Avian Home Invasion

News Nation Now reported via YouTube a story about birds invading homes in southern California in April by flying down chimneys. One pair of homeowners estimated the flock at 800 birds - which they called starlings and blackbirds. Public comments on the video referred to Eurasian Starlings as invasive pests,…

Bird Mummies and Genetic Diversity

Between 650 and 250 BC the Egyptians killed and mummified Sacred Ibises as sacrifices to Thoth, the Egyptian god of the moon, learning, writing, languages, magic and wisdom. The bird played a significant role in religious practices and is found in many burial sites. They were killed by the millions…

Bird Fossils

I have often mentioned that bird fossils are hard to come by, as compared to other vertebrates and hard-shelled invertebrates. It’s mainly because they are lightweight and thin-skinned. The earliest birds or birdlike creatures were reptile-like and were heavier boned than later bird forms and they left a decent fossil…

Birds as Pollinators

Pollinator Week was June 21-27, 2021. Birds are key global pollinators of wildflowers and ornithophily (bird pollination) occurs in more than 60 flower families. Bird pollinators include the orioles and hummingbirds of the New World, honeycreepers of Hawaii and central and South America, sunbirds of Africa, and the lorikeets and…

How Many Birds in the World?

According to a recent study*, there are about 50 billion living birds in the world, six times as many as there are people. It was not easy to come up with that figure but the diagram below gives a graphic representation of how the researchers did it. It’s not easy…

The First Frontier

I am reading the The First Frontier by Scott Weidensaul, prolific nature writer and eminent ornithologist. A synopsis of the book reads: “Frontier: the word carries the inevitable scent of the West. But before Lewis and Clark, … it was the East that marked the frontier—the boundary between Native cultures…

Birding Bob

There’s a birdwatcher in Central Park in New York City who calls himself Birding Bob. He leads bird walks in the park for the nominal sum of $10. But according to the New York Times, Bob ruffles the feathers of some birdwatchers. What he does is play bird calls, which…

Are East Texas Birds Toxic?

Just returned from East Texas a short while ago. Did some birdwatching of course but saw nothing exotic or unexpected, but I was struck by the difference in coloration in East Texas birds compared to those at my home in Northern California. The Blue Jays were a striking blue and…