Tag Archives: Birds

Student-written bird blogs tie experience to scientific literature

The point of the assignment is for you to tie field observations of one species of bird to refereed scientific literature on that bird and write an engaging and scientifically accurate entry that people will enjoy reading. … A couple of hours would be better, but we won’t necessarily have time for that on the field trips, so watch less time if that is your only opportunity to watch. Continue reading

Posted in Birds | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rock Pigeons: Rats with Wings or Thoroughbreds of the Air?

The rock pigeon (Columba livia) is one of the most common sights in cities around America. Toward the end of February, I sat in the shuttle pick-up area of the Orlando International Airport in Florida for what seemed like hours, … Continue reading

Posted in Pigeons | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Amazing Red Shield: A Look at Common Moorhens

I watched the moorhens circulate about on the water surface of a pond at Brazos Bend State Park for quite some time, generally staying in the same place for some minutes and casually swimming to a spot within a few … Continue reading

Posted in Coots & Moorhens | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The secret and baffling life of the blue jay

I wake every morning to a few birds swooping around the oak tree and shrubs lining the fence in my backyard. One of the most common residents is Cyanocitta cristata, or the blue jay. It may well be that these … Continue reading

Posted in Jays | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Are bird feeders like stockyard feedlots?

My turkscap are all native, and all originally grown from seeds I brought from an Austin plant, at my study site at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, a place I spent years in the 1970s studying wasps, a topic for another entry. … Louis, and what the feeders will be. P2084012.JPG Backyard gluttons, a flock of winter goldfinches. P1223918.JPG These cardinals have already paired up, and are stocking up at a backyard feeder. IMG_0034.JPG The front yard yaupon has lots of berries, and makes a completely natural bird feeder for skittish mockingbirds. PB152300.JPG Even lantana is more natural than a feeder, and attractive to this lovely butterfly – which one?

Continue reading

Posted in Finches | Tagged | 2 Comments

Does my bird feeder feed Cooper’s hawks?

The paper didn’t go into much detail about what it felt like to be out in the north woods summer after summer, beginning a decade before the current crop of undergraduates were born, braving blackflies and mosquitoes, and the talons of hawks, all to do this study. … DOI: 10.1676/04-103.1 URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1676/04-103.1 P1293939 High up in the leafless pecan tree sat the Cooper’s hawk. P1293960 With my new 70-300 Olympus lens, and a lot of overexposure, we could see it looking down at my feeder. P1293958 What a lovely bird!

Continue reading

Posted in Finches, Hawks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Promiscuous white males and faithful tan males in white-throated sparrows

In the case of the white-throated sparrows, Formica and Tuttle report that 35 percent of the nests they sampled in 2000 had at least one chick that was the result of the female copulating with a male other than her mate. … Behavioral Ecology 14:425-432. doi: 10.1093/beheco/14.3.425 IMG_2317 The sparrows were in this thicket. White-throated_Sparrow-27527.jpg White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis, white form, taken by Ken Thomas (public domain). 201101032125.jpg This one is the tan form. 201101032137.jpg 201101232214.jpg The figure above is from Tuttle 2003.

Continue reading

Posted in Sparrows | Tagged , , | 1 Comment