Welcome to the PAS Bird Trivia Page!

Each day a new Bird Trivia question, along with it’s answer, is posted to provide unique and interesting birding related facts.

We hope these trivia items inspire folks to learn something new and interesting everyday, while expanding their birding knowledge and connection with nature.

If you have a unique or special trivia fact you would like posted on this web page contact us at gro.nobuduattocserpnull@w and if you wish to be credited for you contribution provide us with your approval.

Happy Birding!

February 10, 2018
Band-tailed Pigeon have a long breeding season?
Like other doves, parents (both fathers and mothers) use a secretion from the esophagus known as crop milk to feed nestlings. Since they do not have to rely on specific food items for their chicks, Band-tailed Pigeons can have a long breeding season with multiple broods.

February 9, 2018
What is unusual about the mating system of the Bicknell’s Thrush?
Bicknell’s Thrush has an unusual mating system. Both males and females mate with different partners. Each nest has young from different males, and males may have young in several nests. More than one male feeds at most nests.Males do not hold strict territories, and several different males may sing from the same area within one hour.(Article)

February 8, 2018
Which species of woodpecker sets a great example for family values and male participation in the rearing of their young?
A family of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers excavates a number of cavities within their territory. It may take two years or more to completely dig out one cavity. The breeding male roosts in the best cavity, usually the one most recently created and with the heaviest sap flow. The eggs are laid in this cavity, and the male incubates them at night.
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a cooperative breeder, and lives in small family groups composed of one breeding pair and several helpers. The extra birds usually are sons from previous breeding seasons; daughters only rarely stay with their parents. The helpers assist in raising young, including incubation, brooding, and feeding. The entire family usually forages as a group, moving together from tree to tree.

February 7, 2018
The examination of over 300 Cooper Hawks reveal what fact?
Dashing through vegetation to catch birds is a dangerous lifestyle. In a study of more than 300 Cooper’s Hawk skeletons, 23 percent showed old, healed-over fractures in the bones of the chest, especially of the furcula, or wishbone.

February 6, 2018
Where do Horned Lark build their nests?
Nest is a basket woven of fine grass or other plant materials, lined with finer material, placed in depression or cavity in ground.

February 5, 2018
The following abbreviated codes are:

  • HOSP – House Sparrow
  • WITU – Wild Turkey
  • RUDU – Ruddy Duck
  • MODO – Mourning Dove


February 4, 2018
What is unique about a Lucifer Hummingbird male’s courtship routine?
Unlike other hummingbirds, which perform courtship displays near feeding areas, perches, or special sites for group displays, the male Lucifer Hummingbird performs its displays at the nest of a female.

February 3, 2018
What species is a Cornish Game Hen?

Cornish game hen is really a young chicken, usually 5 to 6 weeks of age.

February 2, 2018
How many neck bones do most birds have?
Birds also have more cervical (neck) vertebrae than many other animals; most have a highly flexible neck consisting of 13-25 vertebrae.

February 1, 2018
in Arizona, but if a Mississippi Kite were to nest in our area, what dangers might we encounter?
The Mississippi Kite often attacks people who venture too close to its nest, especially in urban areas.

January 31, 2018
What is the size of a Bank Swallow colony?
A Bank Swallow colony may range from 10 nests to nearly 2000.

January 30, 2018
What happens to some Golden-fronted Woodpeckers during the summer in Texas?
The Golden-fronted Woodpecker consumes about as much fruit and nuts as it does insects. In summer in Texas, the faces of some woodpeckers become stained purple from eating fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

January 29, 2018
The Roseate Tern was once in danger if extinction and still faces challenges in the Caribbean because of what common local practice?
Once heavily collected for the plume trade, and vulnerable to egg collectors, Roseate Tern numbers increased following the protection of colonies in North America. Breeding colonies in the Caribbean are still vulnerable to eggers, who preferentially seek the eggs of this species because of supposed aphrodisiac properties.

January 28, 2018
What are the differences between the Central American and South American populations of Green Jay?
The Central American and South American populations of the Green Jay are separated by 1,500 km (900 mi). The two different groups differ in color, calls, and habitat use, and may be different species. The South American Green Jays are larger and have a crest in front of their eyes.

January 27, 2018
Why do Ostriches bury their heads in the sand?
Ostriches do NOT bury their heads in the sand.

This tale originates from the fact that the male ostrich will dig a large hole (up to 6 to 8 feet wide and 2-3 feet deep) in the sand for the nest/eggs. Predators cannot see the eggs across the countryside which gives the nest a bit of protection. The hen as well as the rooster takes turns setting on the eggs and because of the indention in the ground, usually just blend into the horizon. All birds turn their eggs (with their beak) several times a day during the incubation period. From a distance it appears as though the bird has his/her head in the sand.

An ostrich’s first response to fear is to run. Not only do they not stay to protect the eggs, they attempt to detract a predator to follow them. Due to the fact that they can run sustained speeds of about forty miles per hour, most predators are quickly lost and the eggs are safe.

January 26, 2018
Where could you possibly find both Eastern and Spotted Towhees together?
The Eastern Towhee and the very similar Spotted Towhee of western North America used to be considered the same species, the Rufous-sided Towhee. The two forms still occur together in the Great Plains, where they sometimes interbreed. This is a common evolutionary pattern in North American birds – a holdover from when the great ice sheets split the continent down the middle, isolating birds into eastern and western populations that eventually became new species.

January 25, 2018
What distinguished a male Mute Swan from the female during the breeding season?
The black knob at the base of the male Mute Swan’s bill swells during the breeding season and becomes noticeably larger than the female’s. The rest of the year the difference between the sexes is not obvious.

January 24, 2018
What does the Wood Thrush’s scientific name roughly infer?

The Wood Thrush’s scientific name Hylocichla mustelina translates roughly as “weasel-colored woodland thrush.”

January 23, 2018
Which wren is the most nomadic?

The Sedge Wren is one of the most nomadic territorial birds in North America. On a given area, it may be present in numbers in one year, and be completely absent the next.

January 22, 2018
The Grasshopper Sparrow gets it name not only from its diet, but what other characteristic?
A furtive bird of open grasslands, the Grasshopper Sparrow takes its name not only from its diet, but also from its insect-like song. It is found during the breeding season across much of the eastern United States and Great Plains, nesting and feeding mostly on the ground.

January 21, 2018)
What endangered raptor visits southern Florida and what is its food source?
A bird of tropical marshlands, the Snail Kite makes it to the United States only in southern Florida. This specialized hawk feeds primarily on snails.

January 20, 2018
Where is the only place in America that Barn Swallows nest in caves on a regular basis?
Barn Swallows once nested in caves throughout North America, but now build their nests almost exclusively on human-made structures. Today the only North American Barn Swallow population that still regularly uses caves as nest sites occurs in the Channel Islands off the California coast.

January 19, 2018
What feature does a Golden Eagle share with only America’s Rough-legged and Ferruginous Hawks?
The Rough-legged Hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle are the only American raptors to have legs feathered all the way to their toes.

January 18, 2018
The chances of Arizona birders seeing a Broad-winged Hawk is extremely. Is this because of the rare number of the species or just a range or habitat issue?

This is a range and migration issue. Each fall, hundreds of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks leave the northern forests for South America. They fill the sky in sometimes huge flocks that can contain thousands of birds at a time, and these “kettles” are a prime attraction at many hawkwatch sites. As they move from the broad stretches of North America to narrow parts of Central America their numbers get concentrated, leading people to describe places such as Veracruz, Mexico, and Panama as a “river of raptors.”

January 17, 2018
What are some alternate names for a Snowy Owl?
The Snowy Owl is a large diurnal white Owl with a rounded head, yellow eyes and black bill.
The name “scandiacus” is a Latinised word referring to Scandinavia, as the Owl was first observed in the northern parts of Europe. Some other names for the Snowy Owl are Snow Owl, Arctic Owl, Great White Owl, Ghost Owl, Ermine Owl, Tundra Ghost, Ookpik, Scandinavian Nightbird, White Terror of the North, and Highland Tundra Owl. It is the official bird of Quebec, Canada.

January 16, 2018
What courtship display does the male Broad-billed Hummingbird favor?
The male Broad-billed Hummingbird performs a courtship display, starting by hovering about a foot from the female and then flying in repeated arcs, like a pendulum.

January 15, 2018
Where do Tundra Swans Breed?
True to its name, the Tundra Swan breeds on the high tundra across the top of North America. It winters in large flocks along both coasts, and is frequently encountered during its migration across the continent.

January 14, 2018
How large is a Lesser Sandpiper?
Least Sandpipers are the smallest of the small sandpipers known as “peeps”—not much bigger than a sparrow. They have distinctive yellow-green legs and a high-pitched creep call. Look for them on edges of mudflats or marshes, where they walk with a hunched posture and probe for little crustaceans, insects, and other invertebrates.

January 13, 2018
Rock Pigeons have been around a long time and they are common today especially around populated areas. What services have they provided the United States in the past?
Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphics suggest that pigeons were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago. The birds have such a long history with humans that it’s impossible to tell where the species’ original range was.Rock Pigeons carried messages for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I and II, saving lives and providing vital strategic information.

January 12, 2018
How does a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher sometimes scare up dinner?
A tiny, long-tailed bird of deciduous forests and scrub-lands, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher makes itself known by its soft but emphatic “spee” calls and its constant motion. By flicking its white-edged tail from side to side, the gnatcatcher may scare up hiding insects.

January 11, 2018
What is the story behind the McCown’s Longspur name?
Longspur refers to the elongated claw of the hind toe.
This bird was named after Captain John P. McCown, an American army officer.
Whether on its winter range or summer breeding ground, McCown’s Longspur is a bird of the plains, of the ‘big sky’ country where the land flattens to the blue haze of mesa or plateau; where distance is the hawk’s flight from a line of craggy ‘breaks’ to the horizon. Amid the features of such a vast landscape it was first collected about 1851, as much by accident as by design. ‘I fired at a flock of Shore Larks,’ wrote Capt. John P. McCown, U.S. (1851), ‘and found this bird among the killed.’”

January 10, 2018
What is the only stork to breed in the United States?
A large, white, bald-headed wading bird of the southeastern swamps, the Wood Stork is the only stork breeding in the United States. Its late winter breeding season is timed to the Florida dry season when its fish prey become concentrated in shrinking pools.

January 9, 2018
As of 2010 how many species of Winter Wen are there?
Small in stature and incomparably energetic in voice, the Winter Wren inhabits moist forests and other habitats across much of eastern North America. They were formerly considered one species that occupied northern forests across the globe. But in 2010, on the basis of vocalizations and genetics, they were split into three species, including the Pacific Wren of western North America and the Eurasian Wren in the Old World.

January 8, 2018
What is the relationship between the Cackling Goose and the Canada Goose?
The newly recognized Cackling Goose is a smaller version of the Canada Goose. Formerly considered the smallest subspecies of one variable species, recent work on genetic differences found the four smallest forms to be very different. These four races are now recognized as a full species: the Cackling Goose. It breeds farther northward and westward than does the Canada Goose.

