Woodpeckers in the Waterman Bird Collection

BJU Bird Collection 2018-Display Case 3 – Woodpeckers and Shorebirds

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young;” (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)

The next Display case of the Waterman Bird Collection contains Woodpeckers from the Picidae family and some shorebirds from the Scolopacidae Family. [Next post]

BJU Bird Collection 2018
– Woodpeckers

This post is about the five Woodpeckers; Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker [now the Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)], Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) and a Common Flicker [now the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) 

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  “The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.”

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee at Circle B

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee at Circle B

Cool Facts – “The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.” [Pileated Woodpecker – All About Birds]

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis)

BJU Bird Collection 2018 BJU Bird Collection Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) – “Found in boreal forests and montane coniferous forests across North America. Because of its choice of habitat, it is infrequently seen by most people.” “The “Three-toed Woodpecker” was split in 2003 into the American Three-toed and Eurasian Three-toed woodpeckers. The two species are nearly identical in appearance, but differ in mitochondrial DNA sequences and in voice.”

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) by Daves BirdingPix

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) by Daves BirdingPix

Cool Fact “Most woodpeckers have four toes on each foot. The three-toed and Black-backed woodpeckers have only three. The loss of the fourth toe may help deliver stronger blows, but at the expense of climbing ability.” [American Three-toed_Woodpecker – All About Birds]

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Male – Waterman Bird Collection BJU

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) – “The active little Downy Woodpecker is a familiar sight at backyard feeders and in parks and woodlots, where it joins flocks of chickadees and nuthatches, barely outsizing them. An often acrobatic forager, this black-and-white woodpecker is at home on tiny branches or balancing on slender plant galls, sycamore seed balls, and suet feeders. Downies and their larger lookalike, the Hairy Woodpecker, are one of the first identification challenges that beginning bird watchers master.”

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Brevard Zoo by Dan

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Brevard Zoo by Dan

Cool Facts – “In winter Downy Woodpeckers are frequent members of mixed species flocks. Advantages of flocking include having to spend less time watching out for predators and better luck finding food from having other birds around.” [Downy Woodpecker – All About Birds]

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) – “On a walk through the forest you might spot rows of shallow holes in tree bark. In the East, this is the work of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an enterprising woodpecker that laps up the leaking sap and any trapped insects with its specialized, brush-tipped tongue. Attired sharply in barred black-and-white, with a red cap and (in males) throat, they sit still on tree trunks for long intervals while feeding. To find one, listen for their loud mewing calls or stuttered drumming.”

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) by Daves BirdingPix

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) by Daves BirdingPix

Cool Facts – “Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been found drilling sapwells in more than 1,000 species of trees and woody plants, though they have a strong preference for birches and maples.”[Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – All About Birds]

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) – “Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground. It’s not where you’d expect to find a woodpecker, but flickers eat mainly ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill. When they fly you’ll see a flash of color in the wings – yellow if you’re in the East, red if you’re in the West – and a bright white flash on the rump.”

Northern Flicker cropped by Lee at S. Lk Howard Ntr Pk

Northern Flicker cropped by Lee at S. Lake Howard Nature Pk

Cool Fact – “Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its main food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.” [Northern Flicker – All About Birds]

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Picidae family

PICIFORMES Order

Some of the Previous Woodpecker Posts:

Wordless Woodpecker – Yellow-Fronted

 

Ravin’ about Corvid Hybrids: Something to Crow About!

Ravin’ about Corvid Hybrids:

Something to Crow About!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

HoodedCrow.WorldLifeExpectancy-photoHOODED CROW   (World Life Expectancy photo)

“Every raven after his kind”   (Leviticus 11:15)

Who provides for the raven his food? When his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of food.   (Job 38:41)

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; they neither have storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them; how much more are ye better than birds?   (Luke 12:24)

There is, as Moses noted, a “kind” (i.e., genetically related family) of birds that we call “corvids”, crow-like birds, including ravens. [In the English Bible (KJV), these birds are always called “ravens”.]

These black (or mostly black – see Song of Solomon 5:11) omnivores are known to “crow”, often calling out a harsh KAWWWW!   Also famous for their “ravenous” appetites and eating habits, it is no wonder that the English labeled many varieties of these corvid birds as “ravens”.

