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Jun 19, 2018

Common Moorhen chicks...

Photo: Willem van den Noert / Alamy
Photo: Shantanu Kuveskar
Here's another one of those photos (above) depicting babies, of questionable beauty, that only a mother could love.

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Jun 18, 2018

Not surreal birds - but 5" mayflies...

Photo: Zsolt Czegledi / EPA 
Freshly hatched Tisza Mayflies (above) crowd the surface of the River Tisza, near Tiszacsege in north-east Hungary.   The Tisza is the longest mayfly in Europe - up to 12 cm...almost 5".
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Jun 17, 2018

The one and only Mandarin Duck...

Photo: Yuri Smityuk / Getty Images
Mandarin ducklings are seen (above) on the Solyonaya Protoka River, outside of Vladivostok, Russia.   Below is a family of Mandarins.   The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) is native to east Asia and closely resembles the Wood Duck of North America.   The two ducks are the only members of the genus Aix.

Photo:  Christopher Smith
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Jun 16, 2018

Grand-looking bird with a common name...

Photo: Phillip Cull / Alamy Stock Photo
(Grus grus)
A Common Crane is seen with a chick at WWT Slimbridge, in Gloucester, UK.   I guess I've never understood why large, long-legged birds like cranes, or herons, or ostriches, etc.,  etc., seem so very much larger and taller than their chicks, compared to most smaller birds and their chicks.   Or am I mistaken thinking there is a different proportional scale for large and small birds with their young? 
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Jun 15, 2018

Room service?

Photo: Dominic Robinson / Alamy Stock Photos
(Podiceps cristatus)
A Great Crested Grebe is seen feeding a chick on a parent's back at a nest in Walthamstow Reservoirs in London, UK.  The young grebes are very distinctive because of the black and white striping on their heads.   When young grebes are on their parents' backs, the parent dives under the water leaving the chick to float and paddle on its own.   The parent then surfaces and the chick climbs back to the parent's back...lesson learned.
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Jun 14, 2018

It's autumn down-under...

 Photo: Lukas Coch /AAP

An Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta
jubata) above, forages through autumn leaves at Lennox Gardens in Canberra,
the Capital city of Australia.

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if you wish.


Jun 13, 2018

Antarctica succumbs...

Photo: Paul Hilton / Greenpeace
(Pygoscelis papua)
A Gentoo Penguin is seen at Brown's Station, Paradise Bay, In the Antarctic this week when it was revealed that plastic had finally reached the world's last great wilderness of Antarctica.
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Jun 12, 2018

Gathering gannet...

Photo: Jane Barlow / PA
(Morus bassanus)
A Northern Gannet picks up seaweed on Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth, in Scotland.   Thousands of the seabirds gather nest material here as they gather nest material to prepare for the new breeding season.   It is the largest single-island gannet colony in the world.
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Jun 11, 2018

My favourite finch...

Photo: RonEdmonds

          How smart the American Goldfinch
          To hang upside down in a pinch
          Niger seeds give nutrition
          Whatever the position
          So downside-up eating's a cinch.
Limerick by BarrytheBirder
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Jun 10, 2018

New book by Andrew Garn...

Photo by Andrew Garn
'Behind the Feathers'
Andrew Garn is a New York City photographer who has been photographing pigeons in the city for over a decade and who has now published a complete photographic record of the birds from newborn babies to amazing adults, in a new book titled Behind the Feathers.  Pictured above is a baby pigeon, orphaned at two days, but then hand-fed by a concerned bird-lover, and which at ten days became curious and confident.
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Jun 9, 2018

Squirrel finds the sweet spot on hummingbird feeder

                                                                                                      Photo by BarrytheBirder
Pictured above is one the red squirrels in our backyard.  This squirrel has figured out how to get sweet hummingbird nectar by sucking the liquid from one of the tiny holes in the bottom reservoir.   I believe its tongue is too big to fit into the tiny holes, so it must be sucking the nectar out.   It spent quite some time in this position getting its fill.   According to the Arizona State University, scientists at one point believed hummingbirds drank nectar by sucking it up, like juice through a straw.   But it is now known that although the shape of the peak helps the bird reach deep into a flower, its long, thin tongue does the real work.   A hummingbird licks nectar up, like a dog lapping at a bowl of water.   Moreover, a hummingbird can lick up to 13 times per second.   I've been known to do this after accidentally spilling a martini.
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Jun 8, 2018

