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BIRDS OF THE WEEK
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Marañon Crescentchest



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At the Gotas de Agua Reserve in northern Peru, a Marañon Crescentchest delivers a bright series of chirps to announce its presence, then pops into view, showing off sharp black and white wing markings and bold black stripes across its head. Perhaps the most beautiful of all South America’s crescentchests (brightly colored, long-tailed birds of arid habitats in central South America), it is also the most geographically restricted.

Unfortunately, the Marañon Crescentchest’s dry forest habitat is rapidly becoming degraded and fragmented by burning and clearance for cattle pastures, crop cultivation, and oil palm plantations.

The crescentchests at Gotas de Agua can rest a little easier now that 26 acres at this site have received official recognition as a protected area from the Peruvian national government thanks to the efforts of a local private landowner, Luciano Troyes and his family, Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos, American Bird Conservancy, Rainforest Concern, and Martin Stanley.

ABC has worked to promote Gotas de Agua for its conservation importance within a regional conservation plan and as a bird-watching destination. Birdwatchers interested in visiting Gotas de Agua should visit Conservation Birding and the reserve’s own website for more information.

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Cochabamba Mountain Finch

Cochabamba Mountain Finch by Dominiqui Peruano

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The endangered Cochabamba Mountain-Finch is a stocky, long-tailed bird, almost the size of a towhee, with striking rufous and slate-gray plumage. Like other finches, its diet consists mostly of seeds.

The Cochabamba Mountain-Finch inhabits areas of mixed forest and scrub, areas that are unfortunately also ideal for human settlement, agriculture, and cattle grazing.  Although this finch can tolerate some man-made habitat loss and alteration, it disappears from areas where all native vegetation has been cleared. While habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest threats to this species, exposure to pesticides is also a factor.

ABC has supported in-country partner Asociación Armonía in their work to raise awareness of the Cochabamba Mountain-Finch through environmental education at local schools, to help farmers reduce pesticide use through organic farming methods, and to evaluate, map, and conserve finch breeding areas.
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1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Short-tailed Albatross

Short-tailed Albatross, USFWS

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The Short-tailed is a medium-sized albatross, with a wingspan of seven to eight feet. The adult has a white head and body and a golden crown and nape. The large pink bill is distinctive.

Once abundant and widespread in the northern Pacific, the Short-tailed Albatross was nearly driven to extinction by Japanese plume hunters in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The species had declined to about ten pairs by 1953, but has rebounded due to conservation efforts, including protection of its main breeding areas on Torishima.

The species is listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as Endangered, and remains vulnerable because Torishima is an active volcano; an eruption could have a devastating impact, as could the introduction of predators, especially rats. To guard against such disasters, conservationists have translocated birds from Torishima to Mukojima Island, also in Japan, to establish a second nesting colony there.

Bycatch mitigation measures have also helped reduce the threat to these and other albatrosses posed by longline fisheries.

Most recently, a pair of Short-tails has begun breeding on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and several individuals have been sighted at other islands in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, providing hope that a colony will one day establish itself there. Read more about this in ABC's recent press release!-

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1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Saw-billed Hermit

Saw-billed Hermit by Dario Sanches


The Saw-billed Hermit is a striking hummingbird, with a buff eyebrow, orange throat with dark stripe down the middle, and densely streaked breast. It is heavy for a hummingbird, weighing in at around ten grams. Its straight, hooked-tip bill has tiny serrations, which gives the bird its name.

Like other hermits, Saw-bills are "trap-line” feeders, meaning that they visit plants for nectar along a fairly long, linear route.  Although still considered fairly common within its limited range, this hummingbird is suspected to be declining because of habitat loss caused by agricultural and urban expansion, road-building, and mining. Its Atlantic Forest habitat is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, and has lost over 90% of its original area in recent years.

More information on the Saw-billed Hermit, including its ecology, population, and population trends, is needed for this species to be adequately conserved, but protection of remaining habitat is key for this and other birds of the Atlantic Forest.

ABC supported conservation of the Saw-billed Hermit by helping purchase more than 500 acres of Atlantic Forest habitat to increase the size of the Reserva Ecologica Guapiaçu. This reserve now protects around 11,000 acres for this and other Atlantic Forest inhabitants. 

If you interested in visiting this reserve, see Conservation Birding’s website

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Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!-
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush by Greg Homel


The Wood Thrush’s haunting, flutelike song is a familiar summer sound throughout eastern forests. This large, spot-breasted thrush feeds on the forest floor, mainly on invertebrates and fruit from shrubs.

Wood Thrush population surveys from 1966 to 2009 show a continent-wide decline of almost 2% per year, suggesting an overall population decrease of some 50% in that period.

The destruction and fragmentation of forests are major factors in this decline. Although Wood Thrushes will nest in suburban areas, they have reduced breeding success in these smaller forest patches due to cowbird parasitism and nest predation from species such as jays, crows, raccoons, and domestic cats.

The loss of lowland tropical forests has reduced wintering habitat as well, although bird-friendly shade-grown coffee has been shown to provide some habitat for wintering Wood Thrushes.

Studies show that acid rain due to coal-burning power plants affects Wood Thrush breeding success by reducing soil calcium needed by their prey. Energy conservation, better use of renewable energy sources, and adoption of carbon capture and sequestration (CC technology will help reduce acid rain, benefiting the Wood Thrush and other biodiversity.

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1 year ago

The Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrot - colorful and camouflaged 

The blue-fronted amazon (Amazona aestiva) is a medium to large sized parrot, indigenous to south and central America. It is known for its bright green coloration, with a bright blue colored markings above the ceres or beak area. Around the head, the color may consist of bright yellow markings. Many people prefer to own this type of parrot for its excellent ability to speak and to mimic sounds. It also makes a good companion with proper training.

In the wild, the blue-fronted amazon tends to dwell in tropical rain forest regions of south and central America, where it strips the bark of trees to keep its hook bill trimmed. It populates regions of Brazil and Argentina in abundance. Its diet in the wild mainly consists of seeds and fruits. The size of the blue-fronted amazon is generally between 12-15 inch es (30-38 cm) from the top of its head to the tip of its tail.

