If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the Piping Plover.
When it comes to cute baby birds, it's hard to beat precocial shorebird chicks. Precocial chicks are ready and able to leave the nest soon after hatching. So they are covered in downy feathers, their eyes are open, but they are still tiny.
Piping Plovers are threatened, so their nests are monitored in several locations, leading to some spectacular photos of the extremely adorable chicks as they first make their way in the world.
Piping Plovers use a scrape on open beach habitat to nest. The scrape may be lined with small pebbles and shells. Incubation is performed by both the male and female, and takes around 26 to 28 days. They can walk away from the nest within hours of hatching.
NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary works to protect native wildlife in Costa Rica. In this guest post, Rodolfo Orozco Vega from the project shares some of the important conservation work they perform with two species of bird.
The Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA is an organization formed by Costa Ricans for the conservation of Costa Rica's biodiversity. Mainly NATUWA has worked with two species of Costa Rican macaw: the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) since 1994.
18 years ago in the community of Aranjuez de Puntarenas, NATUWA created a program to release Scarlet Macaws. With great success, and under the protection of the community of Aranjuez, the birds released by NATUWA are procreating by themselves and increasing the population of wild macaws.
The people of the community understand that with the arrival of the macaws, there are economic benefits for their families -- ecotourism activities focused on the protection of the species. If the birds are protected in the wild, everyone wins: the tourist; the local people; and the macaws.
In addition, NATUWA has a reproduction program of Great Green Macaws for their release in the wild. Currently, it provides the largest enclosure in Central America in donut shape (200 meters in circumference) where they prepare the birds for their future release in the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica. If you want to know more about this beautiful project, visit http://www.natuwa.org
A brood patch is a bare area of skin that some birds develop during nesting. The bare skin is an adaptation to help with egg incuabation.
The patch of featherless skin allows the parent bird to provide extra warmth from his or her own body to the eggs in the nest, and to growing, naked, newly-hatched chicks in the first days of life.
Both males and females can develop a brood patch, depending on the species and how incubation duty is shared. In most species, the brood patch develops as feathers are naturally shed during nesting activities. In some species, the brood patch appears through self-plucking. Ducks and geese, for instance, may line their nest with soft breast feathers, exposing the skin.
The location of the brood patch on the adult bird's body depends on the species. Most birds have a single bare patch of skin, while some species may develop two or even three patches.
Fun Fact: Bird banders use the presence of a brood patch to determine if a bird is currently nesting. The presence of a brood patch can also help to sex or age the bird. The patch on most birds is not immediately visible on the bird's body; banders gently blow air on the belly to separate the surrounding feathers to see if a patch is present.
If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the Canada Goose.
Canada Geese sometimes get a bad rap as nuisance birds and they have a reputation for being aggressive. But these North American native birds have their place in our environment. And it's hard to deny that they are handsome birds as adults, and pretty darn cute as babies.
Canada Geese start their nest with a scrape, and then build a nest out of local plant material. The inside is usually lined with soft downy feathers. The female goose will incubate the eggs herself; the process usually takes 25 to 28 days. At hatching, the chicks are fully covered with down. They are able to leave the nest within about 24 hours of hatching. They can swim upon leaving the nest; flight occurs 6 to 7 weeks later.
If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the European Starling.
Across North America, the European Starling is a huge "success" story. Today's population of over 200 million birds can all be traced back to the release of about 100 individuals in New York in the early 1890s. Unfortunately, they compete with native birds, especially those that use cavities for nesting.
In Europe, where they are native, the starling population has suffered declines since the 1980s due to loss of available food sources.
Whether you see these birds as pests or beloved natives, it's hard to deny that they have pretty adult plumage and that they are even cuter when they are chicks.
There are 19 species of stork in the world. These birds are generally heavy and tall, with long, thick bills.
The Wood Stork is one of three New World species of stork (the others are the Maguari Stork and the Jabiru). The range of the Wood Stork extends the furthest north of these three species. Here are some interesting facts about this unique species.
Wood Storks frequently feed in and around water, where they find prey items like fish, frogs, and even small alligators. They will also eat insects, crabs, and other small animals. Wood Storks find food by feeling around with their bill in shallow water. They may use their feet to stir up potenial prey as they slowly move through the water.
In the wild, it is believed that Wood Storks reach an average age of 11-18 years. From banding records, we know that the oldest wild bird lived at least 22 years and 4 months. The oldest captive Wood Stork lived to be just over 27 years of age.
A group of storks is known as a "muster". A group of storks in flight is called a "phalanx". Have you ever seen a muster or phalanx of Wood Storks?
The Wood Stork has a large natural range, covering much of South America, coastal Central America, and extreme southern parts of North America. The international IUCN considers the Wood Stork's population threats to be of Least Concern. In the United States, however, loss and degradation of habitat cause its status to be considered Threatened.
The Wood Stork superficially resembles an adult White Ibis and was formerly known as the Wood Ibis. This iconic bird has some interesting local nicknames, including Preacher, Ironhead, and Flinthead.