Monthly Archives: March 2011

It’s not easy to be an American coot: The trials and tribulations of a black, red-eyed bird

Upon first glance the american coot, Fulica americana, is not particularly impressive. With its solid black body, red eyes and white bill, you might think that it is just a duck. But beware! This is a very common misconception that … Continue reading

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You can’t fool a coot…American coots employ selective conspecific brood parasitism

With a name like the coot, which sounds slightly off-color, it is not surprising that Fulica americana has several unique characteristics, a few that immediately catch peoples’ attention as well as several unique behavioral traits. The common waterfowl isn’t actually … Continue reading

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Black Bellied Whistling Ducks – They don’t talk smack, they talk quack (February 7, 2011)

Several calls that sounded like the plastic whistles of a hoard of overeager umpires announced the arrival of the black bellied whistling ducks, dendrocygna autumnalis, before they could be seen soaring around the bend of the pond(A great video of … Continue reading

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The stop and go life of the killdeer, America’s shoreless shorebird

I usually hear them on my way back from work at night. With a high-pitched keen, a small dark shape would dart through the black of the unlit IM (intramural) fields in the corner of my eye. “Are those bats?” … Continue reading

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How a Vermillion Flycatcher Caught My Eye

How a vermilion flycatcher caught my eye Sometimes it is difficult to see the beauty in a grey day, but it is always important to be ready for wonder to strike you at any moment. That, at least, is how … Continue reading

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“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have to at least consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands.” Douglas Adams

I enrolled in my university’s Field Bird Biology Lab this semester, a lab I’ve been looking forward to since my freshmen year.  We had our first field trip this Sunday to Brazos Bend State Park.  Even though it was raining … Continue reading

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