How many redpoll species exist?

This video from England says about itself:

Arctic Redpoll – Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 13 December 2012

16 December 2012

As a species, Arctic Redpoll is no longer considered an official rarity in Britain. However, that’s only because the subspecies exilipes (Coues’s Arctic Redpoll) has occurred in increasing numbers in recent years – including in some notable influxes.

The nominate form hornemanni (Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll), from Greenland and adjacent Canada, remains a true rarity and is still treated as such (just 90 records by the end of 2011). Mainland occurrences of Hornemann’s in Britain have been non-existent, or almost so, until 2012; after an earlier belatedly identified bird in Norfolk in the autumn, this individual in Suffolk found its way onto many lists, including mine. Filmed in HD using a Canon EOS 7D with EF 500 mm F4 lens and 1.4x extender. Thanks to Ed for his help with the editing of this clip.

This video says about itself:

Coues’ Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni exilipes) HD

20 February 2012

The Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni), known in North America as the Hoary Redpoll, is a bird species in the finch family Fringillidae. It breeds in tundra birch forest. It has two subspecies, C. h. hornemanni (Greenland or Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll) of Greenland and neighbouring parts of Canada, and C. h. exilipes (Coues’s Arctic Redpoll), which breeds in the tundra of northern North America and Eurasia. Many birds remain in the far north; some birds migrate short distances south in winter, sometimes travelling with Common Redpolls.

The Greenland race is a very large and pale bird, with the male sometimes described as a “snowball”, but both forms are pale with small beaks, white rumps and often more yellow than grey-brown tones in their plumage. The females are more streaked on their breasts, sides and rumps, but are still pale.

The binomial commemorates the Danish botanist Jens Wilken Hornemann.

The phylogeny has been obtained by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena et al.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

How Many Species of Redpolls Are There, Anyway?

Redpolls are tiny, incredibly hardy arctic finches. For most of us, they are longed-for visitors that show up at feeders every few years. When they do, there’s always the hope of finding a pale Hoary Redpoll among the brown, streaky Common Redpolls. But a new look at these birds’ DNA could change all that. Despite differing appearances, they are genetically almost identical. How can that be? Read the full story here.

Red-tailed hawks in Cornell, USA, first egg

This video from the USA about red-tailed hawks says about itself:

CornellRTHA Cam ‘Finally We Have First Egg of 2015 11:38 am

28 March 2015

Hooray! We have the first egg of 2015. BR revealed the egg @ approximately 11:38 am. Congratulations to BR & EZ.

You can see it as she turns about 2:50 minutes in the video.

Camera Host: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

First Egg of the Year for Cornell Hawks

Big Red laid her first egg this year on March 28, 2015, just before 12:00 P.M. EDT. The new nest is not on the same light pole as last year; Big Red and Ezra renovated the nest at the pole where they nested in 2012. We should expect a possible second egg in the next 2–3 days, if previous seasons are anything to go by, and then maybe a third 2–3 days after that. Meanwhile, Ezra will continue to bring food for Big Red as incubation continues. Don’t miss a thing! Watch live now.

Cornell Hawks Live Chat

The live chat on the Cornell Hawks cam will launch in the coming weeks. We’re excited to share that this year we will be using a new pop-out chat tool called Chatroll to increase stability and chat performance. Until chat opens, and throughout the season, we welcome you to leave comments in the News section of the website or, if you have a Twitter account, you can also ask questions by tweeting @cornellhawks. Looking forward to another season!

Cornell red-tailed hawks on webcam again

This video from the USA is called 2014 04 30 163341 Cornell hawks 7 30 pm feeding.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Cornell’s most watched Red-tailed Hawks, Big Red and Ezra, have returned to begin breeding. This year they are investing in their 2012 nest site, located about 200 meters from their nest of the last two years. A last-minute effort to get a new set of cams up on the old site required coordination from staff across campus, and the good news is that the installation was successful. Watch cam.

We typically don’t launch new cams on Fridays, because we have fewer resources to fix any issues that might arise over the weekend. However, it’s entirely possible that Big Red will lay her first egg soon, and we want you to have the best chance of seeing it happen. They’ve been visiting the nest off and on over the last week, and have been spotted mating atop nearby structures.

Chat will reopen in the coming weeks—till then, stay tuned to the cam as Big Red and Ezra prepare for the coming season. Thanks for watching!

Great Backyard Bird Count worldwide this Friday

This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2015

This is some general background and information on the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count that takes place all over the world! This is the 18th year for this event and is sponsored by The Cornell Lab for Ornithology, National Audubon and Bird Studies of Canada. Everyone can participate – YOUNG AND OLD – birder or NOT! It’s easy and fun! JOIN US!

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) begins this Friday, February 13! Count birds for just 15 minutes, or count all 96 hours until the end of Monday—just be sure to count!

