Bird of the Week
The male Dusky Starfrontlet is a very dark hummingbird with a green-gold sheen, bright metallic blue throat spot, and glittering forehead. For a long time, this species was known only from a few specimens in museums; it was rediscovered by ABC partner Fundación ProAves in 2004.
The Dusky Starfrontlet has a very restricted range, which is largely unprotected and suffering from ongoing deforestation as settlers continue moving into the area. These lands also contain rich deposits of gold, zinc, and copper, which have attracted mining companies -- another serious threat to this already fragile habitat.
In 2005, ABC and ProAves created the Colibrí del Sol Reserve to protect habitat for the Dusky Starfrontlet. The reserve now covers 11,322 acres of páramo and montane cloud forest. ABC and ProAves are working to acquire additional habitat, and are seeking agreements with local municipalities and parks to further enlarge protected areas. Reforestation of degraded habitat is ongoing.
Beautiful Lynn - thank you !
Lovely and Beautiful Birds Lynn
Thanks Lynn, so lovely.
Thanks again Lynn!
Thanks Lynn so cute birds
Thank you Lynn
Bird of the Week
The Wandering Tattler is a stocky, medium-sized wading bird, with unpatterned, grayish wings and back, and a barred breast and underside. It is solitary for most of the year, occurring alone or in groups of two or three.
As the name implies, this species is a true wanderer, with a widespread winter range around the entire Pacific basin. Some individuals migrate west across the Pacific all the way to Australia, a journey of 8,000 miles across open ocean. "Tattler" refers to the bird’s voice, a rapid trill of accelerating, descending notes given at the approach of any perceived danger.
The Wandering Tattler feeds on marine invertebrates, aquatic insects, and small fish. This bird forages actively, constantly bobbing its tail and rear end up and down as it walks.
The Wandering Tattler is one of North America's least numerous shorebird species. It is listed by the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan as a Species of Moderate Concern, primarily due to the small number of individuals. Breeding Bird Survey (BB data suggest significant long-term declines, but it is not well surveyed by the BBS, so population trends need further investigation.
So interesting to learn about these beautifuls birds!
This is about an island about 2,000 miles away from any other island. No one lives there....only beautiful birds.
Please do not throw trash in the ocean!
Bird of the Week Banded Cotinga
- The male Banded Cotinga is a strikingly beautiful bird, with bright blue plumage set off by a vivid purple throat and belly divided by a blue breast-band, set off by black mottling on the back with black wings and tail. The more low-key female is mottled dusky brown and white. Males also have specially modified primaries (the biggest flight feathers) that produce a whirring sound as the bird displays.
These are treetop birds that live high in the forest canopy, where they feed on mainly on fruit, sometimes supplemented by seeds and insects.
The biggest threat to the Banded Cotinga is habitat loss; extensive, continuing deforestation within its range has restricted populations to a few protected areas, including the Stresemann’s Bristlefront Reserve, managed by ABC’s partner Fundação Biodiversitas. These birds have been collected for their feathers by local indigenous people, and capture for the cage-bird trade has also posed a threat.
Recommended conservation measures that will benefit this lovely species include surveying areas of suitable habitat within its range to locate further populations, continuing protection of known territories, and reforesting adjacent areas with native trees. ABC continues to work with Biodiversitas to protect this beautiful bird and its Atlantic Forest habitat.
Check out a YouTube video by Ciro Albano!
Wow, why a gorgeous bird. Nature is amazing!
Beautifil bird Lynn!
Oops, meant what a gorgeous bird. LOL!
Such beautiful creatures!
ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL BIRD!
Bird of the Week
The Lark Bunting is actually a North American sparrow. Breeding males are distinctive, with all-black plumage set off by a large white patch on the upper wing. Nonbreeding males and females are grayish brown with white striping.
Lark Buntings forage on the ground, mainly taking insects, especially grasshoppers. They eat seeds in winter, when they often congregate in large flocks. They prefer grassland with some shrub cover for nesting; the nest, a loose bowl of grass, fine roots, and plant stems, is on the ground. Populations in any given area may fluctuate depending on precipitation levels.
Christmas Bird Counts and Breeding Bird Surveys show this handsome bird to be one of the fastest declining in the United States; habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide poisoning, and overgrazing are the chief causes. Livestock water tanks also pose risks; large numbers of buntings in search of a drink often drown or fall prey to domestic cats lurking around tanks.
Important conservation measures needed for the Lark Bunting include protecting and restoring native grasslands, delaying mowing of hayfields until after the breeding season to prevent destruction of nests, and minimizing pesticide use.