The HOODED CROW (Corvus cornix) lives and thrives in the Great North – including Sweden, Finland, and Russia.  This I learned firsthand, on July 6th of AD2006, while visiting a grassy park near the Vasa Museum of Stockholm, Sweden.  The next day (July 7th of AD2006), it was my privilege to see another Hooded Crow in a heavily treed park in Helsinki, Finland.  Again, two days later (i.e., the 9th of July, AD2006), while visiting Pushkin (near St. Petersburg, Russia), I saw a Hooded Crow, in one of the “garden” parks of Catherine’s Palace.  Obviously, Hooded Crows appreciate high-quality parks of northern Europe!

HoodedCrow.WarrenPhotographic

HOODED CROW   (photo credit:  Warren Photographic)

The physical appearance of a Hooded Crow is, as one bird-book describes, “unmistakable”.

Unmistakable. Head, wings and tail black, but body grey (can show pinkish cast in fresh plumage).

[Quoting Chris Kightley, Steve Madge, & Dave Nurney, POCKET GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF BRITAIN AND NORTH-WEST EUROPE (Yale University Press / British Trust for Ornithology, 1998), page 271.]

Like most large corvids, the Hood Crow is quite versatile in filling various habitats.

Wary, aggressive scavenger found in all habitats from city centre to tideline, forest to mountain top. Generally seen in ones and twos, but the adage ‘crows alone, rooks in a flock’ unreliable; often accompanies other crows, and hundreds may gather at favoured feeding spots and roosts. Watch for crow’s frequent nervy wing flicks whenever on ground or perched. Calls varied. Typically a loud, angry kraa, usually given in series of 2—6 calls. Unlike Rook, pairs nest alone (usually in tree).

[Again quoting Kightley, Madge, & Nurney, POCKET GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF BRITAIN AND NORTH-WEST EUROPE, page 271.]

CarrionCrow.YvesThonnerieux-OuisseauxBirds

CARRION CROW   (Yves Thonnerieux / Ouiseaux-Birds photo)

Yet the HOODED CROW is not a genetically self-contained “species”, regardless of what taxonomists might wish about them.  They happily hybridize with other crows, especially the CARRION CROW [Corvus corone], whose international range the Hooded Crow overlaps.

Carrion-Hooded-Crows-mixing.BirdHybrids-photo

CARRION CROWS + HOODED CROWS = HYBRIDS   (Bird Hybrids photo)

CARRION AND HOODED CROWS. The familiar crow. Two distinct races occur … [In the]British Isles and western Europe, Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) is common everywhere except north and west Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man and Europe east of Denmark, where it is replaced by Hooded (Corvus cornix). Where breeding ranges overlap hybrids are frequent [emphasis added by JJSJ].

[Again quoting Kightley, Madge, & Nurney, POCKET GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF BRITAIN AND NORTH-WEST EUROPE, page 271.]

The Carrion-Hooded Crow hybrids are also noted within a larger discussion (i.e., pages 224-228) of Corvid family hybrids, in Eugene M. McCarthy, HANDBOOK OF AVIAN HYBRIDS OF THE WORLD (Oxford University Press, 2006), at page 227.

Corvids.JelmerPoelstra-UppsalaUniv-image

CORVIDS   Jelmer Poelstra / Uppsala Univ. image

Dr. McCarthy, an avian geneticist, has accumulated and summarized genetic research on Carrion-Hooded hybrids, especially examples observed in Eurasia:

Because the Carrion Crow has a split range … with the Hooded Crow intervening … there are two long contact zones, one extending from N. Ireland, through N. Scotland, to N.W. Germany, then S to N Italy, and another stretching from the Gulf of Ob (N Russia) to the Aral Sea. … Even in the center of the [overlap] zone, only 30% of [these corvid] birds are obviously intermediate. Due to hybridization these [corvid] birds are now sometimes lumped, but Parkin et al. (2003) recommend against this treatment since the two have obvious differences in plumage, as well as in vocalizations and ecology, and because hybrids have lower reproductive success than either parental type. Hybrid young are less viable, too, than young produced from unmixed mating (Saino and Villa 1992). Genetic variability increases within the hybrid zone (as has been observed in many other types of crossings). Occasional mixed pairs occur well outside [the overlap range] zones (e.g., Schlyter reports one from Sweden).

