Interactive Bird Song Poster
Learn the songs of these common breeding birds of the North American north woods region. Click through the image or click the link to click on each bird and learn its song…
(see and play here: MN Dept. of Natural Resources)
Illustration courtesy of Bill Reynolds. All recordings courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds.

Interactive Bird Song Poster

Learn the songs of these common breeding birds of the North American north woods region. Click through the image or click the link to click on each bird and learn its song…

(see and play here: MN Dept. of Natural Resources)

Illustration courtesy of Bill Reynolds. All recordings courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds.

Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify, with their seasonally changing plumages and often-confused songs and calls. Download eight illustrated plates for free, provided by the authors of The Warbler Guide. Use these “Quick Finders” to help you identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada…

Houston Audubon Beak of the Week:
Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina) Family: (Parulidae) Wood-Warblers  A striking small bird of eastern hardwood forests, the Hooded Warbler prefers forests with some shrub understory. The female has no hood or only a hint of a hood. Both sexes often flash their tails, revealing conspicuous white side feathers. They forage in undergrowth, usually no more than 10 feet above the ground. 

Hooded Warblers can currently be seen at Houston Audubon’s High Island and other wooded sanctuaries. The Hooded Warbler is strongly territorial on its wintering grounds. Males and females use different habitats: males in mature forest, and females in scrubbier forest and seasonally flooded areas. If a male is removed, a female in adjacent scrub will not move into the male’s territory. Photograph by Joanne Kamo

(via: Houston Audubon)
Houston Audubon Beak of the Week:
Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)

Family: (Parulidae) Wood-Warblers

A striking small bird of eastern hardwood forests, the Hooded Warbler prefers forests with some shrub understory. The female has no hood or only a hint of a hood. Both sexes often flash their tails, revealing conspicuous white side feathers. They forage in undergrowth, usually no more than 10 feet above the ground.
Hooded Warblers can currently be seen at Houston Audubon’s High Island and other wooded sanctuaries.

The Hooded Warbler is strongly territorial on its wintering grounds. Males and females use different habitats: males in mature forest, and females in scrubbier forest and seasonally flooded areas. If a male is removed, a female in adjacent scrub will not move into the male’s territory.

Photograph by Joanne Kamo

World’s Longest Migration Found to be Twice as Long as Originally Thought

by Mason Inman

The tiny arctic tern makes the longest migration of any animal in the world, flying about two times farther than previously thought, a new study says.

New miniature transmitters recently revealed that the 4-oz (113-g) bird follows zigzagging routes between Greenland and Antarctica each year. In the process, the arctic tern racks up about 44,000 frequent flier miles (71,000 km)—edging out its archrival, the sooty shearwater, by roughly 4,000 mi (6,440 km).

"There have been all kinds of theories, but now, for the first time, we’ve been able to show what the birds are doing out there," said the lead author of the study, Carsten Egevang of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Since the birds often live 30 years or more, the researchers estimate that, over its lifetime, an arctic tern migrates about 1.5 million miles (2.4 million km)—equal to three trips to the moon and back…

(read more: National Geographic)

photograph and maps by Carsten Egevang

ABC Bird of the Week:  Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The Ruby-throat weighs less than a nickel but, like other hummers including the Calliope and Mangrove, is a master of flight. Beating its wings 60 to 80 times a second, the bird creates a blur of motion and a whirring, insect-like sound. It’s easy to mistake one for a bee at first glance.

Many people are familiar with this bird, but fewer know that it migrates as far away as Central America, where it can be found overwintering on shade coffee farms. That’s another reason to drink shade-grown, organic, Bird Friendly coffee.

Ruby-throats fly straight and fast, but can also hover in place and move up, down, or even backwards. These little birds migrate vast distances to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America, many crossing the Gulf of Mexico in one marathon flight.

They expend a great deal of energy during flight, so hummingbirds must feed almost constantly, consuming up to half of their weight in sugar each day. They feed mainly on flower nectar, preferring red or orange tubular flowers such as trumpet creeper, cardinal flower, jewelweed, and bee-balm…

(read more: American Bird Conservancy)

