Blog Archive: 2011

Birdorable Roseate Spoonbill

Happy New Year from the Birdorable Class of 2011

December 31st, 2011 in Announcements, Holidays No comments

We end the year with a special message from all birds that we added this year:

Happy New Year from the Birdorable Class of 2011
(Click image to embiggen)

Do you recognize all the birds in the picture? They are (from top-left): Roseate Spoonbill, Red Knot, Northern Goshawk, Common Gallinule, Black Swan, Sardinian Warbler, Carolina Parakeet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Humboldt Penguin, Pileated Woodpecker, Southern Cassowary, Eurasian Curlew, Eastern Screech Owl, Cinereous Vulture , Australian Ringneck, Bobolink, Lilac-breasted Roller, Brant Goose, Shoebill, Eurasian Spoonbill, European Roller, Chimney Swift, Chinstrap Penguin, Common Moorhen, Swainson's Trush, Little Egret, Lammergeier, Hermit Thrush, Pink-footed Goose, Lord Derby's Parakeet, Northern Bobwhite, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Great Black-backed Gull, Northern Wheatear, Blackburnian Warbler, Roadside Hawk, Dickcissel, Cyprus Warbler, Blue-bellied Roller, Double-barred Finch and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Birdorable Bobolink

Fun Bobolink Facts

December 22nd, 2011 in Blackbirds, Fun Facts 2 comments

Have you ever seen a Bobolink? Here are some fun facts about these striking prairie birds!

Birdorable Bobolink

1. One nickname given to the Bobolink is "skunk blackbird." The breeding plumage of males is distinctive in North America; it is the only bird with a black front and white back.

2. Bobolinks have two other nicknames, both food-related, in their migration and wintering grounds. They are called "butterbirds" in Jamaica, where they are captured during migration and consumed by locals as food. In South America, they may be considered pests, where they feast on fields of grain. Here they are called "ricebirds."

3. The mechanical-sounding call of the Bobolink is sung by the males during spring, often in flight. Here is what it sounds like:

4. Bobolinks molt their feathers twice a year, which is unusual for a songbird. One molt occurs after breeding and before migration; the other molt occurs on the wintering grounds. Males change their appearance drastically. They go from the striking "skunkbird" black and white to more muted coloring and resemble the female bird, seen below.

Bobolink, female
Bobolink, female by Kelly Colgan Azar

5. A group of Bobolinks is called a chain.

6. Bobolinks are known to be extraordinary migrants. They breed across much of the northern half of the United States and into parts of Canada. During the fall, the birds travel down to south-central South America, a journey that may span over 12,000 miles round trip!

7. The Bobolink has been celebrated by several American poets. Emily Dickinson wrote The Way to know the Bobolink. And here is a verse from William Cullen Bryant's Robert of Lincoln:

Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife, Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings, Passing at home a quiet life, Broods in the grass while her husband sings: Bob-o’-l ink, bob-o’-link, Spink, spank, spink; Brood, kind creatures; you need not fear Thieves and robbers while I am here. Chee, chee, chee.

8. The Bobolink was added to Birdorable in 2011. Be sure to check out our great collection of Bobolink t-shirts & gifts!

Birdorable Eurasian Curlew

10 Facts about the Eurasian Curlew

December 19th, 2011 in New Birds, Shorebirds 8 comments
Birdorable Eurasian Curlew

Here are ten facts about the Eurasian Curlew:

  • The Eurasian Curlew is the largest wading bird found in Europe;
  • In Scotland it is known as the "Whaup";
  • The birds can be found from central and southern Europe and Asia to parts of Africa;
  • Curlews are migratory, but are present all year in the milder climate of the British Isles and the adjacent European coasts;
  • Within its range the Curlew is most similar to the Whimbrel, but the latter is smaller and has a shorter bill that is less smoothly curved;
  • They eat mostly worms, crabs and invertebrates, which they find by touch using their long curved bill to probe soft mud;
  • Its name is derived from its 'curloo-oo' call;
  • The female is larger and has a longer bill than the male, but the different is not always distinct;
  • A group of curlews is called a "curfew", "salon", or "skein" of curlews;
  • The species is threatened due to loss and fragmentation of moorland and grassland habitats.

The Eurasian Curlew is the 360th bird species on Birdorable. Check out our Curlew t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Plovers & Shorebirds.

Birdorable Eurasian Curlew sample products
Birdorable Double-barred Finch

Cute Owl Finch

December 16th, 2011 in New Birds, Finches No comments
Birdorable Double-barred Finch

We recently added the Double-barred Finch to Birdorable. This cute little bird is also known as the Owl Finch because its facial markings resemble the disc-like appearance of some owl species. Owl Finches will visit feeders and bird baths in their native range over parts of north and east Australia, where they feed on seeds. They also eat insects. They are gregarious in nature, so Australian back yard birders may have a flock of several birds invading a feeder or bath at the same time. Check out our Owl Finch t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Finches.

Birdorable Double-barred Finch sample products
Birdorable California Condor

California Condor is Audubon California's 2011 Bird of the Year

December 14th, 2011 in In the News, Condors, Conservation 1 comment

The California Condor has been selected as Audubon California's Bird of the Year for 2011. The endangered species won the title after receiving nearly 35% of the almost 10,000 votes cast in the annual election. The condor beat out the Black Oystercatcher, Western Snowy Plover, Sandhill Crane, and three other species.

Birdorable California Condor

The California Condor is a critically endangered species that was down to just 22 wild birds in the late 1980's. These birds were captured and bred as part of a captive breeding program that continues to see limited but steady success. Today there are over 180 California Condors living in the wild. One totally unnecessary threat still facing California Condors is lead poisoning. If hunters would universally adopt lead-free ammunition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the California Condor recovery program "would [be] wildly successful." Unfortunately, lead-riddled carcasses limit the species' rebound. The California Condor's reign at Audubon California Bird of the Year 2011 highlights the plight of these special birds.