Thursday, December 10, 2009

Facts of the Harpy Eagle for Gracen

We decided to do this post because our friend Gracen sent us an email about Harpy Eagles. So, we found out more about them for him.

They don't live in North America. They live in southeastern Mexico, northern Argentina and southern Brazil.

The females are bigger than the males. They have a 6 1/2 foot wing span. A wing span is how long the wings are when they're stretched out both ways. They weigh between 10 and 20 pounds.

They strike their prey after pursuit among the trees. They eat sloths, monkeys, opossum and some reptiles and birds. They have rear facing talons with some as big as a grizzly bear's claw BUT the Harpy Eagle can only carry prey that is half of its weight.

They are endangered. The biggest threat is habitat loss and hunting.

Here are two pictures of Harpy Eagles.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Downy Woodpecker Post

My mom, Jill, was in the backyard, and she saw a woodpecker. She took a picture of it, but she didn't know what it was. But, when I came home from school, I told her. We found out what it was by the internet. First, we thought it might be a redheaded woodpecker, but it didn't have red all over the head, so then we looked at downy, and it was JUST like downy. We know it is a male because it has red on the head. The females do not. We've seen a downy before in the net at the Nature Center when GranDaddy was here a long time ago. That was the first time we ever went to the bird banding station.

Facts we learned while making this post:
Today we are using my Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in
Song book for information.
They are the smallest woodpecker in North America. There are lots of Downy Woodpeckers. They live in city forests and in wilderness forests. They live all over, and do not migrate. They eat insects.
This is the call.
This is a picture of a Downy Woodpecker that we got from my mom, Jill.

This is a picture of the downy woodpecker that we found on the internet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Red Shouldered Hawk Facts

Yesterday, I was playing on the playground, and we saw two red shouldered hawks. They were soaring. And, we're not sure that they're red shouldered hawks, but we think they are because we heard the call. We knew the call because blue jays copy it and we've been hearing blue jays doing it, and we just knew the call. Here it is again.

Facts we learned while making this post:
5 day old red shouldered hawks can shoot their feces (which is their poop) over their nest. When you see a lot of bird poop on the ground, you know that you're close to an active nest.

They eat small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and crayfish. They catch them by running or hopping after them on the ground or they drop on a prey from a perch high in a tree.

The female puts her nest high in the tree. She lays 2 to 5 eggs a year and sits on them for 33 days.

Here is a picture we found on the internet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Arden and The Turkeys

My friend Chris has turkeys and I've tried to pet them and I never have. But I have pet one of her chickens, and I named it Silk Feathers with the nick name Silky. I named it Silk Feathers because its feathers felt like silk.
Here's a picture of me petting Silk Feathers.

Here are Chris' turkeys.

Here's the turkey I made for school.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Black Capped Chickadees

We're writing about black capped chickadees because we see them a lot in our yard. I know how to make the call. We'll record it in a minute, and then find a different kind
of call on the internet.
We're gonna learn about black capped
chickadees from our Michigan bird book.
Facts we learned while making this post:
*They are a permanent resident of Michigan. They survive the winter by snugging in nest boxes or nests with up to 50 other black capped chickadees. They lower their body temperature at night. This helps them use less energy, so they don't need to find food at night.
*The males and females look the same.
*They eat bugs all year long. In the winter, they eat some bugs, and an extra amount of seeds
and fat. They eat mostly bugs in spring, summer, and fall.
*They weigh as much as one quarter.
Here's the call that I recorded:

Here is a call we found. There are four calls on that page. They don't sound like our chickadees. I think that's interesting.
We're going to put pictures up that we took around our house, and then another picture that we found on the computer. 5 pictures and 5 calls!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Snow Geese Facts

I'm doing a report on geese, so this is how we got the idea for this post. Here are the facts I learned:

· The Snow Geese are medium sized.

· There are a lot of Snow Geese.

· They are noisy. Snow Geese make their call

in the air, on the ground, and in any season.

· They breed in the summer in arctic and close to the arctic parts of Canada.

This is the call.

