Aviary Visitor

•Tuesday, 31 August 2010 • Leave a Comment

On Saturday morning, I was roused from slumber before 7:00 AM by the unnerving machine gun style alarm calls of the Bulbuls (of which there are now four free-flying in my living room). I stumbled off of the sofa, peered out of the window, and looked for a cat. I did not see one, and yet I heard a panicked rush of aviary birds, and Bulbuls were still firing away in a relentless, distressing ensemble. So I crouched down and tried to find their line of sight, and then I saw the threat. It was a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) perched on the fence. By Sunday morning, I knew to grab my camera when I heard the Bulbuls’ call to arms. He had returned, and even with an accomplice, I noticed as they fled.

The beam on which I hang laundry to dry doubles as a perch for a young Cooper’s Hawk. The yellow irides and breast plumage striations indicate that this visitor is a juvenile, and I surmised from body shape that he is not a Sharp-shinned Hawk. 29 August 2010

Young Cooper’s Hawk comes again > > > > >

Juxtaposition II: Democrats –they eat like birds

•Monday, 12 July 2010 • Leave a Comment
© Action Press/Rex Features/Stern via [info]drugoi Orphaned image (?)

© Roman © unknown Photoshopping artist [original], submitted by Roman

. . . Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Happy Summer Solstice!

•Monday, 21 June 2010 • Leave a Comment

This shot delivered me from some of the May Gray/June Gloom doldrums.

Lesser Goldfinches (Carduelis psaltria) at Balboa Park, 22 May 2010 (spotted when I went to see the “All that Glitters” exhibit)

The Egret with the sway catches the prey . . . maybe

•Tuesday, 2 February 2010 • 1 Comment

When I was last in Florida, I enjoyed a few marvelous moments of unexpected urban birding. As I was heading back at the end of the day, I spotted a Great Egret (Ardea alba) just outside of the hotel where I stayed.

This would make a fine advertisement for the hotel. 15 December 2009, at the corner of S. Hamden Dr. and S. Gulfview Blvd.

More sway, this way > > > > >

Tiresias, the blind singer

•Friday, 15 January 2010 • 6 Comments

While his name is Tiresias, I do not expect him, after being transformed into a woman for a finite time, to report that the female Zebra Finches enjoy sex 10x more than the males. Tiresias is not only blind; he hatched without fully developed eyes. This is a case of congenital unilateral anophthalmia or perhaps more accurately, sesquilateral anophthalmia.

It is not that he is “searching with his good eye closed“, 23 October 2009

On the left, Tiresias exhibits primary anophthalmia, as there seems to be no ocular tissue at all. One of Tiresias’s sisters and clutch-mate was born with bilateral primary anophthalmia, and she lived for less than one month, before passing away of what I suspected was an unrelated or else only secondarily related condition. Tiresias’s other four siblings do not exhibit any signs of ophthalmic abnormality.

On the right, Tiresias exhibits secondary anopthalmia. Ocular globe tissue is observable and deeply set in the orbit, and there is even a functional eyelid, as can be observed in the video posted below.

I have not yet concluded whether or not this development is a semi-eye or a quasi-eye. At first, I was convinced that he could detect light to some extent, but lately, I am not so sure. I think that he is aware of me when I approach his cage, but not by sight (and probably not by clairevoyance of his namesake), rather by alarm calls of his relatives.

See more! > > > > >

Spice of Life

•Friday, 15 January 2010 • 3 Comments

Himalayan Greenfinch (Carduelis spinoides)

Saffron’s day out, 25 October 2009

His name is Saffron (and to avoid confusion, at least in my mind, I refer to the Saffron Finches as the “Flaveolas.”) He was purchased at Bird Crazy about 4 years ago, at a significant discount owing to his flightless condition, after a broken wing. That does not mean that he cannot appreciate some free-roaming in the bird room.

Play “peek-a-boo” with yellow finches > > > > >

Cold Case

•Sunday, 10 January 2010 • Leave a Comment

A DC Bird Blogger wrote: “It is important to look up to see birds, but some interesting sights are at your feet, too.” He was referring to ice crystallization patterns, and unless he was trying to back out temperature and humidity from ice microstructure, I do not know for what such curiosity can be considered “important” even if “interesting.” Nevertheless, I do not disagree . . .

Spotted in the backyard of my Grandparents’ winter house in Pagosa Springs, CO, 2 January 2010

The wingspan, or at the least the imprinted wingspan, seems too small for a bird of prey (a reference scale would have been helpful; I estimated that it was about 50 ± 5 cm.). Regretfully, I know nothing of characteristic gait or rather hop lengths of birds. On one side, there is evidence of at least 6 primaries, but that is not particularly elucidating. I guessed, rather uneducatedly, that this was an impression left by a Crow or possibly a Black-billed Magpie, if she held her tail upright, or maybe even a Jay or . . . I really do not have any leads in this case. Is there a forensic ornithologist out there who knows better?