Although amazon parrots are excellent at dodging predators in the wild, they can become prey to larger birds. Amazons do not become captured by predators very frequently however, due to the fact that they tend to perch in high trees and their green coloring is an excellent camouflage.

As a pet, the blue-fronted amazon may bond with one person exclusively, if it has been hand-raised and hand fed from a baby. If this bird is cared for properly and given a balanced and nutritional diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, it should have a lifespan of about 50-60 years or more.

The blue-fronted amazon becomes sexually mature at about four or five years of age. These types of parrots generally mate for life, and will choose one partner for a lifetime. A clutch of bab ies typically consists of one to three.

Although this breed of parrot has been domestically bred in the United States for many years, it is considered to be an endangered species in its natural habitat of central and south America. Importing and smuggling this parrot from their native country is illegal and may pose certain health risks. Breeders who raise blue-fronted amazons in the States typically place an identification band on the bird's leg. This is to establish the bird is a domestically bred, and not wild-caught parrot.

These parrots are considered to be highly intelligent creatures. This is another attribute which makes them so desirable as pets. They are easily bored and need constant mental stimulation in the way of toys and a large cage or play gym perch. Most blue-fronts which are kept as pets prefer to spend time interacting with their owners and love to perch on a shoulder.

It should be noted that if kept as a pet, there are certain hazard s that need to be avoided. Like all parrots, the blue-fronted amazon should never be given chocolate or avocado to eat, as it can be toxic or even lethal to them. Teflon or non-stick pots and pans which overheat can also pose a health risk factor and be toxic to pet parrots as well.

 

http://thewebsiteofeverything.com/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=838&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+animals+%28Animal+of+the+day%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

 

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Esmeraldas Woodstar

Esmeraldas Woodstar by Roger Ahlman

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The Esmeraldas Woodstar is one of the world's rarest and smallest hummingbirds, measuring barely 2½ inches long.  Called “Estrellita” (little star) by local people, this tiny hummingbird sports a striking combination of coppery-green, white, and violet plumage.

The woodstar breeds at lower elevations along streams next to large forest patches; most birds move upslope to spend the non-breeding season at higher elevations. Unfortunately, its range has been severely fragmented  by human activities -- only 5% of original forest remains in western Ecuador due to logging, development, agriculture, and overgrazing. Although part of its range occurs in Machalilla National Park, this provides inadequate protection, since the bird breeds at lower elevations beyond park boundaries.

As of this month, the Esmeraldas Woodstar began receiving additional protection from a new 38-acre reserve established by Fundación Jocotoco, World Land Trust-US, and ABC, with the involvment of the local Las Tunas community. These organizations plan to purchase more properties, with a long-term goal to protect 600-700 acres of habitat for the woodstar and other endemic species.

Learn more about the recent reserve creation!

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1 year ago

24,000 Acres Protected for Tiny, Threatened Bird

Western snowy plover

Following much work in court by the Center for Biological Diversity, the western snowy plover -- a 6-inch-long, buff- and sea-spray-colored shorebird -- is at last enjoying 24,000 protected acres of habitat on the Pacific coast. After a 1999 Center lawsuit won the little bird almost 20,000 acres of "critical habitat," a politically weighted Bush-era decision reduced those protections to just 12,000 acres -- eliminating San Francisco Bay-area habitat deemed necessary for its survival by scientists. Now, after a 2008 Center suit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has restored the lost habitat -- and then some.

In fact, the western snowy plover is an Endangered Species Act success: Since earning federal protections in 1993 -- when only 1,500 survived in the wild -- the plover has rebounded to more than 3,600. But it still faces many threats, from development to pesticides to human disturbance; the nests of this shy, 2-ounce bird are easily overturned by human beach traffic or unleashed dogs. And climate change threatens its entire beach home with sea-level rise.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle and learn about the Center's work to save the western snowy plover.

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Bermuda Petrel

Bermuda Petrel by Brian Patteson

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Bermuda’s only endemic breeding species, this nocturnal, ground-nesting seabird once numbered more than half a million individuals. Its folk name, Cahow, refers to the bird’s eerie calls.

Human settlement in the early 1600s brought with it deforestation, exploitation of the bird as food, and introduced pigs, rats, cats and dogs, all of which soon decimated its population.

For 300 years the petrel was considered extinct, but a dead specimen was found in 1935, and 18 nesting pairs were rediscovered in 1951 on offshore islets uncolonized by rats and pigs.

Thanks to intensive conservation management, the population had increased to 53 breeding pairs by the 1990s.

A major threat to the species continues to be lack of suitable breeding habitat. Hurricanes can flood nest burrows and erode suitable nesting areas, and sea-level rise resulting from climate change will likely exacerbate these impacts. Competition for nest sites with White-tailed Tropicbirds and rodent predation also lower nesting success.

An intensive Cahow Recovery Program was begun in 1961, and is today managed by the Bermuda Department of Conservation Services.

The 2011-2012 nesting season saw a record number of 56 chicks successfully fledging. This year the program reached a critical milestone—101 nesting pairs of petrels. Read more.

 
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Chestnut Antpitta

Chestnut Antpitta by Jon Hornbuckle

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The Chestnut Antpitta is a small, plump bird that usually stays well-hidden in dense vegetation. At least two widely-disjunct populations occur; these differ in voice, and may prove to be separate species once the genetics of the Chestnut Antpitta and the closely-related Rufous Antpitta are further studied.

The biggest threat to this species is ongoing deforestation, but ABC and its Peruvian partner ECOAN are working to protect its habitat in both portions of the Chestnut Antpitta’s range.

Abra Patricia protects more than 24,000 acres of cloud forest habitat for this and many other rare, endemic species. Park guards near the Owlet Lodge in the reserve have recently habituated a Chestnut Antpitta to worm feeding making it easy for visitors to see and photograph.

ABC and ECOAN have also been working with local communities to protect forests in the Carpish Mountains and other mountains near Huanuco, resulting in the creation of two additional protected areas. Learn more about ABC and ECOAN’s work in central Peru!

