Thursday, April 2, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - BIRDS


The bird population fascinates me. This wasn’t always true. When I was a kid, I paid little attention to them. Now, I notice every little thing about them.

There are so many different kinds of birds that I decided to discuss mostly the ones I’m familiar with: hummingbirds, cardinals, roadrunners and kites. But first, here are a few interesting facts.

From World Bok’s Science Desk Reference:

The highest flyer is the Bar-Headed Goose. Some flocks of bar-headed geese fly over the world’s highest mountain range: the Himalaya in Asia, an altitude of more than 25,000 feet.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest diver. It can swoop in on its prey at more than 200 miles per hour.

The male African Ostrich is the largest bird. It can be as tall as 8 feet and weigh 300 pounds.

The bee hummingbird (one of my favorites) is the smallest bird. It grows to about 2 inches and weighs 1/10 of an ounce.

There are about 8,600 kinds of birds. Birds live in all parts of the world, and all hatch from eggs.

Since the 1600s about 80 kinds of birds have died out.

Many birds do not build a nest. Some lay their eggs on the ground. We’ve had Bobwhite quail in the past and they nest on the ground. Years ago Nighthawks laid their eggs in our pasture where there was bare ground. You had to look carefully because the eggs look a lot like rocks.

Birds are the only animals that have feathers, which are made of keratin, like your hair and fingernails. A birds wings have the same bones as a human arm, but some of the bones in a bird are hollow. This makes most birds light enough to fly.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorites. First, the sweet little hummingbird.

Here's looking at you.
 
 
For several years, I've done the Texas Hummingbird Roundup Backyard Survey for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. I watch hummingbirds and report back to Austin the kind we have in our area and other observations I make about them. I feed them and watch. I send a completed survey to them in January. Our area has basically two varieties: Ruby-throated and Black-chinned. Unless I can see the color of the chins I have a hard time telling them apart. The little girl above posed beautifully for me.
 
This is my favorite. Patches had her eye on that bird.
 
I haven't seen a hummer yet this year. They should be in soon. They stay until mid October then fly south. Most of the Ruby-throated and Black-chinned birds fly to Mexico for the winter. I have a lot of pictures, but not enough space to show them.
 
Here's a popular bird that hangs around our area.
 
The Greater Roadrunner can outrace a human, kill a rattlesnake, and survive in the Desert Southwest. Roadrunners are two feet long from their ill to the tip of their tail. In Native American and Mexican Legends, Roadrunners were revered for their courage, strength, and speed. Their footprint shows two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward. This X shape is used by some tribes to ward off evil. 
Remember the Warner Brothers cartoon? "Beep, beep."
 

This cardinal flew into the window. I heard the thud and went outside. He was lying on the patio, unconscious or dead. I didn't know which. I took him in the house and put in in the cat carrier (which is pink.) He lay there for a long time, then all of a sudden he started flapping his wings to escape the carrier. I took him back to the patio, opened the door, and he flew away. I was so happy.
 
 
 

 And last, these are baby Kites.

 
 
There are 5 species of Kites in North America. I'm not sure which these are. Just going by what my husband told me: they were kites. Unfortunately, they did not survive. The summer a few years ago was one of the hottest we'd ever had. I was so sad.
These are just a few of the bird population.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my favorites.
 
Happy Reading.
 
 



22 comments:

  1. Wonderful "B" post Beverly, great to read and pictures to compliament the post.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. I enjoy taking pictures of wildlife.

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  2. Loved this post, Beverly. I'm especially fond of cardinals. They're so pretty. We have a pair that live in our area and bring their babies to our feeder.

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    1. How cute. Love to watch the baby birds. What's so neat about cardinals is they're here year round.

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  3. I guess he just stunned himself.
    Your cat must go crazy with all those birds around.
    And we saw roadrunners all the time when I lived in Arizona.

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    1. Tiger watches the birds, but I've never seen him catch one.
      Patches is the bird killer. I keep her in the house during baby bird season.
      Roadrunner are fascinating to me.

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  4. Never seen a roadrunner in real life. Wow, that would be one big ostrich too.

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    1. Road runners are different. They don't seem too afraid of people.

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  5. Yes, I did. Living in a cold climate, I always envy people who have actually seen a hummingbird.

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    1. We don't have many in our area, Carole, but they say that the birds return to the same place every year. They fly south during the winter because it's too cold here.

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  6. Amazing facts! Every spring blue jays fly into our dining room window. I'm told they see their reflection and are looking to mate. What a hoot!

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    1. I put blinds up and my patio windows because the birds kept flying into it. I hope now they can't see their reflections or think it's a fly through. Birds aren't very smart. :)

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  7. It's amazing the study of birds can take a life time and we would only scratch the surface. Love to watch them from our back yard.

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    1. They are fascinating little animals, aren't they, Stephen. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. This is so fascinating! I love all your bird facts (although it's sad to hear about the ones that have died out, of course). My in-laws are big birders, so I've become more interested in them, and I can definitely see the appeal.

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    1. Thanks, Caryn. I enjoy watching the birds, especially during nesting season when they're busy building their nests. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Birds are quite thrilling to watch and listen to. We've had quite a few hummingbirds this year, one that likes to hang out on the patio with us from time to time. Your post is wonderful and makes me want to go outside and watch some birds :)

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    1. Well, go ahead and watch them, M. J. They're good entertainment, especially the hummingbirds. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Great post! I hope you're enjoying A2Z as much as I do.
    Evalina, This and that...

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    1. Thanks, EvalinaMaria. I am. This is my first time and it's so much fun.

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  11. I'm all for birds! If I were an animal I think I'd want to be a bird so I could fly. Right now I'm a bird who's been grounded except when I get on an airline.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Ha ha. It would be fun to soar through the air, Arlee. I think an airline is the best way for those of us without wings to fly however

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