[Quoting Eugene M. McCarthy, HANDBOOK OF AVIAN HYBRIDS OF THE WORLD (Oxford University Press, 2006), at page 227.]

Dr. McCarthy, on pages 224-228, lists several other examples of documented corvid hybridizations, including: Corvus capellanus [Mesopotamian Crow] X Corvus corone [Carrion Crow]; Corvus cornix [Hooded Crow] X Pica pica [Black-billed Magpie]; Corvus albus [Pied Crow] X Corvus albicollis [White-necked Raven];  Corvus albus  [Pied Crow] X Corvus ruficollis [Brown-necked Raven]; Corvus albus [Pied Crow] X Corvus splendens [House Crow]; Corvus brachyrhynchos [American Crow] X Corvus caurinus [Northwestern Crow]; Corvus corax [Common Raven] X Corvus brachyrhynchos [American Crow]; Corvus corax [Common Raven] X Corvus corone [Carrion Crow]; Corvus corax [Common Raven] X Corvus cryptoleucus [Chihuahuan Raven]; Corvus corax [Common Raven] X Corvus levaillantii [Jungle Crow]; Corvus corax [Common Raven] X Corvus macrorhynchos [Large-billed Crow]; Corvus corax [Common Raven] X Corvus ruficollis [Brown-necked Raven]; Corvus corone [Carrion Crow] X Corvus macrorhynchos [Large-billed Crow];   Corvus daururicus [Jackdaw, a/k/a “Coloeus dauuricus”] X Corvus monedula [Jackdaw, a/k/a “Coloeus mondela”]; Corvus levaillantii [Jungle Crow] X Corvus macrorhynchos [Large-billed Crow]; Pica nuttalli [Yellow-billed Magpie] X Pica pica [Black-billed Magpie]; plus it looks like an occasional Rook [Corvus frugilegus] joins the “mixer”, etc.   Looks like a good mix or corvids!

Avian hybrids, of course, often surprise and puzzle evolutionist taxonomists, due to their faulty assumptions and speculations about so-called “speciation” – as was illustrated, during AD2013, in the discovery of Norway’s “Redchat”  —  see “Whinchat, Redstart, & Redchat:  Debunking the ‘Speciation’ Myth Again”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2017/12/12/whinchat-redstart-redchat-debunking-the-speciation-myth-again/ .

CorvidRanges.Wikipedia

CORVID RANGES of the world   (Wikipedia map)

Meanwhile, as the listed examples (of corvid hybridizations) above show, corvid hybrids are doing their part to “fill the earth”, including Hooded-Carrion Crows.

Now that is are something to crow about!               ><> JJSJ   profjjsj@aol.com


 

Pleasant Surprise – Hawks and Owls

BJU Waterman Bird Collection Hawks Display 2018

“Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?” (Job 39:26 KJV)

The next upper display case had Hawks and Owl specimen. The three Hawks give a size perspective of those hawks. The largest is the Red-Shouldered Hawk, then the Northern Harrier (female), and the Broad-Winged Hawk.

BJU Waterman Bird Collection Hawks and Owls Display 2018

“And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:15-16 KJV)

The Owls went from small to the large Great Horned Owl being the largest. The two small owls are the Boreal Owl, and the Common Screech Owl. Out of the five species, we have only seen the Red-shouldered Hawk, the Harrier and a Great Horned Owl in the wild. Again, I think these birds look pretty good, considering how long they have be preserved. [Before 1910]

Hawks and Owls are both mentioned in Scripture and are therefore – Birds of the Bible. Birds of the Bible – Hawks and Birds of the Bible – Owls. Did you notice their coloration? Most sleep during the day and the Lord, their Creator, has provided them with a camouflage that helps many of them look like bark on trees.

Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) Tail

Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) Tail by Lee

[My favorite “bark” covered bird is the Tawny Frogmouth. We see them in the zoos.] Back to this article.

