This video was shared by Jon and Shani Friedman, owners of The Wild Bird Store in Tucson, AZ. The photography is astounding and I am sure that you won’t be able to resist watching the entire thing.
With Earth Day on the horizon, please feel free to reshare this with your customers. They will absolutely love it!
Scheduled Time: Thursday, March 8, 2012, 2:00 – 3:00 PM (EST)
Presented By: Alicia F. King, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird Program Communication Coordinator and
Sue Bonfield, Executive Director, Environment for the Americas
Join us as Sue and Alicia talk about ways to connect people to birds and their conservation through this years’ International Migratory Bird Day 20th year celebration. As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, the annual bird conservation theme will focus on 20 ways people may help preserve birds every day. Created in 1993, International Migratory Bird Day celebrations are now hosted at over 500 sites throughout the Western Hemisphere, reaching hundreds of thousands of youth and adults. These sites include National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, museums, nature centers, libraries, and bird observatories.
Whether you are hosting an event or participating in an event hosted by someone else in the celebration of International Migratory Bird Day, Sue and Alicia will help you discover the 20 ways of helping birds can be incorporated into your celebration. Alicia and Sue will also talk about the International Migratory Bird Day Challenge (where you can earn recognition and free materials to support your events) and how to get free publicity for your events. International Migratory Bird Day is a great way for you to connect to
people and help them connect to birds! Please join us for this informational presentation!
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Unfortunately, in most instances, we don’t have the luxury of observing these two species in a side-by-side comparison situation. So, we must rely on other field marks. Let’s review what those field marks are:
Bill Length: Bill length is a good place to start and, in most instances, will help you identify the birds immediately. The criteria I use is to compare the bill length to the length of the head. In the Downy Woodpecker, the bill length appears to be approximately half the length of its head; whereas in the Hairy Woodpecker, the bill length is almost equivalent to the length of the head.
Outer Tail Feathers: both woodpeckers have white outer tail feathers. When perched, these tail feathers are oftentimes easily visible with a pair of binoculars. Notice that, in most cases, the Downy Woodpecker will also show black spots in its white outer tail feathers. When present, these spots are diagnostic.
Vocalization: the calls of these two species are noticeably different. The “pik” of the Downy is softer, less resonant, and not as harsh as the “PEEK!” of the Hairy Woodpecker.
Each species has a lengthier call, with the Downy’s characterized by a clearly descending series of rapidly descending notes; while the Hairy’s call is more of an extended rattle all on the same pitch, similar to a Belted Kingfisher.
Both of these birds can easily be found coast to coast in North America, and frequently visit bird feeders for peanuts, suet or sunflower seeds..
John C. Robinson is author of “Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Bird Watchers“; please visit his website at www.OnMyMountain.com
I’ve done a little reading recently and, believe it or not, it’s time for bat migration to begin. What I’ve found is that a sub-culture of nature enthusiasts exists that spend much of their time studying and caring about bat populations. Everything from migration to habits to specific bat diseases are studied.
Interestingly, wild bird store owners “dabble” in things having to do with bats. I know that, in my store, we dealt mostly with the occasional customer interested in purchasing a bat house. Bats also enjoyed a certain popularity in the Fall, thanks to Halloween.
Some species will hibernate in winter if they can find a suitable spot. These bats in Northern climes will usually come out of hibernation in April. According to the USGS, Forty-five bat species inhabit the United States, and many make short-distance movements between summer and winter quarters. However, four of these species may have longer migratory pathways than any other terrestrial mammal in the Northern Hemisphere. These four species, commonly referred to as “tree bats” because they roost in the foliage or trunks of trees, are hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), eastern and western red bats (L. borealis and L. blossevillii, respectively), and silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans).
Further, what they have found is that it has been difficult to understand and track the migration patterns of these bats because, unlike birds, they are not often seen and few attempts have been made to follow their travel over great distances. Some studies have shown that, whereas birds migrate in search of better food sources, bats typically migrate with the intention of finding better hibernation conditions. Since they typically “roost” in trees, as temperatures drop, they likely will travel to slightly warmer climates.
Dead bats are turning up beneath wind turbines all over the world. Bat fatalities have now been documented at nearly every wind facility in North America where adequate surveys for bats have been conducted, and several of these sites are estimated to cause the deaths of thousands of bats per year. This unanticipated and unprecedented problem for bats has moved to the forefront of conservation and management efforts directed toward this poorly understood group of mammals. The mystery of why bats die at turbine sites remains unsolved. Is it a simple case of flying in the wrong place at the wrong time? Are bats attracted to the spinning turbine blades? Why are so many bats colliding with turbines compared to their infrequent crashes with other tall, human-made structures?