January 7, 2018
The American Crow is often admired for being highly intelligent. Can you think of any examples of unique behavior displayed by this species that warrants such admiration?
Crows sometimes make and use tools. Examples include a captive crow using a cup to carry water over to a bowl of dry mash; shaping a piece of wood and then sticking it into a hole in a fence post in search of food; and breaking off pieces of pine cone to drop on tree climbers near a nest.

January 6, 2018
During the breeding season what difference in behavior is diplayed between a male and female Red-wing Blackbird?
Male Red-winged Blackbirds spend much of the breeding season sitting on a high perch over their territories and singing their hearts out. Females tend to slink through reeds and grasses collecting food or nest material.

January 5, 2018
How common is it to witness a Gadwall diving?
Gadwall are dabbling ducks—they ride fairly high in the water and they tip forward to graze on submerged plants that they can reach with their outstretched necks. They rarely dive. Gadwall sometimes steal food from American Coots. Like most ducks they often form flocks, and you may see them fidgeting as they swim about each other.

January 4, 2018
What shape is the head of an adult Redhead?
Adult Description

  • Medium-sized duck.
  • Rounded head.
  • Bill blue with black tip.
  • Male with bright red head, gray back, and black chest and rear end.


January 3, 2017 (19955)
What color are the lores on a White-throated Sparrow?
Crisp facial markings make the White-throated Sparrow an attractive bird as well as a hopping, flying anatomy lesson. There’s the black eyestripe, the white crown and supercilium, the yellow lores, the white throat bordered by a black whisker, or malar stripe.

January 2, 2018
The Neotropic Cormorant is the only cormorant known to use what style of foraging for food?
The Neotropic Cormorant is the only cormorant known to plunge-dive into water to catch fish. Unlike gannets and boobies, it does not dive from great heights, restricting its dives to less than a half-meter (1.75 feet) over the water. It is not particularly successful with this technique, catching a fish only once in every six to ten plunges.

January 1, 2018
What is the difference in appearance between a distant Double-crested Cormorant and one viewed close-up?
From a distance, Double-crested Cormorants are dark birds with snaky necks, but up-close they’re quite colorful—with orange-yellow skin on their face and throat, striking aquamarine eyes that sparkle like jewels, and a mouth that is bright blue on the inside.

December 31, 2017
What technique does a Virginia Rail sometimes use to escape a predator?
The Virginia Rail can swim under water, propelling itself with its wings. It swims in this way probably only to flee predators.

December 30, 2017
What is unique about the feeding schedule of Great-tailed Grackles?
Great-tailed Grackles are loud, social birds that can form flocks numbering in the tens of thousands. Each morning small groups disperse to feed in open fields and urban areas, often foraging with cowbirds and other blackbirds, then return to roosting sites at dusk. This evening routine includes a nonstop cacophony of whistles, squeals, and gunfire-like rattling as birds jostle for preferred positions.

December 29, 2017
How were European Starlings introduced to North America?
First brought to North America by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbirds.

December 28, 2017
Early naturalists had a gift for describing species that is rarely witness these days. How did Edward Forbush descibe the Chipping Sparrow in 1929?
In 1929, noted ornithologist Edward Forbush called the Chipping Sparrow “the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives.”

December 27, 2017
What is the only stork to breed in the United States and what part of the country does it reside?
A large, white, bald-headed wading bird of the southeastern swamps, the Wood Stork is the only stork breeding in the United States. Its late winter breeding season is timed to the Florida dry season when its fish prey become concentrated in shrinking pools.

December 26, 2017
Where does an American Robin spent the winter months?
Although robins are considered harbingers of spring, many American Robins spend the whole winter in their breeding range. But because they spend more time roosting in trees and less time in your yard, you’re much less likely to see them.

December 25, 2017
Why the Robin is a Christmas Symbol in the UK?
There are many stories and poems relating the robin to Christmas. According to the British trust of Ornithology, the postmen were nicknamed robin due to their red coats. Christmas cards started portraying the Robin as carrying messages in the 1860’s. The robin has been considered a goodwill messenger since then.

December 24, 2017
Do White-tailed Kites migrate?
Although some populations fluctuate regularly in size, it is unknown whether the White-tailed Kite is migratory, nomadic, or both.

December 23, 2017
Where does the Black-shouldered Kite call home?
The Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) or Australian Black-shouldered Kite is a small raptor found in open habitat throughout Australia and resembles similar species found in Africa, Eurasia and North America, which have in the past also been named as Black-shouldered Kites.

December 22, 2017
When did the National Audubon Society begin the Annual Christmas Bird Count project?
Conservation was in its beginning stages around the turn of the 20th century, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.

December 21, 2017
What offsetting dietary trait of the Western Meadowlark saved it from being designated a “pest” species?
In 1914, California grain growers initiated one of the earliest studies of the Western Meadowlark’s diet to determine whether the bird could be designated a pest species. Although they do eat grain, Western Meadowlarks also help limit numbers of crop-damaging insects.

December 20, 2017
How long after they hatch can Lesser Scaup chicks begin diving under the water?
Lesser Scaup chicks are capable of diving under water on their hatching day, but they are too buoyant to stay under for more than just a moment. By the time they are 5 to 7 weeks old they are able to dive for 2-25 seconds and swim underwater for 15-18 meters (50-60 ft).

December 19, 2017
What variations have been noted regarding Yellow Warblers residing in regions outside the North America?
In addition to the migratory form of the Yellow Warbler that breeds in North America, several other resident forms can be found in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Males in these populations can have chestnut caps or even chestnut covering the entire head.

December 18, 2017
How fast have Mallards been estimated during migration?
Ducks are strong fliers; migrating flocks of Mallards have been estimated traveling at 55 miles per hour.

December 17, 2017
How predictable are the migrating habits of the Pine Siskin?
Every couple of years, Pine Siskins make unpredictable movements called irruptions into southern and eastern North America. Though they’re erratic, these movements may not be entirely random. Banding data suggest that some birds may fly west-east across the continent while others move north-south. For more, see this post from Project FeederWatch.

December 16, 2017
What type of nest do Merlin construct?
Merlins don’t build their own nests. Instead, they take over the old nests of other raptors or crows. They also use magpie nests, sometimes laying eggs right on top of the nest’s dome rather than inside the cavity.

December 15, 2017
What cooperation between a Red-shouldered Hawk and an American Crow is sometime observed?
Although the American Crow often mobs the Red-shouldered Hawk, sometimes the relationship is not so one-sided. They may chase each other and try to steal food from each other. They may also both attack a Great Horned Owl and join forces to chase the owl out of the hawk’s territory.

December 14, 2017
What is the estimated House Finch population in North America?
The total House Finch population across North America is staggering. Scientists estimate between 267 million and 1.4 billion individuals.

December 13, 2017
What is a group of young penguin chicks called?
A group of young penguin chicks is called a “crèche.” A group of penguins in the water is called a “raft.” A group of penguins on land is called a “waddle.”

December 12, 2017
What is the difference between a Common Snipe and a Wilson’s Snipe?
The Common Snipe is the most widespread of several similar snipes. It most closely resembles the Wilson’s Snipe G. delicata of North America, which was until recently considered to be a subspecies G. g. delicata of Common Snipe.

They differ in the number of tail feathers, with seven pairs in G. gallinago and eight pairs in G. delicata; the North American species also has a slightly thinner white trailing edge to the wings (the white is mostly on the tips of the secondaries).

December 11, 2017
Where are Ring-billed Gulls often located?
Familiar acrobats of the air, Ring-billed Gulls nimbly pluck tossed tidbits from on high. Comfortable around humans, they frequent parking lots, garbage dumps, beaches, and fields, sometimes by the hundreds. These are the gulls you’re most likely to see far away from coastal areas—in fact, most Ring-billed Gulls nest in the interior of the continent, near freshwater. A black band encircling the yellow bill helps distinguish adults from other gulls—but look closely, as some other species have black or red spots on the bill.

December 10, 2017
The American Pipit was long known by what name?
The American Pipit was long known as the Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta ), a wide ranging species with seven subspecies occurring from the shores of Great Britain and Scandinavia, and the high mountains of Europe and central Asia, to North America. Recent taxonomic studies, however, have shown that the three North American subspecies, along with the most eastern Asiatic one, are best regarded as a distinct species.

December 9, 2017
Where do Rough-legged Hawks breed?
A hawk of the North, the Rough-legged Hawk breeds in Arctic tundra and taiga regions around the northern hemisphere. Both dark and light forms are common, with many birds intermediate between the extremes.

December 8, 2017
What was the age of the oldest known Great Egret?
The oldest known Great Egret was 22 years, 10 months old and was banded in Ohio.

December 7, 2017
What qualifies a Dark-eyed Junco as a Oregon-type Junco?
“Oregon” Junco, dark gray hood, pale peach flanks & rusty back.

December 6, 2017
What do Orange-crowned Warblers eat?
Insects and spiders.

December 5, 2017
Which owl has become the most studied owl in the world and why?
A denizen of mature coniferous forests, the Spotted Owl has been at the center of debates between forces for and against logging in the Pacific Northwest. Because of its role as the indicator species for old-growth forest, it has become one of the best-studied owls in the world.

December 4, 2017
What type of habitat do Chipping Sparrows prefer?
You’ll find Chipping Sparrows around trees, even though these birds spend a lot of time foraging on the ground. Look for them in grassy forests, woodlands and edges, parks and shrubby or tree-lined backyards. Chipping Sparrows seem to gravitate toward evergreens in places where these trees are available. They also use aspen, birch, oak, pecan, and eucalyptus trees. In the mountains, you can find these birds all the way up to treeline.

December 3, 2017
What is the only true Lark native to America?
The only true lark native to North America, the Horned Lark is a common, widespread bird of open country.

December 2, 2017
What is a Blue Goose?
Watching huge flocks of Snow Geese swirl down from the sky, amid a cacophony of honking, is a little like standing inside a snow globe. These loud, white-and-black geese can cover the ground in a snowy blanket as they eat their way across fallow cornfields or wetlands. Among them, you might see a dark form with a white head—a color variant called the “Blue Goose.”

December 1, 2017
What style of nest does a Brown Creeper build?
The Brown Creeper builds a hammock-like nest behind a loosened flap of bark on a dead or dying tree. It wasn’t until 1879 that naturalists discovered this unique nesting strategy.

November 30, 2017
How many states claim the Northern Cardinal as their state bird?
A perennial favorite among people, the Northern Cardinal is the state bird of seven states.

November 29, 2017
Do Bald Eagles have fun?
Sometimes even the national bird has to cut loose. Bald Eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and other objects pressed into service as toys. One observer witnessed six Bald Eagles passing sticks to each other in midair. (Article)

November 28, 2017
Did the United States actually consider the Wild Turkey as our National Bird, or is it just a myth?