Voice: High-pitched descending scream with a hoarse quality...unmistakable

Photo: Matt Campbell / EPA
( Buteo jamaicensis )
A Red-tailed Hawk takes flight from a dead tree as it scouts for prey in Orleans, Massachusetts.   Very common and widespread in the genus Buteo.   Certain western hawks, with dark brown, slightly banded tails were once considered a separate species that was called 'Harlan's Hawk'.
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Jun 7, 2018

Good news for bee-eaters ~ bad news for bees...

Photo: Mei Yongcun / Barcroft Images
Blue-throated Bee-eaters
Merops viridis )
Blue-throated Bee-eaters perch on a branch in Luxia Town, Nanping City, in China's Fujian Province.    They are also found in Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.   The I.U.C.N. Red List identifies them as of 'Least Concern'.
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Jun 6, 2018

Good news on Christmas Island...

Photo: Ian Montgomery / Christmas Island Tourism Council /AAP
An endangered Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti) is seen on the Australian territory Christmas Island.   The birds have had a reprieve after the Turnbull government changed its mind about a controversial phosphate exploration proposal on the island.   Amen.
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Jun 5, 2018

A pigeon and a monkey...

I do not know who took this photo, or where or when it was taken.   Also, I have no comment to make about it.  However, I do hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.
Please comment if you wish. 

Jun 4, 2018

Mute Swan transformed by twilight into black swan...

Photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters
   A Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) appears to be black, instead of white, while it swims during sunset, on a lake near the town of Vileika in Belarus.   Below, a pair of Black Swans (Cygnus atratus) show their true colour ( in full light - not silhouetted).  Black Swans traditionally bred in southeast and southwest Australia, where they were first described in 1790.   They were soon introduced to various countries as ornamental birds and many escaped to exist in the wild.   They have existed in flocks of hundreds and thousands in some places.

Photo: Dave Watts

Photo: J. J. Harrison
 In the photo above, a black swan is shown in flight and reveals it is actually a black and white swan, because of the striking presence of its white primary flight feathers, which normally do not show when the big bird is on the ground or in water.
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Jun 3, 2018

Rare Reed Parrotbills are to be found in eastern China

    Photo above: Waderworld                                            Photo

Reed Parrotbill
(Paradoxornis heudei)

Reed Parrotbills are found in eastern China and Manchuria.
They are a rare birds species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Because of rareness, the the Reed Parrotbill has been nicknamed 'the panda of birds'.   Their first recorded sighting occurred less than 150 years ago and they are now found and restricted to reed-bed habitats
which are in decline.

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if you wish. 


Jun 2, 2018

The headless penguins of Antarctica...

Photographs of penguins that appear to have no heads can be found all over the internet.   Single birds, twos, threes, four birds...everywhere.   But despite the many of these photos as I have seen, I am still always captivated by the images.   My old neck is stiff most of the time now, and I greatly envy the flexibility of these unique captivating creatures. 

Photos: Monique Joris / Cater
               News Agency

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if you wish.


Jun 1, 2018

Another wee bird near extinction...

Photo: Chris Tzaros / Birds Bush and Beyond
King Island Brown Thornbill
(Acanthiza pusilla pusilla)
A King Island Brown Thornbill is a passerine normally found on King Island, about halfway between Tasmania and Melbourne on the southeastern coast of Australia.  There are almost 20 species of thornbills native to Australia but King Island Brown Thornbills are only found on the island of the same name.   Residents of King Island believe the bird may be almost extinct.
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May 31, 2018

We have to stop meeting like this.....

                                                                       Photo by Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images
A bird rests on the head of a White-tailed Deer roaming free and presumably minding its own business, in San Jose Villanueva, El Salvador.
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May 30, 2018

Loons near your cottage?

