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Lily Valley

BIRDS (and how to look at them)

75 posts in this topic

On 11/14/2017 at 2:28 PM, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Thanks for this! I am keenly interested though as a city dweller it's usually “pigeon”, “not pigeon”, and “oh f*ck that’s a falcon outside my window chasing a flock of probably not pigeons”. 

Hawks, too. Some of them like juvenile Cooper's hawks look like peregrines, only the wing shape is different and the hawks aren't nearly as fast. Peregrines eat live prey--eagles eat mostly fish but they will scavenge if necessary. Last year one of the eagle nests made the national news when the male brought a cat for the eaglets to eat. People flipped out, but this is nature, red in tooth and claw. 

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4 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

Also, ebird is a global project for citizen scientists to track bird populations and migration.  I don't have enough time during finals to add to their checklists right now, also I lack the confidence to properly identify species.  I DID spend way WAY too much time yesterday looking at the data they've collected.

http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

eBird is a very useful tool if you are going out birding and want to get a sense of what to expect in an area. You can view recent checklists and see what folks have spotted in recent days and, if you're not familiar with them, look up some pictures of those birds either online or in guidebooks. That way, you have a sense of what to look for while you're out and about. Afterwards, you can use those lists as suggestions for where to start looking in your guidebook in order to identify something.

We have also used eBird as a way to find places to go birding when traveling.

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5 hours ago, Crazy Cat Lady in Training said:

Hawks, too. Some of them like juvenile Cooper's hawks look like peregrines, only the wing shape is different and the hawks aren't nearly as fast. Peregrines eat live prey--eagles eat mostly fish but they will scavenge if necessary. Last year one of the eagle nests made the national news when the male brought a cat for the eaglets to eat. People flipped out, but this is nature, red in tooth and claw. 

I'm actually relatively certain that when I see a bird of prey out my window it is a falcon.  There is a relatively famous pair that nests near Central Park and my office is not that far away.  Watching the drama is usually 110% more interesting than whatever conference call I'm supposed to pay attention to.

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I like birds quite a lot, and am a passable amateur birder.  I wish I could shape-shift into a shoebill stork and bite the heads off my enemies.  

Image result

I also really love owls.  I think I would make an awesome great horned owl.  I would just rip the scalps off all the people who annoy me in meetings.  (Can you tell the kind of day I'm having??)

Image result for great horned owl attack human

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On 11/15/2017 at 8:06 AM, KiDisaster said:

Be any bird you like, except a duck. 

Fuck ducks. They are jerks. They love to stand in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and practically daring you to hit them. They shit all over everything. They smell terrible. They squawk at little kids and scare them and chase people down the street. 

Also they wear dog masks. What are they hiding? 

Fucking ducks. 

They do taste pretty good though. Also ducklings are cute as hell, shame they eventually transform into assholes. 

This is absolutely the final word on ducks.  Language NSFW, but they are mightily feared here.

 

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6 hours ago, Mr. X said:

eBird is a very useful tool if you are going out birding and want to get a sense of what to expect in an area. You can view recent checklists and see what folks have spotted in recent days and, if you're not familiar with them, look up some pictures of those birds either online or in guidebooks. That way, you have a sense of what to look for while you're out and about. Afterwards, you can use those lists as suggestions for where to start looking in your guidebook in order to identify something.

We have also used eBird as a way to find places to go birding when traveling.

all of this. I actually log our eBird sightings because I am a fairly decent birder (European Robins aside). But I use eBird most frequently as a way to identify 1) which hotspots have had a lot of recent activity 2) which species have been sighted in the last week and 3) if we're in an unfamiliar area, where are good local hotspots. 

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13 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

This morning the meeting was dominated by Thrashers.   All of them were saying "CROW CROW CROW!  DUCK DUCK DUCK DUCK!"

Cannot escape the goddamn ducks even in my OWN HOME!

I'm headed out on a trip for work and looking forward to some strange birds.  