Apparently, Ben Franklin thought the Wild Turkey might have been a better choice! “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly… With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District… I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.

November 27, 2017
What scientific principal does the American Avocet sometimes use to confused predators?
In response to predators, the American Avocet sometimes issues a series of call notes that gradually changes pitch, simulating the Doppler effect and thus making its approach seem faster than it actually is.

November 26, 2017
What unique techniques do Green Heron utilize to catch their dinner?
The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers, and other objects, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.

November 25, 2017
What is the smallest bird?
The Bee Hummingbird or Zunzuncito (Mellisuga helenae) is a species of hummingbird that is endemic to dense forests and woodland edges on the main island of Cuba and (formerly) on the Isla de la Juventud, also part of the nation of Cuba. With a mass of approximately 1.6–2 g (0.056–0.071 oz) and a length of 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 in), it is the smallest living bird.

November 24, 2017
In what type of habitat are you most likely to spot a Chickadee?
Chickadees are found in deciduous and mixed forests, open woods, parks, willow thickets, cottonwood groves, and disturbed areas.

November 23, 2017
What unique markings helps identify a Gilded Flicker from other flickers?
A large and common woodpecker of the saguaro cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert, the Gilded Flicker has the gray face and red mustache of the “red-shafted” form of the Northern Flicker, but the yellow wings of the “yellow-shafted” form.

November 22, 2017
What odd roosting behavior does the Inca Dove ofter engage in?
The Inca Dove engages in an odd behavior, known as “pyramid roosting.” Pairs or groups of Inca Doves may huddle together in the sunshine, with some sitting on the back of the others. The pyramid may be three layers high and include up to 12 birds.

November 21, 2017
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is one of a few species able to eat what delicacy?
Yellow-billed Cuckoos are among the few bird species able to eat hairy caterpillars. In the East they eat large numbers of tent caterpillars—as many as 100 in one sitting.

November 20, 2017
Where does a Hermit Thrush usually nest?
Birds east of the Rocky Mountains typically nest on the ground, while those to the west tend to nest off the ground in shrubs or tree branches. These higher nests are usually at or below eye level but can be up to 20 feet high.

November 19, 2017
If you witness two Spotted Towhees in conflict, and one of them picks up a twig, piece of bark or leaf, what is it thought to indicate?
During conflicts between two towhees, you may see one bird pick up a piece of twig, bark, or leaf and carry it around. This seems to be an indication of submission. Disturbed or alarm-calling towhees flick their wings while perched, sometimes flashing the white corners in the tail.

November 18, 2017
Is the Prairie Falcon population increasing or decreasing?
Not as badly affected by pesticide era as Peregrine Falcon. May currently be increasing.

November 17, 2017
What technique does the Snowy Egret use to forage for food?
The Snowy Egret eats mostly aquatic animals, including fish, frogs, worms, crustaceans, and insects. It often uses its bright yellow feet to paddle in the water or probe in the mud, rounding up prey before striking with its bill. Snowy Egrets feed while standing, walking, running, or hopping, and they may vibrate their bills, sway their heads, or flick their wings as part of prey gathering.
They even forage while hovering. Snowy Egrets forage in saltmarsh pools, tidal channels, tidal flats, freshwater marshes, swamps, ocean inlets, and lake edges, usually preferring brackish or marine habitats with shallow water. Other foraging water birds often assemble around them to form mixed-species foraging groups.

November 16, 2017
What do Dickcissels do in preparation for migration?
n preparation for fall migration, Dickcissels begin assembling in larger and larger flocks that gradually coalesce into flocks of thousands. Winter roosts can number into the millions of birds.

November 15, 2017
What is the flight technique of Hooded Mergansers?
They take flight by running across the water, flying with fast wing beats and never gliding until they are about to land (by skidding to a stop on the water).

November 14, 2017
What is the population trend for Marsh Wrens in the US?
Declining in eastern portion of range, increasing in western.

November 13, 2017
Where do female Redheads regularly lay their eggs?
Females regularly lay eggs in the nests of other Redheads or other ducks, especially Canvasbacks.

November 12, 2017
Do Soras molt?
Yes. During late summer, soras are flightless for a period during their post-nuptial molt.

November 11, 2017
What is unique about Common Goldeneye feeding technique?
They dives underwater to capture prey on bottom. Flocks often dive together.

November 10, 2017
What do Dunlin feed on?
The Dunlin moves along the coastal mudflat beaches it prefers with a characteristic “sewing machine” feeding action, methodically picking small food items. Insects form the main part of the Dunlin’s diet on the nesting grounds; it eats mollusks, worms and crustaceans in coastal areas.

November 9, 2017
What is unique about the forehead of a Virginia Rail?
The forehead feathers of the Virginia Rail are adapted to withstand wear from pushing through dense marsh vegetation.

November 8, 2017
During the winter American Crows are know to congregate in large numbers. How many may share a communal roost?
American Crows congregate in large numbers in winter to sleep in communal roosts. These roosts can be of a few hundred up to two million crows. Some roosts have been forming in the same general area for well over 100 years. In the last few decades some of these roosts have moved into urban areas where the noise and mess cause conflicts with people.

November 7, 2017
What is the difference between where the male and female Gila Woodpeckers forage?
The male Gila Woodpecker forages mainly on the trunk and main branches of saguaro cacti, while the female concentrates on the periphery and diseased areas.

November 6, 2017
Where do White-breasted Nuthatch store their seeds for an upcoming winter?
If you see a White-breasted Nuthatch making lots of quick trips to and from your feeder – too many for it to be eating them all – it may be storing the seeds for later in the winter, by wedging them into furrows in the bark of nearby trees.

November 5, 2017
What is unique about a Golden-crowned Kinglet’s nostrils?
Each of the Golden-crowned Kinglet’s nostrils is covered by a single, tiny feather.

November 4, 2017
What distinction do Steller’s Jays and Blue Jays share?
Steller’s and Blue jays are the only North American jays with crests. The Blue Jay is expanding its range westward. Where they meet, the two species occasionally interbreed and produce hybrids.

November 3, 2017
Where does a Bonaparte’s Gull routinely nest?
The Bonaparte’s Gull is the only gull that regularly nests in trees.

November 2, 2017
If Cattle Egret were to migrate through our area, where would you most likely spot one?
The short, thick-necked Cattle Egret spends most of its time in fields rather than streams. It forages at the feet of grazing cattle, head bobbing with each step, or rides on their backs to pick at ticks.

November 1, 2017
How long does it take for food to pass through the digestive system of a Snow Goose?
Food passes through the Snow Goose’s digestive tract in only an hour or two, generating 6 to 15 droppings per hour. The defecation rate is highest when a goose is grubbing for rhizomes, because such food is very high in fiber and the goose inevitably swallows mud.

October 31, 2017
The eBird Checklist service is sponsored by which organization(s)?
Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

October 30, 2017
The Northern Shoveler has about 110 lamellae. What is a lamellae?
The bill of the Northern Shoveler is about 6.5 cm (2.5 inches) long. The bill has has about 110 fine projections (called lamellae) along the edges, for straining food from water.

October 29, 2017
What do Snowy Plovers use to line their nest?
A natural or scraped depression on dry ground usually lined with pebbles, shell fragments, fish bones, mud chips, vegetation fragments, or invertebrate skeletons.

October 28, 2017
By what other name is a Mearns’s Quail known?
The Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) is a stubby, secretive New World quail of Mexico and some nearby parts of the United States. It is also known as Mearns’s Quail, the Harlequin Quail (for the male’s striking pattern), and the Fool Quail (for its behavior).

October 27, 2017
Which US City has the largest population of Peregrine Falcons in the world?
New York City has the largest population of peregrine falcons in the world.

October 26, 2017
What time of the year are Fox Sparrows most likely to be seen in a backyard?
Since Fox Sparrows breed primarily in remote areas, many people see them in winter when the birds move into backyard thickets.

October 25, 2017
Why do some scientists believe Song Sparrows of wet coastal areas have darker plumage?
Some scientists think that Song Sparrows of wet, coastal areas have darker plumage as a defense against feather mites and other decay agents that thrive in humid climates. The darker plumage contains more of a pigment called melanin, which makes feathers tougher and harder to degrade than lighter, unpigmented feathers.

October 24, 2017
How much sap does a Red-naped Sapsucker suck, when sucking sap?
Sapsuckers do not suck sap, but are specialized for sipping it. Their tongues are shorter than those of other woodpeckers, and do not extend as far out. The tip of the tongue has small hair-like projections on it that help pick up the sap, much like a paintbrush holds paint.

October 23, 2017
What are the differences between a Western Screech Owl and a Whiskered Screech Owl?
Adults Whiskered Screech-owls occur in 2 color morphs, in either brown or dark grey plumage. They have a round head with ear tufts, yellow eyes and a yellowish bill. The bird looks very similar to a Western Screech Owl, but has heavier barring on the breast, and is slightly smaller in size.

October 22, 2017
What is the breeding season of the Red Crossbill?
The Red Crossbill is so dependent upon conifer seeds it even feeds them to its young. Consequently, it can breed any time it finds a sufficiently large cone crop, even in the depths of winter.

October 21, 2017
How does the Common Poorwill spend it’s winters?
A small nightjar of the arid West, the Common Poorwill is the smallest member of its family in North America. It is one of the few birds known to hibernate during the winter.

October 20, 2017
What is the breeding season of the Red Crossbill?
The Red Crossbill is so dependent upon conifer seeds it even feeds them to its young. Consequently, it can breed any time it finds a sufficiently large cone crop, even in the depths of winter.

October 19, 2017
How does the Common Poorwill spend it’s winters?
A small nightjar of the arid West, the Common Poorwill is the smallest member of its family in North America. It is one of the few birds known to hibernate during the winter.

October 18, 2017)
Which is larger, the male or the female Burrowing Owl?
Unlike most owls in which the female is larger than the male, the sexes of the Burrowing Owl are the same size.

October 17, 2017
The Evening Grosbeak has enormous bills that can crack large seeds. What do Evening Grosbeaks enjoy eating during the summer?
Though they’re ferocious seed-crackers in the wintertime, in summer Evening Grosbeaks eat insects such as spruce budworm, a serious forest pest. The grosbeaks are so adept at finding these tiny caterpillars that the birds often provide a first warning that a budworm outbreak has begun.

October 16, 2017
How does a Purple Martin drink water?
The Purple Martin not only gets all its food in flight, it gets all its water that way too. It skims the surface of a pond and scoops up the water with its lower bill.

October 15, 2017
What happens to the brains of Black-capped Chickadees each autumn?
Every autumn Black-capped Chickadees allow brain neurons containing old information to die, replacing them with new neurons so they can adapt to changes in their social flocks and environment even with their tiny brains.

October 14, 2017
It is unlikely you will see Cassowaries except at a major zoo in the United States, but what is their average lifespan?
The average lifespan of wild cassowaries is believed to be about 40 to 50 years.

