Forum Role: Moderator
Active Since: December 15, 2014
Topics Started: 0
Replies Created: 91

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Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 91 total)
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Mallards can dive just not as well, as often, nor as deep as "diving ducks". If fact I have photographed them diving in the winter time in the shallow water via a large open area we had in the ice created by a bubbler. They were diving under and coming up with large bullfrog tadpoles. They then had quite a time even swallowing the tadpoles. When one Mallard came up with a tadpole the other Mallards would chase the Mallard around trying to steal the tadpole away from it (and sometimes succeeding.) American Crows would sometimes get in on the action waiting at the edges of the open water in case a Mallard dropped a tadpole and when this happened the crow would snatch it away. Bullfrog tadpoles take a few years to turn in to a frog. That is why there were tadpoles in the pond even in the dead of winter here in Ithaca, NY where the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is located.
    in reply to: Diving Mallards? #918216
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Thanks for asking. What country, province, or state are you in? I am not sure where if the world you are and thus not sure of which species of vulture you are referring to. Vultures may be large and dark, but they are not known to be a danger to humans. If you gave me more information about the species and what more specifically is your concern? Once you know what species of vulture is in your neighborhood you could find out more about their life history and the benefits they provide to the local ecosystem and food web. You could then help educate your neighbor of their positive attributes and help them overcome any fear they may have of vultures that could be perhaps attributed to them based on their large size or dark color? By eating things such as carrion of dead farm animals, roadkill, mice, and shrews they help recycle the nutrients of these animals and spread nutrients needed to renew life.  If you have a landfill or compost facility, they might be found there eating garbage or rotten food. They is beneficial for soil conservation as they are taking food nutrients that were tossed out and processing them and then fertilizing the soil, fields, natural areas etc.  with needed nutrients. This is one-way nutrients are recycled or replenished. This article that was in our Living Bird Magazine may be of interest to you: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/information-seekers-roosting-black-vultures/
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    If you tell us what city, and country you live in that will help. Often they are just eating natural foods instead both plant and animal foods. There are many reasons birds might not be at the feeders:   Bird populations fluctuate seasonally and from one year to the next for a range of reasons. Often when someone reports that birds have gone missing from their yard, they are just seeing normal variation. Causes for these regular changes include: Fluctuating food supplies: Cones, berries, seeds, and insects change from year to year, causing birds to move about to take advantage of food surpluses and to escape from areas with food shortages. Also, birds have different dietary needs during different times of the year, so they may move to or away from your feeders seasonally. You may notice fewer birds at your feeders during the late summer and early fall as there is usually lots of natural food available. Weather patterns. Birds may temporarily move out of areas to avoid droughts, floods, storms, exceptional heat and cold waves, and other unusual weather conditions. Predator populations. Foxes, birds of prey, cats, and other predators have fluctuating populations too. When their populations are high, bird populations may fall. This can also happen on a very local scale, such when a hawk takes up residence in your yard. When the predators move on, your birds will come back. Disease. On rare occasions, outbreaks of diseases can sharply reduce numbers of certain birds. Examples include the effect of West Nile virus on crows in the early 2000s; House Finch eye disease; and salmonellosis on feeder birds. Habitat change. Tree removal, housing developments, land clearing, fires, and other changes can change the number or types of birds you see. Seasonal, Breeding, & Behavioral.  Bird detectability may vary based on the season or the stage of breeding. For instance some birds may be less detectable or less likely to go to a feeder when they are brooding eggs or when they are tending to nestlings.  Also song birds change their frequency of singing. They may sing a lot during breeding season but less frequently or not at all during other parts of the year.
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    When birds aren't at your feeder it sometimes is because there are very fresh and plentiful natural foods in their neighborhood that they are preferring. As far as your feeder they like black oil sunflower seeds, striped sunflower seeds, safflower seeds and more. They could be busy feeding fledglings which require lots of bugs. Here is information about the parental care at the fledgling stage from our Birds of the World subscription site.