Also, ebird is a global project for citizen scientists to track bird populations and migration.  I don't have enough time during finals to add to their checklists right now, also I lack the confidence to properly identify species.  I DID spend way WAY too much time yesterday looking at the data they've collected.

http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

JUst lost myself in that page, this is amazing, thanks for sharing

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On 16/11/2017 at 3:00 PM, Crazy Cat Lady in Training said:

Hawks, too. Some of them like juvenile Cooper's hawks look like peregrines, only the wing shape is different and the hawks aren't nearly as fast. Peregrines eat live prey--eagles eat mostly fish but they will scavenge if necessary. Last year one of the eagle nests made the national news when the male brought a cat for the eaglets to eat. People flipped out, but this is nature, red in tooth and claw. 

A few times in the past decade the big winter flocks of starlings had a roosting place close by the apartment, so you could see the murmurations when they were getting ready to settle. At times you could see raptors (I assume peregrines) attacking the flock and the birds reacting. Mesmerising.

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There's still a few pelicans in the lake here.  I didn't get out of work until nearly sunset, so ALL I can say is that they were brown.  I also saw a tall white stork/egret/ crane thingy.  I'm having a beer, but when I get back to the hotel I'll try to identify it.  Yellow beack, black legs and eyestripe and BIG FEETS.  It had a kink in its neck that made me think of flamingos right below it's head.  I drew a picture to try to capture just the shape.  All white.  I saw it's wings when a jogger startled it.  It's call was a scolding, "KohHoo!"  Or at least that's what I wrote down.  Really hard to remember sounds.

I also saw a purplish black headed not-pigeon.

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29 minutes ago, Lily Valley said:

There's still a few pelicans in the lake here.  I didn't get out of work until nearly sunset, so ALL I can say is that they were brown.  I also saw a tall white stork/egret/ crane thingy.  I'm having a beer, but when I get back to the hotel I'll try to identify it.  Yellow beack, black legs and eyestripe and BIG FEETS.  It had a kink in its neck that made me think of flamingos right below it's head.  I drew a picture to try to capture just the shape.  All white.  I saw it's wings when a jogger startled it.  It's call was a scolding, "KohHoo!"  Or at least that's what I wrote down.  Really hard to remember sounds.

I also saw a purplish black headed not-pigeon.

Was it something like this? Or something like this? Or something like this
A purplish black-headed not-pigeon will most likely be a Common Grackle male, a Brewer's Blackbird male, or a Rusty Blackbird male. 

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On 11/14/2017 at 3:57 PM, S John said:

I'm no expert, but I would have to say not-crows is a pretty good description of grackles.  Apparently they are from Mexico and have gradually spread their range into and across Texas over the last 30 years or something.  New Orleans isn't too far away, so I would not be surprised if y'all are experiencing the early stages of the Grackle invasion.  However grackles are definitely at least as big as a pigeon and often a little bigger (if less chubby) and they do tend to be shiny and black so almost certainly they are not your smaller-than-a-pigeon greyish bird.  

We have these up here in Toronto. They come up here to breed. Pretty common in urban areas like you mentioned.

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I love grackles. Common Grackles, Boat-tailed Grackles, Great-tailed Grackles, Carib Grackles. I love them almost as much as I love oropendolas.

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13 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Was it something like this? Or something like this? Or something like this
A purplish black-headed not-pigeon will most likely be a Common Grackle male, a Brewer's Blackbird male, or a Rusty Blackbird male. 

Great Egret for the win.  Could swear it had a black eyestripe, though.  Shape is definitely right.  Good lord those necks are long when they're all stretched out.

Gotta run back to the convention before I look up my not-pigeon.  The underbelly looked speckled like a thrasher's but with shades of black.  It was really active and in the third story eaves, so it was hard to really make notes on tail shape and beak.  Beak was black and like a crows.  Will report later!  Color was VERY distinct on head.  like a purple oil slick.

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On 11/16/2017 at 1:40 PM, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I'm actually relatively certain that when I see a bird of prey out my window it is a falcon.  There is a relatively famous pair that nests near Central Park and my office is not that far away.  Watching the drama is usually 110% more interesting than whatever conference call I'm supposed to pay attention to.

I just looked up your falcons.  Is Pale Male still there?  I'd link, but still travelling home.  Such a cool history of the birds in your park!

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