Earlier this month, the Iiwi ('I'iwi), a beautiful Hawaiian finch, was introduced as the American Birding Association's Bird of the Year for 2018. We think it's an interesting and excellent choice!
In 2016 Hawaii was added the ABA Birding area by popular vote, and the process of adding species to the official checklist was completed last year. So it makes sense to feature a Hawaiian species in 2018.
The Iiwi is a type of finch, part of a group of Hawaiian honeycreepers. More than 50 species of honeycreeper used to call Hawaii home. Today less than half of those species still exist. They face threats including predation by introduced species and competition from invasive birds, as well as habitat loss and disease.
Of the native birds of Hawaii, the Iiwi is the most common.
The beautiful Iiwi can be recognized by its bold scarlet and black plumage, and by its long curved bill. In many ways the Iiwi behaves like a hummingbird, hovering in flight and drinking flower nectar.
Zebra Finches live in Australia and can be found across most of the continent, avoiding only some cold parts in the south and tropical parts of the north. The birds also naturally occurs in Indonesia and East Timor and were introduced to Portugal, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the United States where the species has established new populations.
Our featured t-shirt design this week is Zebra Finch Statistics featuring a male and female bird next to each other and the main differences and characteristics pointed out, such as the gold cheek patch of the male and oranger beak of the female. The scientific name "Taeniopygia guttata" is shown below. This graphic tee is available in many different styles and colors and can be customized to make a one-of-a-kind gift for zebra finch lovers and bird pet owners.
Black-throated Finches are granivorous, meaning they eat seeds and grains. They are endemic to Australia, where they are found in the northeast of the country, in Queensland. Historically they were also found along the eastern coast down in New South Wales, but their numbers have been declining. The species overall has a conservation status of Least Concern, but the southern population is considered to be Vulnerable by Australian authorities. Black-throated Finches are relatively sedentary (non-migratory), though they may change location in response to food availability during times of drought. The population faces threats from several factors, including loss of habitat from human development and predation by non-native mammals.
Black-throated Finch by Tim Lenz (CC BY 2.0; modified)
We're adding new birds each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the Hawfinch.
Look at that massive bill! Hawfinches are bulky birds, with large heads and stout bodies. Their large finch beaks have a metallic look to them. Hawfinches feed on hard seeds, including cherry pits and olive pits.
Hawfinch by Francesco Veronesi (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Hawfinches are social, often feeding in groups -- especially in the winter. They tend to be shy around people, but will visit feeding stations that offer seeds.
Tomorrow we'll add a somewhat elusive species of heron found in the Americas. It's a small one!
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.
Eurasian Bullfinches are stocky songbirds with gorgeous rosy-red, grey, black, and white plumage. While flashy in color, these beauties are rather shy, visiting feeding stations only if there is enough cover for a quick escape. They also travel in small groups, unlike some other, more gregarious, species of finch.