Photo: Brian Lasenby / Shutterstock
Spot them...once a month for three months
If you spend a least one day a month in June, July and August on a lake with loons, you can easily participate in Bird Studies Canada's Canadian Lakes Loon Survey.   Just visit the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey web page or contact Canadian Lakes Loon Survey Coordinator Kathy Jones at   Chick numbers are decreasing and surveying is a simple and important way to understand why.
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May 29, 2018

Back from the brink...

                                                                             Photo: Jacques de Speville / IUCN
Mauritius Kestrel
(Falco punctatus)
44 years ago, the endangered Mauritius Kestrel was near extinction, with just four known birds, including one breeding female.   Conservation efforts included captive breeding, extra feeding, nest-site improvements and predator control.  Today, with a population of approximately 400 birds, this conservation achievement is cited as one of the most successful bird species reclamation projects in the world.
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May 28, 2018

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed...

Photo: Tom Stables / Comedy Wildlife
2016 comedy Wildlife Photo finalist
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May 27, 2018

Ever-opportunistic gulls...

Photo: Don Emmert AFP / Getty Images
A gull stands on the rostrum of a feeding Humpback Whale, while other gulls fly and paddle about hoping to snatch Sand Eels, in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, near Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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May 26, 2018

What a wingspan!

Photo: Prakash Singh / AFP / Getty Images
A Black-eared Kite (Milvus migrans lineatus) catches a fish from a pond at the Zoological Park in New Delhi, India.   In addition to a broad wingspan, note the black circles around the eyes.   This feature is also referred to as 'dark ear coverts' of a 'dark mask'...a somewhat distinctive feature.
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May 25, 2018

Closely related to the Black Butcherbird...

 Photo above: Genevieve Vallee / Alamy
Immature Australian Magpies (top) are seen in New South Wales, Australia. They are also found in New Zealand, southern New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
Scientists have found that the magpies can understand other birds calls. I wonder if that means they merely recognize other birds calls or do they know the meanings of other birds' calls.
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May 24, 2018

Elegant teamwork...

Photo: STR/EPA
A pair of Egrets build their nest in the Panbazar area, on the banks of the Brahmaputa River in the sprawling city of Guwahati, in northeastern India.
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May 23, 2018

One of the world's most formidable birds...

Photo: Maxmilian Hornisch
The annual competition of the Society of German Wildlife Photographers, which showcases talented European Union photographers, has chosen its 2018 winner: German photographer Maxmilian Hornisch's image of a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).   The photo (above) was the overall winner and first place in the birds category.   A description of the winning image states: 'Temperatures are rising, the snow melts and water slowly cuts its way down into the valley ... The Golden Eagle floats in through the retreating veil looking for winter's leftovers ... Numerous avalanches in the mountains have taken their toll, offering the Golden Eagles a generous supply of food after the snow is gone ... Two days later there was going to be new snow, heavily restricting the Golden Eagle's food supply once more'.
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May 22, 2018

Green Peafowl endangered in Cambodia...

Photo: Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images
A large Green Peafowl (a.k.a. peacock) is seen on a parked delivery van in a street of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.  Nearby residents say the bird is an escaped pet.   The I.U.C.N. classifies these peafowl as endangered in Cambodia with rapidly declining populations due to diminishing forest and hunting, which might explain this startling photo in a busy urban setting.
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May 21, 2018

Stilts are found around the world...

Photo: Mei Yongcun / Barcroft Images
MBlack-winged StiltM
(Himantopus himantopus)
Two Black-winged Stilts rest on a shoal near Anhai town at Jinjiang City, in China's Fujan Province.   In addition to the Black-winged Stilt, there are five other species and two sub-species of stilts found all over the world, including North and South America, Hawaii, Europe,  Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia.
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May 20, 2018

Time for cygnets to hatch...

Photo: Graham Hunt / Alamy
MAbbotsbury SwanneryM
The first of this year's cygnets have hatched at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset, England.  I have never come across the word swannery before.  What a great sound is has!   Of course it is simply defined as a place for breeding swans, but for me there is something about the word swannery  that suggests things like elegance, verve, stylishness and flair, etc., etc.  However, I'm sure I will probably never actually use the wonderful word swannery in my normal course of routine.
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May 19, 2018

Hey! I'm talking to you...