We found these pictures on the internet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Puerto Vallarta Blue Footed Boobies

When we were in Mexico in February and March, we saw a lot of birds. One of our favorites was the Blue Footed Booby. We were on a whale watching trip, but we saw on a huge cliff (which I think is a big thing with rocky edges) a colony of blue and brown footed boobies. We are going to write about the Blue Footed Booby today, but we will soon learn about the Brown Footed, which I've just mentioned.They live off the Western coasts of America, Mexico (which is where we were, including Puerto Vallarta), and South America. They are common on the Galapagos Islands.
They dive into the water head first from 30 to 50 feet up down to get their food--fish, of course! And also squid. They hunt close to the shore. They also hunt at night.
This is its call.
Its name comes from a Spanish word that means "not smart." It was seen as a not smart bir
d because it sometimes went on ships and was approached and killed.
Jill took the picture at the top of the page. Here is another picture that we found on the internet.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sandhill Crane

We did not see a sandhill crane, but we heard one in the distance, whistling. So, we're writing about the sandhill crane because we heard it.
First, we found this page that has three different calls. Go to the bottom of the page to find them.
We found this picture of a stained adult.
Our friend Al gave me a book called Wild About Michigan Birds, and it has information in it about Sandhill Cranes. And other birds like goldfinches and stuff.
Here's what we learned from the book about Sandhill Cranes:
They dance with their mate. While they dance, the make a call that can be heard two miles away. After they dance, they make their nest. One tosses stuff over the shoulder that will be good for a nest, the other lines it up like a nest that is 5 feet across. They spread mud on the wings for camouflage. They lay 1-3 eggs a year, and both parents sit on them. They are omnivorous. They eat invertebrates, reptiles, plant tubers, and grains. They spend the winter in Georgia and Florida.

2nd Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

This was our second Ruby Crowned Kinglet to see at the bird banding station. It was so red on the head that you could even see it from far away and that's rare. The research assistants were surprised. They stick around in winter, so they don't migrate. They eat anything they can find. The feathers felt soft on the 2nd Ruby Crowned Kinglet.When I went to release it, it stayed with me because it thought I was warm, even though I didn't feel warm.
We took a lot of pictures. Here they are.
We've put the call up before, but we are going to give it to you again because birds sure do have a lot of calls. Here it is.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tufted Titmouse Facts!

We saw a tufted titmouse at the bird banding center. I can identify those. I knew it was a tufted titmouse because it was gray and had a tuft.
We learned from the bird bander that it sometimes hangs upside down while it's feeding. He also told us that it sometimes holds a nut with its feet while pounding it with its bill.

This is the picture we took of the tufted titmouse.

Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listen to the call, of course, silly coo coo horse (Arden is giggling and saying, "she's writing it!). Here it is. We found a page that shows different calls, so you can hear more than one.
Tufted titmice flock with chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. At bird feeders, they are assertive with smaller birds. This means that they take over.
They're relatives to chickadees.
They hoard their food in the winter and the fall.
Tufted titmice don't know how to make their own nests. They don't know how to start their nests, so they look for holes that are already there. These can be made by woodpeckers. Birdhouses that people put up are good for them, too.
They eat mostly insects in the summer. They also eat seeds, nuts, and berries.
They like to live in dense woods. They also live in parks.

More information about the white throated sparrow

We saw another white throated sparrow last Sunday. We learned these new things:
It eats berries. We could see its breath because it was so cold. Its call is, "Oh-Sweet-Canada-Canada-Canada!" It lives in woodland undergrowth and it visits bird feeders in the winter.

More information about the red bellied woodpecker

Last week, we saw another Red Bellied Woodpecker at the bird banding station like last time. We learned new information which is that when its tongue is it's head, it goes all the way around its skull. Usually, the researchers can tell how old a bird is by blowing the head feathers and looking at the skull. BUT, not with this woodpecker because it's tongue is in the way. It stretches all the round the skull. When it jets out, it shoots off the skull and out of the bird's mouth. Cool!
We've found the red bellied woodpecker's call before, but we're going to give you a different one. Here it is! It has a lot of different sounds, and Jill really likes this call.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Canadian Goose Report

We came back to post again! We've been busy. We have a bunch to write about in our notebook, but for today we're going to write my school goose report.