Thanks Lynn, more lovely pictures.
Bird of the Week
Until 2000, the Gunnison Sage-Grouse was thought to be the Greater Sage-Grouse, but we know now that it is a distinct species. It is characterized by a smaller body size, unique plumage, and low genetic variation, and there are differences in the spectacular mating displays and vocalizations the grouse are noted for.
Occupying 1,511 square miles, the bird is found only in six counties in Colorado, and one in Utah. The bird’s habitat is shrub-steppe (a type of low rainfall natural grassland) below 9,200 feet, including sagebrush, riparian areas, and meadows.
Sage-Grouse eat only sagebrush leaves during the winter and the important wintering sites may change within and between years, depending upon climatic conditions. Lek (mating dance ground) sites within the sagebrush are traditional breeding areas that the grouse return to each year.
The total estimated population size for Gunnison Sage-Grouse is less than 5,000 breeding birds. At present the population of the grouse is declining in and its distribution has been reduced substantially from historical levels. The most pressing threats to the species continue to be the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of its sagebrush habitat.
With ongoing development pressure and a growing human population, firm protection measures for its remaining habitat are urgently needed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as an endangered species and is currently accepting public comments on the proposal.
Thank you, Lynn, for sharing all the gorgeous bird photos. Thye do brighten one's day.
Thanks so much, Lynn! wonderful bird photos
Definitely weird.. thanks Lynn
Live in Colorado but wrong area.
This post was modified from its original form on 09 Mar, 7:50
Lovely and Beautiful Birds Lynn Colorful and Beautiful Lynn
You're welcome, everyone. Glad you all like the pictures and the information.
Val, a few counties north of where I live in Miami, there are totally different bird species than what we have here. Weird, huh?
Did you see Care2's quote today - I loved it:
Imagine if birds were tickled by feathers. You'd see a flock of birds come by, laughing hysterically!"
- Steven Wright, comedian.
Northern Spotted Owl by Chris Warren; Old growth Northwest forest by Steve Holmer
We need your help to protect the magnificent old forests of the Pacific Northwest that are home to the threatened Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet. Can you give us a few minutes of your time to lend your voice to this important wildlife habitat issue?
The Obama Administration has recently finalized a plan that protects additional old-growth habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl. But the mature and old-growth forests in the region remain at risk.
Administration officials need to hear from those who would like to see Marbled Murrelets, Northern Spotted Owls, and the old-growth forest ecosystem fully protected. Please contact President Obama using our simple form and urge him to protect the remaining mature and old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.
Can't click the link? Copy and paste this URL in your address bar: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5400/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10099
Signed petition re N. Spotted Owl, Lynn, thx. We have the same issue in BC, being part of the PacificNW. Our old growth forests are being decimated, so the big issue of habitat destruction rears it's ugly head here too. Soooo short sighted, and timber companies rule it seems. We just managed, through NGO's such as Wilderness Committee, to change (for the better) some BC Govt. proposed regualtions regarding the privatization of forest lands through granting more tree farm licences to Forest Companies - Yay - a Victory for old growth!!!
Hope it's OK if I put a link on re cockatoos from Rainforest Action Network. Actualy,If you think it's better, I'll look again for a bird thread on No Cruelty, and if I can't find one, I'll start one and post it there. For the birds - this bird emoticom always makes me laugh.
The crow on the peripheraphy of your top photo of the 2 eagles trying to snatch a bird for lunch doesn't surprise me. All the time here, I see a crow or 2 taking on an eagle and the eagle flying away - an amazing David and Goliath type sight.
Just Lovely and sent the Letter to the Audobon Lynn Thnx ....
Bird of the Week Red-bellied Grackle
- The Red-bellied Grackle is an uncommon and distinctive blackbird found only in the Colombian Andes. It is large, long-tailed, and heavy-billed, with a bright red belly and glossy black plumage; adults also have a light yellow eye.
It is usually found in noisy groups of up to 50 birds in the forest canopy along edges, often in mixed flocks along with other large bird species such as oropendolas.
The continuing decline of this species is due to extensive clearance of its forest habitat through logging, agriculture, and human development. Although the Red-bellied Grackle tolerates modified landscapes to some degree, they seem to require mature forest for at least part of their life cycle. Brood parasitism by Giant Cowbirds could explain the local disappearance of the species in some areas; it is also sometimes persecuted as a crop pest, and trapped for the cage-bird trade.
ABC and Colombian partner Fundación ProAves are protecting habitat for the Red-bellied Grackle and other rare species such as the Chestnut-capped Piha, an AZE-listed species, at their Arrierito Antiqueño reserve, a 5,300-acre property with a lodge and trails for visitors and an ongoing reforestation program.