October 13, 2017
What is a Crissal Thrasher’s preferred mode of transportation?
The Crissal Thrasher walks and runs around its territory more than it flies. Even when disturbed by a person or a predator the thrasher is most likely to run away to cover.

October 12, 2017
How do the ranges of Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds overlap, and how does this factor affect nesting success?
The ranges of Cassin’s and Western kingbirds overlap geographically and partially in elevation. Competition between the two species appears to be minimal in nesting and foraging habitats with ample insect prey. Cassin’s Kingbird nest success is higher, however, in the absence of Western Kingbirds than where both species are present.

October 11, 2017
What is Hacking?
Hacking,” an age-old falconry technique, is helping rebuild Golden Eagle populations. Humans feed caged, lab-reared nestlings at a nest like hack site until the birds reach 12 weeks old, when the cage is opened and they begin feeding themselves. The fledglings continue to receive handouts from their hack-site caretakers for several weeks, until they gain full independence in the wild.

October 10, 2017
Why do Turkey Vulture often fly low to the ground?
The Turkey Vulture maintains stability and lift at low altitudes by holding its wings up in a slight dihedral (V-shape) and teetering from side to side while flying. It flies low to the ground to pick up the scent of dead animals.

October 9, 2017
How good is a Clark’s Nutcracker memory?
The Clark’s Nutcracker hides thousands and thousands of seeds each year. Laboratory studies have shown that the bird has a tremendous memory and can remember where to find most of the seeds it hides.

October 8, 2017
What special performance is a male Sprague’s Pipit noted for?
Displaying males often remain airborne for half an hour. In one case, a male Sprague’s Pipit was observed displaying for three full hours before descending to the ground. No other bird species is known to perform such prolonged displays.

October 7, 2017
During the recent PAS Pelagic Field Trip Red-billed Tropicbirds were observed. By what other name is a Red-billed Tropicbird known?
The Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus, also known as the Boatswain Bird is a tropicbird, one of three closely related seabirds of tropical oceans.

October 6, 2017)
Where do Chestnut-collared Longspur historically bred?
The Chestnut-collared Longspur bred historically at sites recently grazed by bison or disturbed by fire. Even today, it avoids nesting in areas protected from grazing, instead preferring pastures and mowed areas such as airstrips, as well as grazed native prairie habitats.

October 5, 2017
What odd behavior do Inca Doves often display?
The Inca Dove engages in an odd behavior, known as “pyramid roosting.” Pairs or groups of Inca Doves may huddle together in the sunshine, with some sitting on the back of the others. The pyramid may be three layers high and include up to 12 birds.

October 4, 2017)
How rare are Eared Grebes?
The most abundant grebe in the world, the Eared Grebe breeds in shallow wetlands in western North America. It occurs in greatest numbers on Mono Lake and the Great Salt Lake in fall, where it doubles its weight in preparation for a nonstop flight to its wintering grounds in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

October 3, 2017
Despite its bright yellow chest, why is a Yellow-breasted Chat easily overlooked?
Despite its bright yellow chest, loud song, and conspicuous display flights, the Yellow-breasted Chat is easily overlooked because of its skulking nature and the denseness of its brushy haunts.

October 2, 2017)
The Gray Catbird has a distinct song. How long can it last?
The Gray Catbird’s long song may last for up to 10 minutes.

October 1, 2017
What is Long-billed Syndrome and what species are affected?
We have recently discovered serious beak abnormalities in 60 raptors (55 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Rough-legged Hawks, 2 Peregrine Falcons and a Ferruginous Hawk). Most of these records are from the Pacific Coast, ranging from Richmond, British Columbia to San Jose, CA. The peregrines were fall migrants caught at South Padre Island, TX. and Duluth, MN. in 2004.

The long-billed syndrome is characterized by abnormal growth of the maxilla and mandible. It was first noted in an adult Red-tailed Hawk in WA in 1997. X-rays indicate that it is caused by accelerated growth of the keratin sheath and not the underlying bone.

September 30, 2017 (20205)
Why are sightings of a Grace’s Warbler so rare?
The Grace’s Warbler is one of the least known of American birds. It has not been well studied, and much remains to be learned about it. Few have been banded, and only a very few studies have been made of its biology. Part of the problem is that it stays high in the tops of mature pine trees. It forages at the very branch tips and rarely perches in exposed situations.

Septembe 29, 2017 (20204)
In what type of habitat would you most likely find a Black-throated Sparrow?
The striking Black-throated Sparrow is a denizen of open deserts of the western United States and Mexico.

September 28, 2017 (20203)
How soon after hatching does a baby American Avocet leave the nest?
American Avocet chicks leave the nest within 24 hours after hatching. Day-old Avocets can walk, swim, and even dive to escape predators.

September 27, 2017 (20202)
What is the largest bird in North America?
The spectacular but endangered California Condor is the largest bird in North America.

September 26, 2017 (20201)
Does the Greater Roadrunner eat other birds?
Yes. The Greater Roadrunner eats many venomous prey items, including scorpions, spiders, and rattlesnakes. Two birds may cooperate to kill a large snake. The Greater Roadrunner is an opportunistic forager. It frequently captures small birds at bird feeders and nest boxes. One was observed to leap up from hiding in a dry riverbed and knock down a low-flying White-throated Swift.

September 25, 2017 (20200)
What is the California Gull’s greatest legancy?
The California Gull is the “seagull” that came to the aid of Mormon settlers in Utah, helping rid their crops of a plague of grasshoppers. A golden statue in Salt Lake City commemorates the event, and in recognition the California Gull was made the state bird of Utah.(

September 24, 2017 (20199)
What is the reason Double-crested Cormorants often stand with their wings spread?
Cormorants often stand in the sun with their wings spread out to dry. They have less preen oil than other birds, so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck’s. Though this seems like a problem for a bird that spends its life in water, wet feathers probably make it easier for cormorants to hunt underwater with agility and speed.

September 23, 2017 (20198)
How does the coloration of Wilson’s Warblers change from East to West?
The Wilson’s Warbler trends toward brighter, richer coloration from the eastern part of the range to the west. The Pacific coast populations have the brightest yellow, even orangish, foreheads and faces. Western-central and Alaskan birds are slightly larger than the eastern and Pacific coast populations.

September 22, 2017 (20197)
Are family ties strong within a Greater White-fronted Goose family?
As is true of many geese, Greater White-fronted Goose pairs stay together for years and migrate together, along with their offspring. White-front family bonds can last longer than in most geese, and some young stay with their parents through the next breeding season. Parent and sibling associations may continue throughout their lives.

September 21, 2017 (20196)
Lately there have been reports of large flocks of Pinyon Jays in the area. Is this unusual?
No. Pinyon Jay social organization is complex, with permanent flocks that may include more than 500 individuals. Many birds spend their entire lives in their natal flocks. Individuals that do disperse, usually females before they are one year of age, generally travel only short distances.

September 20, 2017 (20195)
How many species share the same taxonomic genus with the Vesper Sparrow?
None. The Vesper Sparrow is the only member of its taxonomic genus. Based on analysis of morphology, plumage, and other factors, its closest relative is thought to be the Lark Sparrow.

September 19, 2017 (20194)
Is it difficult to locate a Cinnamon Duck’s nest?
Yes. The female Cinnamon Teal often places her nest below matted, dead stems of vegetation so it is completely concealed on all sides and from above. She approaches the nest through tunnels in the vegetation.

September 18, 2017 (20193)
Yesterday we addressed what a Bewick’s Wren does when a suspected intruder approaches their nest. What does a Western Wood Pewee do?
The Western Wood-Pewee makes a clapping noise with its bill while chasing and attacking intruders in nest defense.

September 17, 2017 (20192)
What does a female Bewick’s Wren usually do at the sound of an approaching human?
At the sound of approaching humans, a female Bewick’s Wren incubating eggs usually flushes quietly from her nest cavity, but remains nearby and scolds. Some females, however, sit tightly on their eggs even when disturbed

September 16, 2017 (20191)
What unique anatomical feature does a new hatched Common Gallinule use to help them climb into their nests?
Newly hatched chicks of the Common Gallinule have spurs on their wings that help them climb into the nest or grab emergent vegetation.

September 15, 2017 (20190)
Why do American Goldfinches breed later than most North American Birds?
American Goldfinches breed later than most North American birds. They wait to nest until June or July when milkweed, thistle, and other plants have produced their fibrous seeds, which goldfinches incorporate into their nests and also feed their young.

September 14, 2017 (20189)
What type of nest do Common Nighthawks build?
None. These fairly common but declining birds make no nest. Their young are so well camouflaged that they’re hard to find, and even the adults seem to vanish as soon as they land.

September 13, 2017 (20188)
How many molting cycles per year does a Long-tailed Duck experience?
Unlike most ducks, which molt twice per year, the Long-tailed Duck has three distinct plumages each year, achieved in a complex series of overlapping partial molts. The Definitive Basic Plumage is never worn in its entirety, as portions of Alternate are retained through the summer and elements of the Supplemental are acquired before all of Basic Plumage is obtained. Therefore change in plumage seems continuous from April to October.

September 12, 2017 (20187)
How old was the oldest recorded White-winged Dove?
The oldest White-winged Dove on record was 21 years and 9 months old. It was banded in Arizona and later recovered in Mexico.

September 11, 2017 (20186)
How large is an Ostrich’s eye compared to its brain?
An ostrich’s eye is twice as large as its brain and weighs 3.3 pounds.

September 10, 2017 (20185)
What other bird songs does a Blue Mockingbird often mimic?
None! The Blue Mockingbird sings is a complex song of varied notes, many melodic, but occasional harsh notes. Wide variety of calls. Does not mimic other birds’ songs.

September 9, 2017 (20184)
How many feathers make up a California Quail’s topknot?
The California Quail’s head plume, or topknot, looks like a single feather, but it is actually a cluster of six overlapping feathers.

September 8, 2017 (20183)
Which is more dominant, the Red-winged Blackbird or the Yellow-headed Blackbird?
The Yellow-headed Blackbird often nests in the same marsh as the Red-winged Blackbird. The larger Yellow-headed Blackbird is dominant to the Red-winged Blackbird, and displaces the smaller blackbird from the prime nesting spots. The Yellow-headed Blackbird is strongly aggressive toward Marsh Wrens too, probably because of the egg-destroying habits of the wrens.
When the Yellow-headed Blackbird finishes breeding and leaves the marsh, Marsh Wrens expand into former blackbird territories.

September 7, 2017 (20182)
What part of a Brown Boobie is “totipalmate?”
Like all boobies and pelicans, the Brown Booby’s feet are “totipalmate,” having webbing connecting all four toes.

September 6, 2017 (20181)
The smallest of its family, the Commn Poor-will was name in honor of which ornithologist?
The Common Poorwill is the smallest member of its family in North America. The genus name Phalaenoptilus is a compound of Greek phalaina, moth and ptilon, feather. The species name nuttallii honors English-born American ornithologist Thomas Nuttall.

