The Seedeaters

Excerpted from Beaks, Bones and Bird Songs: [caption id="attachment_10660" align="alignleft" width="356"] California Scrub Jay[/caption] From the Old French fourrage, to forage, pillage, or plunder, foraging refers to the ways birds find food. Virtually every bird has its own style of seeking out and acquiring its sustenance with each beak shape…

Chickens

[caption id="attachment_10651" align="alignleft" width="465"] Red Junglefowl by George Edward Lodge[/caption] Each American consumes the equivalent of 27 chickens per year, not counting eggs. The U.K. raises 870 million chickens and imports another 400 million each year. And no wonder, chickens are tasty. The domestic chicken came from the Red Junglefowl…

Suet For Birds

[caption id="attachment_10642" align="alignleft" width="506"] Rose-breasted Grosbeak and American Goldfinch at suet feeder[/caption] The word “suet” comes from the Latin sebum, the oily substance that lubricates our skin, and less appealingly, clogs our pores and produces pimples and blackheads. Suet is actually the fat found around the loins and kidneys of…

Birds and Hurricanes

[caption id="attachment_10638" align="alignleft" width="553"] Whimbrel[/caption] I recently returned from a trip to Florida, during Hurricane Michael. Luckily I was in another part of the state when the storm blew through. These days of high technology and high-speed communication, humans get warned of an oncoming weather disaster so they can take…

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…
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