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Honduran Emerald

Honduran Emerald by Greg Homel

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Named for its glittering blue-green throat and upper chest, the endangered Honduran Emerald is this country’s only endemic bird, and one of few birds endemic to any country in Central America.

Unfortunately, 90% of the emerald’s original habitat has been lost to agriculture and degraded by cattle grazing, and what remains occurs only in isolated patches of a few acres each. This has caused precipitous declines in the bird’s population.

Watch a video of this spectacular bird
by Greg Homel

In 2005, ABC supported the creation of the Honduran Emerald Reserve in the Aguan Valley – the first and so far only protected area for the species. However, a recent road improvement project will allow greater exploitation and more rapid loss of remaining habitat that is on private lands. As mitigation for the new road, an agreement has been made to increase the protected area by almost 2,000 acres.

The recent rediscovery of the species in the Santa Barbara Department marks the first time birds have been seen in western Honduras since 1935. This led to the species being downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered. However, new conservation initiatives are now needed to protect the new known sites of the Honduran Emerald, and maintain existing protection efforts.

 
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Black-capped Vireo

Black-capped Vireo by Greg Lavaty

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The Black-capped Vireo is a small, dapper-looking bird with a dark head set off by white lores and eye ring, giving it a spectacled appearance.  The bird’s red eyes are also distinctive. It is a habitat specialist, preferring areas that have been recently burned; periodic fire halts the spread of invasive junipers and enhances growth of the oak scrub that they prefer.

Populations of Black-capped Vireos are small, fragmented, and declining. The species was listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1987.

Fire suppression is probably the most serious threat to this vireo, but urban development and agricultural conversion (especially to pasture) have caused significant habitat loss. Nest parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird may affect up to 90% of nests in an area. Nestlings are sometimes killed by fire ants.

Cowbird control is an essential conservation measure for the species, as are prescribed burns and fire ant control. These measures are in place at several important sites for the vireo, such as Fort Hood Military Installation, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and Kerr Wildlife Management Area. These measures have, in some cases, resulted in dramatic increases in the vireo’s numbers. More information is still needed on this vireo’s distribution and abundance in Mexico.

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Tucuman Parrot

Tucuman Parrots by Luis Rivera

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The Tucuman Amazon (often called Tucuman Parrot) is a mid-sized, mainly green parrot, with feathers strongly edged in black giving the bird a scaly appearance on its head and body. This Polly does not need a cracker, just a safe place to feed and nest.

The biggest threats to this species are habitat loss and capture for the pet trade. In the 1980s, thousands were captured and exported from Bolivia and Argentina before protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITE greatly reduced international trade.

Despite these protections, nest-raiding for the local pet trade within Bolivia and Argentina continues on a smaller scale. Habitat loss and degradation due to logging, and clearing for agriculture and grazing also remain significant problems. Parrot trappers contribute to the loss of habitat by felling old trees with nesting cavities to reach the nest and young.

Recently, Asociación Armonía, ABC’s partner in Bolivia, announced some good news for this species: the establishment of the 44-acre Tucuman Parrot Reserve in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which now protects the largest Podocarpus conifer trees in the area as crucial nesting sites. The new reserve is adjacent to the Quirusillas Municipal Reserve, effectively extending the area under protection. For more details on this victory, please see ABC’s recent press release.

Birders interested in seeing the Tucuman Parrot could combine a visit to the new reserve with a stay at the Red-fronted Macaw Reserve. Please see ConservationBirding.org for more information.

 
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Henslow's Sparrow

Henslow's Sparrow by George Jett

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This sparrow is notable for the moss-green plumage on its head and nape, reddish-brown wings, and abrupt, hiccup-like song.  It is inconspicuous, preferring to run through the tall grass, rather than fly, to avoid detection. An unusual characteristic for the sparrow is that it sings at night in the breeding season, its song being one of the few prairie sounds at 1 AM on a dark, moonless night.

Habitat loss is probably the biggest threat to the Henslow’s Sparrow; loss of grasslands through fire suppression, conversion to agriculture or pine plantations, and earlier and more frequent cutting of hayfields have all contributed to a population decline over the last three decades that is among the steepest of any North American grassland bird species. Habitat destruction on the wintering grounds has also contributed to its decline.

The Conservation Reserve Program of the federal Farm Bill has created undisturbed grassland habitat resulting in local increases. In addition, reclaimed strip mines have proved to be suitable as breeding habitat – some grasslands on former strip mines support as many as 2,000 birds. Managed grasslands on military reservations such as Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, also support significant populations.

1 year ago

 

Bird of the Week
Buff-breasted Sandpiper


Buff-breasted Sandpiper by Phil Jeffrey


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The dainty, dove-headed Buff-breasted Sandpiper is an atypical shorebird, most often found in grassy habitats away from the coast. Unique among North American shorebirds, it has evolved to mate on "leks", small areas where males gather to display and compete for females. After mating at the lek site, the females leave to nest and raise the young elsewhere.

Once believed to number in the millions, this species was decimated by commercial hunting by the turn of the 20th Century, and still has not fully recovered. Loss of habitat along its migration path and on its wintering grounds, as well as pesticide use, further diminished its numbers.

Management actions that would benefit the Buff-breasted Sandpiper include limiting pesticide use in agricultural areas and maintaining pasture at a suitable grass height on the birds’ wintering grounds; efforts to protect and improve grassland habitat in staging areas throughout the United States also need to be continued. Oil development should also be restricted on the birds’ breeding grounds to preserve existing lek and nesting sites. 

1 year ago

 

Bird of the Week
Bay-breasted Cuckoo




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This large cuckoo has a big, curved bill and is gray above with a reddish-brown wing patch, throat, and breast. Like other cuckoos, it skulks in vegetation and is best located by its staccato call. It feeds primarily on lizards and insects; the cuckoo’s short nesting season appears to coincide with the onset of the wet season and the abundance of insects, particularly cicadas, produced by the rains.