September 5, 2017 (20180)
The crop is an expanded portion of what anatomical structure of a bird?
In a bird’s digestive system, the crop is an expanded, muscular pouch near the gullet or throat. It is a part of the digestive tract, essentially an enlarged part of the esophagus. As with most other organisms that have a crop, the crop is used to temporarily store food. Not all birds have a crop. In adult doves and pigeons, the crop can produce crop milk to feed newly hatched birds.

September 4 2017 (20179)
What is the origin of the name Osprey?
The name “Osprey” made its first appearance around 1460, via the Medieval Latin phrase for “bird of prey” (avis prede). Some wordsmiths trace the name even further back, to the Latin for “bone-breaker”—ossifragus.

September 3, 2017 (20178)
America has the Bald Eagle as it’s national bird, what bird did Albania, Germany, Austria, Mexico and Kazakstan select?
The Golden Eagle is the most common official national animal in the world—it’s the emblem of Albania, Germany, Austria, Mexico, and Kazakhstan.

September 2, 2017 (20177)
In Bird Anatomy, what is gape?
In bird anatomy, the gape is the interior of the open mouth of a bird and the gape flange is the region where the two mandibles join together, at the base of the beak. The width of the gape can be factor in the choice of food.

September 1, 2017 (20176)
Why do the Horned Larks often colonize at airports?
The use of mowed areas around airstrips has allowed the Horned Lark to colonize regions where no other suitable habitat may exist nearby, such as heavily forested areas.

August 31, 2017 (20175)
Are Parasitic Jaeger’s well named?
Parasitic Jaegers are well named for their habit of forcing other seabirds to disgorge their food, which the jaegers deftly swoop down to retrieve. Their acrobatics and aggressiveness in pursuing their targets have evoked both admiration and defilement by human observers. In the northeastern Atlantic, and possibly also in the Aleutian Islands,
Parasitic Jaegers obtain most of their food by stealing from colonial seabirds. Nevertheless, in most of their circumpolar breeding range, “kleptoparasitism” is not the main way of life for Parasitic Jaegers.
Throughout the tundra regions of the Arctic, they defend large territories within which they hunt for birds, mammals, and eggs. They are the most important predator of small birds in the Arctic and among the two or three most important predators of birds’ eggs.

August 30, 2017 (20174)
During the winter months, what are the eating preferences of the Townsend’s Warbler?
On the wintering ground in Mexico, the Townsend’s Warbler feeds extensively on the sugary excretions of scale insects. Although the warbler usually forages in the tops of trees, it will use patches of the honeydew-producing insects at whatever height it finds them. It will defend territories around trees infested with the insects against other Townsend’s Warblers as well as other bird species.

August 29, 2017 (20173)
Is a Loggerhead Shrike a predator?
A small gray, black, and white bird of open areas, the Loggerhead Shrike hardly appears to be a predator. But it uses its hooked beak to kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds, and then impales them on thorns to hold them while it rips them apart.

August 28, 2017 (20172)
How far, non-stop, have Whimbrels been known to migrate?
Some migrating Whimbrels make a nonstop flight of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from southern Canada or New England to South America.

August 27, 2017 (20171)
Where do most do Ring-billed Gulls breed at each year?
Many, if not most, Ring-billed Gulls return to breed at the colony where they hatched. Once they have bred, they are likely to return to the same breeding spot each year, often nesting within a few meters of the last year’s nest site. Many individuals return to the same wintering sites each winter too.

August 26, 2017 (20170)
Baltimore Orioles, like robins and many other birds like fruit. What is unusual about the fruit they seek?
Unlike robins and many other fruit-eating birds, Baltimore Orioles seem to prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit. Orioles seek out the darkest mulberries, the reddest cherries, and the deepest-purple grapes, and will ignore green grapes and yellow cherries even if they are ripe.

August 25, 2017 (20169)
What has contributed greatly to the Eurasian Collared-Dove’s colonization of America?
People have helped make the Eurasian Collared-Dove at home in North America. Bird feeders and trees planted in urban and suburban areas are cited as two of the main factors in the species’ colonization of the continent.

August 24, 2017 (20168)
How has the habitat range of the Great-tailed Grackle changed in the last 100+ years?
In 1900 the northern edge of the Great-tailed Grackle’s range barely reached southern Texas. Since the 1960s they’ve followed the spread of irrigated agriculture and urban development into the Great Plains and West, and today are one of North America’s fastest-expanding species.

August 23, 2017 (20167)
The White-winged Scoter often nests near gull breeding colonies and the Gulls would happily eat the Scoter’s eggs. What does a Scoter do to protect its nest and eggs?

The White-winged Scoter often nests in association with gull breeding colonies. Although the gulls would happily eat the eggs and chicks of the scoter, the dense vegetation where the scoter nests keeps them safe.

August 22, 2017 (20166)
Rare to Arizona, which small warbler primarily nests in hanging Spanish moss?
A small warbler of the upper canopy, the Northern Parula can be found in two rather distinct populations. The southern population nests primarily in hanging Spanish moss, while the northern population uses the similar-looking old man’s beard lichen.

August 21, 2017 (20165)
Where does a Clark’s Nutcracker carry the seeds it harvests and store for future need?
They use their dagger-like bills to rip into pine cones and pull out large seeds, which they stash in a pouch under their tongue and then carry away to bury for the winter. Each birds buries tens of thousands of seeds each summer and remembers the locations of most of them. Seeds they don’t retrieve play a crucial role in growing new pine forests.

August 20, 2017 (20164)
To what species are Pyrrhuloxia closely related, and what are the differences between the two species?
Dapper in looks and cheerful in song, the Pyrrhuloxia is a tough-as-nails songbird of baking hot deserts in the American Southwest and northern Mexico. They’re closely related to Northern Cardinals, but they are a crisp gray and red, with a longer, elegant crest and a stubby, parrotlike yellow bill. During breeding season Pyrrhuloxias are fiercely and vocally territorial, but in the winter they forget their disputes and join together in large foraging flocks

August 19, 2017 (20163)
Voles are a common source of food for Kestrels. What physical attribute do Kestrels use to locate Voles?
Unlike humans, birds can see ultraviolet light. This enables kestrels to make out the trails of urine that voles, a common prey mammal, leave as they run along the ground. Like neon diner signs, these bright paths may highlight the way to a meal—as has been observed in the Eurasian Kestrel, a close relative.

August 18, 2017 (20162)
On day 6 or 7, after hatching, how long does it take for a Yellow-billed Cuckoo to become fully feathered?
Yellow-billed Cuckoos have one of the shortest nesting cycles of any bird species. From the start of incubation to fledgling can take as little as 17 days. Although born naked, the young birds develop quickly; within a week of hatching the chicks are fully feathered and ready to leave the nest.

August 17, 2017 (20161)
What other species does a Gray Vireo sometime mimic when foraging for food?
A Towhee. Although the Gray Vireo catches most of its insect food along the branches of trees and shrubs, it captures more insects on the ground than most vireos. It has been seen to scratch on the ground with its feet like a foraging towhee.

August 16, 2017 (20160)
In a Short-billed Dowitcher family, who raises the young after hatching?
Although both sexes share incubation of the eggs, only the male takes care of the young once they hatch.

August 15, 2017 20159)
If alarmed, what unusual behavior does a Least Bittern display?
When alarmed, the Least Bittern freezes in place with its bill pointing up, turns its front and both eyes toward the source of alarm, and sometimes sways to resemble wind-blown marsh vegetation.

August 14, 2017 (20158)
The Hooded Merganzer is an especially good fisherman because of what special anatomical properties?
Hooded Mergansers find their prey underwater by sight. They can actually change the refractive properties of their eyes to improve their underwater vision. In addition, they have an extra eyelid, called a “nictitating membrane,” which is transparent and helps protect the eye during swimming, like a pair of goggles.

August 13, 2017 (20157)
What is unique about Crissal Thrasher eggs?
The Crissal Thrasher is the only thrasher that lays unspotted eggs.

August 12, 2017 (20156)
The Western Meadowlark employs a behavior called “gaping.” What is gaping?
Like other members of the blackbird, or icterid, family, meadowlarks use a feeding behavior called “gaping,” which relies on the unusually strong muscles that open their bill. They insert their bill into the soil, bark or other substrate, then force it open to create a hole. This gives meadowlarks access to insects and other food items that most birds can’t reach.

August 11, 2017 (20155)
How did the decline of bison affect Ferruginour Hawks?
Before the elimination of bison in the West, nests of the Ferruginous Hawk were often partially constructed of bison bones and wool.

August 10, 2017 (20154)
Would you want a home built by a Rose-breasted Grosbeak?
Probably not. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks build such flimsy nests that eggs are often visible from below through the nest bottom.


August 9, 2017 (20153)
What are current estimates regarding the total population of the Dark-eyed Junco?
The Dark-eyed Junco is one of the most common birds in North America and can be found across the continent, from Alaska to Mexico, from California to New York. A recent estimate set the junco’s total population at approximately 630 million individuals.


August 8, 2017 (20152)
What Large lanky bird with a relatively short tail is often referred to as a blue rock?
The Band-tailed Pigeon is occasionally called the “blue rock,” because of the blue-gray hue of its back and its resemblance to the closely related Rock Pigeon. The two species are similar in size, posture, movements, and behavior. While the Rock Pigeon is a widespread introduced species, the Band-tailed Pigeon is native to western North America.


August 7, 2017 (20151)
How much water each day does a Canyon Wren consume?
The Canyon Wren is not known to drink water. It probably gets all the water it needs from its insect prey. It has been seen foraging along the sides of desert springs, but not drinking.


August 6, 2017 (20150)
The Semipalmated Plover is a shore bird. Do they swim?
The Semipalmated Plover has been seen to swim short distances across small water channels during foraging while on migration. Chicks also swim short distances to follow parents to small islets on shallow lakes


August 5, 2017 (20149)
What age does a California Condor reach before it begins breeding?
Young condors do not breed until they are six to eight years old, about the time they acquire full adult coloration.

August 3, 2017 (20148)
Who has the loudest quack, a male or female Mallard?
The standard duck’s quack is the sound of a female Mallard. Males don’t quack; they make a quieter, rasping sound.


August 2, 2017 (20147)
What is unique about the feathers at the base of the bill of Pinion Jay?
The Pinyon Jay’s bill is featherless at its base (hence the name Gymnorhinus = bare nostrils). Nearly all other members of the family Corvidae have feathers covering their nostrils. The Pinyon Jay can probe deep into pitch-laden cones without fouling the feathers that would cover the nostrils of other jays.

August 1, 2017 (20146)
What is the life span of a Barrow’s Goldeneye?
The Barrow’s Goldeneye is rather long-lived for a duck, with one individual reaching 18 years of age. Most females do not breed until they are three years old.

