Where American bluebirds go in winter

This video from the USA says about itself:

23 April 2015

Male Bluebird on the Ball listening to other birds call, sing, and a Woodpecker pounding, chased by Doves, sliding off the ball and finally singing as a female sits in her new front yard nest nearby. FYV FrontYardVideo, Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).

From Wild Birds Unlimited in the USA:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Where bluebirds winter

Do you know if bluebirds go somewhere in the late summer and fall? I believe this is when I stopped seeing them last year. Stephanie

That’s a good question. It’s very normal for Eastern Bluebirds to gather together in large flocks starting in August until September in search of food. After nesting season has ended, they usually form large nomadic groups that roost at night in the woods.

Their diet changes from mostly worms and insects to fruit, nuts and berries. They can eat crab apples, Mountain Ash tree berries, and sometimes look under feeders for nuts. They also appreciate open water in the winter. If you have a pond or heated birdbath they may show up in large numbers for afternoon drinks.

We often think of migration as birds traveling thousands of miles south to winter in a tropical climate. That’s true for some birds even some bluebirds. The bluebirds that nested in Canada may skip over Michigan to winter in the southern states, but in southern and mid-Michigan, many bluebirds are year-round residents. Scientists think it’s due to genetics whether they want to fly south or winter over. Some birds are compelled to move south and others are not. They all gather in huge family groups in the fall however to increase their survival through the winter.

For more information on Eastern Bluebirds flocking and everything else bluebird, visit http://www.sialis.org/flocks.htm. It’s a great website that can answer all your bluebird questions.

Willet in North America, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

Willet foraging in surf

22 July 2015

The Willet is a large, mostly-gray shorebird with long legs and a thick, straight bill. During the winter, Willets can be found on beaches and rocky shorelines on both coasts. In flight, this species shows a bold black-and-white wing pattern.

Wilson’s warbler sings, video

This video says about itself:

22 July 2015

Wilson’s Warbler is a small, mostly yellow songbird with the males showing a distinctive black cap. Although this species can be observed during migration throughout the U.S., its breeding range is restricted to the boreal forests of northern Canada and Alaska where it favors willow thickets.

American cowbirds better parents than previously thought

This 2009 video from the USA is called Brown-headed Cowbird – Laying an egg in a Northern Cardinal nest.

From Wildlife Extra:

Female cowbirds found to be better mothers than previously thought

Researchers observed the results when female cowbirds laid their eggs in the nests of prothonotary warblers

The reputation that brown-headed cowbirds are neglectful parents, leaving their eggs in other bird nests and the subsequent care and feeding of their offspring to an unwitting foster family, could be ill-deserved a new study has found.

For rather than forgetting all about their offspring the researchers have found that cowbird mums actually pay close attention to how well their offspring do, and return to lay their eggs in the most successful host nests, and avoid those that have failed.

“Cowbirds may be paying attention not only to their own reproductive success, but to other cowbirds’ as well,” said lead author and Ph.D. student Matthew Louder, from the University of Illinois.

“No one’s ever suggested before that cowbirds or even other brood parasites pay attention to their own reproductive success.”

Cowbirds are native to North America and are one of only a few bird species that engage in brood parasitism, the practice of tricking other species into raising one’s young, the researchers said. Other brood parasites include the cuckoo, which targets nests with eggs that look very similar to its own. Some host species recognize foreign species’ eggs and roll them out of the nest.

The team found that the nests that successfully hosted cowbirds were much more likely to be parasitised again, while those that failed to fledge cowbirds were significantly less likely to be targeted by cowbird females the next time around.

While they are unable to say whether the same females are targeting the same nests again and again, the researchers said it is likely that that is the case.

“Our results mean that somebody’s paying attention, and it makes the most sense that the female that’s laying the eggs would be paying attention to her own reproductive success,” Louder said. “We think that other females are also paying attention.”

Yellow warbler video from the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 July 2015

Yellow Warblers shine with golden yellow, and are often easily viewed as they sing from prominent perches and forage in low brushy vegetation. This warbler can be found throughout most of the U.S. and Canada during spring and summer, especially in wetland and riparian habitats.

Scavenging migratory bird carcasses in Sonoran desert

This video from Oregon in the USA says about itself:

Kit Fox den

16 jun. 2015

ODFW remote cameras captured Kit Fox pups playing in the Malheur County desert. The May 2015 footage is from two recordings a few weeks apart. Biologists are researching these native foxes to get updated population and habitat use information. More info here.

From The Southwestern Naturalist in the USA:

Scavenging of migratory bird carcasses in the Sonoran Desert

Andrew M. Rogers, Michelle R. Gibson, Tyler Pockette, Jessica L. Alexander, and James F. Dwyer


In this study we report avian and mammalian scavengers foraging on migratory bird carcasses in the Sonoran Desert. We used remote cameras to monitor carcasses we found along a power line right-of-way (n = 25). We documented four species scavenging 10 carcasses (kit fox, Vulpes macrotis, n = 4; coyote, Canis latrans, n = 3; common raven, Corvus corax, n = 2, and greater roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus, n = 1) and recorded coyote tracks at three additional carcasses. Neither remote cameras nor tracks indicated the scavenger species of the remaining carcasses. Our data suggest migrant birds might provide an important food source for resident scavengers, particularly in desert habitats where food can be scarce. Our study also supports prior assertions that failure to account for removal of carcasses by scavengers might cause errors in estimates of mortality.

Black walnut, from North America to Texel island?

The eastern black walnut on a Texel beach, photo by Ecomare

On 30 June 2015, Ms Sytske Dijksen of Ecomare museum found a nut on the beach of De Hors, in the south of Texel island in the Netherlands.

The nut turned out to be a eastern black walnut. Probably, the Gulf Stream had brought it all the way from Florida or elsewhere in eastern North America to Texel. These nuts drift well.

There are a few eastern black walnut trees in parks in Europe, but the nuts on beaches there probably have all made long trans-Atlantic journeys.

In 1995, for the first time an eastern black walnut was found on a Dutch beach; also on Texel. Since then, it was found a few scores of times in the Netherlands. They have been found in France and England as well.