    <>Association with Parents or Other Young From Kinser (67), and others as noted: For first 11 days after fledging, young rarely move from branches on which they are perched; in one Indiana study, each fledgling was fed a mean of 8 times/hr (range 4–15, n = 60 hours of observation), with feedings usually in a series of trips in rapid succession. From about 12 to 20 days after fledging, young move around more, occasionally leaving parental territory, but still receiving almost all food from parents. After this, young continue to be fed at least occasionally until 25–56 days after fledging; last young of season receive food over longer period than earlier broods (315, 293). When just 1 young fledges, both parents feed it initially, but after ~12 days, female generally stops to start new nest (67). Prior to female's re-nesting, fledged brood may be divided among parents (280, 208); afterward, male feeds all young until next brood hatches (100), and occasionally for a couple of days longer (314). In southern Ontario, across breeding season, young are fed for average 32 d after fledging (n = 13 clutches; 293); in southern Indiana, for average 39.2 d after hatching (n = 16 clutches). Young may permanently leave parental territory by themselves, or they may be driven
    https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/norcar/cur/breeding#young   Here is a list of natural foods they could be eating instead:  
    Vegetation: Northeast. Primary vegetable foods include fruits and seeds of grape (Vitis), smartweed (Polygonum), dogwood (Cornus), sedge (Carex), mulberry (Morus), sumac (Rhus), vervain (Verbena), tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), and domestic corn (Zea mays) and oats (Avena sativa). Southeast. Includes bristle grass (Setaria), blackberry (Rubus), grape, sedge, panic grass (Panicum), and corn. Southern prairies. Includes grape, doveweed (Croton), bristle grass, dogwood, mulberry, knotweed (Polygonum), and hackberry (Celtis). Southwest. In Sonora, Mexico, fruits of Bursera (including B. hindsiana, B. microphylla, and B. laxiflora) are consumed and may be important during periods of drought (197). Animal Food From McAtee (217). Larval and adult insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), mantises (Mantodea) photo , grasshoppers (Acrididae), crickets (Gryllidae), katydids (Tettigoniidae; eggs), butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), cicadas (Cicadidae), leafhoppers (Cicadellidae) and other small homopterans (Homoptera), stinkbugs (Pentatomidae) and other true bugs (Hemiptera), ants (Formicidae), sawflies (Symphyta), dragonflies (Anisoptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera), lacewings (Neuroptera), and flies (Diptera). Also, spiders (Araneae), centipedes (Chilopoda), snails and occasional slugs (Gastropoda), and bivalves (Bivalvia). Known to consume periodical cicada (Magicicada spp., 224). from Birds of the World.
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Even though you might not be able to see a reflection the bird probably was and their vision is different than humans. Northern Cardinals are well known for pecking at themselves in a variety of reflective surfaces. These articles advice on how to get rid of the reflection during this period of year.  Since he is still living you'd want permission to set up an eBird account on his behalf. You may need volunteers from a local birding club to band together to get all the checklists data entered in. It is often too time consuming for one person to accomplish.   A Bird Keeps Flying into my Window or Car Mirror, on Purpose. What Should I Do? We usually see this behavior in the Spring—the time of year when most birds establish their territories, find a mate, lay eggs, and raise young. To ensure success, they defend their territory aggressively, and will attack and try to drive away any bird they view as a possible competitor or a threat to their young. When they see their own reflection in your window or car mirrors, they assume they're seeing a competitor and attack the image. We sometimes see this at other times of year as well—less frequently. This behavior usually dissipates within a few days or, at most, weeks. But while it lasts, the bird may exhaust or even hurt itself, and it distracts the bird from far more important activities. Plus, this behavior can be extremely annoying for the people witnessing it. To get rid of the reflection, you must alter the reflective surface. You can cover it with fabric, or newspaper--or a tarp. When you're no longer seeing the bird nearby you can remove this. Often, rubber snakes frighten birds away, at least temporarily—although like any object that doesn't move, the birds get used to seeing them. There are a host of other things to try at: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/why-birds-hit-windows-and-how-you-can-help-prevent-it/ and here: https://abcbirds.org/get-involved/bird-smart-glass/
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    An American Robin was trying to nest on your light.   If you observe this again please let it keep building. They very often successfully nest on top of porch lights and it could take them a while to get the nest right, especially if this is their first nesting attempt in their life. You will find this article helpful:  There's a Bird Nesting Near my House. What should I do? If you want to help the American Robins out for next year and you'd rather them not building on your light you can provide them with a nesting platform that is nearby where they were trying to nest.   NestWatch American Robin nest structure plan and info. This is a species that is on the decline in many states so they could really use your helps. Thanks for caring and asking. --Lee Ann van Leer Bird Academy Project Assistant  
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    There are several reasons a bird could puff up its feathers. Also several reasons a bird could look disheveled.   Here are just a couple possibilities and it could be a combination of factors: According to Birds of the World our online subscription bird information service: <> Furthermore, birds will often puff up their feathers as a way to stay warm and conserve heat. --Lee Ann van Leer Bird Academy Project Assistant
