Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Red Headed Woodpeckers Flying

It is Spring Break, and I'm looking out the window in the morning when I'd usually be at school. Across the street, I saw three red headed woodpeckers flying from one tree to the next. We've written about the pileated woodpeckers, that was our first one, and downy woodpeckers before. We frequently see downy woodpeckers in our neighborhood, but not too many other kinds.

We learned that they are very aggressive birds. They will steal eggs from other birds. They will destroy other birds' nests. They will attack birds to keep them away from their territory.

Red headed woodpeckers are the most omnivorous woodpeckers. Omnivorous means that they eat meat and plants. They will eat seeds, mice, bugs, baby birds, and bird eggs. They hide their food. They will often store grasshoppers ALIVE. They will put them in crevice, which is a small place, so small that they can't escape.

They like to live in dead or dying trees. They lay 4-7 eggs, and the eggs are white color. The female and the male both take turns sitting on them. After 14 days, they hatch. The chicks will leave the nest about 30 days after the eggs have hatched.
This is their call.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

American Woodcocks

We went to a preserve with Junior Audubon Club to look for the American Woodcock. We wanted to see the American Woodcock doing its air and ground dance. The male does the dance to attract females. It was very freezing. The males don't care how cold it is, but they only do their dance almost at night. We saw the American Woodcock do its sky dance. It wasn't easy to see the whole time because it was dark and it flew very high. We got kind of close to it on the ground. We heard its "zzzzzt" call on the ground. It makes a fluttering sound when the air rushes through its wings after it takes off and it's flying. We learned that wolves, dogs, coyotes, hawks and owls will try to eat the eggs because the nest is on the ground, so a lot of animals can get to it. The color of the American Woodcock is a browny woody color because its nest is sometimes near trees and in the forest, and this color gives it camaflogue. You can't tell the difference between the male and the female.

We found more information at home. The American Woodcock is 11 inches in length and it has an 18 inch wingspan. Its beak is long for probing in soft (wet) dirt and eating insects. We could see its long bill. It eats earthworms, larvae, ants, slugs and snails.

The nest is simple. It is made of leaves. The female will sometimes line the rim of the nest with a few twigs. The female lays about four eggs at a time.

They arrive in Michigan in the spring. They stay in the summer and migrate to Tennessee, Arkansas, and the gulf states for the winter.

Here's a picture:These two sounds are exactly what we heard.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dark-eyed Juncos

We see Dark-eyed Juncos on our bird feeder frequently. We know they're dark-eyed juncos because of their markings. I recognized them from my reading.

Dark-eyed juncos are a kind of little cute sparrow. The males are black with a pink bill and a white breast. The females are brown with an orangy brown wing. They eat grasshoppers, ants, beetles, catepillars, spiders and weed seeds. They are omnivores. The eat more insects in the warmer months.

They live in cold places. The males winter more north than the females. They live in coniferous forests and places.

The nest is in a small bush or tree. The nest is in the shape of a cup. The nest is lined with grasses and fur.

They lay about 3-4 eggs at a time. The female eats the egg shells after the chicks hatch to help her produce more eggs and to help her replace the calcium she used in making the 3 or 4 eggs.

The baby chicks poop in little sacks made of edible sugar. After they poop in it, the parents will eat it! Gross! They stop eating it when the babies start producing harmful bacteria. Then, the dark-eyed juncos just throw it out of the nest!

Here is the call.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Purple Finches

Me and Jessica (one of my moms) went to Junior Audubon Club and saw a purple finch. Purple finches live in northern Michigan in the summer. They migrate to southern MI and the whole state in the winter. They live in mixed coniferous and deciduous forests and in coniferous forests. They can be seen at bird feeders in the winter, also. They eat beetles, bugs, spiders, caterpillars, box elder seeds, grapes, wild cherry and plum tree seeds. So, they are omnivores.

They usually lay 3 to 5 eggs. The mama sits on them for 12 to 14 days. Mother purple finch and the father purple finch both feed the chicks. The chicks eat regurgitated seeds.

The nests are built by the female purple finch. The nests are made of sticks, grasses, and leaves. They are in a small cup shape and they have deer fur, snowshoe hair or rabbit fur in them.

The males are the color of a raspberry fruit drink. Their head feathers can stick up straight. The females are brown with no red. The young look like the female.
The female is on the left, and the male is on the right. We also see an American Goldfinch in this picture!
The call can be found on this web page.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Great Blue Heron

Happy Thanksgiving! Today we'll be blogging about the Great Blue Heron.

The Great Blue Heron is North America's largest heron. It is also one of the continent's most widespread wading birds. They can live in a lot of different habitats. They like to eat fish, frogs, reptiles, and rodents. They live near bodies of water like oceans, lakes, rivers, and marshlands.

They are usually not very loud except for breeding time or when a predator is near. During breeding time they have seven different calls. You can hear an example of their song here:

My friend Jax is blogging with me this week because Jill is cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The 8-Ball toy thinks that Jax is crazy.

That's all for this time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

All about tundra swans

Our friend Phillip asked us if hooded mergansers could be attracted to nest boxes. We found that they can. Here's some information. (Jill also found plans for building one online, and they are the same as plans for wood duck boxes).

We saw the tundra swans at the bird sanctuary. There are also trumpeter swans there. The difference between a trumpeter swan and a tundra swan is the shape of the bill and slight difference on the head. The bill on the tundra swan is more dish shaped and concave. The tundra swan usually has a yellow spot in front of the eye.

The tundra home--before it migrates for winter--of the tundra swan is a large stick nest lined with moss and grass. The tundra swan is very white. It breeds in the Arctic and migrates to North America for winter. The female lays four eggs, and the male guards the eggs. In the breeding season, it sleeps on land, but in the winter, they sleep on the water. They start flying with a running leap. While the swan's wings are flapping, it makes a whistling noise. It winters in large flocks. It eats aquatic plants, seeds, mollusks, arthropods, and grains.

It's call can be found here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We're Back! and Water Birds

Hello. We haven't blogged for a while. We've been busy. We have a new baby and we call her Trudy Bird. We haven't done much stuff at the bird banding station, but I've joined the Junior Audubon Club of Kalamazoo. We watch birds at different places around Kalamazoo.

We went to the Bird Sanctuary to look at water fowl. There are other birds there, like birds of prey, but we aren't going to write about them right now. We are writing about water birds.

We saw a hooded merganser. We had never seen one before. We learned that they are common in the Great Lakes Region. We live in the Great Lakes Region. We learned that they eat crayfish and small fish and crustaceans. They like forested wetlands and tidal creeks for winter. They lay 9-11 eggs. We thought the male looked very cool. Here's a picture:
We also found it's call. You can listen here.