Before Europeans knew that the Black Swan was a real type of bird, they used it as a metaphor to describe something that didn't exist. For over 1500 years, to compare a thing to a Black Swan meant that it wasn't real, for in the eyes of Europeans, all swans were white. Mute Swans and Whooper Swans, both mostly white, were the only species of swan known to western culture at the time. Imagine how surprised you would be to see a flying pig, and you can guess how Europeans felt when they learned there really was such a thing as a Black Swan! When Europeans first visited Australia in the late 1600's, Black Swans were commonly seen on waterways. The birds are mainly found in the southeast and southwest parts of Australia. Today Australians, especially those living in Western Australia, have embraced the "otherness" of the Black Swan. For some it has come to symbolize antipodean identity, and the contrast between Australian culture with that of the northern hemisphere (and their white swans). The Black Swan can be found on the flag and coat-of-arms of Western Australia. If you'd like to read more about Black Swans and pop culture, check out this article.
After a very turbulent early season, there is some wonderful news out of the Rochester Falconcam today. The star Peregrine Falcon pair Beauty and Dot.ca became proud parents with the hatching of their first chick early this morning. Here is a screen shot of Beauty, the fluffy chick, and the two remaining eggs.
Screen shot from earlier today (June 20, 2012) from the Rochester Falconcam
The season began with Beauty in rehab and different female Peregrine Falcon at the nest site. In fact, one of those remaining eggs wasn't even laid by Beauty! Follow the link to the Imprints blog at the beginning of this post for a quick catch-up on this dramatic breeding season. We continue to support the Genesse Valley Audubon Society in bringing the Rochester Falconcam to the world. New designs featuring our updated Birdorable Peregrine Falcon reflect this year's changes to the players in this year's drama. As always, 30% of the retail price for all Birdorable Rochester Falconcam product sales will be donated GVAS.
You can also donate directly to the Rfalconcam via this link: Individual Donors. Follow Rfalconcam on Facebook to stay updated!
The New York Times reported last week that the number of Red Knots stopping at critical refueling grounds on the East Coast of the United States this year was double the number seen last year.
Each year, Red Knots migrate over 9,000 miles during their migration from South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. Along the way, they stop at beaches of the East Coast to feed on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their remaining journey. Legislation protecting horseshoe crabs has probably contributed to the good number of Red Knots found this year. The population of the American subspecies of the Red Knot has been in steep decline; hopefully this year's bounty is a good sign towards recovery! The Red Knot is one of our 378 cute Birdorable birds. We have commemorated the special relationship between the knots and horseshoe crabs with two unique designs. Check them out: Crab-Knot Cycle and Horseshoe Crabs are Life. The small blue blobs making shapes in each design represent horseshoe crab eggs!
Red Knot Gifts
You can learn more about the Red Knot from Cornell's All About Birds website: Red Knot. Hat tip to the ABA Blog for this story.
Check out these three new Birdorable coloring pages for lots of cute coloring fun! Go to Coloring Pages to download the PDFs.
You can visit the meet pages for each bird to check the colors: Harpy Eagle, Lilac-breasted Roller and Crested Caracara. Which one is your favorite bird?
These downloads will be available until 1 August 2012. Check here for more coloring pages. Subscribe to the Birdorable Blog by RSS feed or by email to get notified when new downloads like this are added. Have you used our coloring pages at home, in your classroom, or at an event? We’d love to hear about it! Send us photos of the pages in action, or the final result – we may showcase them on our blog!