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Message 11 of 29

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Habitat

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds occur in deciduous woodlands of eastern North America as well as across the Canadian prairies. Commonly associated with old fields, forest edges, meadows, orchards, stream borders, and backyards. On their tropical wintering grounds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds live in dry forests, citrus groves, hedgerows, and scrub.Back to top

Food

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of red or orange tubular flowers such as trumpet creeper, cardinal flower, honeysuckle, jewelweed, bee-balm, red buckeye and red morning glory, as well as at hummingbird feeders and, sometimes, tree sap. Hummingbirds also catch insects in midair or pull them out of spider webs. Main insect prey includes mosquitoes, gnats, fruit flies, and small bees; also eats spiders. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds sometimes take insects attracted to sap wells or picks small caterpillars and aphids from leaves.Back to top

Nesting NEST PLACEMENT

Females build their nests on a slender, often descending branch, usually of deciduous trees like oak, hornbeam, birch, poplar, or hackberry; sometimes pine. Nests are usually 10-40 feet above the ground. Nests have also been found on loops of chain, wire, and extension cords.

NEST DESCRIPTION

The nest is the size of large thimble, built directly on top of the branch rather than in a fork. It’s made of thistle or dandelion down held together with strands of spider silk and sometimes pine resin. The female stamps on the base of the nest to stiffen it, but the walls remain pliable. She shapes the rim of the nest by pressing and smoothing it between her neck and chest. The exterior of the nest is decorated (probably camouflaged) with bits of lichen and moss. The nest takes 6-10 days to finish and measures about 2 inches across and 1 inch deep.

NESTING FACTS
Clutch Size:1-3 eggs
Number of Broods:1-2 broods
Egg Length:0.5-0.6 in (1.2-1.4 cm)
Egg Width:0.3-0.3 in (0.8-0.9 cm)
Incubation Period:12-14 days
Nestling Period:18-22 days
Egg Description:Tiny, white, weighting about half a gram, or less than one-fiftieth of an ounce.
Condition at Hatching:Naked apart from two tracts of gray down along the back, eyes closed, clumsy.
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BehaviorLike all hummingbirds, ruby-throats are precision flyers with the ability to fly full out and stop in an instant, hang motionless in midair, and adjust their position up, down, sideways, and backwards with minute control. They dart between nectar sources with fast, straight flights or sit on a small twig keeping a lookout, bill waving back and forth as the bird looks around. Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds aggressively defend flowers and feeders, leading to spectacular chases and dogfights, and occasional jabs with the beak. They typically yield to larger hummingbird species (in Mexico) and to the notoriously aggressive Rufous Hummingbird. Males give a courtship display to females that enter their territory, making a looping, U-shaped dive starting from as high as 50 feet above the female. If the female perches, the male shifts to making fast side-to-side flights while facing her.Back to top
Conservation

Ruby-throated Hummingbird populations have steadily increased every year from 1966 to 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 20 million with 84% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 51% in Mexico, and 16% breeding in Canada. The species rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Ruby-throated Hummingbird is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Hummingbird feeders are generally safe for hummingbirds, but they can create a problem if they make the birds easy targets for cats or if the feeders are placed around nearby windows that the birds might fly into.Back to top

Backyard Tips

 

You can attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard by setting up hummingbird feeders or by planting tubular flowers. Make sugar water mixtures with about one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water. Food coloring is unnecessary; table sugar is the best choice. Change the water before it grows cloudy or discolored and remember that during hot weather, sugar water ferments rapidly to produce toxic alcohol. Be careful about where you put your hummingbird feeders, as some cats have learned to lie in wait to catch visiting hummingbirds. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

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Message 12 of 29

Colorful birds!

 

Open link: https://www.facebook.com/239251833546145/posts/460978784706781/

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Message 13 of 29

The Golden Chinese Pheasant

The Golden Pheasant, (Chrysolophus pictus), also known as the ‘Chinese Pheasant’ is one of the more popular species of pheasant which is native to the mountainous forests of Western and Central China.

The Golden Pheasant was introduced to the United Kingdom around 100 years ago and there are around 101 – 118 mating pairs in the summer. This hardy, gamebird belongs to the order: Galliformes and is a smaller species of pheasant.

