Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Great Horned and Ferruginous Pygmy Owls

There weren’t any owls on our must-see lists for Brazil and Chile because we weren’t particularly expecting to see any. However, we ended up seeing two species at opposite ends of the size scale: the largest Brazilian owl, Great Horned Owl, and one of the smallest, the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.

The Great Horned Owl – splendidly named the Grand-duc d’Amérique in French – is seriously big, with females, larger than males, being up to 60cm/24in in length, 1.5kg/53oz in weight, with a wing span of up to 1.5m/5ft. The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, by comparison tiny with the (smaller) males being as short as 15cm/6in, as light as 46g/1.6oz with an average wing span of 38cm/15in.

STI-Strg Great Horned Owl by Ian

Great Horned Owls feed mainly on mammals but are versatile and will take birds from small passerines up to geese and Great Blue Herons. Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are also versatile, make up for their small size by being quite aggressive and taking anything from insects to birds much bigger than themselves.

STI-Strg Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum) by Ian

Their versatile diets mean both species are very adaptable and have huge ranges in the Americas. The range of the Great Horned Owl extends from Alaska and northern Canada through Central and South America as far as northern Argentina, though it sizes restricts it to hunting in open areas and it avoids rainforests such as the Amazon Basin.

The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl ranges from southern Arizona through Central America and most of South America east of the Andes (including the Amazon Basin), also as far as northern Argentina. Both incidentally illustrate the taxonomic folly of using geographical areas in names, the specific name of one referring to the American state of Virginia, and the other to Brazil.

PEL-Pele Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus) by Ian

You probably know by now that I’m attracted to symbols, hence the owls. I couldn’t resist using avian symbols of wisdom as we celebrate the beginning of a new year and a new decade. The last decade seems to have been singularly lacking in wisdom in politics and leadership, and I hope for better in the twenties. At the same time we need to be optimistic and not lose our sense of fun, so I’m sharing the experience Trish and I enjoyed of watching Peruvian Pelicans on the coast of Chile – another lesson in names – apparently enjoying skimming over the waves in the late afternoon.

On the subject of wisdom, I read an article on the (Australian) ABC website today on whether the decade actually starts on the first of January 2020 or 2021. At the start of the millennium I was one of the pedants who felt it started in 2001, but I’ve shifted my ground. I like this quote from a comment on the article by Professor Hans Noel:

“Knowledge is knowing that there was no year 0 so technically the new decade begins Jan 1 2021, not 2020.

“Wisdom is knowing that we started this system in the middle, it’s socially constructed anyway, and it feels right to treat ‘1 to 10’ as a decade, so that’s what we do.”

The ABC Language researcher Tiger Webb had the final word:

“What’s often missing from this discussion is that all calendrical systems are abstractions of human arrogance in the face of an indifferent universe.”

So have a wisdom- and fun-filled 2020 and decade!

Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Well, now there is an interesting take on this new year.

I do know that according to the Bible, there was a year zero (0):

“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
(Exodus 20:11 KJV)

That was when TIME as we know it began.

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15 KJV)

Like Ian, Happy New Year.

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Moments

Birds Are Wonderful: Y and Z !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  Y  and  Z !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the ninth (and last) installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter Y is illustrated by Yellow-headed Blackbird, Yucatan Jay, and Yellow-eyed Penguin.  The letter Z  illustrated by Zino’s Petrel, Zigzag Heron, and Zone-tailed Hawk. Since this series is not using the Norwegian alphabet, this is the end of this series!

“Y” BIRDS:   Yellow-headed Blackbird, Yucatan Jay, and Yellow-eyed Penguin.

BAW-Yellowhead-YucatanJayBAW-YelloweyedPenguin

“Z” BIRDS:  Zino’s Petrel, Zigzag Heron, and Zone-tailed Hawk.

BAW-ZinosPetrel-ZigzagHeronBAW-ZonetailedHawk

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like the , are exquisitely beautiful, while others, like the are fascinatingly unusual, if not also a bit weird!  (That concludes this series; however, there are thousands of birds that could have been included, so this series only introduced the biodiversity of birds, D.v.)


* Quoting “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, © AD2019—AD 2020 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

BAW-Zino'sPetrel.Wikipedia

Zino’s Petrel (Wikipedia sketch)

Birds Are Wonderful: V, W, and X !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  V,  W,  and  X !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in this year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the eighth installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter V is illustrated by Vasa Parrot, Vireos, and Vultures.  The letter W illustrated by Wood Duck, Waxwings, and Whinchat.  The letter X illustrated by Xavier’s Greenbul, Xingus Scale-backed Antbird, and Xantus’s Hummingbird.

“V” BIRDS:   Vasa Parrot, Vireos, and Vultures.

BAW-VasaParrot-Vireo

BAW-Vulture

“W” BIRDS:  Wood Duck, Waxwings, and Whinchat.