Bird of the Week
The Rusty Blackbird is a medium-sized blackbird with a slender, slightly decurved bill, matte black plumage (in males), and pale yellow eye. They are North America’s most northern-nesting blackbird, and a characteristic breeding species of boreal forests. In winter, they gather in small flocks, sometimes mixing with Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and European Starlings. “Rusties” have a distinctive winter plumage, set off by red-brown feather edges.
This bird is one of North America’s most rapidly declining species. Its population has plunged an estimated 85 percent or more over the past 40 years, and scientists are not sure as to the exact cause.
Destruction and degradation of wetlands appear to be the chief threat to the Rusty Blackbird, both on its boreal breeding grounds and across its wintering range.
Conservation measures needed to help this species recover include further study of the bird’s ecology and natural history; finding specific causes for its disappearance; and continued monitoring of its populations. The International Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group, formed in 2005, continues work to better understand this species’ steep decline.
Thanks Lynn, signed, more lovely pictures, thanks.
Signed Lynn,so sad to see the death of the birds
Bird of the Week
American Bird Conservancy, bowing to a tidal wave of public opinion, has declared the Peep (Marshmallicious delicious) to be this year’s Easter bird of the week, and has further announced it is to be split into four bird species. The reselection of 2011’s choice was based on popular opinion. “I couldn’t fight it any longer. The time has come – it was a no brainer for me,” ABC President George Fenwick said.
Up until now, scientists have recognized only the familiar “yellow” form of peep as a full species; but there is currently support in the ornithological community for granting separate species status to the blue, teal, pink, and purple forms, currently considered color morphs. “There simply isn’t any evidence that these forms interbreed,” said ABC senior scientist Dr. David Wiedenfeld. “While they can often be found roosting in the same box, the fact is that nobody has ever seen an intermediate bird between the color morphs,” he added.
In naming the Peep as Bird of The Week for a second time, ABC also raised eyebrows again. “We’ve never had a repeat Bird of the Week. That was a tough decision and I know some will disagree but if the Grammy Awards and Saturday Night Live can have repeat hosts, we thought we could break tradition as well. Some will point out that Bird of the Week is a bigger deal and needs to stand firm on tradition, but I say the Peep has been a real giver and it’s time for us to give back and return the favors from decades of springtime giving. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Peeps typically make their appearance in the springtime, with numbers peaking in April. Despite their ubiquitous distribution and social nature, their migratory paths, wintering, and breeding areas are little known.
During their breeding season, Peeps can easily be found in suburban backyard habitats, where they lay clutches of colorful eggs in nests of brightly-colored plastic grasses. Adult and immature peeps can be quickly located by their sweet calls and neon plumage.
Although Peeps are heavily consumed, their populations appear to quickly rebound in subsequent years and therefore they are not a species of conservation concern. Enjoy this popular harbinger of spring!
Asked about the possibility of a three-peat, Fenwick was noncommittal: “Well, we’ve never shied away from controversy. Naming the Peep Bird of the Week in 2011 caused quite an uproar – almost crashed our website. This decision will probably cause another firestorm – I probably won’t answer my phone for a week. But who knows, anything is possible. We’ll take the pulse when the next time comes.”
Gotta love those peeps.
Bird of the Week
A simple whistle in the dense bamboo is all that might reveal the presence of the secretive and highly endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta. This plump, long-legged bird is less than five inches long, with an olive-brown back and black-streaked white underparts. Males have the ochre-buff forehead that gives this species its name.
This bird was only discovered in 1976, and until very recently, sightings in the field were almost unknown. ABC’s Daniel J. Lebbin was one of the first to take a full-length photo of this species in the wild. He captured the bird on camera in 2010 at the Abra Patricia Reserve.
Abra Patricia, established in 2004 by ABC and in-country Peruvian partner ECOAN (Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos), spans over 24,000 acres of protected habitat.
One of the biggest threats to the Ochre-fronted Antpitta is habitat loss, mostly due to clearing of forest for agriculture. ABC has modeled the range of this species in a planning document for the Marañon-Alto Mayo Conservation Corridor, and continues work with ECOAN to acquire more land to conserve habitat for this antpitta and other threatened birds.
Abra Patricia is designated an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site because of the presence of both this antpitta and the endangered Long-whiskered Owlet. The site is part of ABC’s Conservation Birding network, so birders can easily visit and take a chance on finding this elusive species. Territories of both species overlap on the reserve’s owlet trail, about an hour walk downhill from the Owlet Lodge.
I love birds thanks a lot Lynn!