Here are some very informative articles with great photos about these birds from WhatBird and All About Birds. The WhatBird links have sounds to which you can listen.

Red-shouldered Hawk BJU Bird Collection 2018

  • The Red-shouldered Hawk and the Barred Owl occupy the same range in the eastern United States. They prefer the same moist woodland habitats and eat similar animals. The hawk is active during the day, and the owl is active at night. [WhatBird]

Red-shouldered Hawk  All About Birds

Northern Harrier BJU Bird Collection 2018

  • Unusual among hawks, Northern Harriers use their sense of hearing to help locate prey. They have an owl-like facial disk to help with directional hearing and soft feathers for a quieter flight. [WhatBird]

Northern Harrier  All About Birds

Broad-Winged Hawk BJU Bird Collection

  • During migration, weather and geography cause these birds to concentrate into groups that number in the thousands. These large groups are referred to as “kettles.” [WhatBird]

Broad-Winged Hawk  All About Birds

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) BJU Collection

  • The Boreal Owl is also known as Tengmalm’s Owl, after the Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm. [WhatBird]

Boreal Owl  All About Birds

Screech Owl (Megascops asio) BJU Bird Collection 2018

  • The Eastern Screech Owl was first described by Carolus Linnaeus, in 1758. They have also been called the Common Screech Owl, Ghost Owl, Dusk Owl, Little-eared Owl, Spirit Owl, Whickering Owl, Little Gray Owl, Mottled Owl, Mouse Owl, Cat Owl, Shivering Owl, and Little Horned Owl.” [WhatBird]

Eastern Screech-Owl  All About Birds

Great-Horned Owl BJU Bird Collection

  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a “bazaar”, “glaring”, “parliament”, “stooping”, and “wisdom” of owls. [WhatBird]

Great Horned Owl  All About Birds

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Birds of the Bible – Hawks

Birds of the Bible – Owls

Accipitriformes – Order, Accipitridae – Family (Kites, Hawks & Eagles)

STRIGIFORMES (Owls) Order

What will you do with Jesus?

Pleasant Surprise – Petrel and Crow

Leach’s Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) BJU Bird Collection 2018

Just realized I didn’t post this. Again, it is a duplicate of a Waterman Bird Collection – Part II – Petrel & Crow article on the Birds of the Bible for Kids blog. [I am behind in blogging] This time it is about the Leach’s Storm Petrel and the Crow.

As promised, in Waterman Bird Collection – Part II, here are the last two birds from that display. The Leach’s Storm Petrel and the Crow will now be introduced. Many of you already have heard of a Crow, but how about a Storm Petrel? Let’s see what we can find out about these avian creations from the Creator.

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Bottom Shelf

The two birds today are the two right hand birds in the Display.

The Leach’s Storm Petrel [at the top] is starting to show a tiny bit of deterioration, but considering it’s over 100 years old, it’s not too much.

“The Leach’s Storm Petrel or Leach’s Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) is a small seabird of the tubenose order. It is named after the British zoologist William Elford Leach. The scientific name is derived from Ancient Greek. Oceanodroma is from okeanos, “ocean” and dromos, “runner”, and leucorhoa is from leukos, “white” and orrhos, “rump”.

“It breeds on inaccessible islands in the colder northern areas of the Atlantic and Pacific. It nests in colonies close to the sea in well concealed areas such as rock crevices, shallow burrows or even logs. It lays a single white egg which often has a faint ring of spots at the large end. This storm petrel is strictly nocturnal at the breeding sites to avoid predation by gulls and skuas, and will even avoid coming to land on clear moonlit nights. The largest colony of Leach’s storm petrels can be found on Baccalieu Island of eastern Canada, an ecological reserve with more than 3 million pairs of the bird.” [Wikipedia with editing]

Fun Fact: “Flies swiftly, erratically, buoyantly with 1 or 2 fast, powerful flaps followed by glides on wings held well above the horizontal and noticeably kinked; sudden changes of direction impart a bounding quality. Flutters less than other storm-petrels.” [Neotropical Birds]

Drinks salt water – Formed By Him – Sea Birds That Drink Seawater, is an interesting article about Tubenose birds.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The last bird in the part of the collection is a Crow. It wasn’t shown which one exactly, so we are using the American Crow.