Photo: Shivang Mehta / Alamy

A Chinkara or Indian Gazelle is seen getting an earful from a Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) bird in Ranthambore National Park, famous for its tigers in northern India.   A Rufous Treepie is a member of the crow family.
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May 18, 2018

A scene that speaks of China...

Photo: Shi Guangde / Xinhua / Barcroft Images
The Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes), a.k.a. Swinhoe's Egret, is a vulnerable species in Eastern Asia, due to habitat loss.   As many as 3,400 individuals can still be found breeding in China, the Koreas and far eastern Russia.
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May 17, 2018

Plastic and rubber fatal for shearwater

Photo: Denise Hardesty / CSIRO / AP
A dead shearwater lies upon a table next to a plastic straw and pieces of red balloon found inside it.   It was discovered on North Stradebroke Island, off the coast of Brisbane, Australia; more and more a scene found around the world.
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May 16, 2018

Only 100 of these birds left on earth...

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
( Cissa thalassina)
A hidden keeper uses a puppet to feed a 43-day-old Javan Green Magpie at the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic.  The bird, which is endemic to the Indonesian island of Java, is one of the most critically endangered birds on earth.   As few as 100 are believed to be left in the world.   Wikipedia states that in the wild, Javan Green Magpies dye themselves bright green by eating green insects that contain a yellow pigment called lutein.   When kept in cages, their colour can change from green to blue due to inadequate diet.
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May 15, 2018

Cranes with breeding in mind...

Photo:Michael Tatman / Alamy Stock Photo
(Antigone canadensis)
Two Sandhill Cranes are seen performing a mating dance among Canada Geese, in Rookery View Park, Wauwau, Wisconsin, USA.   It is estimated that just over 1/2 million Sandhill Cranes exist in North America.
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May 14, 2018

Getting ready to make love...

                                                                           Photo: Maxim Malinovsky / AFP / Getty Images
                                                                                                              Photo by Aconcagua

(Tetra tatrix) 
A Black Grouse (above), a.k.a. Blackgame or Blackcock, performs courtship rituals in a field near the village of Lovchitsy, in Belarus.

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May 13, 2018

Oppoprtunistic crow in China

Photo: Feature China / Barcroft Images
A cheeky and enterprising crow plucks chunks of fur,  for its nest in a zoo, from the rear end of a recumbent Panda in Beijiang, China.
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May 12, 2018

Mrs. Moreau's Warbler...

                                                                          Photo: Dr. Neil Burgess
WWhat makes a bird memorable?W
Consider Mrs. Moreau's Warbler (Scepomycter winifredae)
1.  Discovered in 1938 and declared monotypic.
2.  Also known as Winifred's Warbler.
3.  Discovered by ornithologist Reginald Moreau in the         
     montane forest of the Uluguru Mountains of Tanzania.
4.  Reginald named the bird after his wife, Winifred Moreau.
5.  I.U.C.N. listed as 'Vulnerable' - threatened by habitat loss.
6.  Birdlife International says may be only 500 birds left.
7. The Rubeho Warbler, identified in 2009, in the Rubeho-    
     Ukaguru Mountains of Tanzania, is closely related and 
     the combined species are both labelled as 'Vulnerable' by
Source: The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World (6th edition), Cornell University Press.

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May 11, 2018

Amazing instinct and usual

Photos by BarrytheBirder
First 'hummer' arrives May 10 ... as predicted
Spring's first Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived in the backyard yesterday, May 10th, as they usually do every year, for the last 10 years or so.   I was beginning to wonder because of the strange weather so far this spring.   Just minutes before the arrival of the 'hummer', two striking Rose-breasted Grosbeaks showed up at the feeders (see photo below).   If that wasn't enough, a short time later the first Pine Siskin of the spring showed up (bottom photo).   What with an Indigo Bunting and Northern Oriole earlier this week, it's been a colourful few days.

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