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Hello David, This is a tough one but it is a Greater Yellowlegs.  If you measure the bill it is somewhat longer than the width of the head. If you hold a straight edge up against the bill you see that the end portion of the bill is turned up ever so slightly. Also the end of its bill looks more blunt relative to the pointer appearance of the tip of the Lesser Yellowlegs. If you want more expert tips like this consider taking our online archived webinar series. Be a Better Birder: Shorebird Identification Archived Live Series FYI: We will be coming out with a new and improved Shorebird ID full length course next year. Anyone that purchased the archived series will typically be offered a discount on purchasing the more detailed course when it comes out. Although the archived webinar series is pretty detailed too. The full course will add more diagrams, studio quality lecture videos, and practice tools. -Lee Ann van Leer Bird Academy Project Assistant
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Yes. Red-bellied Woodpecker, juvenile.   --Lee Ann van Leer Bird Academy Project Assistant
    in reply to: Baby woodpecker? #909245
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Based on the time of year this was likely an adult/parent feeding a juvenile. Keep in mind in many bird species the offspring are roughly the same size as the parents before they leave the nest. If you find you are interested in learning more about behavior we have a course here you might be interested in: Think Like a Bird: Understanding Bird Behavior Also, if you want detailed accounts of a particular species you can consider subscribing to Birds of the World a premium online encyclopedia of sorts. Birds of the World From our Birds of the World site: "...Duration of juvenile dependence on parents appears to vary, but is not long. Sherman 1910 reported a fledgling in Iowa making its first independent sojourn 5 d after fledging, and was observed being denied food by its mother 22 d after fledging. Brackbill 1955 described 2 juveniles observed on 15–16 July in Maryland as nearly independent, their begging for food intermittently denied by the male."
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    This is indeed an American Goldfinch. Size is the hardest characteristic to access in birds and it may have just appeared bigger if it was closer to you. Size can be hard to access when there is not another bird next to it to compare it to another knowns species. However looking at this goldfinch in relation to the size of a brick it is indeed a small bird. Thanks for asking and sharing your photo.
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Finding owls is a topic discussed in our Bird Academy course: The Wonderful World of Owls Here are a few tips from the course: Owl-Finding Tips Sounds, as well as sights, can be important for locating owls. Learn the songs and calls of your local owls; listen for them at dusk and into early night. Learn the habitat each owl likes. Watch the ground for accumulations of pellets. Watch for whitewash on tree trunks and on the ground. Listen for mobbing birds. A group of smaller birds might make a racket if they find an owl or another bird of prey, a behavior called mobbing. If you hear an avian cacophony in the woods, you might want to trace it; at the center could be an owl! Give birds plenty of space. Work with your local birding club to go owling. By working together as a group with experts, you have a better chance of both finding a bird, and engaging with it responsibly. Learn what an owl looks like when it’s stressed. If you see an owl puff up its body, make itself super skinny, or rock back and forth, you may be stressing it, meaning it’s time to back off or leave the area entirely.
    in reply to: How to find owls. #844251
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Are you trying to document them and share the photos to eBird or somewhere else? If you do Facebook there is a public eBird Discussion group where people give each other advice on such matters.  
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Reminder: For those doing Activity 2 and exploring birds online our Bird Cams are always hopping. Besides the live footage there is also plenty of fascinating archived footage.   Some interesting recent videos: An interesting video that teaches you the common species found at the Panama Fruit Feeder Cam   We hope you all keep enjoying birds!
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Here is a prey item that might surprise you: leeches.  In this video from our Barred Owl Cam a leech is dealt with by a sibling. Blood-Sucking Leech Goes for Wild Ride in Barred Owl Nest Box 
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    I'm not sure where you live but it certainly could have been an Eastern Screech Owl. I wouldn't know for sure without a photo or sound recording. You can find out more about Eastern Screech-Owls here: Eastern Screech Owl page There you can view photos, compare it to other owls, listen to the sounds it makes, and look at the range map.
    in reply to: Who Is That Owl? #808197
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Yes, a European Starling, juvenile.
    • short tail
    • long bill
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Yes this is a Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored). Note the light colored bill and the dark eyes. This is one of the birds we teach in the Feeder Bird Identification and Behavior course.  
    in reply to: Is it a junco? #804008
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    Northern Cardinal, male
  • Lee Ann van Leer
    Moderator
    You can use eBird.org/explore to hone in on where large roosts are being seen in the winter. There is a place on eBird where you can look at the "high count" for a species in a certain state or at the county level. That will let you know where you can find an area to search for a large roost in winter.  In some cities they frequent the same spot every night but in other areas the roots move around from place to place every night and even move to several spots during the course of the night. I was super lucky one year that the local crow roost of several thousands spent  part of two nights at my house! That was amazing to listen to them yammering away much of the night and communicating with each other.  I highly recommend when it is safe to travel, finding a crow roost some winter. It is a great experience.
    in reply to: Roosts #801537
Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 91 total)