The Bay-breasted Cuckoo suffered a drastic decline in range and numbers during the 20th Century due to rampant deforestation for agriculture, grazing, and charcoal production. Hunting for food and medicinal properties that the bird supposedly possesses is also a factor in its decline.

The species occurs in four protected areas in the Dominican Republic, with its stronghold likely Reserva Biologica Loma Charco Azul. The population is still declining, as inadequate protected area enforcement allows residents to continue to clear wood, graze cattle, or otherwise convert the forests where the bird is found.

ABC, with the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southern Wings, and the Jeniam Foundation, is taking actions to improve the conservation of the Bay-breasted Cuckoo. New park guards and equipment at Loma Charco Azul will help protect park habitat, and new tourism infrastructure is now being built to facilitate bird tourism and improve economic opportunities for local communities. Future surveys, particularly in areas with remaining forest, are needed to better understand the species’ distribution and habitat needs. 

1 year ago

 Bird of the Week
Hermit Warbler


Hermit Warbler by Bill Hubick


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Because it lives in the tops of some of the tallest trees on the planet, the Hermit Warbler is more easily heard than seen. This flashy, yellow-headed warbler’s nesting behavior is still largely unknown due to the dizzying height of its nests, which are placed as high as 120 feet. The species feeds by gleaning insects from the middle and outer portion of tree branches, often hovering to capture its prey.

Though Breeding Bird Survey data show that Hermit Warbler populations have remained stable since the late 1960s, the species faces threats due to loss and management of habitat on both the breeding and wintering grounds.

Since Hermit Warblers breed only in coniferous forests with a well-developed canopy, they are negatively impacted by logging. Hermit Warblers also hybridize with, and in many cases are being displaced by, the closely-related Townsend’s Warbler, which has led to its disappearance in places where it formerly occurred.  Recommended conservation measures for the Hermit Warbler include longer logging rotations to keep more of the larger trees, and managing coniferous forests for closed canopies on the bird’s breeding and wintering grounds.

1 year ago

 

Bird of the Week
Palkachupa Cotinga


Palkachupa Cotinga pair by Juan Carlos Atienza


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This beautiful cotinga has a distinctive long, forked tail, dark mask, bright yellow-orange throat, and pale yellow underparts patterned with black barring and spotting. Males and females appear similar. This species feeds by flycatching in the forest canopy and eating fruits. It nests in trees along forest edges, and even in isolated trees among savannah-type habitat, in loose colonies of up to five pairs.

The species was unrecorded for 98 years until its rediscovery by ABC partner Associacion Armonía in 2000. It was elevated to full species status in 2011 based on evidence presented by Bennett Hennessey in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology (the bird was originally thought to be a subspecies of the Swallow-tailed Cotinga, which occurs 1,400 miles away in Brazil).

Eighty percent of the Palkachupa Cotinga’s habitat has been destroyed by clearing and burning forest for firewood and pasture; unfortunately, this destruction is ongoing. Parts of the cotinga’s former range are now completely treeless. Nesting success in remaining habitat is low; predation by jays and severe weather are the biggest causes of breeding failure.

In 2010, a 145-acre reserve was established for the species. ABC has supported Armonía’s work to study and conserve the Palkachupa Cotinga and continues to seek additional support for land-use planning and management, with the cooperation of the local community.

1 year ago

 

Bird of the Week
Lawrence's Goldfinch


Lawrence's Goldfinch by Greg Homel


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The Lawrence’s Goldfinch is a striking little finch, with gray body plumage, yellow and black wing, and a yellow breast patch; males also sport a black face, forehead, and chin.

This bird is known for its wandering ways; it can be common in a certain area one year and totally absent the next. It feeds almost entirely on seeds, particularly those of the common fiddleneck plant. It will also visit backyard feeders for niger thistle seed. During the breeding season, males form small flocks while females nest. Outside the breeding season, both sexes gather in small flocks of fewer than 50 birds, sometimes with other small, seed-eating birds.

Much of this goldfinch’s breeding range is under pressure from rising human populations and development. Since it has a relatively small population, habitat loss may put it at risk.  Its breeding status and distribution is still poorly known; more study is needed to fully understand its population dynamics.

 

1 year ago

 

Bird of the Week
Antioquia Wren


Antioquia Wren by Carlos Esteban Lara


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The Antioquia Wren was first seen in 2010, and formally described as a new species in the July 2012 edition of The Auk. This wren is mostly brown and white, and differs from similar species in plumage color of the upperparts, pattern of barring on the wings and tail, smaller body size, and unique vocalizations.

One of the biggest threats to the Antioquia Wren is the ongoing construction of a multi-million dollar hydroelectric dam, which will flood 15 square miles of its habitat, including all six locations where the bird has been confirmed. Increased mining, tourism, and deforestation for agriculture have also resulted in widespread habitat loss. Unfortunately, none of this region's dry forest is currently protected, making conservation of the Antioquia Wren even more imperative.

A closely-related species, the Niceforo’s Wren, which inhabits dry forest in eastern Colombia, has been protected by ABC, World Land Trust-US, and ProAves at the Cucarachero del Chicamocha reserve.

 

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Sprague's Pipit




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The Sprague’s Pipit is a bird of cryptic appearance and secretive habits, but on its breeding grounds, the male puts on a prolonged, vocal flight display – one of the longest of any bird, lasting for 30 minutes to three hours at a time. The male circles hundreds of feet above the prairie during this lengthy display, singing its lovely, cascading song; often it’s the only reliable way to find this bird in the vast landscapes it inhabits.

Formerly more widespread and numerous during early settlement, the pipit has declined dramatically as suitable native prairie has disappeared due to overgrazing, cultivation, and the introduction and invasion of non-native plants.

Conservation of the Sprague’s Pipit depends on the protection, maintenance, and restoration of native mixed grass prairie in suitably large expanses, and the control of non-native plants and incursion by woody vegetation. Prescribed fire is used to control woody vegetation both on the breeding and U.S. wintering grounds, and moderate to heavy seasonal grazing, at least in the mixed-grass portion of its range, may be beneficial to the bird. ABC and partners are also working to protect grasslands in the species’ Mexican winter range.

