The Great Blue Heron is our 227th cute Birdorable and the answer to yesterday's Spot the Birdorable. If you live in North America you've probably seen these around near water as they are quite common. It has several nicknames, including Big Cranky, Blue Crane, Long John and Poor Joe. Did you know that all Herons have two or more patches of powder-down feathers on their breasts? The feathers break up into a fine power when crushed. The birds apply this powder to areas of blood, mud or slime to absorb the mess. Once it has clumped up they can just scrape it off with their feet. They also sprinkle the powder on fish that they just caught to more easily clean off the slime and oil before eating it.
Blog Archive: January 2010
Today friend-of-Birdorable Sharon - Birdchick herself - posted a neat celebrity birding video on her blog. In the clip, she talks with Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller) about the birds in his Las Vegas back yard, including a Black-chinned Hummingbird. It's a fun interview and includes some tips on using binoculars with glasses and on identifying your local Columbiformes. Sharon's wearing a Pecker Checker shirt from Birdorable in the interview, which means we join her in geeking out - Penn Jillette saw one of our shirts, OMG!
This week's featured t-shirt is our I Love Birds design with our Birdorable Cardinal instead of a heart. This is a perfect gift for birdwatchers, birders, and Cardinal fans. The design is shown here on a pink/raspberry ladies twofer sheer t-shirt, which is just one of many different apparel styles to choose from.
This week's featured t-shirt is this design with the text One Bird, Two Birds, Red Bird, Blue Bird. Birdorable versions of the Robin, Black-capped Chickadee, Cardinal and Blue Jay perch on this cute elementary design. Great for back to school and students of all ages!
Have you ever seen a Heermann's Gull? These birds live on the west coast of the United States and Mexico. There are about 150,000 pairs of them and 95% of these nest on the island of Isla Rasa off Baja California. Audubon calls it one of North America's most beautiful gulls. Among other gulls in this area, Heermann's Gulls are easy to identify: breeding adults are dark gray above and light gray below, they have a white head and bright red bill with black tip. They are about the same size as a Ring-billed Gull. Isla Rasa is included in the Islas del Golfo California Biosphere Reserve. Because so many of these birds nest in one place, the entire species is vulnerable to disturbances there, which include harvesting of eggs by fishermen, industrial development and predation by introduced mammals.
Photo by Mary Angelini (via Flickr)
If you like this cute gull, check out our other Birdorable terns and gulls.
Today we've added the Sacred Ibis, a bird that lives in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Europe, where it was introduced. The Sacred Ibis is famous for its role in ancient Egyptian mythology, where it was often mummified as a symbol of the god Thoth, God of wisdom. In art, Thoth was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon. Its name means "He who is like the ibis".
The bird may have been sacred in Egypt, but in Europe it is having a negative impact. An increasing population of Sacred Ibises in France and southern Europe are devastating breeding colonies of terns and herons. They also compete successfully for nest sites with Cattle Egrets and Little Egrets. In the late 1970s, just twenty Sacred Ibis were originally imported from Kenya to the Branféré Zoological Gardens in southern Brittany, France. A breeding colony was established and spread to neighboring wetlands. A census in 2005 revealed circa 3,000 of the birds.
If you like this bird please check out our other Birdorable ibises.
The first new Birdorable bird of 2010 is this Hamerkop, a bird that lives in sub-Saharan Africa. They get their name from their hammer-shaped heads and they are also known as Hammerhead Stork or Anvilhead. We saw these birds on our trip to the Gambia a couple of years ago and instantly fell in love with these little fellows. They have such a cute head and the large bill makes it look like they're always smiling. Check out this gorgeous one sporting a nice stick for its nest.
Talking about nests, these birds are famous for them. Their huge nests, often built in the fork of a tree, can grow to over 5 feet (1.5 meters) across and made with over 10,000 sticks! That's one busy bird! A Hamerkop's nest is strong enough to support a man's weight. The birds like to decorate the outside of their nest with bright-colored objects that they find in the area. We saw one of these large nests, which you can see in the following picture.
Don't you love Redheads? This week's featured t-shirt is this I Love Redheads design with our Birdorable Redhead! This medium-sized diving duck breeds in western North America and spends the winter in southern and north-eastern United States, the Great Lakes area, Mexico and the Caribbean. We saw a couple of Redheads the other day while birding along Lake Michigan here in Illinois.
Shown here is our Basic American Apparel T-Shirt which is made in the USA.
The Dutch radio program Vroege Vogels ("Early Birds") surveyed about 5000 people to find the favorite bird song in the Netherlands. The Blackbird came out on top, beating #2 Nightingale (Nachtegaal), #3 Song Thrush (Zanglijster), and 97 other Dutch birds. The entire list, including a photo of each bird and a sample of its song, can be found here: Dutch Bird Top 100. It's a neat way to see some of the most common birds of the Netherlands and hear what they sound like! We've got quite a few European birds here at Birdorable, including several of the Dutch favorites. Here are a few of them. The Dutch names are listed below.
#1 Merel (Blackbird) #4 Roodborst (Robin) #5 Winterkoning (Winter Wren) #10 Putter (European Goldfinch) #15 Vink (Chaffinch) #21 Kievit (Northern Lapwing) #26 Pimpelmees (Blue Tit) #56 IJsvogel (Common Kingfisher)