Canadian Goose

Canadian geese are very common in North America. Wild Canadian geese migrate. Sometimes, Canadian geese that live in cities stay year round, but some that live in cities migrate south. They eat grass, seeds, and berries.

Geese go to the same place to build their nest every year. They build their nest with their mate and they stay with their mate for life. If some other goose tries to get in their nest spot, the geese will fight for it using their strong wings and other strong parts. Once the nest is built, the female will lay her eggs. The males don’t ever sit on the eggs, but t

hey protect the eggs and the female. When the female leaves to go get some food, she covers the eggs with a soft layer of downy feathers.

When the babies hatch, they are yellow. The babies are called goslings. The mother has to shield them with her feathers when it’s rainy or cold because their downy feathers aren’t waterproof, but her feathers are because she’s an adult.

After their goslings are born, Canadian geese cannot fly because they lose their flight feathers. They grow back after five to six weeks.

Hunters are the biggest threat to geese. If one gets shot, its mate flies away from the hunter and checks on its mate. It sometimes gets shot, too, cause hunters know that so they sometimes go back. The mate goes back to check because they mate for life, and they want to be with their mate.

This is me with my friend Chris' geese.

Their call sounds like, “honk, honk, honk, honk!” “Cucka, cucka, cucka, cucka!” “Cackle cackle cackle.” They also snore. They call more when they fly than when they’re on the ground. They have thirteen different kinds of calls.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Geese

I'm juuuust starting this post about geese. I'm learning about geese at school, sooooo my teacher asked me to write a report on geese. I'm excited about it. She didn't ask anyone else to write a report on geese. I started today by copying a picture from a book. It doesn't look exactly the same. I drew a picture of a Canadian Goose, but I don't have to really do just Canadian. Next to the goose, I drew the arctic region of where it lives, and I left it white in the middle because there's a little snow that's not on the ocean, and I just didn't draw anything for snow. I wrote "arctic" because it lives in the arctic region. It lives also here in Michigan! We see them all the time at parks, near my mom Jill's work, and we see them where we kayak near our house sometimes!
Here's a picture of me drawing a Canadian Goose.

Monday, October 12, 2009

All About Yellow Rumped Warblers

We've yellow rumped warblers two times at the bird banding barn. The males are bright yellow, and the females are brownish gray. They eat mostly berries. Stay here in the winter, so they don't migrate. They don't eat many insects, so they can stay here. It's too cold for insects, they would have to migrate south. The nickname that the research assistants call them is "Butter Butts."

Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listened to its call.
They breed in the warm weather in forests. In winter, they find open fruit bushed areas with scattered trees.
The female builds the nest out of twigs and grass. She might also use moose, horse and deer hairs! It is a cup shape at the end.
This is a male yellow rumped warbler.
This is a female yellow rumped warbler.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Red Bellied Woodpecker

Last Sunday, we saw a Red Bellied Woodpecker. It doesn't have as much red on the head as the Red Headed Woodpecker. But, the Red Headed doesn't have as much red on its BELLY as the Red Bellied Woodpecker. I saw little white dots going down its black back. It is bigger than a Downy Woodpecker. We saw a Downy Woodpecker when we were with GrandDaddy. It has a red belly. No, actually, a pink belly. I noticed little spikes on its tongue. The rest of its tongue was pink, skinny, and pointy. We took this picture of it.
Facts we learned while making this post:
First we are going to listen to its call, of course, silly horse! Here it is. When I listened to this call, I knew that I had heard it before. So, I went over to my bird book and typed in 74, and it was the same call AND it was the same bird! Cool!
Its actually does have pointy ridges on it. It has sticky spit which makes it easier to catch prey because, when any insect touches its tongue ... STICK. I would be able to get out. It can stick its tongue two inches past the end of its beak!
It is not a migratory bird. It stays in the same place. It sometimes steals other birds nests.

