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Fancy Birds

Photos by Roger Bingler

 bitteren-173 The Bittern is a migratory marsh bird of the heron family. The American species, often called stake driver because of the males booming call in the spring.

When pursued, it escapes by standing motionless with bill uplifted, its brown and yellow markings and striped neck blending with the marsh grasses .

The Egret belongs to the species of herons. Before they were protected by law the birds were nearly hunted to extermination seeking their beautiful white silky plumage, called aigrettes, used in millinery.
The Red Winged Black Bird (taken), a songbird (oak-a-lee) that can hide its brilliant red shoulders or show them off in a dazzling display.

Some cool facts:

Different populations and subspecies of Red-winged Blackbirds vary markedly in size and proportions. An experiment was conducted that moved nestlings between populations and found that the chicks grew up to resemble their foster parents. This study indicated that much of the difference seen between populations is the result of the different environments.

The Red-winged Blackbird is a highly polygynous species, with one male having up to 15 different females making nests in his territory. In some populations 90% of territorial males have more than one female. But, from one quarter to up to half of the young in "his" nests do not belong to the territorial male. Instead they have been sired by neighboring males.

The male Red-winged Blackbird fiercely defends his territory during the breeding season. He may spend more than a quarter of all the daylight hours in territory defense. He vigorously keeps all other males out of the territory and defends the nests from predators. He will attack much larger animals, including horses and people.
The Red Ring-necked Pheasant was introduced into North America from Asia. It is a distinctive and colorful species and is a popular game bird.

Peasants practice "harem-defense polygyny" where one male keeps other males away from a small group of females during the breeding season.

The Swan

One of North America’s heaviest flying birds, the Mute Swan is highly territorial. It forms strong pair bonds and has few natural predators. The Swan is also a classic symbol for purety and loaylaty, für vanity and metamorphosis, for  divine and diabolic matters at the same time.
 Yello-finch-35 The Yellow Finch 
The Osprey (taken) is one of the largest birds of prey in North America. It eats almost exclusively fish.
The Osprey is a fish-eating specialist, with live fish accounting for about 99% of its diet. Barbed pads on the soles of its feet help it grip slippery fish. When an Osprey takes a large fish to its nest, it carries the fish headfirst to make it as aerodynamic as possible.

 Heron-19 The Great Blue Heron (Mona) eats primarily fish but is adaptable and willing to eat other animals as well. Occasionally a heron will choke to death trying to eat a fish that is too large to swallow.

< --- This is probably a young bird.

The Bonaparte's Gull has a black hood and a short thin dark bill.
It is graceful in flight, more like a tern.

The Bonaparte's Gull is the only gull that regularly nests in trees.

he English name of the Bonaparte's Gull honors Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who made important contributions to American ornithology while an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia during the 1820s. The scientific name philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.

uring the breeding season, the Bonaparte's Gull feeds mainly on insects, often catching them on the wing.
bonaparte gull
 swallow The Swallow
Swallows are excellent fliers, and use these skills to attract a mate and to defend territory. In general, the males select a nest site, and then attract a female using song and flight, and guard their territory.

The Black Crow

Widespread, common, and obvious, the American Crow is known by most people. What is less well known is how complex its life is. Young crows remain with their parents until they can find a home of their own, and individual relationships may last years.

The Wild Turkey
A native of North America, the turkey is one of only two domesticated birds originating in the New World. The Muscovy Duck is the other.

The Peacock

info here

The Mockingbird The Northern Mockingbird frequently gives a "wing flash" display, where it half or fully opens its wings in jerky intermediate steps, showing off the big white patches. No one knows why it does this behavior, but some have suggested that it startles insects into revealing themselves. However, it does not appear to flush insects, and other mockingbird species that do not have white wing patches use the display, casting doubt on this idea.

The Northern Mockingbird is a loud and persistent singer. It sings all through the day, and often into the night. Most nocturnal singers are unmated males, which sing more than mated males during the day too. Nighttime singing is more common during the full moon. In well-lit areas around people, even mated males may sing at night.

A Northern Mockingbird continues to add new sounds to its song repertoire throughout its life.

he Northern Mockingbird typically sings throughout most of the year, from February through August, and again from September to early November. A male may have two distinct repertoires of songs: one for spring and another for fall. One study found only a one percent overlap in song types used in spring and fall.
The Cardinal

The female Northern Cardinal sings, often from the nest. The song may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male.

The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder.

Brighter red males hold territories with denser vegetation, feed at higher rates, and have greater reproductive success than duller males.
The Peregrine Falcon

Powerful and fast-flying, the Peregrine Falcon hunts medium-sized birds, dropping down on them from high above in a spectacular stoop. Virtually exterminated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century, restoration efforts have made it a regular, if still uncommon sight in many large cities.

The Glossy Ibis
MPR 123003 100064 S
A dark wading bird with a long, down-curved bill. The Glossy Ibis in North America lives primarily along the Atlantic Coast. It makes a  nasal moaning "urm"  and croaks and rattles at breeding colony..

The Blue Jay
The Blue Jay frequently mimics the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk. It has been suggested that these calls provide information to other jays that a hawk is around, or that they are used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present.

Tool use in birds is rare. Captive jays have been reported to use strips of newspaper to rake in food pellets from outside of their cages.

Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove almost invariably lays two eggs. D
uring nest-building, the female stays at the nest and the male collects sticks. He stands on her back to give her the nest material. She takes it and weaves it into the nest.

Photos by Roger Bingler except the ibis.


Last Update 2008-06-05 | Copyrightę Christoph Mayer 2009 print page: Fancy Birds | E-mail a friend about this site: Fancy Birds

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