Birdorable Leach's Storm Petrels

Leach's Storm-Petrels live a remarkably long life for being so small. A lifespan of up to 36 years is not unheard of for this pelagic (sea-dwelling) species. This is about 25 years longer than would be expected for a bird this size! Why is this? Telomeres are pieces of DNA that alleviate cell division and oxidation. Longer telomeres usually occur in younger living things; telomeres typically shorten as aging occurs. However, the telomeres in Leach's Storm Petrels appear to actually grow with age. Does this mean that Leach's Storm-Petrels are immortal? In theory, maybe. But the birds still die. Their remarkable cell structure is an interesting source of study for scientists. Leach's Storm Petrel was added to Birdorable on October 13, 2012. If you can't get enough of this cute, little, and possibly immortal pelagic bird, be sure to check out our range of Leach's Storm Petrel gifts and apparel! Further reading:

For 22 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2012. We're counting up to our 400th species! We proudly kick off our Bonanza 2012 with a beautiful species native to the Americas: the Rose-breasted Grosbeak!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are small songbirds that breed across the Northeast of the United States and across much of Canada. These migratory beauties head south in the fall, spending the winter in Central and northern South America. Males have a shock of red on the chest, for which the species is named. Females look very different; they are sometimes mistaken for sparrows.

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Putneypics

Did you know ...

  • Most birds keep quiet while incubating eggs to avoid attention from predators, but male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks sing quietly to each other when they exchange places on the nest, and the male sings his normal song while near or even on the nest;
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeaks love moonlit nights and sometimes sing all night long when the moon is shining;
  • In areas where their range overlap, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks may cross-breed with Black-headed Grosbeaks. Babies can look like either parent, or have a mixed pattern;
  • Its nest, which is built from twigs in treetops, is often so thinly constructed that the eggs can be seen from below;
  • Birdhouses built for bluebirds may also be used for Rose-breasted Grosbeaks;
  • Their large beaks allow them to eat large grasshoppers and other insects that have tough exoskeletons;
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeaks love sunflower seeds and will be attracted to hopper feeders containing striped or black-oil sunflower seeds.
Birdorable Rose-breasted Grosbeak sample products

Tomorrow's bird is endemic to the Hawaiian islands. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview

Today marks the official introduction of the Evening Grosbeak as the American Birding Association's Bird of the Year for 2012. It also marks the official introduction of our brand new Birdorable Evening Grosbeak!

Evening Grosbeaks in flight

American Birding Association (ABA) President Jeffrey A. Gordon calls Evening Grosbeaks "avian firecrackers" for their conspicuous nature, their colorful appearance, and their gregarious, noisy manner.

Evening Grosbeaks at the bird bath

Gordon continues, "the ABA Bird of the Year program is all about birders being more conspicuous, and drawing attention to the excitement of birding and the fellowship of birders." 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; soon we will offer more styles featuring the ABA Bird of the Year 2012!

Evening Grosbeak gifts

Be sure to visit the ABA's Bird of the Year page to learn how the Evening Grosbeak will be celebrated in several BOY events occurring throughout the year. And if you'd like some to have some Evening Grosbeak coloring fun, check out our new coloring page which features the ABA Bird of the Year 2012.

Evening Grosbeak coloring page

Discovering Oystercatchers: Fun Facts and Features

Birdorable Oystercatchers on the beach

We recently added two new species of oystercatcher to Birdorable: the Black Oystercatcher and the Eurasian Oystercatcher. These join our updated American Oystercatcher.

Oystercatchers are a fascinating family of conspicuous, large shorebirds, boasting several intriguing characteristics and a wide range of species. Here are some captivating facts about these remarkable birds:

  • Currently, there are 11 recognized species of Oystercatchers still living in the world. These birds are spread across various continents, each adapting uniquely to its environment.
  • The Canarian Oystercatcher is a notable species that unfortunately went extinct in the early 1900s, highlighting the fragility of shorebird populations.
  • In the Americas, four distinct species of Oystercatchers can be found: the American Oystercatcher, Black Oystercatcher, Blackish Oystercatcher, and Magellanic Oystercatcher. Each of these species has its own unique traits and habitats.
  • Australia and New Zealand are home to five Oystercatcher species: the Sooty Oystercatcher, Pied Oystercatcher, Variable Oystercatcher, Chatham Oystercatcher, and South Island Oystercatcher. These regions provide diverse environments for these birds to thrive.
  • The remaining two extant species are named after their geographical ranges: the Eurasian Oystercatcher and the African Oystercatcher.
  • Oystercatchers, across all species, have a stocky shorebird build, adapted for their shoreline habitats.
  • While all Oystercatcher species have black feathers, some species feature black on top with white feathers underneath, showing diversity within the family.
  • A striking feature of Oystercatchers is their large bills, which are either bright orange or bright red, aiding in foraging and feeding.
  • Contrary to what their name suggests, Oystercatchers do not exclusively feed on oysters. They have a varied diet, and each species has a slightly different bill shape, specialized for the type of food they primarily consume.
  • Nesting habits of Oystercatchers involve creating scrapes on the ground, with most species nesting at or near shore habitats, taking advantage of their natural surroundings.
  • The Eurasian Oystercatcher stands out as the lightest species, averaging around 526 grams, while the Sooty Oystercatcher is typically the heaviest, averaging about 833 grams.
  • The Eurasian Oystercatcher's ability to inhabit both coastal and inland areas is unique among its kind.
  • The national bird of the Faroe Islands is the Eurasian Oystercatcher, a testament to its cultural significance in the region.
  • Variable Oystercatchers are named for their plumage variations, ranging from all-black to pied black-and-white, demonstrating remarkable diversity within a single species.
  • The South Island Oystercatcher, endemic to New Zealand, is also known as the South Island Pied Oystercatcher, or SIPO, highlighting its distinct regional presence.