Answer to Chris' question

Chris is one of my babysitters. He asked this question, and we're going to post what he asked.

Hi Arden! Your blog is amazing! Great job so far! I've been pondering a question and I was hoping you could help me out. A few weeks ago I went camping at the mouth of the Two-Hearted River in the Upper Peninsula. Every morning I woke up to the sound of a Woodpecker. Do you know what kind of Woodpecker this may have been? Thanks!

We went to google and typed in "woodpeckers in the upper peninsula," and then we read about Black-Backed Woodpeckers. We listened to its call. Chris, is this the call you heard?

Facts we learned while making this post:
It lives in the forest, and eats the larvae of wood bearing beetles. It builds a nest in a hole in the trunk of a tree.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A thistle seed eater

The first bird we saw on Sunday was a white throated sparrow. It has yellow lores. "Lores" is a new word we learned. Lores are, like, the region on a bird's head between the bill and the eye. It has a white throat. Like all sparrows, it's brown for the rest of its body. It eats thistle seeds and Black Eyed Susan seeds. We think it eats echinacea seeds, but we're not sure.
We took this picture of the White Throated Sparrow.

Facts we learned while making this post.
Of course, first, we'll hear its call. Here it is.
The female builds its nest in the morning and on the ground. She makes it from grass, moss, wood chips, twigs and pine needles. Then, she lines it with deer hair and fine grass.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Mourning Dove Warbler Mashup (a collaborative title by Jessica and Arden!)

We saw another Nashville Warbler at the Bird Banding Program yesterday, Sunday, October 4. Today's October 5. We want to tell you more facts we learned. This Nashville Warbler was a male. We know because it had rusty colored feathers in the cap. You have to be holding it to see them. If you see a Nashville Warbler from far away in binoculars, then you can identify it from the white ring around the eye.

The Mourning Dove
They don't catch mourning doves at the Bird Banding Barn much. Oh, no! They don't because they're so big. We hear them around our house a lot. We noticed that it has really long tail feathers and a blue ring around its eye when the research assistant was holding it. I make the mourning dove call a lot. We're giving you two calls. One from the computer, and one from me.
The one from the computer sounds like mine, except it has more than mine. Here it is. Here is a picture of a mourning dove.

Facts we learned while making this post:
Mourning doves fly fast on nice, quick wing beats and it lives almost anywhere except the deep forests.

Also, Connie and Karen sent me a funny book about birds. Thanks, I like it a lot!
Esther brought me a thistle feeder that feeds thistle seeds. Usually the goldfinches, house finches, juncos, purple finches, siskins, and titmice eat from the thistle feeder. Squirrels and rodents don't like thistles. My Mama Jess does not like squirrels and rodents. We haven't seen any birds there yet. We're hoping to see birds there. Thanks, Esther!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nashville Warbler

We saw a Nashville Warbler at the bird banding barn. We saw a female. The female is darker. It is yellow on the belly and chestnut on the head. It is tiny. I got to release it. We have pictures of the of me releasing it.
Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listened to its call.
We should learn about where it lives. In the summer it lives in Northwestern United States and Southeastern Canada. It migrates through all of the United States, and spends the winter in Mexico.
It sometimes uses porcupine quills as nest material.
Because it is a warbler, it eats bugs.
Here is a picture of a female, the actual bird.

Learning About Cooper's Hawk

First we found this picture of it flying through the air.
Then we'll listen to its call. Here it is.
We learned that they give their call at mating, but not really other times.
People don't see them a lot.
They like to live in woodland habitats.
They live all over the United States and sometimes spend the winter in Mexico. That's when they're not breeding.
They mostly eat medium sized birds such as jays and robins. They also eat squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. They squeeeeeze the bird with their talons to kill it. They are often known to drown their prey by holding it under water until it stays still.
Their nests are 27 inches in diameter long, and 6-17 inches high. They build them in trees on flat ground. The male does most of the building.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The One Big Hawk--the Main Hawk of October

On this, the second day of October, we saw a big Cooper's Hawk gliding through our yard. We don't know anything about it yet, but we'll learn and tell you tomorrow, on October 3.