“The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America. American crows are the new world counterpart to the carrion crow and the hooded crow. Although the American crow and the hooded crow are very similar in size, structure and behavior, their calls are different. The American crow nevertheless occupies the same role the hooded crow does in Eurasia.”

Florida Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan’sPix

“From beak to tail, an American crow measures 40–50 cm (16–20 in), almost half of which is tail. Mass varies from about 300 to 600 g (11 to 21 oz). Males tend to be larger than females. The most usual call is CaaW!-CaaW!-CaaW!.’

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Ray

“The American crow is all black, with iridescent feathers. It looks much like other all-black corvids. They can be distinguished from the common raven (C. corax) because American crows are smaller and from the fish crow (C. ossifragus) because American crows do not hunch and fluff their throat feathers when they call, and from the carrion crow (C. corone) by the enunciation of their calls.” [American Crow – Wikipedia]

A Cool Fact from American Crows – All About Birds:

  • Crows sometimes make and use tools. Examples include a captive crow using a cup to carry water over to a bowl of dry mash; shaping a piece of wood and then sticking it into a hole in a fence post in search of food; and breaking off pieces of pine cone to drop on tree climbers near a nest.

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Here are the links to this Series:

A Pleasant Surprise At The BJU Homecoming

Pleasant Surprise II

Pleasant Surprise III

 

Woodstock’s New Hairdo

Today’s Peanut’s cartoon reminds me of the birds we saw at the Jacksonville Zoo recently. It had rained before and it rained while we were visiting.

Woodstock and Rain

“Poor Woodstock.. When he gets wet, he looks like an English Sheep-Bird!” [In case you can’t read it]

“Who does great things, and unsearchable, Marvelous things without number. He gives rain on the earth, And sends waters on the fields.” (Job 5:9-10 NKJV)

In Where Am I Found? – Abdim’s Stork, the first photo showed the stork still wet. Dan just showed me his photo of the Stork, which definitely shows a wet bird hairdo.

Wet Abdim’s Ibis at Jacksonville Zoo by Dan

My photo of this wet Ibis:

Abdim’s Stork (Ciconia abdimii) -Jacksonville Zoo wet

There were a few others that were not up to their normally sleek appearance.

Another wet avian wonder was the Yellow-billed Stork. He was damp, but not as wet as the Abdim’s Stork.

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) Wet at Jacksonville Zoo

Are you taking a picture of me like this when I am not preened?

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) – Jacksonville Zoo

This is why you see so many birds preening. The Roseate Spoonbill was busy straightening and drying its feathers.

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) Preening – Jax Zoo

“Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry.” (Psalms 147:8-9 NKJV)

There were a few others that were not up to their normally sleek appearance.

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Where Am I Found? – Abdim’s Stork

Some of the Other Jacksonville Zoo articles:

Jacksonville Zoo’s Noisy Stork Tree

Marabou Stork Chicks and Inca Tern at Jacksonville Zoo

Birdwatching at the Jacksonville Zoo by Dan’s Pix

Jacksonville Zoo’s Cape Thick-knee

Birds of the Bible – Black-faced Ibis at Jax Zoo by Dan

Birds of the Bible – Black-faced Ibis at Jax Zoo by Dan

Black-faced Ibis (Theristicus melanopis) Jax Zoo by Dan

On the way to South Carolina we visited the Jacksonville Zoo. The birds were a bit damp as it had just rained. Here is one of the avian wonders that Dan captured with his camera.

and for a long time birds and hedgehogs, and ibises and ravens shall dwell in it: and the measuring line of desolation shall be cast over it, and satyrs shall dwell in it. (Isaiah 34:11 Brenton)

“The Black-faced Ibis (Theristicus melanopis) is a species of bird in the family Threskiornithidae. It is found in grassland and fields in southern and western South America. It has been included as a subspecies of the similar buff-necked ibis, but today all major authorities accept the split. The black-faced ibis also included the Andean ibis (T. branickii) as a subspecies. Some taxonomic authorities (including the American Ornithological Society) still do so.” [Wikipedia with editing]

Links:

 

 

A Pleasant Surprise – III

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Bottom Shelf

The next set of birds from the Waterman Bird Collection at BJU has five specimens. Four of these birds are found in or near water, but the Crow is not really known as a water bird. [This is a copy of the Waterman Bird Collection – Part II from Birds of the Bible for Kids]

This is the bottom shelf display under the Anatidae Family, just above them. That Family was covered in A Pleasant Surprise – II. I trust you clicked on the links provided to read more about those avian wonders.

