Why do Woodpeckers Peck?

[caption id="attachment_8368" align="alignleft" width="300"] Pileated Woodpecker[/caption] Woodpeckers are successful creatures, well known to everyone. Perhaps the most famous woodpecker besides Woody, the cartoon woodpecker, is the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, very likely extinct since 1948, the last verified sighting of it. There are many kinds of woodpeckers in the world. Propped against the side…

To Be an Ornithologist: watching birds as a job

I frequently get questions like “What do ornithologists do?” Well, an ornithologist studies birds, but there is no definite job description as many ornithologists do not work exclusively with birds. They may be ecologists, geneticists, wildlife biologists, land managers, teachers, researchers, outdoor educators, or tour leaders. They may work for federal or…

Blackbirds and Black birds

  [caption id="attachment_8356" align="alignleft" width="300"] Male Brewer's Blackbird[/caption] A well known blackbird  is the Brewer’s Blackbird. This common blackbird gets its name from a prominent 19th Century Boston naturalist who started his professional career as an M.D. with a degree from Harvard and later developed a passion for birds.  As…

The Canary Bird

   My wife and I ended a three week cruise of the west coast of Africa by visiting one of the Canary Islands, a Spanish protectorate, west of Morocco. The Canary Islands are a semi-tropical vacation haven for residents of Europe, comparable to Hawaii for U.S. residents. Like many island nations, it…

Avian Vocalists

Around your bird feeder, in the shrubs, or overhead in the sky you can hear birds making sounds all through the year, but during courtship and nesting in the spring oral communications between birds are much more obvious and frequent. Briefly, songs are complex sounds typically used during breeding season…