July 31, 2017 (20145)
Although it is a very beautiful bird, what curse has plagued the Painted Bunting throughout history?
Unfortunately, it’s easy to trap colorful male Painted Buntings by tricking them into attacking decoys. In 1841 John James Audubon reported that “thousands” of the colorful birds were caught every spring and shipped from New Orleans to Europe, where they fetched more than 100 times the price when sold as cage birds. They are still trapped and sold in large numbers in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and to a lesser extent in Florida, despite efforts by conservationists to curb illegal trade.


July 30, 2017 (20144)
During the summer, what clever building method does a Verdin use while building their nest?
During the heat of the desert summer, the Verdin rests quietly in the shaded interior of a shrub, sometimes panting or spreading its wings. Nests built in summer open toward prevailing winds, perhaps to aid in cooling.


July 29, 2017 (20143)
What animal has the biggest heart in terms of body proportions?
Hummingbirds. Some folks think the Blue Whale has the largest heart, and they do, but Hummingbirds have the biggest heart according to the body proportions not the blue whale.
For more information visit:

July 28, 2017 (20142)
Which two Warblers bred in cavities?
The Lucy’s Warbler is one of only two warblers that breeds in cavities. (The Prothonotary Warbler is the other.) If using a woodpecker hole, the warbler may fill the cavity nearly to the top with debris and put the nest on top so the bird can see out.


July 27, 2017 (20141)
Is a male Cooper’s Hawk “the man of the house?”
Life is tricky for male Cooper’s Hawks. As in most hawks, males are significantly smaller than their mates. The danger is that female Cooper’s Hawks specialize in eating medium-sized birds. Males tend to be submissive to females and to listen out for reassuring call notes the females make when they’re willing to be approached. Males build the nest, then provide nearly all the food to females and young over the next 90 days before the young fledge.


July 26, 2017 (20140)
Where do Western Bluebirds make their nests?
In cavities. Western Bluebirds are among the birds that nest in cavities—holes in trees or nest boxes. But look at their bills—they’re not equipped to dig out their own holes. They rely on woodpeckers or other processes to make their nest sites for them. This is one reason why dead trees are a valuable commodity in many habitats.


July 25, 2017 (20139)
Is the American Pipit a distinct species?
Yes, The American Pipit was long known as the Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta ), a wide ranging species with seven subspecies occurring from the shores of Great Britain and Scandinavia, and the high mountains of Europe and central Asia, to North America. Recent taxonomic studies, however, have shown that the three North American subspecies, along with the most eastern Asiatic one, are best regarded as a distinct species.


July 24, 2017 (20138)
What will an incubating, female, Juniper Titmouse do, if disturbed while sitting on her nest?
The incubating female sits very tight on the nest while incubating, and will hiss like a snake if disturbed.


July 23, 2017 (20137)
What is a bal chatri?
Bal-chatri are traps designed to catch birds of prey (raptors). The trap essentially consists of a cage baited inside with a conspicuously visible live rodent or small bird, with a series of monofilament nooses attached to the surface to snare the legs of a free-flying raptor that attempts to take the bait.The name is derived from the Hindi word used by trappers in India. Modified bal-chatri traps are also used for catching shrikes.


July 22, 2017 (20136)
How is bragging commonly described?
To crow.
(Reference: 10,001 Titillating Tidbits of Avian Trivia, by Frank S. Todd)

July 21, 2017 (20135)
Are Marbled Godwits dedicated Parent?

Nests of the Marbled Godwit are not easily found, as these birds do not readily flush off of their eggs. Incubating adults can sometimes be picked up from the nest.

July 20, 2017 (20134)
What are the two primary functions of a pelican’s pouch?
At nearly a foot and half (half a meter) long the bill of a pelican is the longest of any bird. The bill’s main function, and probably what drove its evolution, is as a fish-catcher, but it has a multitude of other uses. From excreting excess salt by oozing out a highly saline solution to advertising sexual readiness by growing a two-inch-high (five-centimeter-high) horn on top of it.
Another well-known quirk to the pelican’s beak is the pouch, capable of holding the liquid equivalent of two flushes of a toilet. Even though the pelican’s tongue is tiny, a complex set of specialized tongue muscles control the pouch. By contracting these muscles, the pelican tightens the pouch after catching a fish, expelling water and forcing the prey down its throat.
Tongue muscles are also used in gular fluttering, a surprisingly effective evaporative cooling mechanism. The bird rapidly flutters the pouch by contracting and relaxing the muscles, kind of like a dog panting, sometimes at a remarkable flutter-rate of 200 times a minute.

July 19, 2017 (20133)
What material does a female Barn Owl use to construct her nest?
The female makes a simple nest of her own regurgitated pellets, shredded with her feet and arranged into a cup. Unlike most birds, owls may use their nest sites for roosting throughout the year. Nest sites are often reused from year to year, often by different owls.

July 18, 2017 (20132)
What unusual vocalizations does a Pectoral Sandpiper make during breeding season?
The breeding male Pectoral Sandpiper has an inflatable throat sac, which expands and contracts rhythmically during display flights. The accompanying vocalization consists of a series of hollow hoots, and is one of the most unusual sounds heard in summer on the arctic tundra.

July 17, 2017 (20131)
Do Western Sandpipers breed in Siberia?
Yes. From breeding grounds in Alaska and eastern Siberia, migrates southeast to wintering areas on both coasts of North and South America. Apparently migrates in series of short to moderate flights, without long over water flights of some shorebirds.

July 16, 2017 (20130)
How good a fisherman are Osprey, and what percentage of their attempts result in a catch?
Ospreys are excellent anglers. Over several studies, Ospreys caught fish on at least 1 in every 4 dives, with success rates sometimes as high as 70 percent. The average time they spent hunting before making a catch was about 12 minutes—something to think about next time you throw your line in the water.

July 15, 2017 (20129)
At what age does a Blacked-headed Grosbeak male gain his breeding plumage?
The male Black-headed Grosbeak does not get its adult breeding plumage until it is two years old. First-year males can vary from looking like a female to looking nearly like an adult male. Only yearling males that most closely resemble adult males are able to defend a territory and attempt to breed.

July 14, 2017 (20128)
Last reported in 2004, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is still being sought. There are cash rewards for finding one. How much money has been offered?

Reports of at least one male Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas in 2004 were investigated and subsequently published in April 2005 by a team led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Fitzpatrick et al., 2005). No definitive confirmation of those reports emerged, despite intensive searching over five years following the initial sightings.

A $10,000 reward was offered in June 2006 for information leading to the discovery of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker nest, roost or feeding site.[3] In December 2008, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology announced a reward of $50,000 to the person who can lead a project biologist to a living Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

July 13, 2017 (20127)
Where would you have to go to see Plain Chachacas?
A large chicken-like bird of Mexico and Central America, the Plain Chachalaca reaches the United States only in southern Texas. Its name comes from its loud, raucous calls.

July 12, 2017 (20126)
What is the life span of a Great Egret?
The oldest known Great Egret was 22 years, 10 months old and was banded in Ohio.

July 11, 2017 (20125)
What do Soro’s eat?
Seeds and aquatic invertebrates.

July 10, 2017 (20124
How much hamburger would an average man have to eat compared to a hummingbird?
If an average man had a metabolism comparable to that of a hummingbird he would have

to eat 285 pounds of hamburger every day to maintain his weight.

July 9, 2017 (20123)
Which came first… the chicken or the egg?
It depends who you talk with?

The Christian bible says that the chicken came first. God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven”. Genesis 1:19-20. Chickens are a type of fowl. So according to the bible,the chicken came first.

Scientists have an answer for the age old dispute over which came first,the chicken or the egg. They say that reptiles were laying eggs thousands of years before chickens appeared. The first chicken came from an egg laid by a bird that was not quite a chicken. According to scientists,the egg came first.

July 8, 2017 (20122)
Can hummingbirds walk?
Hummingbirds have tiny legs and can neither hop nor walk, though they can sort of scoot sideways while perched.

July 7, 2017 (20121)
How do Common Poorwills react in a laboratory, if deprived of food?
The Common Poorwill can slow its metabolic rate and drop its body temperature, going into a hibernation-like state known as “torpor.” In periods of cold weather, a poorwill may stay in torpor for several weeks. Although probably not true hibernation, topor allows the bird to go long periods of time without food and can help it survive cold spells when its insect prey would not be active.Common Poorwills in the laboratory readily enter torpor when deprived of food.


July 6, 2017 (20120)
What does it mean if a bird enters torpor?
Torpor (hibernation) is a state of decreased physiological activity in an animal, usually by a reduced body temperature and rate of metabolism.

July 5, 2017 (20119)
Where does a Northern Flicker prefer to dine?
Northern Flickers eat mainly insects, especially ants and beetles that they gather from the ground. They also eat fruits and seeds, especially in winter. Flickers often go after ants underground (where the nutritious larvae live), hammering at the soil the way other woodpeckers drill into wood. They’ve been seen breaking into cow patties to eat insects living within. Their tongues can dart out 2 inches beyond the end of the bill to snare prey. Other invertebrates eaten include flies, butterflies, moths, and snails. Flickers also eat berries and seeds, especially in winter, including poison oak and ivy, dogwood, sumac, wild cherry and grape, bayberries, hackberries, and elderberries, and sunflower and thistle seeds.


July 4, 2017 (20118)
Is the Common Raven considered a good neighbor?

Apparently not! Increasing raven populations threaten some vulnerable species including desert tortoises, Marbled Murrelets, and Least Terns.
Ravens can cause trouble for people too. They’ve been implicated in causing power outages by contaminating insulators on power lines, fouling satellite dishes at the Goldstone Deep Space Site, peeling radar absorbent material off buildings at the China Lake Naval Weapons center, pecking holes in airplane wings, stealing golf balls, opening campers’ tents, and raiding cars left open at parks.

July 3, 2017 (20117)
Is a Spotted Towhee a sparrow?
The Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) is a large New World sparrow. The taxonomy of the towhees has been debated in recent decades, and formerly this bird and the Eastern Towhee were considered a single species, the Rufous-sided Towhee. An archaic name for the Spotted Towhee is the Oregon Towhee (Pipilo maculatus oregonus).


July 2, 2017 (20116)
How does the term “snood” relate to a Wild Turkey?
The snood is a fleshy appendage that attaches just above the beak. When the tom relaxes, the snood is short — maybe half an inch long. When the tom struts, the snood engorges with blood and extends to hang down over the beak. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the snood has no known function.

July 1, 2017 (20115)
What is a pantropical bird?
A bird distributed throughout the tropics of the world.

June 30, 2017 (20114)
The chicks of which bird are called colts?
Colt: The scientifically approved name for a Sandhill Crane. Young cranes are also called chicks.

June 29, 2017 (20113)
What is an eagless?

A female or hen eagle

June 28, 2017 (20112)
Can American Robins hear earthworms underground?
Robins find earthworms by cocking their head to the side so that they can see. They have monocular vision, which means their eyes are on the sides of the head, and each eye can be used independently. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t hear the earthworms. You will likely find robins in your yard after a rain, after the sprinkler has been on, or even after the lawn has been mowed, as this brings out the worms and insects. Worms make up about 15% to 20% of the summer diet for robins.