Although these questions remain unanswered, potential clues can be found in the patterns of fatalities. Foremost, the majority of bats killed by wind turbines are species that rely on trees as roosts throughout the year and migrate long distances; we call these species “migratory tree bats.” Currently, migratory tree bats compose more than three quarters of the bat fatalities observed at wind energy sites. The other striking pattern is that the vast majority of bat fatalities at wind turbines occur during late summer and autumn. This seasonal peak in fatalities coincides with periods of both autumn migration and mating behavior of tree bats. Seasonal involvement of species with shared behaviors indicates that behavior plays a key role in the susceptibility of bats to wind turbines, and that migratory tree bats might actually be attracted to wind turbines.
Now is the best time to install a new bat house for possible colonization this year. The Organization for Bat Conservation says that bat houses are still important. Bat houses benefit bats, you, your family, communities, farmers, gardeners and the ecosystem as a whole.
Bat houses provide a safe home for bats and are educational and fun for the whole family. Bats significantly reduce the amount of pest insects in your backyard while simultaneously helping farmers and gardeners by eating insect pests. An individual bat can eat thousands of insects in just one night! More bats eating insects mean less pesticide use in our environment.
A general rule of thumb in terms of house placement includes:
Studies have shown that houses placed on a pole or structure are more readily occupied than those on a tree. Also, the more chambers a house has, the greater a chance it will become colonized. Bats will usually move in during the first year. If there is no activity by the end of the second summer, it might be a good idea to move the house to another location. If a house is painted, one should use a non-toxic water-based paint.
I had heard that colonies of bats were scent specific and that use of guano in or near a new house might be a deterrent to its becoming inhabited. In actuality, absolutely no research has been done as to whether bats will or won’t be attracted by placing purchased guano on or near a bat house. One thought – and this is only a thought – is that it may be possible that bats may not want to move into a house that bears the scent of another colony. Not to mention the fact that purchased guano is likely from a different breed of bat all together.
There is one situation in which guano might be useful. That would be if one has bats in one’s house or attic and would like to entice them to relocate into a new house. In this case, placing some guano from an area where they have been inhabiting might make them smell something familiar.
The Missouri River Bird Observatory is looking for an Education Intern to help with their spring migration station and with several big public outreach and K-12 education events.
Accoring to MRBO, “It’s not the best paying internship on earth but it will be a great experience!”
When: July 8-13, 2012
Where: Estes Park, Colorado and surrounding area
Who: Young Birders Ages 13–18
How Much: $897
Leaders: Bill Schmoker, Jennie Duberstein, Bill Stewart, Jeffrey Gordon, Liz Gordon, and others.
Contact: Jennie Duberstein at email@example.com for more information.
Join us as we explore Colorado from grasslands to glaciers! From the shortgrass prairie of northeastern Colorado to the aspen groves and alpine tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park, 2012 Camp Colorado has it all. The northern Colorado transition zone between the Great Plains to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west boasts mid and low-elevation riparian habitat, rocky foothills canyons, scrubland, and ponderosa pine forests.
An amazing diversity of ecosystems lie within a few hours drive, giving you the opportunity to experience many of Colorado’s diverse life zones and associated birds. Fabulous field trips will be punctuated by terrific educational workshops, making Camp Colorado a truly exceptional experience! Campers will find plenty of opportunities to take their birding skills to the next level, meet other young people with similar interests, explore careers in birding and ornithology, and, of course, learn about he diverse bird life and natural history of northern Colorado. Special birds we will look for include White-tailed Ptarmigan, Dusky Grouse, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Mountain Plover, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Burrowing Owl, Williamson’s Sapsucker, McCown’s and Chestnut-collared longspurs, Virginia’s Warbler, and Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, to name just a few.
This year we will be based out of Estes Park, a great launching site to many different habitats teeming with Colorado’s birds. Our home away from home will be the YMCA of the Rockies, bordering majestic Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ll take advantage of local weather conditions and bird availability but the week will include the birding field trips to following highlights:
Other workshops, discussions, and field opportunities will include: bird banding on the YMCA grounds, field sketching/journaling, photography, bird-related careers and education, guest lectures from bird biologists working in the region, and much more.
In addition to the incredible birding and nature study opportunities, the YMCA of the Rockies will also offer other recreational activities such as swimming, campfires, volleyball, and more.
Fees for camp are $897.00. This includes pick-up at Denver International Airport on the first day of camp and return to the airport on the last day, transportation, lodging, and all meals (starting with dinner on the 8th and ending with lunch on the 13th), leader instruction and supervision, and all entrance fees, educational activities, and programming. To register or for further information, please call 1-800-850-2473 (x-240), 719-884-8240, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you there!