Birdorable Acorn Woodpecker

Thanks for tuning in to our 2018 Birdorable Bonanza. We're kicking off this burst of new Birdorable birds with a species of New World woodpecker: the Acorn Woodpecker.

Acorn Woodpeckers have an unmistakable adult plumage of black and white with a deep red crown. These social birds breed cooperatively.

Photo of Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker by Becky Matsubara (CC BY 2.0)

They also gather and hoard their namesake food communally, using dead trees or utility poles to store thousands of acorns.

Tomorrow's new bird is an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper finch. This specialized bird lives on the Big Island and is closely associated with the Mamane tree. Do you know the species?

Birdorable Bonanza

Back in November 2016, we celebrated the 10th year of Birdorable by kicking off our 8th annual Birdorable Bonanza. This Friday, November 23, we're kicking off our 10th Bonanza!

Each year we reveal a new batch of birds in a burst -- our Birdorable Bonanza. You can check out what the previous years were like here: 2017; 2016; 2015; 2014; 2013; 2012; 2011; 2010; 2009.

In 2009, our first bird was the Scarlet Ibis and last year's bonanza ended with the Superb Lyrebird. 

During this year's ten-day-long event, we'll reveal a new bird each day. 10 new birds for our 10th Bonanza! The new birds will include our 700th species, the most requested Birdorable of all time! Join us starting this friday to see what new birds will join Birdorable in our 10th annual Bonanza!

Here's a sneak peek at Friday's new species, a medium-sized woodpecker with an appearance some compare to that of a clown. Can you guess which species will start things off?

Researchers in Oregon are working on a huge survey of birds in the state: Oregon 2020. Data from field observations is being compiled to determine the abundance and distribution of Oregon's bird species.

The study in part uses data collected by citizen scientists who bird the state and enter their findings into eBird.

In a presentation given at a bird symposium last year, Birdorable cartoon birds were used to help visualize concepts in field observation data collection, like "imperfect detection" and "detection probability".

The project aims to compile its data on the birds of Oregon by the year 2020. While data collection occurs year-round, County Birding Blitzes are used to collect data in hotspots over a short period of time by a lot of different observers (kind of like Christmas Bird Counts).

To learn more about the project and maybe even contribute data, check it out at Oregon 2020.

Thank you to Tyler Hallman for sharing his presentation with us.

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.

Piping Plover chicks by USFWS Mountain-Prairie (CC BY 2.0)
Piping Plover chicks and eggs by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (public domain)
Piping Plover chicks by USDA NRCS Montana (public domain)
Piping Plover chick by Russ (CC BY 2.0)
Piping Plover chick by Russ (CC BY 2.0)
Piping Plover chick by Russ (CC BY 2.0)
Piping Plover chick by Seney National Wildlife Refuge (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Piping Plover chick by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (public domain)
Piping Plover chick by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (public domain)
Piping Plover chicks by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (public domain)
Young Piping Plover by Isaac Sanchez (CC BY 2.0)

Cute Piping Plover T-Shirts & Gifts

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

- Rodolfo Orozco Vega

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.

Brood Patch on American Robin
Bird banders note brood patch on American Robin by VSPYCC (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Canada Goose on Nest
Canada Goose sits on eggs in nest lined with feathers by Bradley Davis (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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.

Cute Robin T-Shirts & Gifts

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.

Canada Goose Eggs
Cananda Goose Eggs by NottsExMiner (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Goose Babies
Canada Goose Babies by Duck Lover (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Adult Goose with Baby
Adult Goose with Baby by Don DeBold (CC BY 2.0)
Two Goslings
Two Goslings by Suchitra Photography (CC BY 2.0)
Baby Canada Goose
Baby Canada Goose by Duck Lover (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Gosling with Parent
Gosling with Parent by Duck Lover (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Family Feeding Time
Family Feeding Time by Jocelyn Piirainen (CC BY 2.0)

Cute Canada Goose Gifts

Back in June, the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan celebrated World Migratory Bird Day. Some activities centered around the endangered Kirtland's Warbler, which breeds in parts of Michigan.

Birdorable Kirtland's Warbler coloring pages and stickers were used in part of the activities, where children learned about the small songbird.

Here are some photos from the fun day at the zoo.

Check out all of our Free Downloadable Coloring Pages, available for your next educational bird event or any time you're looking for colorful bird fun!

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.

Baby Starling
Baby Starling by Audrey (CC BY 2.0)
Baby Starlings in Nest
Baby Starlings in Nest by hedera.baltica (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Baby Starling
Baby Starling by Airwolfhound (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Baby European Starling
Baby European Starling by Keith Laverack (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Adult and Baby Starlings
Adult and Baby European Starling by Chris Isherwood (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Mother and Baby Starlings
Mother and Baby Starlings by Airwolfhound (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Adult with Baby Starling
Adult with Baby Starling by marneejill (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Young Starling
Young Starling by Jo Garbutt (CC BY 2.0)

Cute European Starling Gifts

Facts About Wood Storks

Birdorable Wood Stork

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.

Carnivores

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.

Longevity

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.

Collective Noun

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?

A group of Wood Storks in flight

Population Status

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.

Name Games

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.

Do Wood Storks Deliver Babies?

No, you're thinking of White Storks.

The Wood Stork was added to Birdorable on Feburary 22, 2017.

Cute Wood Stork Gifts