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.