Acorn Woodpeckers!

The Acorn Woodpecker is one of the world’s most interesting birds. It lives in groups and has developed an unusual practice of storing thousands of acorns in holes they specially drill in the bark and dead limbs of trees—called “granary” trees. As the acorns age, they shrink, so the woodpeckers check them and occasionally relocate them to tighter holes to prevent them from falling out. These birds live in groups so they can keep an eye out for acorn thieves, such as squirrels. It has a distinctive parrot-like call.

The Acorn Woodpecker has been on our wish list for years. It’s range reaches a few hundred miles south of our usual birding locations, so we needed to do a bit of traveling to find them. This winter, while visiting Southern California we got some helpful tips for finding them from a park ranger and were able to make our first sightings in the Santa Monica Mountains. Here are some photos of this amazing bird and the granaries they create.

Something strange: Lake that turns Birds into Stone!

A Deadly African Lake That Turns Animals Into Stone

You can find out more about this in Nick Brandt’s book, Across the Ravaged Land.

High temperatures and volcanic ash combine to create stone animals. Although, the images are staged by the book’s author. He puts them in the poses.

Western Scrub Jay in Seattle

This was an unexpected siting. A Western Scrub Jay, well out of its usual range, in Seattle. I’ve included a photo of a Steller’s Jay which was in the same tree just so you can compare the blues. The Stellers is much brighter.

Puget Sound Bird Fest (Edmonds, WA)

Pudget Sound Bird FestPuget Sound Bird Fest is coming up!

A Kid’s Guide to Birding: Saturday, 4:00-5:00 PM (Room:  302)
Lorenzo Rohani of Edmonds is an award-winning photographer and co-author A Kid’s Guide to Birding.  He started birding at age 5 and took up wildlife photography at age 9.  Lorenzo’s presentation focuses on how to get started birding in your backyard and the importance of creating a backyard bird habitat, as well as highlighting interesting birds that are common in the Northwest. With photos and video clips from some of his own birding adventures to the ocean, the mountains, and beyond, Lorenzo will demonstrate how much fun it can be to travel to new destinations and discover and add new birds to your life list!
Yost Park Guided Walk for TEENS: Saturday, 5:30-6:30 PM
FREE, No registration required, meet in the parking lot at Yost Park.
Lorenzo will lead a walk especially for teens who want to bird with other kids their age. This walk will coincide with the Yost Park Guided Walk for Kids and Families described above. The two walks will start and end in the same place, and visit different habitats in the park separately. Bring binoculars if you have them!

For more details: http://www.pugetsoundbirdfest.com/about-the-event

Being a sandpiper

Here’s an interesting article about animal consciousness.

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and-cosmos/the-science-of-animal-consciousness/

I really liked this bit: “For myself, I’d be happy to see a revival of naturalist language, the sort of charming, unapologetically anthropomorphic descriptions one finds in old field guides, written before the ascendance of the 20th century’s airless, specialist vernacular. It’s a voice heard in The Birds of Essex County, Massachusetts (1905) in which Charles Wendell Townsend described a ‘low, rolling gossipy note’ voiced by semipalmated sandpipers approaching other birds. He waxed eloquent about their courtship, the male ‘pouring forth a succession of musical notes, continuous wavering trill, and ending with a few very sweet notes that recall those of a goldfinch… one may be lucky enough, if near at hand, to hear a low musical cluck from the excited bird. This is, I suppose, the full love flight-song.’ It is the language of a man who cares.”

 

Tahoma Audubon Kids’ Expedition Day Birdathon Field Trip

Tahoma Audubon Kids' Expedition Day Birdathon Field Trip

Lorenzo leading Tahoma Audubon’s Kid’s Expedition Day 2013 Birdathon Field Trip. Despite the rainy forecast, we had 10 enthusiastic briders come out to participate. Which was great because got to see a lot of great bird species on the trip:

American Bittern
American Goldfinch
American Robins
Barn Swallows
Brown Tree Creeper
Canada Geese
Caspian Terns
Cedar Wax wings
Cinnamon Teal
Cliff Swallow
Common Yellow Throat
Crow
Eagles (2)
European Starling
Great Blue Harons
Great Horned Owl
Hooded Merganser
Mallard Duck
Marsh Wren
Northern Shoveler
Pied-billed Grebe
Song Sparrow
Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Towhee
Swainson’s Thrush
Tree Swallows
Violet-Green Swallows