American red-bellied woodpeckers, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

27 April 2016

Documentary on Red-bellied Woodpecker territory and mating calls and courtship and nesting behavior observed in great detail with cameras inside and outside the nest box. This 17 minute documentary takes an intimate look into the life of the backyard Red-bellied Woodpeckers and shows just what fascinating and exotic birds they really are.

North American bird sounds at night

This video from the USA is called Eastern Screech Owl calling in Eastern Colorado at Prewitt Reservoir.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

Are Your Local Birds Singing All Night Long? Here’s A List Of The Likely Culprits

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2016 by eNature

Is something (or someone) keeping you awake these spring nights?  Waking you up before sunrise?

Many questions come to eNature about night birds calling and other weird and incessant noises in the dark.  It seems that there’s a lot of activity taking place when most of us expect our birds to be resting.

So what’s going on?  And who’s making all that noise in the dark?

Depending on the kinds of calls, and you location in North America, they could be any of at least four bird species.

Whip-poor-wills and their relatives are famous for calling their names, over and over again, sometime into the thousands of times without stopping. Unless you like to fall to sleep to the call of the whip-poor-will, it can become annoying.

Northern Mockingbirds are well known night callers, especially if there is a full moon. Enthusiastic mockingbirds can stay up ALL night, mimicking every bird song in the book as well as other sounds such bells, whistles, and sirens. These are birds that can try the patience of the most committed bird-lover!

If the call is coming from a wetland, it is probably one of the two night-herons, the Black-crowned or Yellow-crowned. They make squawks and cackles, and sometimes scary noises that will wake the heaviest sleeper.

Owls make another kind of noise in the night, which can range from the hooting of great horned owls to the whinnyings of screech-owls.

All of these birds are protected by state and federal laws, and nothing can or should be done to disturb them, not matter how annoying they are. The best solution is to either enjoy them, or to put plugs in your ears.

This advice may not help you get through the day at work..  but most of us prefer to think of those late night sounds as the glorious sound of spring.

Are you hearing your local birds’ and their squawks, chirps or cackles in the night?

We always love to hear your stories!

To listen to these bird calls and many others, please visit our Birding Audio feature.

And be sure to use our Local Guides to find out which birds are in your neighborhood.

Birders who listen carefully to birds quickly learn that there are many different types of bird sounds that have different meanings and uses. Understanding these different bird noises and being able to distinguish them is the first step in effective birding by ear and identifying birds based on sound: here.

Black tern catches insects, video

This video from North America says about itself:

A Black Tern gleans insects on the wing

Black Terns are small, dark, graceful terns of freshwater marshes. They eats insects as well as fish. Here, one flies above a marsh gleaning insect prey.

White-throated sparrows, new study

This 2013 video from North America says about itself:

White-Throated Sparrow Calls and Sounds – Watch in HD

The call of the White-throated sparrow — Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada, or old-sam, peabody, Peabody, Peabody– brings with it such an amicable whistle, that it is no wonder it goes so harmoniously with the peaceful expanse of Canada’s boreal woodlands. You could even say, and many do, that the White-Throated sparrow’s call has become an anthem for the untouched regions of the boreal wilderness. I couldn’t imagine a summer morning/evening’s stroll through the forest without hearing the memorable White-throated sparrows song.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Twinning Revisited: A Look at White-Throated Sparrows

Two years ago, NestWatch brought you the story of twin Eastern Bluebirds discovered by participant Gerald Clark. We’ve recently learned that researchers have since found a new species for which twinning is now known to occur.

Adam Betuel observed the first documented case of twinning in White-throated Sparrows, a bird which breeds in the boreal forests of North America. Interestingly, White-throated Sparrows have two color morphs: tan and white. Morph type is important in White-throated Sparrows because individuals of one color type almost exclusively mate with the other color type. At the time of the discovery, Adam was working on his Ph.D., and conducting field research at the Cranberry Lake Biological Research Station (Adirondacks, New York). He focused on parental care, begging behavior, and nest success of the White-throated Sparrows. Part of Adam’s project involved the collection and inspection of any remaining unhatched eggs, to investigate why they didn’t hatch. During the dissection of a rather large egg, he discovered a pair of embryos—twins! Molecular analysis revealed that one embryo was a female white morph and the other was a male tan morph, indicating that the twins were fraternal rather than identical.

