Today we start our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza with a bang! Actually… make that an IRRUPTION! We’re kicking off 29 days of new birds by dropping four finches in this “finch invasion” winter season. A bright spot in 2020, many birders are delighting at seeing these and other finches visit their feeders for the first time in many years or for the first time ever.
Northern finches follow the food, and when they have a good season, large flocks of them might congregate farther south than in other years; their gregarious groups are a delight to see.
Pine Siskins are extremely gregarious and may be found in feeding flocks of hundreds of individuals. Wow!
Crossbills are named for their specialized bills, crossed at the tip, which allows them to feed on conifer seeds by stripping cones down to reach the food inside. Different crossbills specialize in different kinds of conifer seeds. Isn’t that neat?
Male Purple Finches have a beautiful bright raspberry red, streaky plumage. Females and juveniles are duller, with little to no red, though you can see the same face mask pattern on adult females.
Find our new finches in a variety of new designs on a great assortment of apparel and other products, available in our shop.
Tomorrow our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza will continue with a bird native to Australia with a long, curved bill and a bare head. Birds of this family are found nearly all around the world. Can you guess tomorrow’s new species?
Today our 2018 Bonanza continues with a Hawaiian species of honeycreeper: the Palila!
Many species of Hawaiian honeycreeper are endangered or face threats, and the Palila is no different, unfortunately. The Palila is considered to be critically endangered, due in part to loss of habitat.
Palilas are highly dependent on the Mamane tree. This association includes using the tree as a food source and nesting habitat.
Tomorrow's new bird is Europe's largest species of pigeon. Can you guess which species it is?
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!