These fascinating facts about Oystercatchers offer a glimpse into the diverse world of these shorebirds, each species bringing its own unique qualities and behaviors to the ecosystems they inhabit.

Eurasian Oystercatcher by ianpreston (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Cute Oystercatcher Gifts

Birdorable Eurasian Curlew

Here are ten facts about the Eurasian Curlew:

  • The Eurasian Curlew is the largest wading bird found in Europe;
  • In Scotland it is known as the "Whaup";
  • The birds can be found from central and southern Europe and Asia to parts of Africa;
  • Curlews are migratory, but are present all year in the milder climate of the British Isles and the adjacent European coasts;
  • Within its range the Curlew is most similar to the Whimbrel, but the latter is smaller and has a shorter bill that is less smoothly curved;
  • They eat mostly worms, crabs and invertebrates, which they find by touch using their long curved bill to probe soft mud;
  • Its name is derived from its 'curloo-oo' call;
  • The female is larger and has a longer bill than the male, but the different is not always distinct;
  • A group of curlews is called a "curfew", "salon", or "skein" of curlews;
  • The species is threatened due to loss and fragmentation of moorland and grassland habitats.

The Eurasian Curlew is the 360th bird species on Birdorable. Check out our Curlew t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Plovers & Shorebirds.

Birdorable Eurasian Curlew sample products
Birdorable Double-barred Finch

We recently added the Double-barred Finch to Birdorable. This cute little bird is also known as the Owl Finch because its facial markings resemble the disc-like appearance of some owl species. Owl Finches will visit feeders and bird baths in their native range over parts of north and east Australia, where they feed on seeds. They also eat insects. They are gregarious in nature, so Australian back yard birders may have a flock of several birds invading a feeder or bath at the same time. Check out our Owl Finch t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Finches.

Birdorable Double-barred Finch sample products

This week we added the Humboldt Penguin to Birdorable. Humboldt Penguins live along the Pacific Coast of South America. They feed on small fish and krill which they hunt as they glide effortlessly through the water. The conservation status of the Humboldt Penguin is considered vulnerable; destruction of habitat is a major culprit.

Birdorable Humboldt Penguin

These beautiful medium-sized penguins are found in zoos around the world. A pair of male Humboldt Penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo made headlines back in 2009 when they raised a baby penguin together. The same-sex couple "adopted" an egg that was abandoned by its parents and successfully raised the chick from incubation through feeding and finally independence. Prior to this incident, several of the zoo's Humboldt Penguins displayed same-sex preferences (which caused a stir back in 2005), but it was not until 2009 that a couple actually raised a baby together. Check out our Humboldt Penguin t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Penguins.

Birdorable Humboldt Penguin sample products

Let The Good Birds Roll

Birdorable European Roller, Lilac-breasted Roller & Blue-bellied Roller

We've recently added three new Birdorable birds from the roller family: the European Roller; the Lilac-breasted Roller; and the Blue-bellied Roller. There are twelve species of roller extant today. Rollers are similar to crows in size and shape, but certainly not in color. Rollers are colorful in appearance, and more closely resemble bee-eaters and kingfishers in this way. In fact, they are closely related to both of these families, taxonomically speaking. Rollers get their name from their unique breeding displays, where male birds swoop, dive, and roll through the air. Check out our original Roller apparel and gifts featuring these three new birds:

Birdorable Roller sample products

International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) may be tomorrow, but we here at Birdorable love vultures all year, and we can't wait to introduce our newest Birdorable bird: the Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture.

Birdorable Lammergeier

Lammergeiers like to eat dead things (just like people, if you think about it!), but they are a bit picky when it comes to their favorite treat: bone marrow! While they can easily swallow some bones, very large bones require a bit more work. Lammergeiers are so smart, they have a great trick to get at the bone marrow inside the bones of very large carcasses: they drop them on rocks! The bird will hold the bone and fly up high above a rocky area. At just the right moment, it will drop the bone so that it is broken or shattered by the rocks below. The Lammergeier then proceeds to chow down on the bone fragments along with the nutritious marrow inside. To help you celebrate IVAD, please have a look at our free fun vulture downloads, including an all-new Lammergeier coloring page. And check out our cute Lammergeier gifts.

Thrush Rush

We've recently added three members of the Thrush family to Birdorable: the Gray-cheeked Thrush, the Swainson's Thrush, and the Hermit Thrush. These three species, along with the related Wood Thrush and Veery, belong to a group of brown spotted thrushes that breed in North America and present an identification challenge to many birders. Besides their rather similar plumage, these three thrushes share another trait: they are "notable as world-class singers," according to Bill Thompson III's Identify Yourself: The 50 Most Common Birding Identification Challenges. "Their flutelike songs are produced by a complex system of syringeal muscles that are able to create multiple notes simultaneously. These rich vocalizations [...] have evolved to be heard in the thick vegetation of the woodland habitats where these thrushes breed." Hear their beautiful songs for yourself! Do you have a favorite?

These three cute Birdorable thrushes are available on a variety of novelties, t-shirts, and gifts, including neckties (shown with the Swainson's); postage (Gray-cheeked); necklace (Hermit); and iPhone cases (Swainson's).