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.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The World of Red Winged Blackbirds

Hello, readers. We are finally back. It's been winter and we've been busy at the start of spring. In winter, we mostly only saw black capped chickadees and cardinals, and we've already blogged about them. Now we'll blog more, now that it's spring, and in the summer. I joined the Junior Audubon Club, where we'll learn lots about birds and go bird watching. We'll bring binoculars and lots of stuff, and see lots of birds, and that's good for you, readers.

Yesterday on a hike, we saw a lot of birds, but the first one we're going to write about today is the red winged blackbird.

Red Winged Blackbirds are a very common Michigan bird. Their flocks for migrating have 10,000 birds. The females leave first, before the males. They migrate to South America and Mexico, and sometimes they don't go that far.
The live around wetlands. They eat grasshoppers, dragonflies, and seeds such as sunflower seeds. They eat other insects, too.
The eggs are about one inch long. The female has in her nest 3 or 4 at a time. She sits on the eggs for 11 days. The eggs are bluish green. Both parents feed the babies.

We got this information from Wild About Michigan Birds: A Youth's Guide to the Birds of Michigan by Adele Porter.

Here is it's call!

Here is a picture:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birds from Birchbark House

We're reading The Birchbark House which is about a Native American family who lived at the same time as Laura Ingalls Wilder who wasn't that nice to people without white skin. We liked the Little House books, but we learned about how they used to treat Native Americans. We did NOT like that part.
Anyway, in The Birchbark House there are birds, and we thought we'd blog about them, so that's how it all came out. And what we're blogging about first is Golden Breasted Woodpecker. They live in Minnesota! That's where one of my moms used to live.

When we looked up the Golden Breasted Woodpecker, we couldn't find any information at first. Usually when we type in a bird name, we get a lot of information. We learned that the Golden Breasted Woodpecker is sometimes considered to be a Green-Barred Woodpecker. So, we're going to blog about that.

There are a lot of Green-Barred woodpecker calls on this page, and here's a link to it.

This bird is found in east and central South America. We had a hard time finding other information. We learned that sometimes research is easy and sometimes, it is hard! We'll try another bird in a few days!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birds are Living Dinosaurs

My friend Gracen asked us to research if birds are actually living dinosaurs. We googled it, and the Museum of Natural History said that many paleontologists (which are dinosaur scientists) think that birds are living dinosaurs. They think that because they have nesting, brooding, skeleton features, and maybe even feathers in common. Ornithologists which are bird scientists don't agree all the time with that.

This theory started because once, the archaeopteryx fossil was found. They thought it was a dinosaur until they saw the feather imprints. The archaeopteryx ha
s jaws and teeth like dinosaurs. Its skin was scaly like the dinosaurs. It had tiny limbs with three claws. It also had a long tail. All like dinosaurs. The only thing about the tail that was like a bird was that it was covered in feathers. The wings, the back of the neck and the top of the head were covered with feathers. Here is a picture of a fossil of an archaeopteryx. We think it should be called an Ardenopteryx. And, here is a link to archaeopteryx images. OK, Gracen, we did the research, you should come to our house now!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Birds in Michigan

Sorry we haven't blogged in a while. I have school now, and we don't see as many birds because it's winter, and there aren't as many birds in the winter. We did put birdseed in a flat tin in the front yard for birds, and squirrels came!

Our friend Al got us a bird feeder for Christmas that we have to wait until the ground isn't frozen to put out.
We do see some birds like black capped chickadees, crows and northern cardinals. Here are some other birds that come to bird feeders in Michigan in the winter:
blue jays
American Crows
Black Capped Chickadees
Northern Cardinals
Downy Woodpeckers
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Tufted Titmice
White Breasted Nuthatch
European Starling
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Morning Dove

Since we've never written about European Starlings, we're gonna look it up.
The European Starling likes to sit on buildings, telephone wires, and parking lots. They probe the ground looking for food. They travel in flocks often with grackles, crows, and blackbirds. It is a medium sized bird with a pointed tail and short wings.
You can hear the call here.

Do you want us to learn about anything for you? If you do, leave a comment!