BAW-WoodDuck-WaxwingsBAW-Whinchat

“X” BIRDS:  Xavier’s Greenbul, Xingus Scale-backed Antbird, and Xantus’s Hummingbird.

BAW-XavierGreenbul-XingusScalebackedAntbirdBAW-XantusHummingbird

Birds are truly wonderful — some are gracefully beautiful, like  Xantus’s Hummingbird, — and some, like the Vultures, are fascinatingly unusual, if not also a little weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Vulture-turkey.TexasHillCountry

Birds Are Wonderful: S, T, and U !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  S,  T,  and  U !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the seventh installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter S is illustrated by Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Stork, and Starling.  The letter T illustrated by Turkey, Trumpeter Swan, and Turnstone.  The letter U illustrated by Ural Owl, Udzungwa partridge, and Umbrellabird.

“S” BIRDS:   Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Storks, and Starlings.

BAW-Scissortail-Stork

BAW-Starling

“T” BIRDS:  Turkey, Trumpeter Swan, and Turnstone.

BAW-Turkey-TrumpeterSwanBAW-Turnstone

“U” BIRDS:  Ural Owl, Udzungwa Partridge, and Umbrellabird.

BAW-UralOwl-UdzungwaPartridge

BAW-Umbrellabird

Birds are truly wonderful — some are gracefully beautiful, like the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher — and some, like the bizarre-displaying Umbrellabird, are fascinatingly unusual, if not also a little weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Scissortail-in-flight.Cornell

Scissortail in flight (Cornell Lab photo)

 

Birds Are Wonderful: P, Q, and R !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  P,  Q,  and  R !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the sixth advance installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter P is illustrated by Pinyon Jay, Puffins, and Peafowl.  The letter Q  illustrated by Quail, Quetzal, and Queen Carola’s Parotia.  The letter L illustrated by Rhea, Raven, and Roadrunner.

“P” BIRDS:   Pinyon Jay, Puffins, and Peafowl.

BAW-PinyonJay-Puffins

BAW-Peafowl

“Q” BIRDS:  Quail, Quetzal, and Queen Carola’s Parotia.

BAW-Quail-QuetzalBAW-QueenCarolasParotia

“R” BIRDS:  Rhea, Raven, and Roadrunner.

BAW-Rhea-RavenBAW-Roadrunner

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like the Peacock and Quetzal, are exquisitely beautiful, while others, like the rattlesnake-killing Roadrunner, are fascinatingly unusual, if not also odd-looking!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

PinyonJay-PinyonPine.CaganSekercioglu

 

Birds Are Wonderful: M, N, and O !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  M,  N,  and  O !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For welcoming in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the fifth advance installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter M is illustrated by Magpies, Magnificent Frigatebird, and Motmots.  The letter N  illustrated by Nightingale, Needle-billed Hermit, and Nighthawk (also called “Nightjar”).  The letter O illustrated by Osprey, Oriental Stork, and Oystercatcher.

“M” BIRDS:   Magpies, Magnificent Frigatebird, and Motmots.

BAW-Magpie-MagnificentFrigatebirdBAW-Motmots

“N” BIRDS:  Nightingale, Needle-billed Hermit, and Nighthawk.

BAW-Nightingale-NeedlebilledHermitBAW-Nighthawk

“O” BIRDS:  Osprey, Oriental Stork, and Oystercatcher.

BAW-Osprey-OrientalStorkBAW-Oystercatcher

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like the “egg-dumping” Oystercatcher, are a little bit odd, if not also weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

BAW-MagellanicOystercatcher-white-sand

 

Birds Are Wonderful: J, K, and L !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  J,  K,  and  L !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the fourth advance installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter J is illustrated by Jack-Snipe, Junco, and Jackdaw.  The letter K  illustrated by Kiwi, Kites, and King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise.  The letter L illustrated by Loons, Loggerhead Shrike, and Little Spider-Hunter.

“J” BIRDS:   Jack-Snipe, Junco, and Jackdaw.

BAW-JackSnipe-JuncoBAW-Jackdaw

“K” BIRDS:  Kiwi, Kites, and King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise.

BAW-Kiwi-KitesBAW-King-o-Saxony-Bird-o-Paradise

“L” BIRDS:  Loons, Loggerhead Shrike, Little Spider-Hunter.

BAW-Loons-LoggerheadShrikeBAW-LittleSpiderHunter

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like the King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise, are a little bit extravagant-looking, if not also weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Loon-with-crayfish.USFWS

Birds Are Wonderful: G, H, and I !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  D,  E,  and  F !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the third advance installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter G is illustrated by Gila Woodpecker, Grey-Crowned Crane, and Golden Plover.  The letter H  illustrated by Hoopoe, Hoatzin, and Hummingbird.  The letter I illustrated by Iceland Gull, Ibis, and Invisible Rail.

