Friday, May 29, 2015

Bird Trivia

Field Guide Contest

Very nice looking field guide.
Inside view.
It is contest time!  We'll do a contest periodically for free stuff.  Who doesn't like free stuff??  First up is a brand new 6th edition National Geographic North American field guide with great detail and drawings of all the birds of North America.  It is very simple to enter.  Answer the questions below, use the subject "contest" and email your answers here or to by June 13th.  The winner will be announced on June 14th.  

Question 1- Name a flightless bird.

Question 2-What bird that I highlighted takes an amazing 28 pounds of force to open their clenched talon? 

Question 3- What type of posts do you want to see us do at Backyard Bird Blog?

Good luck! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bird of the Day

American Robin

The American Robin is thought of as a sign that spring is coming soon even though, they are present year round in most of the United States.  This common bird is well recognized for it's orange breast, beautiful songs, and it's knack for catching earthworms.

Robins eat mostly fruit in the fall and winter.  Their diet expands to insects, snails and of course earthworms in the spring/summer months.  They will rarely eat small snakes and small mammals.

The American Robin is the largest North American member of the Thrush family.  The family is known for it's beautiful songs and the Robin doesn't disappoint.  Their main song goes cheerily, cheer-up cheerio and is more rapid in the morning.

Robins have 1-3 broods per breeding season and usually have 3-5 eggs per brood. The eggs are a light blue.  The success rate of young surviving to November is low at about 25% which probably explains the need for more broods.

Fun facts about the American Robin

-The American Robin forages mostly on the ground in the spring/summer months but stays mostly in the trees in the colder months.  This behavior probably made it seem like they were not around in the winter.
-Robin's roost can get very large in the winter and can contain over 250,000 American Robin.
-Robins can live to around 14 years old in the wild.

Thanks to d3hockeyfan for the great shot of the Robin.  Tell us about your experience with the American Robin in the comments.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bird of the Day

Blue Jay

We all have an attractive friend that happens to be loud too. If they were a bird, they would a Blue Jay.  This striking blue bird is part of the Crow family, which makes sense, because some families are just louder than others.  The Blue Jay is also known for being very intelligent.  They will mimic other birds, especially hawks.

Blue Jays are very social birds that communicate with calls and body language.  They hold their striking blue crest up when aggressive.  Scientist believe they have a very tight family structure and it explains why they are usually seen in groups.

They eat a diverse diet of insects, nuts, seeds, fruits, eggs and other birds. Blue Jays will sometimes raid nests of other birds.  Their favorite food is the acorn and in the process have planted a vast  number of oak trees.

Fun facts about the Blue Jay

-Blue Jays can live to be 17 years or older in the wild.

-Blue Jays is another popular nickname for sports teams.

-Jays in captivity have been known to mimic humans.

Tell us about your experiences with the Blue Jay in the comments.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Global Big Day-May 9th

Photo credit: Daniel Scwen Wikimedia /Creative Commons

Tomorrow is the Global Big Day event to help conserve birds and raise funds for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  It's a great excuse to get out in nature and watch our feathered friends.  For more information on the event and how to get involved Click here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bird of the Day

Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common owls in North America.  It is very adaptable and can thrive in many different types of habitats.  A fierce predator that can take down animals larger than itself.  I had the once in a lifetime day with this one.  It spent the entire day in our backyard catching frogs and snakes.

Fun facts about the Great Horned Owl

-The deep "hoot" of a Great Horned is the one associated with owls.
-They have been known to prey on other owls, Osprey, falcons, and hawks.
-A clenched talon of a Great Horned Owl takes an amazing 28 pounds of force to open.  
-The "horned" of a Great Horned Owl is actually feather tufts.

Have you ever seen a Great Horned Owl in the wild? Tell us about it in the comments.