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Belding's Yellowthroat




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The Belding's Yellowthroat is a marsh-dwelling warbler with an olive-green back and bright yellow belly; the adult male also has a black mask and yellow forecrown. It is similar to the more northerly Common Yellowthroat in appearance, habits, and song.

This non-migratory, Mexican endemic builds a cup nest of dead cattails, usually attached low on the stem of a living cattail, where it lays its clutch of 2-4 eggs. Like other yellowthroats, it forages low in vegetation for insects and other small invertebrates.

The freshwater habitats occupied by the Belding’s Yellowthroat are under threat from human activities, including accidental and intentionally-set fires, reed-cutting for building materials, and drainage for agriculture and cattle ranching. Surveys have found it at more sites than previously thought, but its tiny range and small, fragmented population make it vulnerable to extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Recommended conservation measures include increased habitat protection and creation of new marshland. Re-introductions have also been suggested, and ecotourism may be a means by which income can be generated for the protection of key areas of habitat.

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
American Golden-Plover


American Golden-Plover by Middleton Evans

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The American Golden-Plover is a medium-sized to large shorebird with a short neck, large rounded head, and stubby-looking bill. Adults are spotted gold-and-black on the crown, back, and wings. Their faces and necks are black with a white border; they also have black breasts. This bird was once considered the same species as the very similar Pacific Golden-Plover, but the two were split in 1993.

This species makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any shorebird, flying over 3,000 miles each way between wintering and breeding areas. It follows a circular route; offshore from the East Coast of North America nonstop to South America in the fall, returning through the middle of North America to its Arctic breeding grounds in the spring.

By the early 20th Century, excessive market and sport hunting had taken a devastating toll on this bird. Its population rebounded after most hunting was stopped, but has never regained its original abundance. Hunting still occurs in some Caribbean countries, and habitat loss due to agriculture, ranching, pollution, and development on the wintering grounds and along migratory routes continue to be a threat.

Although not considered threatened, the American Golden-Plover would still benefit from habitat preservation, additional research, international shorebird educational

1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Marañon Crescentchest



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At the Gotas de Agua Reserve in northern Peru, a Marañon Crescentchest delivers a bright series of chirps to announce its presence, then pops into view, showing off sharp black and white wing markings and bold black stripes across its head. Perhaps the most beautiful of all South America’s crescentchests (brightly colored, long-tailed birds of arid habitats in central South America), it is also the most geographically restricted.

Unfortunately, the Marañon Crescentchest’s dry forest habitat is rapidly becoming degraded and fragmented by burning and clearance for cattle pastures, crop cultivation, and oil palm plantations.

The crescentchests at Gotas de Agua can rest a little easier now that 26 acres at this site have received official recognition as a protected area from the Peruvian national government thanks to the efforts of a local private landowner, Luciano Troyes and his family, Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos, American Bird Conservancy, Rainforest Concern, and Martin Stanley.

ABC has worked to promote Gotas de Agua for its conservation importance within a regional conservation plan and as a bird-watching destination. Birdwatchers interested in visiting Gotas de Agua should visit Conservation Birding and the reserve’s own website for more information.

1 year ago

Very good job ,congratulations!!

1 year ago

Beautiful Birdies Lynn I get the Audoban Society Site, Thnx for all The Newsie News about The Birds ..

1 year ago

Great thread, Lynn!  Beautiful pictures, and I enjoy reading the very interesting information about these birds! 

1 year ago

Thank you Lynn! Wonderful info and photos!

1 year ago

Thanks, everyone. I have been collecting these bird posts for months and even though it's listed as Birds of The Week with today's date, they are really sent to me weekly - every Friday. So from now on it will be a weekly post on this thread with the date listed accordingly. If any of you have bird information that's appropriate for this thread, please feel free to post it, with a picture of the bird, if possible.  

1 year ago

Beautiful birds Lynn. Thank you.

1 year ago

ABC's News Highlights of October 2012
 

First Conservation Assessment of All American Birds Shows More Than a Third Need Help

Painted Bunting by Owen DeutschA new study on the conservation status of American birds completed by American Bird Conservancy is the first-ever published to include the full range of bird diversity in all 50 U.S. states and dependent territories. The study finds that more than one third of these birds are in need of conservation attention.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/121018.html



1 year ago

Scientists Call Plan to Log Spotted Owl Habitat "Giant House of Cards"

Spotted Owl by Glen TepkeThe recent proposed Critical Habitat designation for the Northern Spotted Owl does not protect the threatened species, charge the Society for Conservation Biology, The Wildlife Society, American Bird Conservancy, and other groups. Comments submitted by the groups find that, by encouraging controversial and unproven logging practices in owl habitat, the draft plan fails to provide adequate habitat protection essential for the owl's survival.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/121009.html



1 year ago

New Private Reserve Recognized by Peruvian Government to Protect Birds

Maranon Crescentchest by Dubi ShapiroThe Peruvian agency in charge of national protected areas, SERNANP, has approved two new Private Conservation Areas to conserve a critical area of rapidly disappearing Marañon-Chinchipe dry forests. The designations will protect several rare endemic species, including the Marañon Spinetail, Peruvian Pigeon, Little Inca-Finch, and Marañon Crescentchest.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/121022.html



 

Discovery of Critically Endangered South American Bird in New Area Offers Hope for Avoiding Extinction

Royal Cinclodes by Oscar J. Santander, ECOANA new discovery by ABC's Peruvian partner Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) of a population of the critically endangered Royal Cinclodes is providing some increased hope that this bird may be able to be saved from extinction.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/stories/121012.html



 

Protected Species May be Killed by Proposed Prairie Dog Control, Environmental Groups Charge

Burrowing Owl by Alan WilsonAmerican Bird Conservancy and other groups have urged the Environmental Protection Agency to reject an application by Scimetrics to use the rodenticide Kaput-D for the control of black-tailed prairie dogs in several western states due to the threat the chemical poses to non-target wildlife, including Golden Eagles.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/121016.html



1 year ago

Thanks for the news Lynn,

1 year ago

1 year ago

Thanks Danuta.