The Tiny Bird

We saw a Ruby Crowned Kinglet at the bird banding barn on the last Sunday of the month. It is teenie! It's only teenie! We took this picture of it. In the spring it has a ruby crown. We saw it in the fall, so it did not have a ruby crown.

Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listened to its call. You can hear it here (of course!).
While doing research, we learned that the male doesn't often have its ruby crown!
They eat small insects and the insects' eggs.
They build their nest in an open cup shape. Sometimes it's hanging and sometimes it's on the tree branch.
They don't like cold weather, so they migrate in the fall to the south.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The one blue bird

We saw a bluebird at the bird barn. We've seen three Eastern Bluebirds. One when Granddaddy was over, who lives in Houston, TX. The other two when it was just me and Jill, my mom, Jill. All three of them are female. This is a picture of a female Eastern Bluebird.

Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listen to the call, of course. Here it is.
They like to live in gardens and orchards.
Its nests are lined with hairs and made from grass, plant stems and pine needles.
They sometimes spend winter in the North.

Clear Skin Post

We emailed our friend Sharon Gill with this question:
Do all birds have clear skin? We asked her because we couldn't find the answer anywhere. Here is what she said:
Birds have very, very thin skin and so it appears clear in most species. Some skin can have different colors - like the skin of vulture heads and I suspect that this skin is thicker than the skin found on the rest of their bodies. Check out some photos of antbirds - ocellated antbirds in particular. They have blue skin around their eyes - it's very neat! Biologists aren't sure why.

Thanks, Sharon!

Here is a cool picture of an ocellated antbird. I wanted to listen to the call and find out more about it.
We couldn't find the call. Oh, turkeys! (hee hee)
Facts we learned while making this post:
It lives in Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, and Panama.
It eats insects and arthropods and sometimes small lizards. An arthropod is an invertebrate with an exoskeleton. We had to look that up.
It has a patch of bare blue skin around the eyes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blue Jays

We are writing about blue jays because we saw them outside, but not even at the nature center! Near our sledding hill, we saw five blue jays. Jill had seen a bunch around. We listened to the blue jay call in my book, but that wasn't the call that Jill had heard.
At the bird barn, we looked at a bird book, and we found stuff out about blue jays. These are the notes we took:
--they often mimic the red shouldered hawk.
--If they're from the north, they often migrate in large flocks. Like the ones we saw. We live in the north. Not all blue jays migrate.
--They make nests up to 50 feet above the ground in a tree. The nest is made of twigs, moss and leaves.

When we got home, we listened to the red shouldered hawk call and the blue jay call, and the red shouldered hawk call is the one that she had been hearing.
We found this blue jay call.
We found this red shouldered hawk call.

Here are more facts we learned while making this post:
They sometimes eat grasshoppers, eggs, and nestlings, beetles. Usually they eat acorns, nuts, and seeds.
They are noisy. Oh, yeah.

Arden talks about blogging

Saturday, September 26, 2009

One More Warbler and Some Vireos

A few days ago, Karen (an old babysitter and one of Jill's former students) asked how many fiction bird books and nonfiction bird books I have. I answered that I have a lot of fiction books with birds IN them, but they aren't all about birds. We remembered last night that we have Peep, Owl Moon, and Tango Makes Three. I like those books. Tango is my favorite, Owl Moon is my second favorite, and I like Peep, but it's not my favorite like the two that I mentioned were my favorite. We also just remembered Owl Babies. The baby owls are Bill and Percy and Sarah. I love that book. In fact, I want to read it right now!

We found one more warbler on our list from the bird barn!
Common Yellow Throat
It is a warbler so it eats insects. It lives in marshlands. It has a call like a rubberband going, "twang!"
Facts we learned while making this post:
We found a call, but it doesn't sound like "twang!" like it's supposed to. Maybe it is a different kind
of call because birds sure do have a lot of calls. Here's the one we found.
The male has a black mask that can be bigger or smaller, depending on the bird.
Some don't migrate. The ones that live in the north migrate at night. They spend the winter in Mexico and Central America.

