Young kingfishers in the rain

This 30 August 2016 video is about young kingfishers, just fledged, and now in their first ever rain and thunderstorm.

Mike Seuters in the Netherlands made this video.

White storks in Dutch nature reserve

This 30 August 2016 video is about a group of white storks in Dutch nature reserve De Peel.

Hans Melters made the video.

Presumably, the flock are preparing for autumn migration to Africa.

Flowers, butterflies, harvestmen in botanical garden

Purple coneflower

This photo shows a purple coneflower with a bumblebee on it, in the botanical garden on 7 August 2016.

As we walked to the garden, coots and a great crested grebe swimming in a canal.

In the aquarium in the hothouse, cherry barb fish.

Many more giant prickly stick insects than at an earlier visit to the hothouse.

In the Victoria amazonica hothouse pond, Nymphea colorata flowers, swimming goldfish and smaller fish. Gold-edged owl butterflies flying around.

Gold-edged owl butterfly, 7 August 2016

Two of them sit down on a wall.

The beekeeper of the botanical garden shows how honey is processed. It is a good year for honeybees here: 200 kilograms of honey; in bad years, 10 kilograms or less.

Harvestmen, 7 August 2016

Finally, to the Japanese garden. Where we see this group of harvestmen.

Purple herons go to sleep

This video from 29 August 2016 in the evening in the Netherlands shows a purple heron on a sleeping tree, while other purple herons circle around it.

Brown thrasher molting in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Brown Thrasher Molting – Bald Headed Songbird Season

26 August 2016

Late summer is bald bird or molting season. First time I’ve seen the normally aloof and well-groomed Thrasher in such a state. It will only last a few weeks.

A feather is a “dead” structure, analogous to hair or nails in humans and made of the same basic ingredient, the protein keratin. This means that when they get damaged, feathers can’t heal themselves—they have to be completely replaced. This replacement of all or some of the feathers is called molt. In addition to providing a new set of healthy feathers, molts often provide a new look to the bird’s plumage—new colors or patterns that can indicate the bird’s age, sex, or the season of the year.

Molt is extremely variable. Observed patterns can vary by species, by individual, from year to year, and by individual feathers on the same bird. Molts can be either complete, in which the bird replaces every one of its feathers over the same molt period; or partial, in which the bird replaces only some of its feathers (for example, flight feathers or body feathers).

Molt keeps birds in top flying condition by replacing feathers that have become worn or damaged with completely new feathers. However, if a bird loses an entire feather, that feather will begin growing back immediately rather than waiting for the next molt. (This is why people clip the flight feathers of captive birds rather than plucking them out).

Molting occurs in response to a mixture of hormonal changes brought about by seasonal changes. The entire process is complex and many questions remain regarding how the process is controlled. A basic understanding of molting patterns can be a useful aid in identifying many species and in determining their age.

Northern cardinal fledgling video

This video from the USA says about itself:

28 August 2016

Newly fledged Northern Cardinal is still being fed by the parents while learning what food is good to eat by trial and error. This is the second brood for these Cardinals – by leaving the nest in late August the young will have plenty of time to be ready for winter. Blue Jays, Woodpeckers and Cardinals all have had two broods this year.

Abused toucan Grecia can sing, eat again

This video from Costa Rica says about itself:

One Brave Toucan

22 August 2016

The victim of extreme animal cruelty, Grecia the toucan arrived at the ZooAve Rescue Center without the top half of its beak. As his caregivers work to find a solution, they admire Grecia’s bravery throughout his ordeal.

ZooAve is in Alajuela. I was in Alajuela. Later, I also saw toucans in Costa Rica; both in the wild and in an another rescue center.

Grecia is a chestnut-mandibled toucan.

From NPR in the USA:

After Losing Half A Beak, Grecia The Toucan Becomes A Symbol Against Abuse

August 27, 201611:45 AM ET

Remember the toucan in Costa Rica who had its upper beak hacked off by a perpetrator who was never found?

Well, here’s an update to a story we first told you about last year. And, spoiler alert — it has a happy ending.

Local residents brought the bird to a nearby animal rescue center. And thanks to its dedicated workers, amazing doctors and engineers, the toucan now has a prosthetic beak.

That new beak and Grecia, as the bird’s called, went on public display just this last week at ZooAve, a private animal rescue center about 30 minutes outside Costa Rica’s capitol.

Nine-year-old Leonardo Jimenez was thrilled to finally see the bird.

“This is the third time I’ve tried to see Grecia,” he says.

Jimenez started following Grecia’s plight ever since the bird was brought here in January, 2015. Nearly its entire top beak was cut off.

“She was really bad off,” says ZooAve caretaker Ronald Sibaja. “All that was left of the top beak was a jagged bloody stump”.

Sibaja refers to Grecia as “she,” although no one knows its gender. It would have to take a blood test to determine its sex, an added stress Sibaja says the injured bird didn’t need.

“When the veterinarian did that first exam we all thought she would have to be euthanized,” says Sibaja.

Toucans need their beaks for everything from eating to regulating body temperature. But he says you could tell Grecia wanted to live. She sang as best she could and would try to eat.

Sibaja says he had read about eagles and ducks getting prosthetic beaks and suggested one for Grecia.

When the decision was made to get the bird a new beak, news of Grecia and her prosthesis campaign went viral. A 3-D printing company from the U.S. with partners in Costa Rica signed on to make the beak.

Filmmaker Paula Heredia documented Grecia’s year-long recovery for Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet.

“Everybody was working for free, all the group of scientists,” Heredia says, including a dentist, experts in nanotechnology and industrial designers.

In the end, Grecia was fitted with a synthetic beak, made of nylon assembled in a 3-D laser printer.

The beak was made in two parts. The top was glued to Grecia’s stump with a special epoxy, and the longer, second part is attached with a pin. That way the beak can be removed for periodic cleaning.

ZooAve caretakers decided to leave the synthetic beak white and not paint it. They say they didn’t want to cover up the abuse Grecia had suffered.

Filmmaker Heredia says Grecia’s rehabilitation was inspiring, but equally motivating was how this small bird sparked a national movement for animal rights. Under current Costa Rican law, there’s no punishment other than a minuscule fine to whoever brutalized the toucan.

“So when the case of Grecia happened and it went so viral around the world, Grecia became this icon for this changing in the law,” says Heredia.

Animal rights activist Juan Carlos Peralta says citizens had gotten a ban on hunting wild animals passed, but that a bill to protect and punish animal abusers had stalled over the last years in the legislature.

“Grecia motivated and moved our entire country to do more,” Peralta says.

Costa Ricans held rallies in support of the new anti-abuse bill. Just last Sunday, they held another march down the capital’s main street chanting “no to animal abuse.” And they gathered signatures to get the bill made into law.

ZooAve animal caretaker Ronald Sibaja is hopeful the bill will pass by the end of the year. He says he believes there’s a reason why things happen the way they do.

“What happened to Grecia was terrible,” he says. “But it brought awareness of animal abuse in our country,” says Sibaja.

Now he says he hopes something good will come out of something so ugly yet again.