Mousebirds

Mousebirds, sometimes called Colies, and found only in sub-Saharan Africa, are so named for their mousy color and their behavior as they move gingerly through the vegetation searching for food and scurry along the ground between bushes. Slender greyish or brownish birds with soft, hairlike body feathers, crests, curved claws,…

Kleptoptilia

The word kleptomania is from the Greek words κλέπτω (klepto) "to steal" and μανία (mania) "mad desire, compulsion", meaning a compulsion to steal. In birdy news lately is the term kleptotrichia, referring to the behavior of birds stealing hair from mammals to line their avian nests. But some birds steal…

The Tits (Birds, of Course)

Titmice From Middle English titmose, compound of tit (“small bird”) and mose, from Old English māse (“titmouse”). In the U.S there are five species of titmice: the Tufted Titmouse, permanent resident of the eastern U.S.; the Oak Titmouse, resident mainly of the California Valley; the Juniper Titmouse, resident of the…

The Science of Birds Podcast

I would rather read rather than listen partly because my hearing isn’t what it used to be and I tend to be distracted while earbuds are inserted. But I do occasionally listen to podcasts, as many of you do, while tinkering, working in the garden, walking, or driving. I checked…

The Guineafowl

My expertise is that of wild birds. I know little about the care and keeping of caged birds and even less about poultry. Nonetheless, I regularly receive questions about breeding cockatiels, training conures, or the reproduction of barnyard ducks. The other day someone asked me if a guineafowl could mate…

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…