June 27, 2017 (20111)
Name six primary types of feathers.

Contour feathers:
When you look at a bird the contour feathers are the outermost feathers, or the ones you see. They provide the color and the shape of the bird. The wing feathers are strong and stiff, supporting the bird during flight. The contour feathers tend to lie on top of each other, much like shingles on a roof. The feathers therefore tend to shed rain, keeping the body dry and well insulated.

Each contour feather can be controlled by a set of specialized muscles which control the position of the feathers, allowing the bird to keep the feathers in a smooth and neat condition.

The largest contour feathers are often the large flight feathers, which are collectively called the remiges. Since they are responsible for supporting the bird during flight, remiges are attached by ligaments or directly to the bone. The outer remiges are referred to as the primaries and are the largest and strongest of the flight feathers. They are attached to the skeletal equivalent of the “hand” of the bird.

The inner remiges are called the secondaries and are attached to the “forearm” of the bird. They are located between the body of the bird and the primaries. The secondaries provide lift in both soaring and flapping flight.

The tail feathers are used to provide stability and control. They are referred to collectively as rectrices. The rectrices are connected to each other by ligaments, with only the innermost feathers attaching directly to the tailbone.

Bordering and overlaying the edges of the remiges and the rectrices on both the lower side and upper side of the body are rows of feathers called coverts. The coverts help streamline the shape of the wings and tail while providing the bird with insulation.

Attached to the lower shaft of some contour feathers are the typically much smaller afterfeathers. The afterfeathers resemble the main feather and provide an extra layer of warmth.

In North American birds, the afterfeathers of grouse are especially well developed for their life in seasonally cold and arctic regions.

The flightless Emu of Australia has specially adapted afterfeathers that are as large as the main feather and provide protection as the bird moves through the thick brush of its natural habitat. Relatively recent additions to the Emu’s normal range are four-foot high sheep fences topped with barbed wire. Seemingly unperturbed, the flightless Emu crosses these fences by running straight into them, resulting in a high-speed somersault over the fence. The tuft of feathers left behind is a sure indication of an Emu crossing and a testament to the amount of protection the feathers offer.

Highly specialized feathers, bristles are small contour feathers which lack barbs on the outermost part and have an especially stiff rachis.

Rictal bristles project from the beak of many insect-eating birds, including flycatchers, nightjars and even the American Robin. They are believed to provide protection for the bird’s eyes as it consumes its wriggly prey. The bristles may also provide tactile feedback, like the whiskers on a dog or cat.

June 26, 2017 (20110)
Which American passerine has been referred to as a “ricebird?”
The Bobolink breeds in the summer in North America across much of southern Canada and the northern United States. It migrates long distances, wintering in southern South America in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. One bird was tracked migrating 12,000 mi (19,000 km) over the course of the year, often flying long distances up to 1,100 mi (1,800 km) in a single day, then stopping to recuperate for days or weeks.

They often migrate in flocks, feeding on cultivated grains and rice, which leads to them being considered a pest by farmers in some areas. Although bobolinks migrate long distances, they have rarely been sighted in Europe—like many vagrants from the Americas, the overwhelming majority of records are from the British Isles.

The species has been known in the southern United States as the “reedbird,” or the “ricebird” from their consumption of large amounts of the grain from rice fields in South Carolina and the Gulf States during their southward migration in the fall One of the species’ main migration routes is through Jamaica, where they’re called “butter-birds” and at least historically were collected as food, having fattened up on the aforementioned rice.

June 25, 2017 (20109)
Name five ducks that are members of the bay duck family.
Canvasback Aythya valisineria
Greater Scaup Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
Redhead Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

June 24, 2017 (20108)
What difference is there in the hunting styles of the Peregrine Falcon and the Prairie Falcon?
The Caracara feeds on carrion and live-caught prey such as small mammals, insects, reptiles, frogs, nestlings, weak or injured birds, and eggs. The American Kestrel feeds mainly on insects. The Prairie Falcon preys on small mammals, reptiles, insects, and ground dwelling birds. Peregrines prey primarily on doves, waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines.

The Caracara, whose flight i+s direct and steady, soar for extended periods looking for carrion. It is often found feeding with and harassing vultures.

American Kestrels take smaller and slower prey than the other falcons. During hunting they use rapid wing beats and hover in one spot before plunging to catch their prey. In the desert, Kestrels hunt in the morning and late afternoon during summer; during winter they are active throughout the day.

Falcons have long tails and long, narrow, pointed wings designed for speed. They have tooth-like projections along the cutting edge of the mandibles that are used to kill prey quickly by severing the spinal cord with a sharp bite. The Prairie Falcon flies low over the ground or soars looking for prey. Its flight is swift and more maneuverable than that of the Peregrine.

The Peregrine Falcon catches birds in flight by diving and taking them by surprise. This falcon strikes its prey with its feet and returns to catch the falling bird. Pairs hunt cooperatively when not nesting.

June 23, 2017 (20107)
If you see an American Robin staggering or falling down, what might be the problem?
Robins eat a lot of fruit in fall and winter. When they eat honeysuckle berries exclusively, they sometimes become intoxicated.
The American robin’s diet generally consists of around 40% invertebrates, such as earthworms, beetle grubs, caterpillars and grasshoppers, and 60 percent wild and cultivated fruits and berries. Their ability to switch to berries allows them to winter much further north than most other North American thrushes. They will flock to fermented Pyracantha berries, and after eating sufficient quantities will exhibit intoxicated behavior such as falling over while walking. Robins forage primarily on the ground for soft-bodied invertebrates, and find worms by sight, pouncing on them and then pulling them up. Nestlings are fed mainly on worms and other soft-bodied animal prey. In some areas, robins, particularly of the coastal race T. m. caurinus will feed on beaches, taking insects and small mollusks.(Article)

June 22, 2017 (20106)
Do all birds have feathers?
Yes. All birds have feathers and only birds have feathers even if the feathers are highly modified as on penguins.
While most feathers share a common overall structure, there are several different kinds of feathers adopted for specialized roles. Changes in feather structure provide the adaptations necessary for feathers to be used in many different ways.

June 21, 2017 (20105)
What fishing technique does a Neotropic Cormorant display?
The Neotropic Cormorant is the only cormorant known to plunge-dive into water to catch fish. Unlike gannets and boobies, it does not dive from great heights, restricting its dives to less than a half-meter (1.75 feet) over the water. It is not particularly successful with this technique, catching a fish only once in every six to ten plunges.

June 20, 2017 (20104)
Being a good mate, what does a male Willet do during the night?
Although both parents incubate the eggs, only the male Willet spends the night on the nest.


June 19, 2017 (20103)
Who was George Grinnell?
In 1886 Forest and Stream editor George Bird Grinnell was appalled by the negligent mass slaughter of birds that he saw taking place. As a boy, Grinnell had avidly read Ornithological Biography, a seminal work by the great bird painter John James Audubon; he also attended a school for boys conducted by Lucy Audubon. So when Grinnell decided to create an organization devoted to the protection of wild birds and their eggs, he did not have to go far for its namesake.
Within a year of its foundation, the early Audubon Society claimed 39,000 members. Eventually, it attained a membership of 48,862.

June 18, 2017 (20102)
If you disturb a female Juniper Titmouse while she is incubating eggs in her nest, what will she do?
The incubating female sits very tight on the nest while incubating, and will hiss like a snake if disturbed.


June 17, 2017 (20101)
Why does a pair of Gila Woodpeckers leave their newly excavated nest for several months?
When a pair of Gila Woodpeckers excavates a nest hole in a saguaro cactus, it typically does not use it for several months. Drying time is required for the inner pulp of the cactus to form a solid casing around the cavity.

June 16, 2017 (20100)
What is the life span of a Trumpeter Swan and are they monogamous?
Swans can live a long time. Wild Trumpeter Swans have been known to live longer than 24 years, and one captive individual lived to be 32.


June 15, 2017 (20099)
Formerly know as “tree ducks” what are these birds known as today?
The whistling-ducks were formerly known as tree-ducks, but only a few, such as the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck actually perch or nest in trees. They look most like ducks, but their lack of sexual dimorphism, relatively long-term pair bonds, and lack of complex pair-forming behavior more resembles geese and swans.

June 14, 2017 (20098)
What unique method does a female Hooded Oriole use to secure her nest to palm leaves?
Sewing. When the nest is suspended from palm leaves, the female pokes holes in the leaf from below and pushes the fibers through, effectively sewing the nest to the leaf.

June 13, 2017 (20097)
What is rare about the coloring in the face of a Western Tanager?
While most red birds owe their redness to a variety of plant pigments known as carotenoids, the Western Tanager gets its scarlet head feathers from a rare pigment called rhodoxanthin. Unable to make this substance in their own bodies, Western Tanagers probably obtain it from insects in their diet.

June 12, 2017 (20096)
What changes does a Great Egret experience during breeding season that used to be a curse?
The pristine white Great Egret gets even more dressed up for the breeding season. A patch of skin on its face turns neon green, and long plumes grow from its back. Called aigrettes, those plumes were the bane of egrets in the late nineteenth century, when such adornments were prized for ladies’ hats.

June 11, 2017 (20095)
What unusual food source does a Great Horned Owl dine on regularly?
They eat anything – Even though the Great Horned owls favorite foods are rodents and rabbits they have been known to eat scorpions and rattlesnakes. Another favorite food is skunk. They are not bothered by the skunk’s odor because owls don’t have a sense of smell. Great Horned owls can and do bring down prey animals that weight three times more than they do. The North American Great Horned owl weighs about two and a half pounds.


June 10, 2017 (20094)
Where does the Bridled Titmouse hide food for later use?
Unlike many members of its family, the Bridled Titmouse appears not to hide food for later use. The region of the brain related to memory of spatial location, the hippocampus, is small in this species compared with other species that frequently hide food.

June 9, 2017 (20093)
Are Swainson’s Hawks migratory?
Yes. Swainson’s Hawk has one of the longest migrations of any American raptor – from Canada to Argentina. Only tundra breeding Peregrine Falcons travel farther. A Swainson’s Hawk can make the 10,000 km trip (6214 mi) in less than two months, averaging nearly 200 km (124 mi) per day.

June 8, 2017 (20092)
How do Common Ravens often react to gun shots, slamming car doors and loud horns?
Common Ravens are smart, which makes them dangerous predators. They sometimes work in pairs to raid seabird colonies, with one bird distracting an incubating adult and the other waiting to grab an egg or chick as soon as it’s uncovered. They’ve been seen waiting in trees as ewes give birth, then attacking the newborn lambs. They also use their intellect to put together cause and effect. A study in Wyoming discovered that during hunting season, the sound of a gunshot draws ravens in to investigate a presumed carcass, whereas the birds ignore sounds that are just as loud but harmless, such as an airhorn or a car door slamming.