The GBBC broke records in 2014—with more than 140,000 people from 135 countries counting more than 33 million birds. Help us achieve even bigger numbers this year!

Read the GBBC 2015 preview—including the latest on winter finch movements and international birding expectations—on our All About Birds blog. Then get ready to count later this week. Registration is free and easy. If you’ve counted in the GBBC since 2013 or if you participate in another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you’re already registered…just count and have fun!

Study up on your tricky birds: Is that a flicker or a sapsucker? A Black-capped Chickadee or a Carolina Chickadee? A Cooper’s Hawk or a sharp-shinned? This Tricky Bird IDs primer will help you distinguish these species.

Pledge to Fledge: New this year, the GBBC is joining a grassroots campaign to encourage birders to mentor someone else and share their love of birds. Take the pledge online and you’ll receive a tip sheet on “How to Fledge a New Birder.”

Thanks to everyone who took part in the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count on February 13-16. People sent in more than 147,000 checklists from more than 100 countries. In all, you reported a record 5,090 species, equal to nearly half of all bird species in the world. In many parts of North America the cold, windy, snowy weather made birding challenging, but participants saw enough Snowy Owls to suggest an “echo flight” had occurred. Sightings ranged from winter visitors like Pine Siskins in North America; to an enormous flock of Bramblings in Europe; to reports elsewhere in the world of two birds that aren’t even officially described as species yet—an owl and a tapaculo. Read the full roundup and see how your region did.

Duck courtship behaviour video

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA says about this 21 January 2015 video:

Even in the dead of winter, ducks provide us with some of the first signs of spring as they begin picking mates for the upcoming breeding season. The Macaulay Library dug into the video archives to put together this mash-up of interesting duck courtship behaviors, many of which are happening right now on ponds and lakes.

Got Mallards near you?: If so, take a look at this blog post that includes a guide to commonly seen mallard courtship behaviors.

Learn more in a webinar: Choose from our selection of archived webinars—presented by the Cornell Lab’s Dr. Kevin McGowan—to build your birding skills in waterfowl identification and understanding bird behavior.

United States snowy owl news

This video is called Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus).

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA today:

A Snowy Owl Sequel?

They’re baaacck…reports of Snowy Owls are lighting up the eBird maps across the northern United States again this winter. Is this another irruption, or an echo flight? Read the latest with analysis from an eBird project leader at our All About Birds blog.

Sign up for Snowy Alerts: With another influx of owls, eBird is again offering a Snowy Owl Alert service that emails you whenever a new snowy is seen.

North American birds sleep in nestboxes in winter too

This video is called Where Do Birds Go In Winter?

As we have seen, birds in the Netherlands use nestboxes for sleeping during cold winter nights.

Birds in other countries do as well.

From the Cornell lab of Ornoithology in the USA:

Roosting In a Winter Wonderland

by Robyn Bailey, NestWatch Project Leader

I have a few nest boxes around my house that have never been used for nesting, but I don’t dare relocate these duds. That’s because they have another purpose, for which I am happy to sacrifice them. They’re bird hotels, or if you prefer, “roost boxes.” That is, birds only use them in winter, tucking themselves in at night to keep warm and giving me great bird-watching opportunities all winter that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

It started with an Eastern Screech-Owl nest box three years ago. After checking this box all summer with binoculars, I didn’t see an owl face in the entrance hole until October. Then I saw it almost every day until March, after which sightings became a rare treat. But the following October, there it was again, sunbathing in the entrance hole. Then there’s the smaller box that is mounted on the side of my garage. No takers, but something was enlarging the entrance hole—I finally spotted the culprit, a Downy Woodpecker! Just about every night before sunset, the woodpecker flies to the box, peeks his head in before entering, then looks out one last time before settling down. Until recently, the small box on my back porch has never hosted anything. So imagine my surprise when an unidentified speeding bird-bullet came flying out of it as I walked onto the back porch and accidentally startled it (and it, me).

Most cavity-nesting birds will use nest boxes as a warm, dry place to sleep at night. Some roost individually, such as the Downy Woodpecker, but others, such as bluebirds, will roost in groups. Cavity roosting, especially in groups, can reduce heat loss, which in turn helps survival. In a study conducted in 1961, S. C. Kendeigh estimated that as much as 11% less energy may be burned by birds sleeping in cavities than out on a limb.

Watching your birds come home to roost at night, or in the morning in the case of owls, can be a lot of fun. So don’t be discouraged if birds aren’t nesting in some of your boxes; they may be roosting in them! How can you tell? A box that is used for roosting  will contain feathers and droppings. If you really want to provide the five-star treatment, you can also build your own roost box for small songbirds that is specifically designed to minimize heat loss and accommodate groups of sleeping birds.