Birds in Winter

[caption id="attachment_9247" align="alignleft" width="275"] Blue Jay[/caption] Winter is a tough time for birds. Most insect eating birds have made their way to the tropics of Central or South America, others have migrated down from higher latitudes or altitudes to winter in the valley, and some birds just stay put. The…

Why Birds?

[caption id="attachment_6637" align="alignleft" width="390"] Red-winged Balckbird[/caption] Hopefully you have paid a bit more attention to birds since I suggested that you try to spy them during your daily activities. Humans have paid attention to them for hundreds of thousands of years and incorporated their images into various symbols and art forms.…

Do Birds Taste Good?

The following is extracted and modified from my book, Beaks, Bones, and Birdsongs: Rice farmers lose millions of dollars each year in lost crops and expenses incurred trying to control pest birds and are looking at any solution that’s not too expensive or difficult. Chemical deterrents to make the rice taste…

South Padre Island Birds

Some time back we visited some friends on South Padre Island, Texas., known for many things, including good birding spots. Like so many other places with a beach the natural environment has been bulldozed, paved, and covered with condos, T-shirt and surf shops, water parks, and seafood restaurants. But of course the…

Carrier Pigeons

Although we don’t use carrier pigeons to send messages anymore, they were once used extensively. With a short rolled up message inserted into a little tube attached to their leg a pigeon could deliver a message by simply returning “home”, wherever that might be. The system wasn’t perfect as birds…

Nuttall’s Woodpecker

[caption id="attachment_8999" align="alignleft" width="419"] Nuttall's Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii[/caption] Thomas Nuttall was an English naturalist who spent many years in the U.S. collecting specimens; this woodpecker was named after him by William Gambel (after which a quail is named.) The Nuttall’s Woodpecker is small , a little more than seven inches…

Birds and Fire

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text disable_pattern="true" align="left" margin_bottom="0"]An ancient myth refers to the Phoenix, a bird which was supposed to live for 500 years, go up in flames and arise anew from ashes. It has come to represent rebirth, renewal, hope, etc. Ever since there have been terrestrial plants and animals, there has…

Immortal Birds

  [caption id="attachment_8804" align="alignleft" width="446"] The Dodo[/caption] Are birds immortal? Not exactly. Generally we consider mortality as immunity from death – living forever. As we all know, though, death is inevitable for all living things. Humans have extended their life span, though and some radical thinkers believe immortality is possible.…