1 year ago

Thanks Lynn for sharing all these beautiful bird pictures and their information. Very interesting learning of some I hadn't known about.
Thanks Danuta for the picture of that unusual bird.

1 year ago

I'm glad that everyone is enjoying the bird pictures and information. It's fascinating to learn about the different species of birds.

Danuta, do you happen to know what kind of bird is in your picture? It looks like some sort of vulture to me. Very unusual. Thanks for posting it.

Bird of the Week - 11/2/12
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Ashy Storm-Petrel

Ashy Storm Petrel by Kirk Zufelt Stats banner

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The Ashy Storm-Petrel weighs just over an ounce and is eight inches long with a forked tail. Its dark, smoky-gray plumage blends in perfectly with its foggy surroundings at sea.

This petrel lives and feeds in the California Current, a major cold water system that churns from north to south along the West Coast of the United States, forming the foundation of an astonishingly rich ecosystem that ranges from microscopic plankton to blue whales.

Over half of this species’ population occurs on the South Farallon Islands off central California. Like other storm-petrels, Ashy Storm-Petrels fly to and from their nesting colonies at night; but unlike their cousins, they do not travel far from their colonies after breeding.

Major threats to the Ashy Storm-Petrel include predation by Burrowing Owls, the population of which has soared due to the introduction of non-native mice on the islands, and predation by gulls, whose population has risen due to the increase of garbage on the mainland. As a result, the storm-petrel population on the Farallons declined by 40% between 1972 and 1992. These birds are also very sensitive to disturbance; nesting colonies can easily be disrupted by recreational kayakers and fishermen. Petrels foraging at sea are further at risk from ingesting floating plastics, and from oil and pesticide pollution.

Recommended conservation measures include eradicating introduced predators from nesting islands and investigating effects of artificial lights on predation and breeding success.

1 year ago

Interesting. Thanks Lynn.

1 year ago

1 year ago

Thanks Danuta.

1 year ago

Thanks Lynn and Danuta - thought I would post this here -

Afternoonwalk110312001

1 year ago

Like the photo Val!

1 year ago

Thank-You so Much for the Beautiful and Newsie News about the Birds Lynn Also Thank-You Danuta Val, your lovely Last of the Leaves and two birdies are Wonderful !!! See you All around Barb E. Hugggs and xx's two Hi Brenda ..

This post was modified from its original form on 04 Nov, 11:14

1 year ago

Grazie Lynn e grazie anche a Danuta per le bellissime foto.

1 year ago

Prego, Federico.

1 year ago

Thank you, Danuta for posting the picture of that unusual bird. Val, I love your picture of the last of the leaves with the 2 birds on the branches. Thanks so much.

1 year ago

Feathers galore. Please enjoy this spectacular display.

video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvnzEZk0Wi8&NR=1&feature=endscreen

The Blue Tit-Bird
1 year ago

arusCaeruleus.jpg" rel="nofollow" > Conservation status

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Passeriformes Family: Paridae Genus: Cyanistes Species: C. caeruleus Binomial name Cyanistes caeruleus
(Linnaeus, 1758) Synonyms

Parus caeruleusLinnaeus, 1758

The Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus[2] or Parus caeruleus[3]) is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. The bird is easily recognisable by its blue and yellow plumage, but its scientific classification is disputed.

Blue tits, usually resident and non-migratory birds, are widespread and a common resident breeder throughout temperate and subarctic Europe  and western Asia in deciduous or mixed woodlands with a high proportion of oak. They usually nest in tree holes, although they easily adapt to nest boxes where necessary. The main rival for nests and search for food is the much larger Great Tit.

The blue tit prefers insects and spiders for their diet. Outside the breeding season, they also eat seeds and other vegetable-based foods. Blue tits are famed for their skill, as they can cling to the outermost branches and hang upside down when looking for food.

1 year ago

Enjoyed the video and the Blue Tit picture is beautiful. Thanks Lynn.

1 year ago

The Peacock Display is Beautiful and All the Others are just Wonderful Thnx Lynn

1 year ago

All the pictures and facts are simply wonderful. Thank you so very much.

You're welcome Brenda, Barb and Christeen :-)
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Banded Ground-Cuckoo

Banded Ground Cockoo by Roger Ahlman

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This secretive, ground-dwelling bird resembles a modern-day velociraptor.  Birders lucky enough to spot it see a large, long-legged bird with glossy blue-black upperparts, chestnut wings and lower back, and banded underparts. Its song is a repeated, deep, cow- or dove-like moo.

Essentially a forest roadrunner, the Banded Ground-Cuckoo can cover great distances on its long legs, and maintains extensive territories. They feed on large insects flushed by army ant swarms and groups of forest mammals such as peccaries. The bird apparently can track multiple army ant groups simultaneously.

Habitat loss and degradation, particularly by the expansion of oil palm plantations, are the biggest threats to the species. Dependence on primary forest and a small, fragmented population make the Banded Ground-Cuckoo particularly vulnerable.

The species is protected in several large national reserves in Colombia and Ecuador. ABC partner Fundación ProAves protects a large block of forest in the Pangan Reserve in southern Colombia, and it is seen at the Canandé Reserve in Ecuador, owned by ABC partner Fundación Jocotoco.

Here is a video of a ground-cuckoo Un Poco del Chocó Reserve that the reserve owners are attempting to train to come when called.

 

1 year ago

Liked the video Lynn. Thank you.

Banded Ground-Cucko
1 year ago

Hi Lynn I really do like this thread and also viewed the Video Thnx ..

Very Clever Birds
1 year ago
Clever rooks repeat ancient fable
By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC News

 

Aesop's rook: The birds raise the water by dropping stones into a tube so they can reach a floating worm.

Read more of this interesting article and see the amazing videos here:


Click here: BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Clever rooks repeat ancient fable


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8181233.stm

1 year ago

Interesting Lynn, thank you.

