Blog Archive: February 2011

Birdorable Swainson's Thrush

Thrush Rush

February 23rd, 2011 in New Birds, Thrushes 3 comments

We've recently added three members of the Thrush family to Birdorable: the Gray-cheeked Thrush, the Swainson's Thrush, and the Hermit Thrush. These three species, along with the related Wood Thrush and Veery, belong to a group of brown spotted thrushes that breed in North America and present an identification challenge to many birders. Besides their rather similar plumage, these three thrushes share another trait: they are "notable as world-class singers," according to Bill Thompson III's Identify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges. "Their flutelike songs are produced by a complex system of syringeal muscles that are able to create multiple notes simultaneously. These rich vocalizations [...] have evolved to be heard in the thick vegetation of the woodland habitats where these thrushes breed." Hear their beautiful songs for yourself! Do you have a favorite?

These three cute Birdorable thrushes are available on a variety of novelties, t-shirts, and gifts, including neckties (shown with the Swainson's); postage (Gray-cheeked); necklace (Hermit); and iPhone cases (Swainson's).

Birdorable Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida Scrub-Jay Fun Facts

February 15th, 2011 in Jays, Fun Facts 1 comment
Birdorable Scrub-Jay

1. The Florida Scrub-Jay is the only species of bird endemic to the state of Florida.

2. The Florida Scrub-Jay is a federally threatened species. Loss of their specific breeding habitat and their sedentary lifestyle contribute to their threatened status.

3. Florida Scrub-Jays are cooperative breeders. Offspring remain with their parents for subsequent broods, helping with feeding and defending territory.

Florida Scrub Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay by Amy Evenstad

4. Both male and female Florida Scrub-Jays are active during nesting, but with a strong division of labor. Males guard the territory and provide food for the family; females incubate the eggs and brood the chicks.

5. Florida Scrub-Jays have been observed perching on the backs of deer and feral pigs.

6. Florida Scrub-Jays are known to be extremely tame. They will take food from the hand or perch on humans who are providing them with treats. Feeding wild Scrub-Jays is not recommended, though, as it may endanger them by making them drop their guard around dangerous traffic situations and by triggering early breeding which may lead chicks to starve when natural food is not available.

7. The oldest known wild Florida Scrub-Jay lived to be 15.5 years of age.

8. The Florida Scrub-Jay is one of our cute Birdorable birds! The Florida Scrub-Jay was added to Birdorable on August 2nd, 2010.

Florida Scrub-Jay
Florida Scrub-Jay by Amy Evenstad
Birdorable Black-crested Titmouse

Fun Facts: Black-crested Titmouse

February 7th, 2011 in Tits, Fun Facts 1 comment
Birdorable Black-crested Titmouse

1. The Black-crested Titmouse is closely related to the Tufted Titmouse. They hybridize where their ranges overlap (in Central Texas) and they used to be considered the same species.

2. The bird's DNA suggests that the Black-crested Titmouse diverged from the Tufted TItmouse about 250,000 years ago.

3. It's 'peter, peter, peter' call is similar to that of the Tufted Titmouse, but shorter.

4. Their diet consists of seeds, berries, nuts, insects and insect eggs.

5. The crest of a female Black-crested Titmouse is actually dark gray.

6. Another name for the Black-crested Titmouse is the Mexican Titmouse.

7. Black-crested Titmice are considered residents throughout their range, which covers much of central Texas, and parts of Oklahoma and Mexico. They do not migrate.

8. Black-crested Titmice are cavity nesters, and have been known to line their nests with horse hair, feathers, onion skins, and even tissue paper.

9. The Black-crested Titmouse is one of our cute Birdorable birds! The Black-crested Titmouse was added to Birdorable on November 10th, 2010. Check out our other cute tits and chickadees.

Huey was glad to finally get his little gnome cap.
Photo by martytdx (source: Flickr)