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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Male Magnolia Warbler

Dendroica magnolia , is a New World warbler. It breeds across most of Canada as well as New England and the Great Lakes region of the U.S.

It is migratory, wintering in Central America. This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

The summer male Magnolia Warbler is unmistakable in appearance. It has a black back and face with a white supercilium and gray crown. The underparts and rump are yellow, and the breast band is black. The flanks are streaked with black and there is a white wing patch.

Other plumages are essentially gray above and yellow below, with the flank streaking reduced or absent, but there are always two white wing bars. Young birds may have a brown back.

The breeding habitat is coniferous woodland. Magnolia Warblers nest in a young conifer, laying 3-5 eggs in a flimsy cup nest. Both parents feed the young.

These birds feed on insects and spiders, often found while foraging low in shrubs. The birds will hover while tracking prey. They sometimes eat berries in stormy weather, when their preferred food is scarce.

The song is a weety weety wee. The call is a soft ship.

The first bird seen by Wilson happened to be in a magnolia tree which gave this bird its common name.

Male Rufous-Sided Towhee

The rufous-sided towhee is about seven inches in length. It has red-brown eyes, long black tail feathers and a small pointed black bill. The male rufous-sided towhee has a black head, neck and shoulders, a white chest and rust-red wings and sides. The female has the same color pattern as the male, but where he is black she is a dark brown.

The rufous-sided towhee breeds from British Columbia east to Maine and south to California, Louisiana, Florida and Guatemala. It winters in the south from British Columbia, Nebraska and southern New England.

The rufous-sided towhee lives in thickets and at the edges of brushy woodlands.

The rufous-sided towhee scratches under leaves looking for food. Nuts, seeds and fruits make up most of its diet. It also eats some insects.

The female makes a nest of weeds, leaves, bark and stems on or near the ground in a well-covered area. Sometimes the males brings materials for the nest. The female lays two to six eggs. The male sometimes brings the female food during incubation. The female incubates the eggs. The chicks hatch in a little under two weeks and both parents feed them. The chicks fledge when they are 10 to 12 days old. The female usually has two broods a year.

Rufous-sided towhees have regional accents! Depending on where they live, the towhee's call will vary. Birds in the east sound nothing like birds in the west.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lincoln's Sparrow

Melospiza lincolnii, is a medium-sized sparrow.

Adults have dark-streaked olive-brown upperparts with a light brown breast with fine streaks, a white belly and a white throat. They have a brown cap with a grey stripe in the middle, olive-brown wings and a narrow tail. Their face is grey with brown cheeks, a brown line through the eye and an eye ring. They are somewhat similar in appearance to the Song Sparrow.

Their breeding habitat is wet thickets or shrubby bogs across Canada, Alaska and the northeastern and western United States; this bird is less common in the eastern parts of its range. The nest is a well-concealed shallow open cup on the ground under vegetation.

These birds migrate to the southern United States, Mexico and Central America. They forage on the ground in dense vegetation, mainly eating insects and seeds. They are very secretive. Their song is a musical trill, but this bird is often not seen or heard even where they are common. This bird was named by Audubon after his friend, Thomas Lincoln.

Green Jay

The Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas), a bird-species of the New World jays, exhibits distinct regional forms within its large but discontinuous range. This stretches from southern Texas south into Mexico and Central America, with a break before the species reappears in a broad sweep across the north of the South American continent in Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador

Green Jays have feathers of yellowish-white with blue tips on the top of the head, cheeks and nape, though some forms have more blue than others. The breast and underparts have a bright yellow hue, fading to cream in worn plumage. The upper parts of this bird appear rich green.

The birds have especially large nasal bristles that form a distinct crest in some of the geographical forms, but have developed less in others. A black bib forms a thick band up to the sides of the head as well as a stripe through the eye line and one above it.

Green Jays feed on a wide range of insects and other invertebrates, as well as on acorns and various cereal grains. They take ebony seeds where these occur, and also any oak species' acorns, as this jay will readily store them for hard times. Meat and human scraps add to the diet when opportunity arises. Green Jays have been observed using sticks as tools to extract insects from tree bark.

Green Jays usually build a nest in a tree or in a thorny bush or thicket, and the female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Only the female incubates, but both parents take care of the young.

As with most of the typical jays, this species has a very extensive voice repertoire. The bird's most common call makes a rassh-rassh-rassh sound, but many other unusual notes also occur. One of the most distinctive calls sounds like an alarm bell.

Broadtail Hummingbird

A hummingbird of subalpine meadows, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird ranges across the south-central Rockies in summer. It possesses a number of physiological and behavioral adaptations to survive cold nights, including the ability to enter torpor, slowing its heart rate and dropping its body temperature.

The Broad-tailed Hummingbird enters torpor, a slowed metabolic state, on cold nights. It maintains a body temperature of about 12.2�C (54� F) when ambient temperatures fall below 10�C (44� F).

In some areas of Broad-tailed Hummingbird breeding habitat, cold air descends into valleys at night, with warmer areas upslope. This phenomenon is called a thermal inversion. The male Broad-tailed Hummingbird, which does not attend the nest, goes upslope at night to conserve heat, reducing the energy costs of thermoregulation by about 15 percent.

* Size: 8-9 cm (3-4 in)
* Wingspan: 13 cm (5 in)
* Weight: 3-4 g (0.11-0.14 ounces)

Small bird; medium-sized hummingbird. Shiny green upperparts. Adult male has red throat. Adult female has white throat speckled with iridescent green or bronze.