You're welcome, Norma.
Such Beautiful Birds! Thank you Lynne. Love and Hugs, Marina x
I love birds so much! Always A Pleasure to see such Stunning and Beautiful Birds. Thanks Again Lynn. Big Hugs, Marina x
Thanks Lynn, they really are stunning.
Bird of the Week
If you’re lucky, you might spot the Golden-cheeked Warbler on its breeding grounds in central Texas at this time of year. The snazzy-looking adult male is particularly striking, with a golden-yellow eyebrow and cheek-patch, split by a black eye-stripe that joins its black nape and back.
The Golden-cheeked Warbler depends on the bark of the Ashe juniper for nesting material and tends to forage in deciduous oaks. Its ideal habitat consists of mixed juniper-oak woodlands.
Major threats are habitat fragmentation and degradation caused by ranches and housing developments, the effects of global climate change, lack of prescribed fire, which clears the forest understory to provide habitat, and removal of Ashe juniper trees. Habitat fragmentation compounds the impact of additional threats such as cowbird parasitism, overbrowsing by deer, and the spread of oak wilt fungus.
ABC is determined to ensure the species’ survival at both ends of its range. The ABC-led Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture is coordinating with partners to enhance habitat management programs on the Golden-cheeked’s breeding grounds. ABC’s Quercus and Aves Program has worked to conserve and expand threatened oak woodland in its wintering range, and ABC’s Migratory Bird Program has begun a habitat protection program at the El Jaguar Reserve in Nicaragua that could benefit this attractive species.
Ask Not What Birds Can Do for You...
Ask what you can do for birds! Here are 10 practical suggestions for making a difference every day. Become a citizen scientist and take part in bird counts. Or join Audubon's Lights Out program to help protect migrants flying at night. Other tips include avoiding pesticides, parting with plastics, and more. Read more.
VIDEO: American Oystercatcher Up Close and Personal
The American Oystercatcher is a head-turner. With its over-sized red bill and striking dark and white plumage, the charismatic creature is an unmistakable shorebird. And one that's aptly named—it uses its notable beak to pry open oysters and other bivalves. This stunning video takes you eye to eye with one handsome representative of this vulnerable species. Looking for more incredible bird coverage? Check out our slideshow of some of America's most threatened birds, too.
Why Birds Matter: Worth Their Weight in Gold
The next time you brew your morning joe, thank a bird. Overwintering songbirds control pests in Jamaican coffee plantations. Other birds are a boon for humans, too. Asian vultures dispose of disease-carrying carrion. In the American West, the Clark's Nutcracker is the sole disperser of whitebark pine seeds. The trees provide habitat for deer, elk, and raptors—and protect fragile watersheds. Scientists have even put a price tag on the value of the "ecosystem services" the nutcracker provides: about $10 billion. And that's just one species. Read more.
Bird of the Week: Buff-fronted Owl
The Buff-fronted Owl was a surprise visitor to the Urraca Lodge at the Jorupe Reserve in Ecuador this February, when it dove through a dining room window in pursuit of insects. This visit marked the first record of the rarely seen owl within the Jorupe Reserve, run by our partner Fundación Jocotoco and supported by ABC. Park guards were able to safely return the owl to the outdoors – after snapping the above photo.
This striking little owl is the only member of its genus (Aegolius) to occur in South America. It is widespread but uncommon throughout its range, which is separated by the enormous expanse of the Amazon basin.
Relatively little is known about the species, but like many small owls, it lays its eggs in tree cavities and preys on rodents and other small mammals, birds, and insects. Its voice is a quavering trill.
Nearly 190 bird species have been found in Jorupe, including almost all the dry forest endemics of Ecuador’s Tumbesian region. Birders wishing to book a trip to this unique reserve should visit the Conservation Birding website.
Such A Beautiful Bird - Thanks Lynn, All your photos are so stunning! I Love them All!
Bird of the Week: King Rail
Back in the days before automobiles, the King Rail was called the “stage driver,” since its "chuck-chuck" call reminded listeners of a rider or teamster clucking to his horses. Another folk name for this rail is “marsh hen,” because the bird looks a bit like a long-billed chicken, and marshes are where you will find them—if you’re lucky.
These solitary, elusive birds are more often heard than seen as they forage through their freshwater wetland habitats in search of crustaceans and insects. The King Rail was first scientifically described in 1834 by John James Audubon, and is the largest North American rail, about the size of a crow.
Over the past several decades, the King Rail has declined in population in the northern part of its range, while appearing to remain somewhat stable in most of the southern United States. It is most threatened by the destruction and degradation of wetlands caused by agriculture and other development, pollution, and pesticide contamination. This species often suffers fatal collisions with tall buildings, communications towers, and telephone wires during its nocturnal migrations.