The Golden Pheasant along with Lady Amherst Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), make up the group of ‘Ruffed Pheasants’ named for their ruff which is spread across their face and neck during courtship.

 

Beautiful Golden Pheasants

 

Male and female Golden Pheasants look different in appearance. Males measure 90 – 105 centimetres in length with the tail making up two thirds of the total length. Females are slightly smaller measuring 60 – 80 centimetres in length with the tail making up half of the total length. Their wingspan is around 70 centimetres and they weigh around 630 grams.

Male Golden Pheasants can be easily identified by their bright colouring. They have a golden crest tipped with red which extends from the top of their heads, down their necks. They have bright red underparts, dark coloured wings and a pale brown, long, barred tail. Their rumps are also golden, upper backs are green and they have bright yellow eyes with a small black pupil. Their face, throat and chin are a rust colour and their wattles and orbital skin are yellow. Beak, legs and feet are also yellow.

Female Golden Pheasants are less colourful and more duller than males. They have a mottled brown plumage, pale brown face, throat, breast and sides, pale yellow feet and are more slender in appearance.

GOLDEN PHEASANT HABITAT

The Golden Pheasant’s preferred habitats are dense forests and woodlands and sparse undergrowth.

 

GOLDEN PHEASANT DIET

Golden Pheasants mainly feed on the ground on grain, invertebrates, berries, grubs and seeds as well as other kinds of vegetation.

GOLDEN PHEASANT BEHAVIOUR

Golden Pheasants are very timid birds and will hide in dark, dense forests and woodlands during the day and roost in very high trees during the night. Golden Pheasants often forage on the ground despite their ability to fly, this may be because they are quite clumsy in flight. However, if they are startled, they are capable of taking off in a sudden fast upward motion with a distinctive wing sound.

Little is known about their behaviour in the wild as although the males are very colourful birds, they are difficult to spot. The best time to possibly observe a Golden Pheasant is very early in the morning when they may be seen in clearings.

Vocalisations include a ‘chack chack’ sound. Males have a distinctive metallic call during the breeding season. Also, during the males elaborate courtship display, he will spread his neck feathers over his head and beak, like a cape.

Image result for golden pheasant flying

GOLDEN PHEASANT REPRODUCTION

Female Golden Pheasants lay around 8 – 12 eggs in April. Incubation time is around 22 – 23 days. The chicks fledge after 12 – 14 days. Males acquire their bright colours during their second year of life but are sexually mature in their first year. The life span of a Golden Pheasant is 5 – 6 years.

Image result for golden pheasant flying

GOLDEN PHEASANT CONSERVATION STATUS

Golden Pheasants are classed as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN which stands for The International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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Message 14 of 29

Dave, the pics of the flamingos are absolutely beautiful!

Lydia

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Message 15 of 29

@DaveMcK 

Wow Dave in all my zoo visits I've not been aware or recall that being reason for their coloring

My mom always said that I was a Flamingo I was just over 6' & 90 lbs in teens and always stood with one foot at my knee no longer that tall nor skinny but still stand that way 

Enjoy your weekend 

Ginger  ; ) 

"May your troubles be less....your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door" : )
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Message 16 of 29

 

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FLAMINGOS ARE NATURALLY WHITE—THEIR DIET OF BRINE SHRIMP AND ALGAE TURNS THEM 

We visited the San Diego Zoo in January of 2011. It was a surprise Birthday party for Mary's brother-in-law. This works out as we visited the San Diego Zoo in January of 2011. It was a surprise Birthday party for Mary's brother-in-law. This works out well for the story below which was written about the San Diego Zoo's flamingos. 

Think pink—and orange? With their pink and crimson plumage, long legs and necks, and strongly hooked bills, flamingos cannot be mistaken for any other type of bird. These beauties have long fascinated people. An accurate cave painting of a flamingo, found in the south of Spain, dates back to 5,000 B.C. Today, images of flamingos are found in literature (Alice used them as croquet mallets in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll), and immortalized as plastic lawn ornaments!

The flamingo’s pink or reddish color comes from the rich sources of carotenoid pigments (like the pigments of carrots) in the algae and small crustaceans the birds eat. We eat carotenoids, too, whenever we munch on carrots, beets, and certain other veggies, but not enough to turn us orange! American flamingos, a subspecies of greater flamingo, are the brightest, showing their true colors of red, pink, or orange on their legs, bills, and faces.

