Egg Dumping

[caption id="attachment_10414" align="alignleft" width="489"] Common Merganser[/caption] You may have seen the photo of a Common Merganser mom leading a brood of 76, yes, 76 ducklings. They are not all hers, of course, because there is no way she could sit on and incubate that many eggs. A pair of mergansers…

The Stork

You know the story of the stork bringing babies. We most probably heard this story when we were young and our mothers were not yet ready to tell us where babies really came from. Some version of this tale has been around for a very long time. A Greek myth…

Rictal Bristles

  [caption id="attachment_10395" align="alignright" width="306"] Small Green Barbet[/caption] I learned the other day that synchronized swimmers don't shave their legs, at least not to the point of smoothness. Apparently the hair on their legs gives them a sense of where their legs are in the water. Try lightly running your…

Owl Attacks

I’ve heard stories about attacks on people by owls, but they are few and far between. They happen usually because someone got too close to an owl nest or a domesticated owl got angry with its owner. And “attack” is often too strong a word to describe the bird’s actions.…

Carolina Parakeet

The Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) or Carolina conure was one of only two parrots native to the United States (the other being the thick-billed parrot found in parts of Arizona and New Mexico). It was found from southern New York and Wisconsin to Kentucky, Tennessee and the Gulf of Mexico,…

English Ornitholoogy

[caption id="attachment_10341" align="alignleft" width="294"] Blue Tit[/caption] I just returned from a two week trip walking the countryside of Cumbria and Yorkshire in northwest England. My wife and I went because we enjoy the English countryside with its stone and brick houses and lovely flower gardens. Dry stone walls, works of…

What Are Bird Species?

[caption id="attachment_10333" align="alignleft" width="523"] A Swoose[/caption] The most basic definition of a species is a group of biological individuals who can interbreed. Using DNA, and morphological and behavioral studies, birds are placed into categories based upon the closeness of their relationships. Carl Linnaeus was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist,…

Snakes and Birds

[caption id="attachment_10317" align="alignleft" width="365"] Mrs Ornithologist with Gopher Snake[/caption] My wife visited her two horses at the stable where they are kept and found two large gopher snakes in the rafters of the barn. One had a nestling House Sparrow in its jaws. The snakes were transported away and released…