Help Us Help Monarchs:  PROJECT MILKWEED
Returning Essential Wildflowers to America’s Landscapes
Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are the required host plants for caterpillars of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and thus play a critical role in the monarch’s life cycle. The loss of milkweed plants in the monarch’s spring and summer breeding areas across the United States is believed to be a significant factor contributing to the reduced number of monarchs recorded in overwintering sites in California and Mexico. Agricultural intensification, development of rural lands, and the use of mowing and herbicides to control roadside vegetation have all reduced the abundance of milkweeds in the landscape.
To help offset the loss of monarch breeding habitat, the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (published in 2008 by the tri-national Commission for Environmental Cooperation) recommends the planting of regionally appropriate native milkweed species. However, a scarcity of milkweed seed in many regions of the United States has limited opportunities to include the plants in regional restoration efforts.
To address this seed shortage, the Xerces Society launched Project Milkweed, with support from the Monarch Joint Venture, a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant, and private foundations. In collaboration with the native seed industry, the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program, and community partners, Xerces is producing new sources of milkweed seed in areas of the monarch’s breeding range where seed has not been reliably available: California, the Great Basin, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida…
(Read more/Take action:  Xerces Society for Invert. Conservation)
___________________________________________
photo of Monarch Butterfly on the flowers of the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) by Derek Ramsey

Help Us Help Monarchs:  PROJECT MILKWEED

Returning Essential Wildflowers to America’s Landscapes

Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are the required host plants for caterpillars of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and thus play a critical role in the monarch’s life cycle. The loss of milkweed plants in the monarch’s spring and summer breeding areas across the United States is believed to be a significant factor contributing to the reduced number of monarchs recorded in overwintering sites in California and Mexico. Agricultural intensification, development of rural lands, and the use of mowing and herbicides to control roadside vegetation have all reduced the abundance of milkweeds in the landscape.

To help offset the loss of monarch breeding habitat, the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (published in 2008 by the tri-national Commission for Environmental Cooperation) recommends the planting of regionally appropriate native milkweed species. However, a scarcity of milkweed seed in many regions of the United States has limited opportunities to include the plants in regional restoration efforts.

To address this seed shortage, the Xerces Society launched Project Milkweed, with support from the Monarch Joint Venture, a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant, and private foundations. In collaboration with the native seed industry, the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program, and community partners, Xerces is producing new sources of milkweed seed in areas of the monarch’s breeding range where seed has not been reliably available: California, the Great Basin, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida…

(Read more/Take action:  Xerces Society for Invert. Conservation)

___________________________________________

photo of Monarch Butterfly on the flowers of the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) by Derek Ramsey

W. L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in OR turns 50 today  
Species like the dusky Canada geese, the Oregon chub and the common yellowthroat, pictured here, have much to be thankful for. So do visitors, who can take the Cheadle Marsh and Pigeon Butte trails, which opened again on April 1 now that the “sanctuary” season for wintering waterfowl is officially over. As the weather warms, you’ll get to hear pacific chorus frogs and red-legged frogs calling. Songbird migration peaks in May. 
For more about the refuge: USFWS

W. L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in OR turns 50 today

Species like the dusky Canada geese, the Oregon chub and the common yellowthroat, pictured here, have much to be thankful for. So do visitors, who can take the Cheadle Marsh and Pigeon Butte trails, which opened again on April 1 now that the “sanctuary” season for wintering waterfowl is officially over. As the weather warms, you’ll get to hear pacific chorus frogs and red-legged frogs calling. Songbird migration peaks in May.

For more about the refuge: USFWS

American Woodcocks (Scolopax minor) – aka timberdoodles – won’t wow you on the ground. But wait til you see their crazy aerial mating display at dawn and dusk. Now’s the time to do it at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN and refuges across the Eastern United States.
 See & hear them “peent”: Music of NaturePhoto: @ Ninegret NWR, RI, USA. Tom Tetzner/USFWS
(via: USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System)

American Woodcocks (Scolopax minor) – aka timberdoodles – won’t wow you on the ground. But wait til you see their crazy aerial mating display at dawn and dusk. Now’s the time to do it at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN and refuges across the Eastern United States.

See & hear them “peent”: Music of Nature

Photo: @ Ninegret NWR, RI, USA. Tom Tetzner/USFWS

(via: USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System)

Protecting America’s Duck Factory
In the Dakotas — America’s “duck factory” —wildlife habitat for birds and other animals is shrinking fast as prairie grasslands and wetlands are being converted for cropland and energy development. 
What’s at stake: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo: 1000s of Snow geese and white-fronted geese rise from a Dakota cornfield in spring. Laura Hubers/USFWS

Protecting America’s Duck Factory

In the Dakotas — America’s “duck factory” —wildlife habitat for birds and other animals is shrinking fast as prairie grasslands and wetlands are being converted for cropland and energy development.

