Ingenuity, uniqueness, quality and craftsmanship are characteristics often associated with New England’s culture, people and crafts. Cut from this mold, New England Birdhouse is a Massachusetts based business, who has carved out their niche by …
The 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) featured two invasions this year: voracious Pine Siskins (pictured right) and a whole new crop of citizen-science participants! Bird watchers shattered last year’s record by submitting more than 93,600 checklists during the four-day event, held February 16-19. Participants also identified 619 species and sent in thousands of stunning bird images for the GBBC photo contest. The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.
The Toucan family is comprised of 37 species, concentrated in South America, but found as far north as Mexico. Toucans are very noisy members of the jungle population. They live in small communities and loudly make noises that sound like the croaks of frogs. They nest in tree holes, laying two to four eggs, which are incubated by both parents.
Toucans are herbivores, eating mostly berries and seeds. The Toucan’s enormous bill, is not used as a weapon, nor does it offer them an advantage when gathering food. The meaning and use of the toucan’s bill remains a mystery to scientists.
Strange fact about Toucans – in Central and South America they are associated with evil spirits, with some believing the the birds to be the incarnation of demons.
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.
An all points bulletin was issued Wednesday for an escapee fitting the description of having a bright yellow head, emerald-green rear, orange circles around its’ eyes, and a band on one leg.
The suspect is a zoo parrot called a sun conure, who “flew the coop” during a free-flight performance at the Philadelphia Zoo on Wednesday. It was one of 14 birds in the afternoon show, during which they soar across the stage and land on perches. At the end of the show, a “beak count” revealed only 13 birds had returned.
Interesting video about how the National Zoo approaches new eggs and baby birds. Lots of good video of zoo birds.
Earth Day brought a chance for my son and me to try our hand at a new vocation – worm farming. Yee-Haw! Vermiculture or worm farming, is an easy way to make rich compost out …
How to build a birdhouses for cavity nesters (woodpeckers or owls) with some basic tools and materials. Great project for kids as well. DIY video shows how to build a “Bauhaus Birdhouse” out of lumber that can be purchased at any home center or lumber yard.
Plans for this birdhouse and other great birdhouses and bird feeders can be downloaded in this free_birdhouse_and_bird_feeder_plans pdf download.
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.
Backyard birding or watching birds around the home is the most common form of bird-watching. Eighty-eight percent (42 million) of birders are backyard birders. The more active form of birding, taking trips away from home is less common with 42 percent (20 million) of birders partaking.
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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.