Roadkills

Windows and cats are major sources of mortality for our birds but certainly aren't the only major causes. Somewhere between 87 and 350 million birds are killed by vehicles each year in the U.S., although the estimates vary. See this study. Barn owls seem particularly marked for doom. Now threatened…

Bird Festivals and the Pandemic

Clearly, the normal functioning of the world’s activities has been upset by the coronavirus as I write this blog in mid-March 2020. Stores are closing, meetings are cancelled, travel plans postponed, and the grocery stores that remain open are having their shelves denuded of canned goods and toilet paper. We’re…

Unusual Coloration in Birds

I regularly receive reports of birds with unusual coloration. Often it is just partial albinism in which patches of white show up on the bird in various places, or incomplete albinism in which the eumelanin (dark pigment) is diluted instead of absent, so a dark bird might appear gray instead…

Birds Adapt to a New World

Pale Male in the Big Apple             Urbanization is perhaps the most difficult challenge to the survival of birds and will be the major driver of extinction in this century. Only 2.7 percent of the earth is covered by cities yet the majority of the human population lives in them.…

Birds of Fire

Fires in Australia have been big news lately, but there have always been fires, sometimes started by birds!. The following article has been excerpted from Cosmos magazine: Black Kite In the first recorded instance of fire being used by animals other than humans, three Australian birds of prey species have…

Common Names

Coppersmith Barbet A scientific name clearly designates a particular bird species, tells you something about the bird’s relationship to other bird species, and usually provides a decent description of the bird. Common names are less useful for the former but apt for the latter. The obvious advantage common names have…