1 year ago

1 year ago

With BIG feet, this baby flamingo sits patiently awaiting it's mother.

1 year ago

Love the Owl photo and yes this baby flamingo has got big feet! Thanks Danuta.

1 year ago

Crows are very intelligents wow!

1 year ago

Thnx for Photos and Fable Lynn Great Owls and baby Flamingo Photos Danuta

Wonderful pictures, Danuta. Thank you!
1 year ago

Bird of the Week - 11/15/12
Gilded Flicker


Gilded Flicker by Greg Homel

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The Gilded Flicker is a medium-sized, tan and black woodpecker, with a yellowish crown and yellow shafts on its primaries. It was formerly regarded as a subspecies of the Northern Flicker (along with the Yellow- and Red-shafted Flickers), but was declared a separate species in 1995 based on differences in range, appearance, and adaptations to a desert environment. It is non-migratory.

The Gilded Flicker nests primarily in cavities dug into saguaro cacti, but also may use cottonwoods and willows in riparian woodland. It is primarily a ground-foraging species, feeding on insects (mostly ants), fruits, and seeds.

The loss of nesting habitat and suitable nest cavities in the Sonoran Desert are the primary threats to the Gilded Flicker, especially in Arizona, where human population growth is intense. The conservation of this woodpecker is important to other species, such as the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and Elf Owl (another WatchList species), which nest in the holes that the Gilded Flicker excavates. Since the Gilded Flicker's range is already severely restricted, preserving the Sonoran Desert and protecting its large cacti are the two most important conservation issues for this unique species.

1 year ago

A View from the Atlantic Flyway
An Ancient Oasis For Birds

Prothonotary Warbler | Credit: Mac Stone   Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest is a prehistoric wetland wilderness surviving in a growing sea of human development in South Carolina. Here, giant thousand-year-old cypress trees tower overhead, and turtles, alligators, and river otters ply the dark slow-moving waters. The forest offers roost and rest for countless migrants—Hooded, Prothonotary, and Black-throated Blue Warblers, American Redstarts, and White-eyed Vireos—to name just a few. Step back in time in this video journey through the swamp. Watch video.


Bird of the Week - 11/23/12
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Rusty-faced Parrot

Rusty-faced Parrot by Fundacion ProAves

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This plump green parrot has rich cherry/auburn plumage on its head that fades to tan around its neck, a red shoulder patch, blue wing feathers, and a red tail with a violet tip. It is found in small flocks in moist montane forests, where it feeds mainly in the canopy on fruit, blossoms, and seeds.

The Rusty-faced Parrot is most threatened by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Extensive logging and clearing for agriculture, development, and mining have destroyed much of its historical habitat in the Andes.

ABC has worked extensively with Colombian partner Fundación ProAves to protect the parrot’s habitat in the Threatened Parrot Corridor and Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve. The Rusty-faced Parrot can be observed at the Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve at one of two rocky outcroppings, known as clay licks, where the birds consume clay and dirt for essential nutrients. Nest boxes were also installed at the Dusky Starfrontlet Reserve this year, thanks to support from Loro Parque Fundación, and have already produced a first fledgling.

1 year ago

Love this thread, thanks Lynn et al

wrensweekend

Bird of the Week - 11/30/12
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Allpahuayo Antbird 

Allpahuayo Antbird by Emma Shelly

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The Allpahuayo Antbird was described as a new species in 2001. Males are mainly dark gray with a black throat patch, blackish wings with white wing bars, and a pale iris; females have tawny and white underparts. This antbird is a habitat specialist, only occurring in the dense understory of white sand forests and palm thickets in Peru’s northern Amazon.

This bird is a challenge to see at its stronghold, the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, since it stays in dense undergrowth were visibility is limited. Its loud song – a series of whistles – reveals its presence among dense ground cover.

Its small population is threatened by deforestation for agriculture and logging. ABC and ProNaturaleza have worked together at the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve to improve management and protection of white-sand forests for the Allpahuayo Antbird and other rare, white-sand forest bird species. As of November 2012, over 2,000 acres of private inholdings inside the reserve boundary have been donated to the Peruvian national government agency in charge of protected areas.

ABC and ProNaturaleza have also financed the construction and furnishing of two new guard stations in the reserve, initiated educational campaigns with local communities to teach them the importance of protecting the forest habitat, led training programs for reserve staff, and conducted bird surveys.

1 year ago

Thanks, Thubten. Love your tag. Have a good weekend!!

1 year ago

Hope it's ok to add this, Lynn: Birds of Paradise native to Papua New Guinea, Australia's closest neighbour.
.
http://www.cornell.edu/video/?VideoID=2398
from news item by Bonita: Birds of Paradise Project By Cornell University

1 year ago

All educational posts are welcome here Thubten, and I'm so happy that you added your extraordinary video to this thread, dear friend. I watched it in awe and I hope everyone sees and enjoys it as I did.

1 year ago

Beautiful birds and lovely videos. Thanks Lynn and Thubten.

1 year ago

 ABC's News Highlights of November 2012
 

Imperiled Birds to Benefit from Land Purchase in Key Peruvian National Reserve

Black-headed Parrot by Dan Lebbin

The critically endangered Iquitos Gnatcatcher and the vulnerable Allpahuayo Antbird and Mishana Tyrannulet are three of the bird species that will benefit from the purchase of more than 1,100 acres of private inholdings within Peru’s Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve by ProNaturaleza (a leading Peruvian conservation organization) in collaboration with American Bird Conservancy.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/121130.html



 

 

New Study Identifies California Bird as One of Rarest in U.S.

Island Scrub-Jay by Glen TepkeThe current population of the Island Scrub-Jay, a rare California bird, is only one-fifth of what experts had previously believed, according to a new study. The Island Scrub-Jay is a brightly colored blue and gray bird that is only found on Santa Cruz Island, which is about 17 miles off the coast of California, directly south of Santa Barbara.

Read the full story here
http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/121116.html



1 year ago

Thanks for the news Lynn.

1 year ago

Thanks, Lynn. The birds are beautiful.