Vireos don't have a very pointed bill, and they don't eat just bugs. They also eat fruit. Their bills have a little hook on the end.

Philadelphia Vireo
It eats bugs, has a yellow belly, and a black stripe at the eyes.
Facts we learned while making this post:
First we heard the call.
A group of vireos is known as a "call of vireos."
It spends the winter in the tropics. In the summer, it spends time in the northern USA and Canada.
It likes to live in woodlands and old clearings.
If it will be found in Philadelphia, it will only be during migration.

Blue Headed Vireo
We took a picture of this bird, but we didn't take any notes. Here is our picture.

Facts we learned while making this post:
Here is the call.
It used to be called the solitary vireo. It lives in forest canopies. The canopy is the top. It migrates to the south for winter.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Last Two Warblers

We are going do the last two warblers that we saw last week. Then we'll start on vireos. Then blue birds, and the rest of what we saw. Then it will be time to get more birds from, like, outside of the bird barn.

American Redstart
We've seen an American Redstart two times at the bird barn--last Sunday and with Granddaddy three weeks ago. (Jill edited--Arden continues to maintain that it was nine weeks ago. He is not often wrong, but about this he is! :))
We learned that it likes to eat caterpillars.
Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listen to the call. We like the call sound at that link, but the picture was more, like, cartoony. We will look for a more real one.
It's nest is made up of leaves, sticks, twigs, bark, hair, and spider silk holds it together. The nest is tucked between tree branches or in shrubs.

Black Throated Blue Warbler
We're not sure why we didn't take any notes about Black Throated Blue Warblers, but we know that it eats insects because it is a warbler. We saw a male.

Facts we learned while making this post:
We heard the call.
It lives in forests.
It migrates to the Caribbean for the winter.
The female Black Throated Blue Warbler looks like the fall Tennessee Warbler which we wrote about before.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Warblers and a Cardinal

After school in the back yard, there was a male Northern Cardinal. I knew it was a male Northern Cardinal, because it had a tuft. I knew it was a male one because it was bright bright bright red. We see Northern Cardinals a whole lot in our yard, mostly in the front yard, but sometimes in the back yard, like today.
We also saw one at the bird barn. Since we saw one today, I want to write about the one we saw at the bird barn, too. I think it was a female. Maybe one will fly all the way to the Nature Center, or one will fly all the way to the back yard. And then, they'll mate!

Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal's bill can open up an aluminum band that most birds are banded with. So, the bird banders put on a stainless steel band so that it stays on. The female is brownish with speckled red bill.

We already know what it sounds like but we found a sound for you anyway. Here it is. We think this call sounds different than the Northern Cardinals in our yard and our book.
New facts that we learned while making this post:
It eats seeds and fruit and a little bit of insects.
They live in parts of the United States and in Mexico. They do not migrate.

Before we talk about warblers, we're going to talk about how they do stuff with the birds. This is how they get them back from the nets at the Nature Center. They bring medium and little bags made of fabric that close with a string and they put one bird in each bag. They bring them back in their cars to the bird barn and band them and do a lot of tests and let them out of the window or the door. Cause they have a trap door window in the bird barn. The top of the trap door opens, and then the bird comes out the top.

To identify the bird, first check on the bill to see how long it is for what kind of bird, then they check for the color to see what KIND of that kind of bird it would be, then they look the size. All of this will help you identify it.

More Warblers

Chestnut Sided Warbler
Like all warblers, it eats bugs. The one we saw was fully grown. It has reddish brown side wings, and a yellowish cap on top.

Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listened to the call. You can hear it here.
It has a black mustache stripe on the face.
It breeds in Canada in summer.
It migrates down to Central America for winter.

Wilson's Warbler
We saw a female, but they told us that the male has a black cap on the head.
It has a greenish back and a bright yellow belly.
Facts we learned while making this post:
First we listened to the call. Here it is.
This is a common bird. It breeds in Alaska and Canada in the summer. It migrates through the entire United States in the fall. And then! In the winter it is in Central America.