Should We Befriend Birds?

I recently read an article in the New York Times about hand-feeding hummingbirds. It's fascinating, but also disturbing. It's cute, but why is it so important to get hummingbirds to feed from your hand or a perch sticking out of a helmet on your head? These are wild creatures, not…

Birding Apps

These days almost everyone has a smartphone, iPad, or some other electronic device to help them communicate, navigate, and educate. It was just a matter of time before the sport of birding joined the electronic world. You would think that a pair of binoculars and a field guide would be…

Cruising With Birds

[caption id="attachment_10547" align="alignleft" width="288"] Albatross[/caption] One of my retirement activities is giving  “enrichment” lectures on cruise ships around the world. I’ve lectured on over 20 cruises and ten different cruise lines. Not sophisticated university-level lectures, but “edu-tainment” as the cruise lines call them. They are part of the ship’s activities,…

The Hearing of Birds

[caption id="attachment_10540" align="alignleft" width="172"] Cooper's Hawk listening[/caption] Birds’ songs and calls are important for survival. The ear of a bird is very much like that of a mammal’s with two important exceptions. The external ear lacks a pinna (the flesh-covered outer ear) although owls have one, and nstead of three…

Feeding Birds

According to the U.S. Fish and Wild­life Service, more than 50 million North Americans feed birds. That amounts to more than one million tons of seed directly provided to birds every year. As fall approaches, the avifauna (set of bird species in an area) changes with migration patterns and some…

Hot Birds

Birds and mammals like us, are homeothermic. We often say "" is a misnomer as tuna and lizards and worms and tuna can be warm blooded at times. Better to say homeothermic which means which means that mammals and birds maintain a fairly constant body temperature at all times. To…
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