ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

BIRDS

Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises

aboutbirds.dunway.com

The origin of birds has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years, but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.

A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960's by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships.

The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs.

ALL ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

PHOEBE - DOWNY WOODPECKER - YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER
GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER - BLACKPOLL WARBLER - CHIMNEY SWIFT - KINGBIRD
THE CHEWINK - SNOWFLAKE - ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK - BOBOLINK - WOOD PEWEE

BIRD WATCHING - BASIC INFORMATION

All About Birds [Articles] Identify Birds All About Birds [Articles] Bird Watching All About Birds [Articles] Bird Guide All About Birds [Articles] WildBirds

A Guide To Bird Neighbours - Part 1

The hairy woodpecker, like many another bird and beast, furnishes much doubtful weather lore for credulous and inexact observers.

"When the woodpecker pecks low on the trees, expect warm weather" is a common saying, but when different individuals are seen pecking at the same time, one but a few feet from the ground, and another among the high branches, one may make the prophecy that pleases him best.

The hairy woodpeckers love the deep woods. They are drummers, not singers; but when walking in the desolate winter woods even the drumming and tapping of the busy feathered workmen on a resonant limb is a solace, giving a sense of life and cheerful activity which is invigorating.

DOWNY WOODPECKER
(Dryobates Pubescens)
Woodpecker Family

  • Length - 6 to 7 inches. About the size of the English sparrow.

  • Male - Black above, striped with white. Tail shaped like a wedge Outer tail feathers white, and barred with black. Middle tail feathers black. A black stripe on top of head, and distinct white band over and under the eyes. Red patch on upper side of neck. Wings, with six white bands crossing them transversely; white underneath.

  • Female - Similar, but without scarlet on the nape, which is white.

  • Range - Eastern North America, from Labrador to Florida. Migrations - Resident all the year throughout its range.

The downy woodpecker is similar to his big relative, the hairy woodpecker, in color and shape, though much smaller. His outer tail feathers are white, barred with black, but the hairy's white outer tail feathers lack these distinguishing marks.

He is often called a sapsucker - though quite another bird alone merits that name - from the supposition that he bores into the trees for the purpose of sucking the sap; but his tongue is ill adapted for such use, being barbed at the end, and most ornithologists consider the charge libellous.

It has been surmised that he bores the numerous little round holes close together, so often seen, with the idea of attracting insects to the luscious sap. The woodpeckers never drill for insects in live wood. The downy actually drills these little holes in apple and other trees to feed upon the inner milky bark of the tree - the cambium layer.

The only harm to be laid to his account is that, in his zeal, he sometimes makes a ring of small holes so continuous as to inadvertently damage the tree by girdling it. The bird, like most others, does not debar himself entirely from fruit diet, but enjoys berries, especially poke-berries.

He is very social with birds and men alike. In winter he attaches himself to strolling bands of nuthatches and chickadees, and in summer is fond of making friendly visits among village folk, frequenting the shade trees of the streets and grapevines of back gardens. He has even been known to fearlessly peck at flies on window panes.

In contrast to his large brother woodpecker, who is seldom drawn from timber lands, the little downy member of the family brings the comfort of his cheery presence to country homes, beating his rolling tattoo in spring on some resonant limb under our windows in the garden with a strength worthy of a larger drummer.

This rolling tattoo, or drumming, answers several purposes: by it he determines whether the tree is green or hollow; it startles insects from their lurking places underneath the bark, and it also serves as a love song.

Amazing!

Bird sounds from the lyre bird
David Attenborough - BBC

David Attenborough presents the amazing lyre bird, which mimics the calls of other birds - and chainsaws and camera shutters - in this video clip from The Life of Birds. This clever creature is one of the most impressive and funny in nature, with unbelievable sounds to match the beautiful pictures. From the BBC.

About Birds - Site Index

Bird Neighbors - Part 1 - Bird Neighbors - Part 2
Bird Neighbors - Part 3 - Bird Neighbors - Part 4
Bird Neighbors - Part 5 - Bird Neighbors - Part 6
Bird Neighbors - Part 7 - Bird Neighbors - Part 8
Bird Neighbors - Part 9 - Bird Neighbors - Part 10

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