When Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) chicks are hungry, the bare loral area (between eyes and nostrils) changes from dull-colored to bright crimson. Parents may use this indicator of nutritional status to allocate food among their offspring. Parents are not the only ones looking after Pied-billed Grebe chicks. Occasionally, they are also fed by other adults, and young grebes from first broods may feed their younger siblings from second broods.
(Nature category) - A Little Owl (Athene noctua) defends its feeding position from a Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) with both birds showing their full colours with dramatic full wing extensions.
Bird Note: South Polar Skuas - Bullies of the Oceans
The bird world has its bullies, too.
with Tom Johnson
Meet the South Polar Skua, a big, bad bully of the bird world. During summer in Antarctica, South Polar Skuas feed their young with the chicks of other seabirds. And once their breeding season ends, the skuas fly to northern oceans, such as the North Atlantic, to find large flocks of shearwaters, gulls, or terns – then they steal the food that their fellow seabirds worked so hard to catch!
Eastern screech owls (Megascops asio) like to take over woodpecker nests that have been dug out over the years in pine trees, which are the main species of tree at this swamp. The Fish and Wildlife Service also paints a white ring around the base of a tree that has active nests so they will be avoided when conducting controlled burns.
Screech owls can range in height anywhere from eight to ten inches, so you have to have a sharp eye to find these little birds of prey.I spent the first few weeks of April this year photographing the gray morph screech owl that was living in the nest and had no idea there were three owlets inside.
… is a small, long-tailed chickadee-like bird of western North America, and the only representative of its taxonomic Family found on the continent. It is a dimorphic species - males have dark brown eyes, and females have pale yellow. There are also two color forms: coastal populations have a brown cap and pale face, while interior birds have a gray cap and brown face, though intergrades exist.
They are incredibly social birds, typically found in groups of 10-40 individuals year round, and will descend on suet feeders in noisy flocks. Unusual among birds, breeding pairs will normally have ‘helpers’ at the nest, offspring from previous broods that haven’t yet moved away from home (more often males than females). They build pendulous oriole-like nests, and while only one bird incubates at a time during the day, at night the entire family will pile into the nest together to roost.
Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years
by Federica Di Leonardo
The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered.
It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country’s lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe.
In 2002 Johannes Fritz, who had been a doctoral student in biology at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station in Austria, came up with the idea of taking northern bald ibises from zoos and imprinting them, in effect becoming their foster parent to teach them a new migratory route to Italy…
Also known as the black-eared catbird, Ailuroedes melanotis is a species of bowerbird that is native to north Queensland, Australia and New Guinea. They are unrelated to New World catbirds and get their name due to their cat like call. Like most passerine birds A. melanotis feeds mainly on fruit, flowers, seeds and insects. They are also known to eat small vertebrates and bird eggs as well. Unlike other bowerbirds spotted catbirds form permanent bonds and these pairs will maintain and defend a piece of territory year round.
The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a small insectivorouspasserine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family (Turdidae), but is now considered to be a chat. Around 12.5–14.0 cm (5.0–5.5 in) in length, the male and female are similar in colouration, with an orange breast and face lined with grey, brown upperparts and a whitish belly.
The Olive Whistler (Pachycephala olivacea) is a species of bird of the whistler family Pachycephalidae that is native to southeastern Australia. Adults measure around 18–20 cm (7–8 in) long. The species’ call has been likened to “I’ll wet you” or “You’re cranky”.
When Spruce Grouse is approached by a predator, it relies on camouflage and stillness to stay hidden, often allowing people to approach within a few feet before exploding into flight. This behavior has earned the species the nickname of “fool hen.”
Spruce Grouse are at home in the trees and prefer to walk along tree limbs or on the ground rather than fly. Each fall they grow “snowshoes”—short fleshy bristles called pectinations—on their toes, which help support the bird on snow and probably help to grip slippery branches as well. These bristles are shed each spring.
True to its name, the Spruce Grouse’s chief food is conifer needles. This is the species’ only food source during the winter, when the birds’ gastrointestinal tract enlarges to help digest the tough foliage. Spruce Grouse shift to a more varied diet in the breeding season, adding berries, assorted green plants, fungi, and some insects to their diet…