In order to fly, flamingos need to run a few paces to gather speed. This speed is not related to the ground but rather to the air, so they usually take off facing into the wind. In flight, flamingos are quite distinctive, with their long necks stretched out in front and the equally long legs trailing behind. Their outstretched wings showcase the pretty black and red (or pink) coloration that, with slight variations, is shared by all flamingo species. When flying, flamingos flap their wings fairly rapidly and almost continuously. And, as with most other flamingo activities, they usually fly together in large flocks. The flamingos follow each other closely, using a variety of formations that help them take advantage of the wind patterns.

Flamingos are social birds that live in groups of varying sizes, from a few pairs to sometimes thousands or tens of thousands. Their numbers add to the impressiveness of ritualized flamingo displays; the purpose of these displays is to stimulate hormone production and ensure that as many birds as possible will breed.

Head-flagging: Stretching the neck with head up high and rhythmically turning the head from side to side.

Wing salute: Showing off the contrasting colors with the tail cocked and the neck outstretched.

Twist-preen: The bird twists its neck back and appears to preen its feathers with its bill quickly.

Marching: The large, tightly packed flock walks together as one, before switching direction abruptly.

Flamingos also use vocalizations and these displays to communicate between individuals or alert the group of possible danger. Their vocal repertoire includes growling, low gabbling, and nasal honking.

Greater flamingosGreater flamingos sleeping in the shallows of a lake, some standing on one leg.

Why do flamingos stand on one leg? Scientists aren’t sure. There is less heat lost through the leg if it is tucked next to the bird’s body; however, this behavior is also seen in hot climates. Another explanation is more mundane: it’s probably a comfortable position for standing. You can develop your own theory about this age-old question on your next visit to the Zoo or Safari Park, where the flamingos are always gorgeous and entertaining.

HABITAT AND DIET

Flamingos live in lagoons or large, shallow lakes. These bodies of water may be quite salty or caustic, too much so for most other animals. In some lakes, their only animal “neighbors” are algae, diatoms, and small crustaceans. That works in the flamingo’s favor, as the birds dine on these small creatures!

Lesser flamingos taking off from a lake in KenyaLesser flamingos

Chilean, Andean, and puna flamingos are found in South America; greater and lesser flamingos live in Africa, with greaters also found in the Middle East; the American or Caribbean flamingo is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and the northernmost tip of South America.

Long legs let flamingos wade into deeper water than most other birds to look for food. And speaking of food, flamingos also have very distinctive eating habits. The bill is held upside down in the water. Flamingos feed by sucking water and mud in at the front of the bill and then pumping it out again at the sides. Here, briny plates called lamellae act like tiny filters, trapping shrimp and other small water creatures for the flamingo to eat.

The smaller puna, Andean, and lesser flamingos have deeper bills and stiff lamellae. This helps them filter very fine particles, such as algae, through their bill and keep bigger particles out. Greater and Chilean flamingos are larger and feed mostly on invertebrates such as brine flies, shrimps, and mollusks. They get these food items from the bottom mud by wading in shallow water. Sometimes they swim to get their food and sometimes by “upending” (tail feathers in the air, head underwater) like ducks.

At the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the flamingos are fed a special pellet diet that is made for zoo flamingos. This food has all the nutrients the flamingos need and a pigment that helps keep them “in the pink.” To allow the flamingos to eat in their normal way (taking in water and then pumping it back out), a water source just for feeding is near their food so they can get a “beakful” of water and then food—just like they would in the wild.

FAMILY LIFE
Caribbean flamingo parent with egg on mud nestAmerican flamingo with egg

A flamingo nest is not fancy, just a mound of mud, maybe 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) high. The nest needs to be high enough to protect the egg from flooding and from the occasional intense heat at ground level. Both the male and female build the nest by ​using their bills to pull mud toward their feet. The top of the mound is concave so that any egg laid does not fall off. Neighboring nests are built very close, and bickering between nest mound occupants is common.

Prior to breeding, the male is selected by the female, and he then closely follows behind her in shallow water. The individual courtship rituals tend to be subtle and inconspicuous to ​humans. The pair tends to stay together as long as there is reproductive success. If not, then the female may choose a new mate.