“G” BIRDS:   Gila Woodpecker, Grey-Crowned Crane, and Golden Plover.

BAW-GilaWoodpecker-Grey-CrownedCrane

BAW-GoldenPlover

“H” BIRDS:  Hoopoe, Hoatzin, and Hummingbird.

BAW-Hoopoe-Hoatzin

BAW-Hummingbirds

“I” BIRDS:  Iceland Gull, Ibis, and Invisible Rail. 

BAW-IcelandGull-IbisBAW-InvisibleRail

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like Hoopoe, are a little bit goofy-looking, if not also weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Hoopoe-wikipedia

 

 

Birds Are Wonderful: D, E, and F !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  D,  E,  and  F !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the second advance installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter D is illustrated by Diamond Firetail, Dead Sea Sparrow, and Doves.  The letter E  illustrated by Eiders, Egrets, and Edible-Nest Swiftlet.  The letter F illustrated by Flamingos, Flamebacks, and Frogmouths.

“D” BIRDS:   Diamond Firetail, Dead Sea Sparrow, and Doves.

BAW-DiamondFiretail-DeadSeaSparrow

BAW-Doves

“E” BIRDS:  Eiders, Egrets, and Edible-Nest Swiftlet.

BAW-Eiders-Egrets

BAW-EdibleNestSwiftlet

“F” BIRDS:  Flamingos, Flamebacks, and Frogmouths. 

BAW-Flamingo-Flameback

BAW-Frogmouths

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like Edible-Nest Swiftlets and Frogmouths, are a little bit weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Frogmouth-tawny

 

Birds Are Wonderful: A, B, and C !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  A, B, and C !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the new year  —  the year of our Lord 2020  —  below follows the first installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter A is illustrated by Anhinga, Andean Condor, and Arctic Tern.  The letter B  illustrated by Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, and Bewick’s Wren.  The letter C illustrated by Cardinal, Chicken, and Cowbirds.

“A” BIRDS:   Anhinga, Andean Condor, and Arctic Tern.

BAW-Anhinga-AndeanCondor

BAW-ArcticTern

“B” BIRDS:  Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, and Bewick’s Wren.

BAW-BaldEagle-BaltimoreOriole

BAW-BewicksWren

“C” BIRDS:  Cardinal, Chicken, and Cowbirds. 

BAW-CowbirdsBAW-Cardinal-Chicken

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like cowbirds, are a little bit weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Rooster-RaisinghappyChickens.com-photo

Tickle Me Tuesday – Christmas Bird Videos

Just thought you needed a diversion from all the last minute gift wrapping and cooking. Enjoy these birds with a Christmas attitude.

“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13 KJV)

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)

“Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.” (1 Chronicles 16:9 KJV)

What is the Gospel?

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Long-tailed Meadowlark

Well the moment is almost Christmas, so an iconic bird, or at least an iconic looking bird, is obligatory. Traditional Christmas icons such as european robins and snow flakes stubbornly persist in Australia despite the summer heat, but I have managed to find a red-breasted bird with a little real snow in the southern hemisphere. Those little white flecks in this photo are tiny snow flakes.

longtail_meadowlark_208681_pp.jpg

We spent out last full – and coldest – day in Chile at a place called Baños Morales at an altitude of 2,000m/6,500ft in the Andes about 100km southeast of Santiago. The intended destination was a location about a kilometre along a walking track past the end of a sealed road up a steep-sided valley where there was supposed to be Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, one of four species that make up the South American Seedsnipe family (Thinocoridae), odd dove-shaped birds related to waders.

banos_morales_7013_pp.jpg

A bitterly cold wind funnelled up the valley from the south and we found that, despite five layers of clothes, we couldn’t manage being out of the car for too long. We abandoned plans to go to the seedsnipe location and concentrated our efforts on a promising looking swampy area near the road. We didn’t find any seedsnipes but we did find various interesting, hardy birds including some Long-tailed Meadowlarks that stood out dramatically in the bleak landscape. Meadowlarks belong to the Icteridae (Birdway), a widespread American family that includes a variety of colourful birds including Caciques, Oropendolas, New World Orioles and Blackbirds – unrelated to the Eurasian Blackbird of the thrush family, Turdidae (Birdway).

Anyway this is a roundabout way of wishing you Season’s Greetings: may it be safe and enjoyable. I have another iconic bird in mind to welcome in the new decade so I’ll leave New Year Greetings until then.

Kind regards
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Merry Christmas to you, Ian. Thanks for sharing a “Christmas iconic bird” with us. The snow makes it even more “Christmassy.” Ian, you are on a roll. Your birds of the “moment” are coming more frequently. Before long, you will have to start doing your “Bird of the Week” articles again.

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Icteridae Family

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)

What will you do with Jesus?