1 year ago

Thank you for the lovely pictures, videos and news

Bird of the Week - 12/7/12
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Long-billed Curlew 

Long-billed Curlew by Alan Wilson

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This large, long-legged shorebird is most notable for its extremely long, down-curved bill, adapted for foraging for earthworms, crabs, and other
deep-burrowing prey. Although classified as shorebirds, Long-billed Curlews are more commonly found on prairie habitats.

The principal threat to this species is loss of habitat; grasslands are increasingly being taken over for agriculture, developments, and recreational use. Non-native, invasive plants such as yellow starthistle  can make habitat unsuitable for curlew nesting as well.

The Long-billed Curlew’s declining numbers in the Great Plains and disappearing breeding and wintering habitat make it a high-priority species for conservation throughout its range.

ABC is involved with several projects aimed at delivering full life-cycle conservation of the Long-billed Curlew. Work with Mexian NGO ProNatura and other partners to protect critical wintering areas is ongoing, and other projects aim to enhance habitat across the curlew’s breeding range.

1 year ago

Thanks Lynn!

1 year ago

Thank you, Lynn.

You're welcome, Debbie and Sandi! :-)
1 year ago

1 year ago

Wonderful work you're doing Lynn!!!

1 year ago

So beautiful, Lynn. I'm glad your tests came back good!

1 year ago

Thank you, Norma and Debbie. Debbie, you're so sweet to mention my tests. I'm so glad they were good and can be taken care of.

This is a Waxwing
1 year ago

Such a pretty bird!

12-13-12Waxwing

 

Bird of the Week - 12/14/12
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Beautiful Woodpecker 

Beautiful Woodpecker by Benjamin Skolnik

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This aptly-named Colombian woodpecker has a bold, red and yellow blaze along the back of its head and neck, cream-colored underparts with black barring, and a long, slightly curved, black bill. It was once considered a subspecies of the Golden-naped Woodpecker of Central America, but was declared a separate species in 2005 based on distinct differences in appearance and range.

Populations of the Beautiful Woodpecker appear to be stable, although it is considered scarce and local throughout its limited range, and faces threats from forest loss in these areas. It is able to feed from a variety of fruiting trees and is found throughout agricultural landscapes, particularly on shade cacao and coffee farms. It drills into decaying trunks and branches for termites, beetles, and other insects, and catches them on the wing as well.

One reliable site to see Beautiful Woodpecker is the Pauxi Pauxi Reserve in the eastern Andes, where birding groups regularly visit to find this species, along with other threatened birds such as the Saffron-headed Parrot and Black Inca. Pauxi Pauxi was recently expanded to 4,470 acres through several key land purchases, and forms part of the 25-mile Cerulean Warbler Corridor established by ABC and Colombian partner Fundación ProAves.

1 year ago

Noted Lyn , Lovely collection of Our Fine Feathered Friends Tnx 20/12

1 year ago

Beautiful birds. Thank you Lyn.

1 year ago

Beautiful bird. Thank you, Lynn.

1 year ago

Extraordinary collection of birds!

 
You don't have to download this, you can just watch it. Enjoy!
 
or
1 year ago

They were all so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

1 year ago

That's so nice Lynn and have a Merry Christmas!!

1 year ago

Such a Beautiful selection of Birdies Lynn Thnx for all the Newsie News 2 23/12

1 year ago

Thanks Lynn! Merry Christmas!

Bird of the Week - 12/30/12
1 year ago

Bird of the Week
Spectacled Eider 

Spectacled Eider by Laura L. Whitehouse, USFWS

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The male Spectacled Eider in breeding plumage is a striking sight, with dark body, white back, and bright yellow-orange bill. The male’s lime-green head has circular white eye patches, which gives the species its name. The female is plain brown, as is the male during non-breeding season. In both sexes, the facial feathers extend down to the nostrils, a characteristic not found in the other eiders.

It was not until the mid-1990s that the wintering grounds for this species were discovered with the help of satellite transmitters. The population in western Alaska is particularly threatened, and has suffered a 96% decline there since the 1970s.

Oil exploration in Alaska has reduced available habitat, and oil spills pose a constant threat. Lead poisoning may also be an important cause of mortality to this striking bird. The Spectacled Eider has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, so is protected within the United States, although some hunting still occurs in Russia.

1 year ago

Such a beautiful bird! Thank you, Lynn.

1 year ago

All so beautiful - thanks Lynn!

Bird of the Week - 1/4/13
1 year ago

Happy New Year, everyone! This is the first Bird of the Week for the new year!!  I'm so glad that you're enjoying this bird thread.
--------------------------------------------------

Bird of the Week
Smith's Longspur

Smith's Longspur by Tom Johnson

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Longspurs are sparrow-like ground birds of open fields and tundra; the Smith’s is a particularly uncommon and secretive species. Breeding males have bold black and white markings on the head, with a rich, rusty-tan throat, breast, and nape. Females are duller overall, with light streaking on the breast and sides.

Most breed in areas uninhabited or sparsely inhabited by humans. Their cup-shaped nests are built in shallow depressions on the tundra or in grassy tussocks. They forage on the ground, mainly feeding on seeds, plus insects in summer.

Smith’s Longspur has a breeding system highly unusual for a songbird: each bird copulates with two or three others, which results in broods of mixed paternity. Two or more males may help the females feed nestlings.

This species may be vulnerable to changes in land use that would eliminate large open areas, and also to contaminants in these areas. These and other factors influencing survival during winter need further study.

 

1 year ago

Happy New Year Lynn

46
National Bird Day! January 5, 2013!

Animals  (tags: animals, birds, wildlife, protection, environment )
Cher - 2 hours ago - nationalbirdday.org
Join Born Free USA and the Avian Welfare Coalition in the annual National Day of Action for Captive Birds by helping to educate the public about issues affecting captive birds and by asking Petco and PetsMart not to sell live birds in their stores.
1 year ago

Wonderful site. I hope everyone looks through it. Thanks, Nyack and Cher!

1 year ago

Thanks, Lynn.

This topic is closed