Common Loon (Gavia immer) BJU Bird Collection 2018

Common Loon (Gavia immer) BJU Bird Collection 2018

Our big tall bird is a Common Loon. “The common loon or great northern diver (Gavia immer) is a large member of the loon, or diver, family of birds. Breeding adults have a plumage that includes a broad black head and neck with a greenish, purplish, or bluish sheen, blackish or blackish-grey upperparts, and pure white underparts except some black on the undertail coverts and vent. Non-breeding adults are brownish with a dark neck and head marked with dark grey-brown. Their upperparts are dark brownish-grey with an unclear pattern of squares on the shoulders, and the underparts, lower face, chin, and throat are whitish. The sexes look alike, though males are significantly larger and heavier than females. During the breeding season, they live on lakes and other waterways in Canada, the northern United States (including Alaska), as well as in southern parts of Greenland and Iceland. Small numbers breed on Svalbard and sporadically elsewhere in Arctic Eurasia. Common loons winter on both coasts of the US as far south as Mexico, and on the Atlantic coast of Europe.

Common Loon by Raymond Barlow

Common loons eat a wide range of animal prey including fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, mollusks, and occasionally aquatic plant life. They swallow most of their prey underwater, where it is caught, but some larger items are first brought to the surface.” Common Loon – Wikipedia

Here is just one of the Cool Facts from Common Loon – All About Birds

  • Loons are agile swimmers, but they move pretty fast in the air, too. Migrating loons have been clocked flying at speeds more than 70 mph.

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) BJU Bird Collection 2018

Next to the Loon is a Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena). “Like all grebes, the Red-necked is a good swimmer, a particularly swift diver, and responds to danger by diving rather than flying. The feet are positioned far back on the body, near the tail, which makes the bird ungainly on land. It dives for fish or picks insects off vegetation; it also swallows its own feathers, possibly to protect the digestive system.” Red-necked Grebes – Wikipedia

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) young on her wing©USFWS

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) young on her wing©USFWS

Here is a Cool Fact from Red-necked Grebe – All About Birds

  • The oldest recorded Red-necked Grebe was at least 11 years old when it was found in Minnesota, the same state where it had been banded.

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The smaller Grebe, next to the Red-necked Grebe, is a Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) . They both belong to the Podicipedidae Family. Now that is a bird we see often here in Florida.

Pied-Billed Grebe at Lake Hollingsworth, Lakeland, FL by Dan

Pied-Billed Grebe at Lake Hollingsworth, Lakeland, FL by Dan

“The Pied-billed Grebes (Podilymbus podiceps) is a species of the grebe family of water birds. Since the Atitlán grebe (Podilymbus gigas) has become extinct, it is the sole extant member of the genus Podilymbus. The pied-billed grebe is primarily found in ponds throughout the Americas. Other names of this grebe include American dabchick, dabchick, Carolina grebe, devil-diver, dive-dapper, dipper, hell-diver, pied-billed dabchick, pied-bill, thick-billed grebe, and water witch.”

Pied-billed Grebes are small, stocky, and short-necked. They are mainly brown, with a darker crown and back. Their brown color serves as camouflage in the marshes they live in. They do not have white under their wings when flying, like other grebes. Their undertail is white and they have a short, blunt chicken-like bill that is a light grey color, which in summer is encircled by a broad black band (hence the name). In the summer, its throat is black.”  Pied-billed grebe – Wikipedia [with editing]

A Cool Fact about this from Pied-billed Grebe – All About Birds

  • Pied-billed Grebe chicks typically leave the nest the first day after hatching and spend much of their first week riding around on a parent’s back. They usually spend most of their first 3 weeks on or near the nest platform.