Twinning in wild birds is an extremely rare occurrence, and Adam was fortunate to study the phenomenon. Adam told us, “One of the components I liked the most about my research and about the topic of twinning is that it provides you a glimpse into the hidden world of bird breeding and nesting. Nests are all around us, but they can be hard to find. They hold so many secrets about bird behavior, growth, genetics, and life history. It always seemed like a privilege to be watching them tend to their nests or offspring…like I was catching a glimpse into a hidden world.”

Adam is now continuing his enthusiasm for nesting birds as the Director of Conservation at the Atlanta Audubon Society, one of NestWatch’s newest regional chapters.

American oystercatcher forages, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2016

An American Oystercatcher looks for prey in tide pools. These birds are rarely found outside of their coastal habitats and feed almost exclusively on shellfish and other marine invertebrates including mussels and clams of many varieties, limpets, oysters, sea urchins, starfish, crabs, and worms.

Rough-legged hawk video

This video from the USA says about itself:

15 March 2016

The rough-legged hawk is a beautiful raptor that spends the winter in open areas across much of the United States. In spring, it migrates north to breed in the tundra and taiga of Alaska and Canada. Learn to identify this species in flight by watching this video narrated by Jerry Ligouri from HawkWatch International.

This species is also known as rough-legged buzzard.

Young male western bluebirds, new study

This video from the USA is called Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana), William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon.

From the Santa Fe Institute in the USA:

Bluebird’s conundrum: Shack up now or hang out in mom’s nest for a while?

Date: February 24, 2016

Summary: Young male bluebirds may gain an evolutionary advantage by delaying breeding and helping out their parents’ nests instead, according to new research

For a young male western bluebird, it might be better to live with one’s parents as a helper for a year before starting a nest of one’s own, according to a new study in Behavioral Ecology.

It’s a unique and somewhat counterintuitive interplay of evolutionary tradeoffs that makes this kind of cooperative breeding advantageous for species like bluebirds, says Caitlin Stern, an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and lead author on the paper with Janis Dickinson of Cornell University.

Female western bluebirds show an age bias, preferring to mate with older males. And bluebirds have high rates of extra-pair paternity, or EPP, where a female’s social mate may not be the father of all her offspring. This means a young partnered male often shares more genetic material with the younger siblings in his parents’ nest than the young of his own nest. (In other words, he is often “more related” to his siblings, with whom he shares his mother’s genetics and often his father’s, than his mating partner’s offspring.)

In addition, behavioral ecologists know that helping behavior often results in longevity. By sharing the workload, each individual in a cooperative system has a survival advantage.

Young bluebirds who stay home as helpers may increase both their parents’ and their own lifespans, on average. For long-lived species like bluebirds, which can survive eight years, males may increase their reproductive fitness — the representation of their alleles in the next generation — over their lifetimes by delaying breeding and helping instead.

Behavioral ecologists usually expect to see helping behavior dominantly in monogamous populations with low EPP, where the helper is guaranteed a close genetic relationship to his younger siblings. However, the additional factors of age bias and longevity change the formula for bluebirds.

“If you have this combination of an age bias — such that young males are not likely to sire offspring in another male’s nest but old males are — and if helpers and their parents have a survival advantage, you can get this evolution of helping behavior even in systems with high rates of EPP,” says Stern.

The behavioral ecology literature is beginning to acknowledge the importance of considering a species’ full life history when studying behaviors, says Stern. “Our study is a case-in-point for the need to do this,” she says. “An individual’s fitness accumulates over its lifespan, and we need to take that into account when we’re looking at the evolution of behavior.”