This week's featured t-shirt is our Save the Red-cockaded Woodpecker design on a Men's Basic Dark T-Shirt. The male Red-cockaded Woodpecker has a small red streak on the side of its head, called a cockade, which gives the species its name. These woodpecker live in the southeastern United States, and unfortunately their conservation status is considered vulnerable. Show your support for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker with this Birdorable graphic tee.
Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots in aviculture, are medium-sized parakeets with a mostly green plumage, gray at the forehead and throat, and a pale pink bill. Here are some facts about these cute birds:
- The native range of Monk Parakeets is around subtropical parts of Argentina and surrounding countries in South America.
- There are many self-sustaining feral populations of Monk Parakeets outside of South America, mainly in Europe and North America.
- The Monk Parakeet was brought to the United States in the late 1960s as a pet. The first feral Monk Parakeet to be recorded in the U.S. was in New York in 1967. Many birds escaped or were intentionally released, and populations were allowed to proliferate. By the early 1970s, Monk Parakeets were established in seven states, and by 1995 they had spread to eight more. There are now thought to be approximately 100,000 in Florida alone.
- The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest rather than using a hole in a tree. These birds typically build their nest in a tree or on a man-made structure.
- These huge nests attract many other tenants, including birds of prey such as the Spot-winged Falconet or ducks such as the Yellow-billed Teal.
- Monk Parakeets often breed colonially and build a single large nest with multiple entrances for each pair. In the wild these colonies can become quite large, with nests that can reach the size of a small car.
- There are four recognized subspecies:
- Myiopsitta monachus monachus -- Lives from southeastern Argentina and Uruguay and is the largest subspecies;
- Myiopsitta monachus calita -- Native to the Andean foothills from southeastern Bolivia to Paraguay and northwestern Argentina. Has wings more prominently blue and darker gray head than other subspecies;
- Myiopsitta monachus cotorra -- Nests in cliffs in southwestern Brazil and has less yellow below and is brighter overall;
- Myiopsitta (monachus) luchsi (aka Cliff Parakeet) -- Has no scalloping on breast, underparts are brighter yellow and lives in the Andean valleys of central Bolivia.
- The Cliff Parakeet subspecies may eventually be recognized as its own species again, as it has been on-and-off since it was first described in 1868.
- The lifespan of a Monk Parakeet is 15 to 20 years in the wild and 25 to 30 years in captivity.
- Other names for this bird are: Quaker Parrot, Monk Parrot or Quaker Parakeet.
- A group of parakeets is collectively called a "chatter" or a "flock" of parakeets.
- Quaker Parrots are popular pet birds for their comical personalities and energetic nature, but they are also notoriously loud and noisy birds, so take caution before rushing out to get one. They can live to be 30 years old, so caring for one is a long commitment. The birds are also illegal to keep in some U.S. states, especially in the south due to the established feral populations.
- The Monk Parakeet was added to Birdorable in August 2007 and we have hundreds of original customizable gifts with this cute bird. Check out our cute Monk Parakeet gifts or our other Birdorable parrots and parakeets.
This Saturday, March 14th, is Pi Day! This year Pi Day has an extra significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of the digit π. This only happens every one hundred years, so celebrate this very special Pi Day in style with this cute coloring page from Birdorable. A Black-billed Magpie (or Eurasian Magpie, it's your pick) is sitting on a large π symbol. It's your job to color the bird and Pi however you like, but if you want some hints you can have a look at the profile pages for each bird. If you can't get enough you can find dozens of other Birdorable coloring and activity pages in our Downloads section. Have fun and enjoy 3/14/15!
This week's featured t-shirt is the Women's American Apparel T-Shirt shown below featuring nine Birdorable birds that can be found at back yard feeders in the Northeast of the United States. Represented are: Tufted Titmouse; American Goldfinch; White-throated Sparrow; Rose-breasted Grosbeak; Hairy Woodpecker; Eastern Towhee; Red-breasted Nuthatch; Baltimore Oriole; and Dark-eyed Junco. Pick from dozens of different t-shirt styles for men, women and children and make it your own by moving the design around, changing the background color or adding your own text or images. This makes a fun gift idea for anyone that loves birds and especially for people who love to feed their feathered visitors!
It is a sure sign of spring, here in Florida, when the iconic outline of Swallow-tailed Kites can be seen overhead once again. These graceful black-and-white birds, with their deeply forked tails, breed near the coast from Texas to Florida and spend the winter in South America. They are just now starting to arrive in the United States again and we saw our first one this week.
Every morning they take to the sky on thermal drafts and never seem to land, always soaring like a kite and rarely flapping their wings. The bird is one of the most acrobatic flier of all raptors, being able to make sharp turns and quickly rotate its tail to trace tight circles in the sky. Swallow-tailed Kites need their mad flying skills to snatch small animals off the top of trees, which they frequently eat on the wing. In this way it catches most of its diet, which consists mainly of large insects and small birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians who dare to sit in tree tops.
We love these beautiful birds and are looking forward to seeing them soar overhead in the coming months. Check out these cute Swallow-tailed Kite gifts from our Birdorable shop.
Best known for their elaborate mating dance, Greater Prairie-Chickens once thrived across large parts of North America. Hunting and habitat loss over the last century has drastically reduced these beautiful birds to near extinction. Once so abundant they were a main food source for pioneers settling in the west, the birds have become extremely rare and have disappeared in much of their range.
Prairie-chickens are of great significance to Native Americans and many tribes have prairie-chicken dances. The grassland birds are well-known for their mating ritual, in which male birds defend their 'booming grounds' by perform a display in hopes of attracting females. The dance involves inflating air saces on the side of their neck and snapping their tails. The strange booming sound gives the bird its nickname "Boomer".
There are three subspecies of this bird:
- The Heath Hen was originally found along the Atlantic coast, but became extinct in 1932.
- The Attwater's Prairie-Chicken is highly endangered and restricted to small coastal areas in Texas and Louisana. Around the year 1900 over a million Attwater's Prairie-Chickens lived in the gulf coastal prairie and huge numbers of males gathered to perform their elaborate courtship ritual. Now, less than one percent of the original coastal prairie habitat remains. Less than 100 Attwater's Prairie-Chickens are left in the wild, all resulting from release of animals raised in captivity. In 1967 the species was listed as federally endangered and in 1973 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
- The Greater Prairie-Chicken nominate subspecies is threatened, but remains numerous enough to still be hunted in four states. The bird went almost extinct in the 1930s due to hunting and habitat loss and now lives only on small parcels of managed prairie land. In states such as Iowa and Missouri, where Greater Prairie-Chickens were once abundant, only hundreds remain.
Read more about these amazing birds and prairie-chicken conservation efforts on the following websites:
Previous blog posts
- T-Shirt Tuesday: Save the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (3/24/2015)
- Fun Facts about Monk Parakeets (3/18)
- Mag-PI Coloring Page with Birdorable Magpie for Pi Day (3/12)
- T-Shirt Tuesday: Nine Backyard Birds from Northeast USA (3/10)
- Swallow-tailed Kites and their Acrobatic Flying Skills (3/8)
- The Plight of the Greater Prairie-Chicken (3/3)
- Birdorable on Facebook (2/25)
- T-Shirt Tuesday: Zebra Finch Statistics (2/24)
- Extreme Sexual Dimorphism in Eclectus Parrots (2/19)
- T-Shirt Tuesday: Pair of Belted Kingfishers (2/17)
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