help to identify the bird.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created an excellent video series to help the beginning birder develop their wild bird identification skills. Below, is the fourth and last in the series – Recognizing Birds – Bird Behavior. Other videos in the series include – Size & Shape, Color Pattern and Habitat.
The American Dipper has an extra eyelid and oily coat allowing it to gracefully swim and feed underwater – features amazing underwater video.
Todd McGrain’s “Lost Bird Project” is a six-foot-tall bronze sculpture commemorating five extinct bird species. McGrain, an associate professor of art at Cornell University got the idea for the Lost Bird Project after reading stories about extinct birds, and felt a need to tell their stories. He chose the Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, Heath Hen, Great Auk, and Labrador Duck as his subjects.
McGrain worked five years studying stuffed specimens, written descriptions, and artwork and sculpting the artwork. The castings are the largest that McGrain has made, with each bird weighing between 400 to 700 pounds. The exhibit includes paintings of each species along with its story of extinction. One set of the bronze birds will be a traveling exhibit. Others will be placed as memorials in places where each species was last seen—from Iceland to Italy, and Ohio to New York.
Learn more about the Lost Bird Project and its artistic tribute to the Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, Heath Hen, Great Auk, and Labrador Duck in the video below.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a member of the Picidae family, and is the largest common woodpecker of the eastern United States. It is found primarily in northeastern US and southern Canada, ranging as far south as Florida and as far west as Texas. Its common habitat is wooded areas, including suburban neighborhoods and parks. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are very tolerant of humans, and are regular visitors to backyard garden feeders (especially during the winter), favoring sunflower seed, suet, and fruit. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers climb and “hitch” along branches and trunks of trees, picking at the bark.
Clam chowder is a New England tradition which, although there are
many variations, always includes milk or cream, onions, potatoes and
either salt pork or bacon. Although some make their chowder with soft
shelled clams, called “steamers”, in northern New England most use
larger clams, such as quahogs (“ko-hogs”) or cherry stones, which are
Learn expert tips for photographing wild birds in your backyard or garden patio from professional photographer Andy Langley. A great resource for backyard bird watchers, Andy discusses different considerations and examples for staging a backyard photograph including a discussion of composition, lighting and backgrounds. Tricks and tips include using juicy live mealworms to attract wild birds, adding a flash to fill in dark spots, or disguising the camera with a scrim or piece of dark material.
Mark your calendar: on September 17—20, 2009, the Midwest Birding Symposium (MBS) is returning to Ohio for the first time in a decade. The charming Victorian Chautauqua community of Lakeside will repeat as the host site for this year’s event. The MBS will feature presentations by North America’s leading experts, an extensive vendor area with nature products and information, birding at the area’s top birding spots, and the opportunity for both novice and experienced birders to network with fellow enthusiasts.
Do you like seeing birds in your backyard? If you would like to see more, follow New England Birdhouse’s Top 5 Tips for a “Bird-Friendly Backyard”.
Tip #1 – Safety First: Where we see beauty in the vibrant red flash of a male cardinal, a cat sees lunch. Keeping cats away from bird feeders can be difficult if not impossible, unless the cat is kept indoors. Unfortunately many people believe that if they put a cat out the front door, their backyard birds will not be threatened – not true. Cats eat birds, other birds notice and all birds go away – so keep your cats inside.
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The rule implements federal protections provided by the ESA for the Cantabrian capercaillie, Marquesan imperial pigeon, Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler, greater adjutant, Jerdon’s courser, and slender-billed curlew.
If the pair’s breeding effort is successful at Midway Atoll Refuge, it would mark the first confirmed hatching of a short-tailed albatross outside of Japan in modern history.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a report recommending closing human access to caves and mines where bats with white-nose syndrome are hibernating in an area more than 250 miles from other WNS-affected caves and mines.
The oldest known U.S. wild bird – a coyly conservative 60 — is a new mother. The bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, was spotted a few weeks ago with a chick by John Klavitter, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and the deputy manager of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The bird …
Damage to bat wings from the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome (WNS) may cause catastrophic imbalance in life-support processes, according to newly published research. This imbalance may be to blame for the more than 1 million deaths of bats due to WNS thus far, proposes Carol Meteyer, a pathologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National …
Researchers found that deforestation in the New England area at that time produced significant soil erosion, increasing sediment delivery rates — the natural flow of sand and soil in water systems. The large amounts of sediment traveling in rivers and streams to the coastline spurred a significant period of wetland growth, leading to marshes lining the coast of New England that today are abnormally large.