What’s at stake: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo: 1000s of Snow geese and white-fronted geese rise from a Dakota cornfield in spring. Laura Hubers/USFWS

Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)
from the Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd edition
In the spring Blackpoll Warblers travel across the Caribbean, arriving in Florida in April and fanning out to their breeding grounds in the boreal forest from Newfoundland to Alaska. In the fall they take a very different route, from maritime Canada and New England heading almost due south over the ocean, past Bermuda and the Lesser Antilles, finally landing on the northeast coast of South America.
(via: David Sibley)

Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)

from the Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd edition

In the spring Blackpoll Warblers travel across the Caribbean, arriving in Florida in April and fanning out to their breeding grounds in the boreal forest from Newfoundland to Alaska. In the fall they take a very different route, from maritime Canada and New England heading almost due south over the ocean, past Bermuda and the Lesser Antilles, finally landing on the northeast coast of South America.

(via: David Sibley)

Silicon Valley companies embracing bird-friendly building designs 
The American Bird Conservancy’s Collisions Program Manager Dr. Christine Sheppard has been working with many local bird groups such as Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society referenced in this story, to help them establish collision reduction programs in their communities.  read more: KQED - News
Photo courtesy of Greg Homel of Natural Elements Productions
(via: American Bird Conservancy)

Silicon Valley companies embracing bird-friendly building designs

The American Bird Conservancy’s Collisions Program Manager Dr. Christine Sheppard has been working with many local bird groups such as Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society referenced in this story, to help them establish collision reduction programs in their communities.

read more: KQED - News

Photo courtesy of Greg Homel of Natural Elements Productions

(via: American Bird Conservancy)

Good News:  Endangered Whooping Crane Population Could Be on the Rise
by Sara Sneath
The final numbers for the 2013-14 winter whooping crane survey show an increase in the endangered bird population.
An estimated 304 cranes from the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population wintered in the primary survey area of 154,000 acres on and around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release.
Last year’s wintering survey estimated there were 257 birds, said Wade Harrell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whooping crane recovery coordinator. The confidence interval, a population parameter that describes the reliability of the estimate, narrowed to less than 10 percent this year as a result of more experienced observers, he said…
(read more: Victoria Advocate)
photograph courtesy: American Bird Conservancy

Good News:  Endangered Whooping Crane Population Could Be on the Rise

by Sara Sneath

The final numbers for the 2013-14 winter whooping crane survey show an increase in the endangered bird population.

An estimated 304 cranes from the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population wintered in the primary survey area of 154,000 acres on and around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release.

Last year’s wintering survey estimated there were 257 birds, said Wade Harrell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whooping crane recovery coordinator. The confidence interval, a population parameter that describes the reliability of the estimate, narrowed to less than 10 percent this year as a result of more experienced observers, he said…

(read more: Victoria Advocate)

photograph courtesy: American Bird Conservancy

Photo of the Day: Piping Plover


 


Michael Milicia snaps a juvenile, still in its awkward phase.

By Purbita Saha
From March to September each year, Michael Milicia scours the beaches of Massachusetts’ North Shore. He’s not casting fishing reels or hunting for gold; his goal is to document the threatened species that nest there—the most imperiled being the piping plover.
June and July bring about a bevy of down-covered chicks, like the one in Milicia’s heart-warming photo. The hatchling’s oversized legs strike an odd balance to its minute body. Eventually it’ll grow into its limbs, but it never loses that beguiling strut, the scampering footwork that helps it race across the shoreline while it chases after sea worms.
While Milicia loves observing baby plovers and their parents, he thinks of himself as a photographer rather than a birder. Back in 2005 he gave up software engineering to become a full-time artist. Since then he’s taken pictures of mostly birds, making an effort to gather knowledge about every new species he photographs.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here. 
(via: Smithsonian Magazine)

Photo of the Day: Piping Plover

Michael Milicia snaps a juvenile, still in its awkward phase.

By Purbita Saha

From March to September each year, Michael Milicia scours the beaches of Massachusetts’ North Shore. He’s not casting fishing reels or hunting for gold; his goal is to document the threatened species that nest there—the most imperiled being the piping plover.

June and July bring about a bevy of down-covered chicks, like the one in Milicia’s heart-warming photo. The hatchling’s oversized legs strike an odd balance to its minute body. Eventually it’ll grow into its limbs, but it never loses that beguiling strut, the scampering footwork that helps it race across the shoreline while it chases after sea worms.

While Milicia loves observing baby plovers and their parents, he thinks of himself as a photographer rather than a birder. Back in 2005 he gave up software engineering to become a full-time artist. Since then he’s taken pictures of mostly birds, making an effort to gather knowledge about every new species he photographs.

This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here

(via: Smithsonian Magazine)

We need you to help study hummingbirds!

Yes, you. With technology widely available today we can all become citizen scientists, spending a few minutes each week to collect data in our communities that will be invaluable for researchers. For instance, the smartphone in your pocket can be used as a high-tech data collection device, complete with GPS, camera, timer, and internet capabilities…

(photo: Centapacrr/Wikipedia)