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) chick ©WikiC

We will check out the other two birds in the display case next.

I trust you will enjoy meeting the various birds through this series. The links provided give much more information, and photos of these species.

“The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.” (Psalms 111:2 NKJV)

Gaviidae – Loons – Family

Podicipedidae – Grebes – Family

 

Four Billion Birds Flying

Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) female WikiC

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV)

Here are some interesting statements from an article on All About Birds. The research that Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientists are discovering with weather radar data is assisting the ornithologist. They are learning more about the 4 Billion birds that migrate during this time of the year.

“An average of 4 billion birds passed from Canada across the northern border of the U.S. in autumn, with 2.6 billion birds returning across the Canada–U.S. border in spring. Activity across the southern border was on an even grander scale: an average of 4.7 billion birds left the U.S. for Mexico and other points south each autumn, with 3.5 billion birds heading north across the U.S. southern border each spring.”

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) male by Kent Nickell

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) male by Kent Nickell

That is quite a few birds heading south, with fewer returning in the spring. It appears the birds that go further south have a better survival rate than the ones that winter here in the United States. 

” For birds crossing the U.S. northern border—which includes many short-distance migrants such as sparrows, Snow Buntings, and Dark-eyed Juncos that fly from Canada to spend winter in the Lower 48 states—the average rate of return was 64 percent. But for birds crossing the U.S. southern border—which includes more of the long-distance migrants such as warblers, tanagers, and orioles that travel to Central and South America, three to four times farther than the short-distance migrants—the average rate of return was 76 percent.”

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) at Lake Howard, Winter Haven, Florida By Dan'sPix

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) at Lake Howard, Winter Haven, Florida By Dan’sPix

My first thoughts were why are so many not surviving here in North America. Yet, those traveling further south, seem to fare better. I knew from previous articles I’ve read that many birds die from impact with tall buildings and glass windows. Here is what they had to say:

One explanation for the higher mortality among birds that overwinter in the U.S. may be a higher number of hazards. “All birds need to stay safe from predators, find enough food, and not get hit by a car,” says Ken Rosenberg, research coauthor and conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab. “Birds wintering in the U.S. may have more habitat disturbances and more buildings to crash into, and they might not be adapted for that.” 

They also discuss in this article the differences in different breeding strategy between short distant and long distant migrants.

“And He changes the times and the seasons;” (Daniel 2:21 NKJV)

Sandhill Cranes in our side yard

Here in Florida, I have begun seeing more of the migrants that spend time near here. The Boat-tailed Grackles are invading my feeders already. I have also spotted more Bald Eagles, and the Heron, Egrets, and Sandhill Cranes seem to be more populous. Yeah, for the Winter Visitors!!


4 Billion Birds Will Fly Through American Airspace This Fall by Carley Eschiman, All About Birds, Sept 17,2018

Unbelievable Migrations from Creation Moments

Bird Migration Mistakes

Birds of the Bible – Migration September 2009

Interesting Things – Amazing Bird Migration

 

 

Black Sicklebill – Thin Blue Line

Here is an interesting video about a Black Sicklebill displaying.
Black Sicklebill: The Thin Blue Line by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Black Sicklebills are elegant, slender birds with long bills and tails. But that all changes when a female comes by. The male transforms into a horizontal comet shape on his display perch. He doesn’t use his wings to do this; he uses flank feathers. The comet shape is accentuated by a narrow blue band of iridescence created when those flank feathers line up precisely. Filmed and photographed by Tim Laman and Eric Liner. [YouTube] “The black sicklebill (Epimachus fastosus) is a large bird-of-paradise of midmountain forests of New Guinea. The sicklebill’s diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods. The male of the species performs a horizontal courtship display with the pectoral plumes raised around its head. The male has black plumage with iridescent green, blue and purple scale-like feathers, red irises, bright yellow mouth, long curved black bill, huge sabre-shaped tail and large erectile fan-like plumes on the sides of its breast. The female is smaller than the male, with reddish brown plumage, brown irises, and buff below. Reaching up to 110 cm in length, the male black sicklebill is the longest member of Paradisaeidae, though the curl-crested manucode has a larger body.” [Wikipedia with editing]
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)