The best hope for the conservation of this species is on public wildlife refuges, where most of the highest quality wetlands are found. Strong wetland protection and pollution laws are also essential to maintain suitable habitat. Within our system of Bird Conservation Regions, ABC protects habitat for the King Rail and many other wetland-dependent bird species.
I love all your beautiful Amazing Awesome cool tweet WOW of a bird pics Lynn & thanks for sharing these & having them on here!!! Keep up all your great work & thanks for the smiles!!!
Aw, Nyack....that's so cute! Thanks for posting it.
So Cute - made me smile! Thanks Nyack
Lynn thank you for all the lovely bird pictures. Nyack thank you for that photo made me laugh out loud.
lovely these birds!
Bird of the Week: Russet-mantled Softtail
Imagine hiking up a steep set of stone stairs, passing through pastures dotted with remnant forest and hedgerows. You’re leaving the village of San Lorenzo in northern Peru, heading for better forests at higher elevations.
A descending trill emerges from a patch of bamboo at the edge of the trail, and soon a bright rufous bird appears, foraging among the foliage and sometimes hanging like a chickadee to probe the base of leaves -- the Russet-mantled Softtail.
This Russet-mantled Softtail does well defending its territory from others of its species, but it can’t compete with the campesino farmers clearing the bird’s land for pasture or agriculture as they move upslope.
Fortunately, the Russet-mantled Softtails at San Lorenzo now have some help defending their territory. Thanks to efforts by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) and ABC, the San Lorenzo community and neighboring communities have agreed to protect 930 acres of timberline habitat on their communal lands this year. With our help, San Lorenzo and other communities in northern Peru have also planted hundreds of thousands of native trees, restoring habitat for resident and neotropical migrant birds.
For those who want to see the Russet-mantled Softtail and other interesting endemics such as the Pale-billed Antpitta, the new San Lorenzo Private Conservation Area is the place to go. The area can be easily visited as a day or half-day trip by birders staying at Huembo or Abra Patricia Reserves.
For more information about lodging at Huembo and Abra Patricia, please visit Conservation Birding.
Thanks Nyack for a lovely picture, thanks also to Lynn for producing some marvels!
Penguin, South Georgia Island
It was 5 a.m. and we had just landed on the shore of South Georgia to catch the sunrise. It was cloudy and overcast, which presented the perfect opportunity for me to shoot some long exposures. At first I experimented with standing out in the water and photographing the crashing waves contrasted with the penguins on shore, but the waves were moving my tripod too much to get a stable shot. I realized I would need to be on shore, where I could get a steady shot, but I still wanted to include the water in my photo. I looked over and saw this lone penguin just at the water's edge. I quickly aimed and took this long-exposure shot, and moments after the shutter clicked the penguin looked up and walked off. Even though the sky didn't glow orange that morning due to overcast conditions, I still walked away very pleased with shooting in wonderful conditions that allowed me to capture this image
Common Myna Bird in Sri Lanka
The Eclectus - the male is green and the female is red.
I have baby wrens,
Sandi, are you raising them? Tell us about it.
Great Egret, Florida
This great white egret is often found at this spot on Tampa's beautiful Hillsborough River. It was almost sunset, and we were just taking our kayaks out of the water at the Trout Creek Park boat dock. When I looked up and saw the bird directly across the river in front of this massive old bald cypress, I saw the "perfect" shot and grabbed my camera, a Nikon digital D80. The bluish cast to the water is partly due to the sun having gone almost down and pollen floating on the surface
Bird of the Week: Kentucky Warbler
A rich, rolling "churee churee churee" rings out from the lush understory of the woods, then the songster itself flits up to a low branch and sounds out again. This golden and olive warbler with the black mustache spends much of its time on the ground in deep woods, where it nests, but the patient birder can often catch a glimpse of one, especially as males stake out their territories each spring.
The Kentucky Warbler’s characteristic loud song is heard less frequently today, and continued losses of bottomland hardwood forests across the southeastern United States may be the reason why. However, destruction of habitat on its wintering grounds through clearing for agriculture and pasture may pose an even greater threat.
ABC is partnering with the Yucatán Peninsula Avian Alliance (AAPY) in Mexico to protect the Yucatán Peninsula - a major migratory pathway for the Kentucky Warbler and many other neotropical migrants. Over 1,600 acres of migratory bird habitat have been purchased within the Yum Balam-Sian Ka’an Biological Corridor so far, with more land acquisitions planned.