Sep 032010

Birds are one of the most magnificent living things. They are probably among the best loved animals in the world. We are captivated by their colorful form, intelligent actions and cheeky mannerisms. In the United States there are about 550,000 members of the National Audubon Society of America. The U.K. has over 1,000,000 members. Members are dedicated to protecting birds and they do bird watching to monitor them.

There are about 10,000 living species of birds. 2,000 species have been seen in North America (from Panama north and including the Caribbean), 925 in the United States and Canada, 3200 in South America, 2,300 in Africa, 1,000 in Europe, 2,900 in Asia, 1,700 in Australia and 65 in Antarctica.

The contenders for the most common bird in the world are: the Red-billed Quelea, Red Junglefowl (domestic chicken) and the European House Sparrow.

It is difficult to say which bird is the rarest. A couple of examples are the the Sudanese Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) seen once in 1984 and the Orange-necked Partridge (Arborophila davidi) seen once in 1927. Other birds are known or believed to be extinct in the wild but still have representatives living in captivity. One is the Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spiscii) hunted to the brink of extinction to satisfy the foolish demands of the pet trade.

Unfortunately, there are about 115 species of birds that are known to be extinct. The reason for extinction is mainly human interference. There are efforts to make up for the mistakes done in the past.

California Condor

At one time there were only 4 wild Mauritius Kestrels. But, thanks to human effort, its numbers are back around 300. Another example is the California Condor, during 1987 there was only one male left in the wild and 27 condors were in captivity. As of August, 2010, there are 384 condors known to be living, including 188 in the wild (Wikipedia).

The largest bird can be measured in three possible ways-weight, height and length of wingspan. Unfortunately, all of the record holders for these three categories are already extinct. The heaviest bird was the Dromornis stirtoni from Australia. This flightless giant lived millions of years ago and probably stood nearly 10ft/3m tall and weighed in at a massive 1100lb/500kg. The tallest bird ever, as far as we know, was the Dinornus maximus, a Giant Moa from New Zealand. And the bird with the longest wingspan was the The Giant Teratorn Argentavis magnificens) which had a wingspan between 19.5ft/6M and 25ft/7.5m and was in the United States.

The largest living bird is the Ostrich. In Africa, the Kori Bustard, is the heaviest flying bird weighing in around 42 lb (19kg). Meanwhile, the smallest bird is the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba.

We learn so much from birds. Bird watching is more than just watching birds. It is observing and learning from them in nature.

  8 Responses to “Bird Watching Discoveries”

  1. […] Your Bird Feeder “A lot of your summer breeders have left and gone south for the winter, but there are a lot of winter residents coming from further north who consider Pennsylvania balmy,” Saffier said. […]

  2. […] Bird Feeder From time lapse footage filmed over 4 days in February 2011 […]

  3. […] Bird Feeder The game commission has made preserving barn owls a priority, including them in a comprehensive plan that seeks to preserve native wildlife and their habitats. […]

  4. […] Bird Feeder A local webcam has revealed that some screech owls have already started to lay eggs. If you have a screech owl box up, do check it and clean it out, as well. If you are thinking of putting one up, now is the time. Having more than one nesting box available helps increase your chances for attracting owls. […]

  5. […] Bird Feeder I’m talking birds at your bird feeder or on your deck railing, deer and wild turkeys grazing on your grass, foxes, possums, rabbits, coyotes — you name it. […]

  6. […] Bird Feeder We’re always looking for a good craft that will help keep our kids interested in the ongoings outside. Although there aren’t many tiny tots who shy away from nature, cultivating their love for animals and plants is never a bad thing. These bird houses are simple to make from salvaged materials and can be decorated 6 ways to Sunday! […]

  7. […] Bird Feeder The fires that scorched the Arizona wilderness earlier this summer critically impacted wild birds there, especially eleven Hummingbird species including several rare and unusual varieties that nest in the area. More than 30,000 acres of habitat in the Huachuca Mountains and more than 700,000 acres of habitat elsewhere in Arizona encompassing nesting sites, food sources – such as nectar and insects – and an important migratory route are significantly impacted. As birds flee the devastation in search of food, they crowd backyard feeders in unseasonably high numbers, making them vulnerable to stress, disease, and predators. […]

  8. […] Bird Feeder A bit of a surprise to see a large woodpecker hanging on the birdfeeder. The nuthatch was not impressed. […]

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