Lesser flamingo with young chickLesser flamingo chick

Flamingos lay one large, chalky white egg in a mud nest build like a sand castle by the parents. A parent sits on the mound, reaches over, picks up mud and dribbles it onto the nest, which can reach 2 feet (0.6 meters) in height and is usually surrounded by a trench as further protection from rising water. At hatching, a flamingo chick has gray down feathers and is the size of a tennis ball. It also has a straight, pink bill and swollen pink legs, both of which turn black within a week.

After hatching, the chick stays on the nest mound for 5 to 12 days. During this time, the chick is fed a type of “milk” called crop milk that comes from the parents’ upper digestive tract. (Flamingos share this trait with pigeons.) Both males and females can feed the chick this way, and even flamingos that are not the parents can act as foster-feeders. The begging calls the hungry chick makes are believed to stimulate the secretion of the milk. As the parents feed their chicks the crop milk, they are drained of their color—so much so that their plumage turns a pale pink or white! The parents gain this color back eventually as the chicks become independent and eat on their own.

By the time a chick leaves the nest, it can already walk and swim quite well. Chicks flock together in large groups called crèches, looked after by a few adults, possibly birds that have lost their own young. Parents visit the crèche and continue to feed their chick with the milky secretion. But how do they find their offspring in such a large and noisy group? Chicks and their parents recognize one another through their distinctive calls! Adult flamingos have few natural predators, as they tend to live in inhospitable places where the lagoons are pretty bare of vegetation, so few other birds or animals come there. But flamingo chicks are sometimes preyed upon by eagle species.

AT THE ZOO

Flamingos as ambassadors: Guests are instantly drawn to our American flamingo flock as they enter the San Diego Zoo. And who wouldn’t be? With their flamboyant color and amusing behaviors, flamingos have been on hand to welcome Zoo guests since 1932, about 10 years after the Zoo grounds opened to visitors. They are our unofficial ambassadors!

While much is known about flamingo breeding behavior, there are never any guarantees. Any major or minor change to the flock or exhibit can start or stop breeding. For example, in the early 1980s, a number of flamingos were relocated. It was completely unexpected that this action would cause the remaining birds to stop breeding for the next 14 years! A number of remedies were tried. Finally, new birds were introduced and the exhibit renovated to improve the nesting area. One or both changes did the trick, and the Zoo’s flamingos began breeding again in 1996 and have bred almost every year since then. The Zoo has hatched more than 170 since 1957. Today, it is home to just under 90 adult American flamingos.

Once a year, there is an event at the Zoo that is unlike any other. After weeks of preparation, three departments are mobilized, dozens of keepers are involved, all of the flamingos are caught up, and everyone gets wet! The occasion? The annual Flamingo Roundup! Why do we catch the whole flock—even the healthy ones—once a year? They are all due for their West Nile virus booster shot. Each flamingo is also weighed and given a general checkup during the roundup.

Safari Park successes: ​At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the first greater flamingo egg was laid in 1998; six years later, another greater flamingo chick pecked its way out through its shell and into history in 2004 as the facility’s 100th hatching of this subspecies. Today, the Park has the largest flock of greater flamingos in the United States at around 150 birds. We have hatched 173 chicks, so far. The Safari Park is also home to lesser flamingos and Chilean flamingos.

CONSERVATION

Over time, people have used flamingos for food and medicine.Currently, no flamingo species is endangered, although the puna or James’s flamingo was thought to be extinct in 1924; it was rediscovered in 1957.

But as with many wild species, the threat of habitat loss due to road construction and housing development is causing some populations to be threatened. In 1989, about 100 Caribbean flamingos died in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from lead poisoning, due to the ingestion of lead shot. Lead bullets are now prohibited in that area.

The Andean flamingo is considered the rarest of the flamingo species. It lives high in the mountains of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. People have been collecting the flamingos’ eggs and expanding into their habitat with farms, road construction, and urban development. Chile has now established a national flamingo reserve around one of the lakes used by the birds for breeding colonies and is taking steps to protect other lakes for the flamingos.

The Flamingo Specialist Group was created in 1978 to study, monitor, and help conserve the world’s flamingo populations. Working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the group monitors and surveys wild flamingos and develops action plans for species that may be threatened.

Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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Message 17 of 29

The Bald Eagle is such a beautiful and stately bird.

Wonderful pics Dave!  Especially this one:

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Message 18 of 29

 

We have visited Decorah, Iowa and the nest a couple of times. 

      

  1. Where is this live cam located?

    This live cam overlooks a bald eagle nest just north of Decorah, Iowa. The nest sits in a white oak tree in a tiny forest bordering a secluded valley.  

How big is this nest?

Bald eagles are known for building massive nests over a period of years, and this is no exception! This nest is seven feet across at its widest point and nine feet long at its longest. It sits about 56 feet off the ground and the nest itself is 5.5 feet high. 

The first nest (DNN0) was built in a pine tree. The branches collapsed after the second nesting season and the eagles moved to a dead elm tree. They nested there for just one year before moving to their current location in late 2013. In August of 2018, their nest collapsed and slid or fell out of the nest tree during an extremely heavy storm. None of the tree branches were broken or damaged, so they decided to build a starter nest in the same spot. 2019 will mark their sixth season and second nest in this spot.  

How big are the Decorah Eagles?

Bald eagles measure 34-42 inches long and have wingspans between six and eight feet. They can weigh up to 14 pounds. 

How many young do the Decorah Eagles have at once?

Bald eagles typically have two eggs per year, but sometimes one or three. Both parents will incubate the eggs and after the eggs hatch, at least one parent will stay with the young at all times. 

Young bald eagles are entirely brown until they are about five years old, when they develop the distinctive white feathers on their head and tail. This is also the age when bald eagles begin to breed. 

Bald eagles tend to mate for life, and will return to the same nest year after year, as they have in this case.  

How long do bald eagles live?

Bald eagles have very long lifespans and can live upwards of 28 years in the wild. In one case, a bald eagle was banded in 1977 in New York state and was struck and killed by a car in 2015--38 years later.  

Do bald eagles migrate?

Some bald eagles migrate great distances while others are year-long residents of their habitats. The migratory patterns of bald eagles depend on age, weather, geography, and food availability. 

Where do bald eagles live?

The national symbol for the United States, bald eagles are found only in North America. Their range stretches from far northern Canada and Alaska down to northern Mexico.  

What do bald eagles eat?

A bald eagle's diet depends on its habitat, but typically bald eagles prefer to eat fish as well as birds and small mammals when fish are not available. Bald eagles are also known to eat carrion. These bald eagles eat live and dead fish from the nearby stream, as well as squirrels, birds, rabbit, deer, possum and other small animals. 

 

Link: https://youtu.be/pIEUiJaMPQ4

 

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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Message 19 of 29

Image result for balinese starling

This is a Balinese Starling. 

The Balinese Starling is also known as Jalak Bali, was originally found in the northwestern parts of Bali island, in an area called Curik. You can easily identify this unique species by its clear, white feathers, distinctive blue marks around its eyes, black wing tips and a striking plume of feathers atop its head. Both males and females have similar appearances, however the males are slightly bigger than the females.

saving-the-bali-starling-from-extinction

Other names for the Bali Starling are Bali Mynah or Rothchild’s Mynah. The latter name was given as a tribute to the British bird expert Walter Rothschild who first discovered the bird in 1911. To date, there are less than 100 Jalak Bali left in the wild. This is due to habitat loss and poaching. It’s fascinating to note that this bird can’t be found anywhere else in Indonesia although it was once said that some Jalak Bali were found in Lombok. Unfortunately, not a single bird can be found there now, so the fact remains that Jalak Bali is indigenous to the island of Bali.

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Bohemian Waxwing

bohemian waxwing

 

Bohemian Waxwing is a medium-sized songbird with distinctive crested head and black masks. They are brownish-grey overall and wings have white and yellow edging. Thus, Bohemian Waxwing is among the most beautiful passerine birds in the world.

Bohemian waxwings inhabit in boreal forest across North America and Eurasia, mostly in Canada and Alaska. In winter, they migrate in large flocks to the Northwest parts of the United States. They nest on tree branches. Both male and female Bohemian Waxwings are known for their high pitched calls. They mainly feed on insects and berries.

 

I've never seen or even heard of this bird.  But it is so beautiful and full of color,  I thought he or she should be sited here for all to see.

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