The newest I and the Bird came out this past week at 10,000 Birds. The theme? Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns:
But what is it that makes them so appealing? Is it their appearance, the flashy plumes or the vaguely dinosaurian affect? Is it their penchant for doing their thing right out in the open? Or is that they’re impossible to miss most of the time. We love water and herons need water, so we find ourselves in the same places so much of the time. They simply get noticed in a way that perching birds and even stealthy hawks don’t. And that makes them a great ambassadors for birds worldwide.
Nick Lund of The Birdist gets another mention with his fun take on Google birding:
I was perusing Google Street View the other day when it dawned on my that it just might be the cure for my March birding blues. A car travelling all of America’s roads taking 360 degree video must have seen a few birds along the way, right? How many could I find? My task instantly overwhelming my brain, I cancelled all my other appointments (none), asked my secretary to hold my calls (I don’t have a secretary and no one was calling), and set to work.
Birding Frontiers is a great blog that doesn’t got many mentions here because of its focus on European birds, but this piece by Matt Young on North American Redpolls is one worth filing away for reference:
n the small upstate New York city of Cortland, I had the luxury of having redpolls visit my feeders starting mid-December. As any redpoll enthusiast will do, I started my usual painstaking examination of each and every bird. As most know, the variation found in
the different redpoll subspecies can throw even the best of the best birders off. At first the variation found in the flock in my backyard was fair at best, but that all changed… Sunday the 20 of January, a new flock appeared… and the variation was nothing like I had ever seen before.
Ed Yong’s Not Exactly Rocket Science is a super site for those with an interest in general science, and his recent post on prehistoric four-winged birds is really fascinating:
Meanwhile, it’s tempting to think that the feathers on their hind legs gradually became smaller and gave way to scales. But that’s not how it happened. For a start, we know that some small dinosaurs had long feathers on their legs as well as their arms. And now, 11 newly analysed fossils tell us that some early birds shared the same feature. These specimens suggest that some of our feathered friends had four wings.
At Ontario Birds and Herps, Josh Vandermeulen gets a nice opportunity to photograph a Western Grebe that has been hanging around the Toronto lakefront for the better part of a month:
Another common “display” that the Western Grebe would do involved crouching really low to the water, with its neck down as low as it could go. It would then start flapping its wings just under the surface of the water, raising its body out of the water. Though it never did “dance” like I’ve heard Clark’s Grebes do on their breeding grounds. This was just an exaggerated flap.