International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) is coming up soon! This Saturday, September 1, people all over the world will celebrate vultures. We've launched a new vulture landing page just in time for IVAD. Here you'll find links to all of our Birdorable vultures. We've got 23, representing all of the Old World and New World vultures found in the world. We've also got free downloadable coloring pages for each of the 23 vultures. The sheets have a few fun facts about each species, plus key color tips, in case you want your vulture to be true to life! Of course, we encourage creativity in coloring, too. Check out these photos from an IVAD celebration from last year. Nice work, kids!

On our special vulture page, you'll also find six different free downloadable activity sheets. Connect the Dots to reveal vultures and complete your own coloring page image. Try to solve the Vulture Maze, or play Vulture Memory. All of the printable PDF downloads are totally free to use at IVAD activities or anywhere else! If you use any Birdorable downloads at your event, school, or at home, we'd love to see photos of your finished work! Send us photos of the pages in action, or the final result – we may showcase them on our blog!

Saturday, September 1st, will mark the fourth annual International Vulture Awareness Day, a celebration of the world's vulture species. We're marking the day by unveiling over a dozen brand new Birdorable vulture species - to complete our set of all of the world's vultures. We'll highlight the new birds in the coming days, but if you just can't wait, catch a sneak peek by heading over to our vulture "meet" pages.

International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) is a global event designed to raise awareness and promote conservation of vultures. Visit the IVAD website to see which organizations are participating. There may just be an event near you! And be sure to check out our collection of Birdorable vultures to see how you can share the vulture love in cute style!

Back in March the American Birding Association (ABA) announced that their bird of the year for 2012 would be the Evening Grosbeak. We are supporting the ABA with sales of Birdorable Evening Grosbeak merchandise. Birdorable is proud to support the ABA by offering Evening Grosbeak apparel and merchandise with 25% of sales going directly to the organization. All Birdorable Evening Grosbeak designs are participating in this promotion throughout 2012! All Birdorable Evening Grosbeak products, including shirts, stickers, mugs, and mousepads, are completely customizable via our production partner Zazzle. One great thing about offering our products via Zazzle is that customers can add elements like text or photos to products to personalize them. We are offering some "pre-personalized" ABA-branded merchandise in our Birdorable shop. You can find them here: ABA Bird of the Year 2012.

Here is a very short tutorial showing how you can customize Birdorable products, using an ABA Evening Grosbeak shirt as an example. From the shop page linked above, click on the Value Shirt thumbnail. This brings you directly to the product page on Zazzle.com. Click on the orange Customize It button.

The page refreshes with a new customization menu available on the right side of the screen, shown below. Notice that there are two design elements - one text and one image. Click on Change text to customize the t-shirt text.

A small text box pops up on the screen. In this example I have changed the text to read I LOVE THE ABA. I used the text size tool to increase the font size on the caption. Here is what my new shirt looks like.

There are other customization options - you can change the font style or color, change the placement of both the bird and your caption, or even add your own images. You can add your name or anything else to the back of shirts, too! Customization tools like these are available on all Zazzle-provided products, and there is no obligation to buy - so feel free to play with the tools and let your creativity shine! We've had fun with this before on our blog, adding funny text to our Kakapo shirts when a particularly funny video clip was making the social media rounds. Check it out, and be sure to look at the shirts at the bottom of the post: Shagadelic Birdorable Kakapo. If you play around with the customization tools, feel free to show off your creations, either by commenting here on the blog or by posting on our Facebook page.

Malleefowl are large ground-dwelling birds that live in Australia. They have a remarkable reproductive cycle that includes up to 11 months per year spent building, tending and maintaining a large nest mound used for incubation. Malleefowl mounds are made up primarily of compost, piled many layers deep, and a top layer of sand, used for insulation. The eggs lay on top of the compost and are protected by the sand layer. The mounds may be used for several breeding seasons and may grow to over 70 feet in circumference and over three feet deep.


Malleefowl mound graphic by Peter Halasz

After the eggs are laid, the male tends to the nest and makes adjustments to the amount of soil within the compost layer to maintain a constant temperature of 33°C (91.4°F). He checks the temperature by probing his beak into the nest chamber! This amazing feat is why the bird is known as the "thermometer bird" in the Dutch and German languages. Here is a short video showing a temperature check:

Incubation depends on the temperature inside the mount remaining steady. Fluctuations caused by rainfall and other factors lead to incubation time lasting anywhere from 50 to nearly 100 days. When the chicks are ready to hatch, they use their strong feet to break the eggshell. Digging through the sand layer is a struggle that may take 15 hours! Once they reach the surface, they take a deep breath and begin their life, totally independent of their parents. Malleefowl chicks can run just an hour after emerging from the nest mound, and are able to fly after just one day! Here is a short video showing a Malleefowl chick who has just emerged from the nest mound: