Well hello there! It's time for the 130th edition of I and the Bird. I suppose it's about time I hosted one of these, but I fear I failed to be terribly creative...I'm keeping it pretty simple, so I hope you don't mind.
I started working with birds in 2005 (Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers), and in 2007 I started a three year project with the Golden-cheeked Warbler. Currently I'm working with Willow Flycatchers for the second time and I've done stuff with grassland birds as well. It's kinda nice because while I get paid to stare at birds, it's also what I do when I'm not working. Yeah, being a seasonal field biologist is a pretty sweet gig. Much to my surprise, I became a bird nerd. I have a list (egads, a list!) but this is my husband's fault (I should note that the first words he ever spoke to me were: "Are you a birder?" (at the time, I can't say that I was). Anyway, I never thought I'd be so into birds but it's the truth and I can't deny it. They're pretty spectacular. So, I enjoy when each new I and the Bird edition comes around.
Thanks to everyone who submitted entries for this edition. Please take the time to look at all the links -all sorts of great photos and information tucked away in each post!
I love Piping Plovers. You'll love them too. "Piping Plovers are PIPL too." Great saying. "PIPL" is the AOU banding code for these cutie pies. Thus the pun. Take a look at John's post at DC Birding Blog about these endangered birds. You'll see some adorable pictures and learn about some banded individuals. I also gotta add that Piping Plovers were, shall we say, my "gateway" bird into birding and bird research projects, so they'll always hold a little spot in my heart.
Greg (Greg's Laden Blog) has three articles on Oystercatchers (my second birdnerd gateway bird) - information about feeding, a bad experience with feeding (yikes!), and some really great info about how they forage. All three are definitely worth the read. These guys are in the family Haematopodidae. I think that means "red feet" but I might have made that up.
Nate suggests that Pelicans look like dinosaurs. I agree whole-heartedly - if you squint a little bit, it's pretty obvious. Cassowaries, on the other hand I think ARE dinosaurs. Check out a his blog entry of the recently de-listed Brown Pelican at the Drinking Bird., chock full of good stuff!
Gulls are challenging to ID for a lot of birdwatchers (like myself). If you don't have a spouse that knows 'em like the back of his hand, then fortunately if you need a better look, most of them will risk their life for a french-fry. Duncan's photos (Ben Cruachan Natural History) of the elegant Silver Gull are a perfect compliment to his poem.
Babies are white, and adults are purple, but for some reason they're called Little "Blue" Herons. Probably the same guy who named the Yellow (brown) Rail and the Purple (Gray) Sandpiper. Eva at The Flying Mullet was able to snag some up close and personal photographs of these herons - awesome head shots!
If you are a birder you should be very careful before reading this post. Take a deep breath and make sure you have some savings and at least a week free, because you'll for sure want to go to Iceland. Matthew at Backyard and Beyond added some excellent birds to his life list while scoping out some Icelandic Birds .
You need to check out "Buffy" the Fish Owl . A pretty cool video of this guy. He's got some serious eye-contact - he'd make a great public speaker. Y C Wee addresses the use of video as a research tool for birds in his entry. Lots of good info at Bird Ecology Study Group, read up!
Great Blue Herons must be near the top of the list of North Americas most recognizable and popular birds. They always put on a good show- especially this guy. Susannah at Wandering Weeta was able to get a very cool series of photos of a Great Blue snarfing something tasty for lunch.
Who doesn't get excited about baby birds? I definitely do. Joan had a great sighting of a juvenile Green Heron recently. The little guy posed pretty perfectly for some photos, look at his juvie cuteness at Anybody Seen My Focus.
I'm a bit too jealous to write a whole lot about Mike's (10,000 Birds) post about Panama Birding. Read the whole thing and note that he added 10 life birds in one hour. That's pretty snazzy stuff, lucky man!
Speaking of baby birds...Larry from the Birder's Report got some awesome action shots of fledgling Black Phoebes being fed by their parents. Don't miss the slow-mo video of a Phoebe eating a bug off of a tree, very "Life of Birds."
Unlike Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures have no sense of smell, which is probably a good thing because god knows how awful their breath is after eating carrion all day. At Wrenaissance Reflections, you'll see some really nice photos of a Black Vulture looking quite lovely without having to smell it's breath.