Crested and Proud
10,000 Birds
by Kai Pflug
2d ago
A crest is a “comb or tuft of feathers, fur, or skin on the head of a bird or other animal”. Birds use them for display purposes – they can be either recumbent (not noticeable when not erect) or recursive (noticeable in all states). Quite a few bird species have crests. In fact, crests occur in at least 20 of the 30 orders of extant birds, and in all major groups of passerines. Crests are made of feathers. Their main use is to display – either to communicate with other members of the species or to scare other species, as a raised crest makes the bird appear larger. So much for the educational ..read more
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Business Birding Basics – part II
10,000 Birds
by Peter
3d ago
In a strange city on business, with more than just a few hours to spare? You want to do some serious birding? You need a guide! Let’s start with the worst guide I ever had – just to provide the contrast to the greatness of pretty much everybody else. This guide (location and name with the author) had three serious flaws. First, he was mostly focused on the mammals. And yes, Sable Antilope is very cool, but birds are sub-zero cool! And it was birds we came for, so his customer service wasn’t great. Second, every raptor we encountered was identified as Tawny Eagle. His lack of knowledge was ju ..read more
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Where have they gone?
10,000 Birds
by David T
3d ago
Counting the Birds I was in my teens when I undertook my first bird-survey: it was field work for the British Trust for Ornithology’s The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. Published in 1976, The Atlas was, I believe, the very first work of its kind. I subsequently helped with The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland (1986), The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988-1991, and most recently Bird Atlas 2007-11. The breeding and wintering birds of Britain and Ireland. Look carefully and you will find my name in Appendix 1 of the latter, along with the t ..read more
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When is a Vulture Not a Vulture?
10,000 Birds
by Paul Lewis
5d ago
I think we don’t give vultures all the love they deserve. When you consider all the nasty stuff they uncomplainingly dispose of, and what the world might look like if they didn’t, it seems we could be more grateful. I, however, am a fan of vultures. I have been lucky enough to get close views of two massive Old World Vulture species, the Eurasian Griffon and the Egyptian Vulture. Here in Mexico, I can almost always count on Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures to pad each outing’s list by two species. Occasionally I have been lucky enough to see Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures in tropical Mexico ..read more
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From Iwokrama to Atta
10,000 Birds
by Faraaz Abdool
5d ago
On a high after waking up in Guyana’s wild interior for the first time – with a spectacular morning of birding already under our belts – we resumed our southerly journey with full bellies. As difficult as it was to leave Iwokrama behind, we knew that we’d be back eventually. The road through the interior was as it was the day before; an endless, undulating swath of red dirt bordered by dense forest on either side. While we stopped to enjoy the hordes of sulphur butterflies feeding on the mineral rich soil, a flock of White-collared Swifts wheeled overhead. Guyana had been suffering from an ..read more
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Birding Tongbiguan, Yunnan (part 2)
10,000 Birds
by Kai Pflug
1w ago
“Did you put up your post today? How many times was it read?” is not what The Reds, Pinks & Purples ask in one of their songs – rather, it is “Did you put up your song today? How many times was it played?”. But of course, with this slight adaptation, it also works for blog posts and their writers, and allows me to plug another nice song by this underrated artist, before switching to birds. The scientific species name of the Golden-throated Barbet is franklinii, commemorating  Capt. Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), an English Arctic explorer famed for the ill-fated attempt on the North ..read more
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Don’t Ignore the Barnacles – they’re Real Birds
10,000 Birds
by David T
1w ago
Serious birders may have an obsessive interest in birds, but one thing they universally don’t like are birds which, they believe, aren’t properly wild. It’s taken a long time for the purists to get used to the numerous Red Kites we now have in England, all descended from captive-reared birds that were released initially over 30 years ago. Pheasants, released in great numbers for shooting, are regarded with disdain, while nobody has a good word to say about the flocks of Rose-ringed (Ring-necked) Parakeets that now squawk noisily in all the London parks.  Red Kites are now widespread in m ..read more
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Please Don’t Ask for an Aztec
10,000 Birds
by Paul Lewis
1w ago
If, someday, you make your way to Morelia, and ask for me to show you some of our best birds, I will surely do my best to accomodate you. In the case of most of these wonderful bird species, I probably know where they are most likely to be found. Just don’t ask me to show you an Aztec Thrush. The Aztec Thrush is a beautiful bird, with bold dark/light plumage patterns. These patterns make it surprisingly hard to see. It rarely vocalizes, and moves slowly, if at all, as it forages in dense foliage. And yet, the Aztec Thrush seems to rarely exhibit these behaviors twice in a single spot. In ten ..read more
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Journeys With Emperors: Tracking the World’s Most Extreme Penguin–A Book Review
10,000 Birds
by Donna
2w ago
Journeys With Penguins: Tracking the World’s Most Extreme Penguin is a different type of penguin book. Author Gerald L. Kooyman (co-author with Jim Mastro) spent decades studying Emperor Penguins and can be considered the world’s foremost expert on the species. Journeys with Penguins is the story of how he came to research Emperor Penguins, how he devised methods to measure and observe these incredible creatures, about whom little was known because of their habitat in the coldest, darkest, most inaccessible regions of Antarctica, the experience of living on the ice of the Ross Sea, and what h ..read more
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Birding Shanghai in January 2024
10,000 Birds
by Kai Pflug
2w ago
In German colloquial language, there is the jokingly derogative term “Warmduscher”, indicating a person who prefers warm to cold showers (the efficiency of the German language in using such a short term to describe what requires a whole sentence in English is not quite matched by the German record in winning world wars). If the birds were Germans, Siberian Rubythroats wintering in Xishuangbanna (where I saw them a few years ago) would certainly be described as “Warmduscher” by their fellow species members seen in Shanghai this month. Note the nice bright color of the birds (indeed, there wer ..read more
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