June 7, 2017 (20091)
Does the American Coot have webbed feet?
Although it swims like a duck, the American Coot does not have webbed feet like a duck. Instead, each one of the coot’s long toes has broad lobes of skin that help it kick through the water. The broad lobes fold back each time the bird lifts its foot, so it doesn’t impede walking on dry land, though it supports the bird’s weight on mucky ground.

June 6, 2017 (20090)
Do female Yellow-rumped Warblers forage higher in trees than the males?
Male Yellow-rumped Warblers tend to forage higher in trees than females do.

June 5, 2017 (20089)
Is the White-tailed Kite a migratory Bird?
Unknown. Although some populations fluctuate regularly in size, it is unknown whether the White-tailed Kite is migratory, nomadic, or both.

June 4, 2017 (20088)
How many members of the Bushtit species reside in America, and how many members of the species are recognized?
The Bushtit is the only member of its family in the Americas; seven other species are found in Eurasia. All have similar complex hanging nests.

June 3, 2017 (20087)
Do male House Wrens incubate?
Incubation is by by female only, for 12–13 days, depending on the temperature – the period shortens later in the season. Up to 15 days after the penultimate (next-to-last) egg is laid. The hotter it is, the less time the female spends on the eggs. The female may actually apply some heat to even the first egg that is laid, but does not start full incubation through the night until laying the antepenultimate or penultimate egg.

June 2, 2017 (20086)
Which wren commonly nests in cholla cactus?
The Cactus Wren is an active mobber of nest predators. A pair was observed attacking a Yuma antelope squirrel so vigorously that the squirrel became impaled on the thorns of a cactus called the cholla. The wrens continued to peck the squirrel until it was knocked to the ground where it escaped.

Domed with tunnel-shaped entrance, made of coarse grass or plant fibers. Lined with feathers. Nest placed in cactus or thorn tree, usually surrounded by thorns.

June 1, 2017 (20085)
What were Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts regarding the Bald Eagle representing America?
Had Benjamin Franklin prevailed, the U.S. emblem might have been the Wild Turkey. In 1784, Franklin disparaged the national bird’s thieving tendencies and its vulnerability to harassment by small birds. “For my own part,” he wrote, “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. … Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”

May 31, 2017 (20084)
Do male House Wrens incubate?
No. After the female is busily engaged with her incubation duties the activities of the male are less important since all he does is to sing rather mechanically. Occasionally he spends his time carrying sticks into some nearby box in the pretense of building a new nest, and while doing so he sings his courtship song. In fact, the building of the extra nest has been thought to be one of the manifestations of his peculiar courtship. While so employed he often acquires a second mate while the first is still busy with household duties.


May 30 2017 (20083)
Which wren commonly nests in cholla cactus?
The Cactus Wren.
Nest Description – Domed with tunnel-shaped entrance, made of coarse grass or plant fibers. Lined with feathers. Nest placed in cactus or thorn tree, usually surrounded by thorns.

May 29, 2017 (20082)
What unique habitat is a Olive-sided flycatcher frequently associated with and why?
The Olive-sided Flycatcher is frequently associated with burned forests. The opened area and the abundant snags may help it to catch flying insects.

May 28, 2017 (20081)
On what do wood warblers primarily feed?

Warblers eat mostly insects and spiders. In fall and winter, they will eat seeds and berries.Offering suet is a great way to attract warblers. Suet is a great substitute for the insects they like to eat. Smear suet in the bark of a tree, offer suet cakes in wire cages or other specially designed suet feeders. We also have ready to use suet cakes available in a variety of flavors for home delivery.Water is one of the best attractions for all warblers. A birdbath, pool-like depression or an elaborate running water system works great. The sound of water dripping is often more attractive to warblers than a birdbath.Some warblers will visit your backyard feeding stations to eat black oil sunflower seed.

May 27, 2017 (20080)
Do Northern Harrier hens roost in solitude?
In winter, the Hen Harrier is a bird of open country, and will then roost communally, often with Merlins and Marsh Harriers.

May 26, 2017 (20079)
Which towhee is the smallest?
The Green-toed Towhee.

May 25, 2017 (20078)
What is a superspecies?
A superspecies is a group of at least two distinctive species with approximately parapatric distributions. Not all species complexes, whether cryptices or ring species are superspecies, and vice versa, but many are. A superspecies consisting of two sister species is calleda species pair.


May 24, 2017 20077)
Do Pied-billed Grebes nest in Alaska?
The Pied-billed Grebe breeds in southeastern Alaska and from central Canada south locally through temperate North America.

May 23, 2017 (20076)
Which shorebird is kept as a pet in Latin America, and why?
The Double-striped Thick-knee is kept as an alarm against intruders.

May 22, 2017 (20075)
What are “Mallophaga?”
Mallophaga is a suborder of lice, known as chewing lice, biting lice or bird lice, containing more than 3000 species. These lice are external parasites that feed mainly on birds although some species also feed on mammals. They infest both domestic and wild animals and birds and cause considerable irritation to their host.

May 21, 2017 (20074)
Which American bird is known as a “paisano?”
The Greater Roadrunner

May 20, 2017 (20073)
How does a male Willet often spend his evenings?
Although both parents incubate the eggs, only the male Willet spends the night on the nest.

May 19,2017 (20072)
Where did the name “Prothonotary” used in the same named Warbler originate?
The name “Prothonotary” refers to clerks in the Roman Catholic church, whose robes were bright yellow.

May 18, 2018 (20071)
What color is a the bill of an Elegant Trogon?

May 17, 2017 (20070)
Why do migrating birds fly in a “V” formation?
There are two well-supported and complementary explanations for why birds fly in formation. One is to conserve energy by taking advantage of the upwash vortex fields created by the wings of the birds in front. The other is to facilitate orientation and communication among the birds.

May 16, 2017 (20069)
What American bird is called the “topsy-turvy bird?”
Other names for the Red-breasted Nuthatch are; Canada Nuthatch, Devil-down-head, Red-bellied Nuthatch, and Topsy-turvy-bird.

May 15, 2017 (20068)
What is a mirror?
Most adult gulls have gray wings with dark tips, but some, like glaucous-winged, glaucous, and Iceland, have entirely pale wings. With experience, you can also note size and placement of the white “mirrors” in the dark wingtips.

May 14, 2017 (20067)
Which bird is known as the bird of Jove?
I saw Jove’s bird, the Roman eagle, wing’d
From the spungy south to this part of the west,
There vanish’d in the sunbeams.
William Shakespeare
, Cymbeline (1611), Act IV, scene 2, line 348.

May 13, 2017 (20066)
What insects do House Finch feed their young?
House Finches feed their nestlings exclusively plant foods, a fairly rare occurrence in the bird world. Many birds that are vegetarians as adults still find animal foods to keep their fast-growing young supplied with protein.

May 12, 2017 (20065)
When feeding, what unique behavior does the Wilson’s Phalarope often display?

When feeding, a Wilson’s Phalarope will often swim in a small, rapid circle, forming a small whirlpool. This behaviour is thought to aid feeding by raising food from the bottom of shallow water. The bird will reach into the outskirts of the vortex with its bill, plucking small insects or crustaceans caught up therein.

May 11, 2017 (20064)
How does the Common Grackle open acorns?
Grackles have a hard keel on the inside of the upper mandible that they use for sawing open acorns. Typically they score the outside of the narrow end, then bite the acorn open.

May 10, 2017 (20063)
Can Hummingbirds fly upside down?
Yes, see video.

May 9, 2017 (20062)
What might a Elf Owl do if handled?
Elf Owls usually are not aggressive and feign death in any dangerous situation, especially when a threatening animal comes inside their Saguaro cactus.

May 8, 2017 (20061)
Who first discovered and named the Lincoln Sparrow?
J. J. Audubon. This unobtrusive bird of the northern bogs was first described by Audubon in 1834 from a specimen he collected in Quebec, and he named the bird for Robert Lincoln, a companion on his trip to Labrador.

May 7, 2017 (20060)
With what animal product do Burrowing Owls sometimes line their nesting tunnels?
Mammal dung. During the nesting season, burrowing owls will collect a wide variety of materials to line their nest, some of which are left around the entrance to the burrow. The most common material is mammal dung, usually from cattle.


May 6, 2017 (20059)
What American bird is known as a “butterball?”
The Bufflehead. Bufflehead comes from the now archaic word buffle, meaning ‘buffalo.’ Bufflehead is the condensed version of ‘Buffalo Head’, the name these ducks were originally given. I suppose the densely feathered, black and white head of the drake does slightly resemble a buffalo’s head. These birds have also been called buffel duck, spirit duck, and butterball. That’s a long list for a little bird.

May 5, 2017 (20058)
What extinct bird is the Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) a distant relative?
The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is an extinct flightless bird that was endemic to the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Its closest genetic relative was the also extinct Rodrigues Solitaire, the two forming the subfamily Raphinae of the family of pigeons and doves. The closest living relative of the Dodo is the Nicobar Pigeon. A white Dodo was once incorrectly thought to have existed on the nearby island of Réunion.

May 4, 2017 (20057)
Was the Virginia’s Warbler named after the state of Virginia?
Despite what its name may suggest, Virginia’s warbler is not actually named after the American State of Virginia, which makes sense as the birds range only reaches as far east as the state of Texas. The bird’s common eastern range is central and southern mountains of Colorado, central Wyoming, and central and western New Mexico. The bird was named for Virginia Anderson, the wife of an army surgeon who discovered the bird at Fort Burgwin, New Mexico, in 1858. When Spencer Fullerton Baird of the Smithsonian Institution fully described the bird for science in 1860 he honored the wishes of the warbler’s discoverer and designated Virginia to be both the bird’s common and scientific name.

May 3, 2017 (20056)
How do Penguins keep warm?
Penguins have several adaptions that keep them warm in the frozen tundra of the Antarctica. Penguins have a torpedo-shaped body with a large amount of fat below the skin. These birds also have a special circulatory system in their feet and legs to restrict warm blood to the feet and wings. This system can keep the feet at a temperature as low as 42F, while the penguin’s main body stays at about 102F. This process reduces the amount of heat loss in winter, but the penguin can also reverse this process to stay cool during warmer weather. Penguins also have a special heat exchange system in their nasal passages to recover heat lost from breathing and respiration.

May 2, 2017 (20055)
Is the breeding habitat of the Prairie Warbler in the prairie?
Their breeding habitats are brushy areas and forest edges in eastern North America. The Prairie Warbler’s nests are open cups, which are usually placed in a low area of a tree or shrub.

May 1, 2017 (20054)
In birding, what is a “twitcher” and where and when did the term originate?
A “Twitcher” is a type of birder who seeks to add as many species as possible to their life list in as short a time as possible. Twitchers are willing to go to great lengths, including extensive travel and dedicated monitoring of local and regional birding hotlines, to see new bird species. A twitcher does not generally devote great lengths of time to bird observation, but rather is content to simply identify the bird species conclusively and add it to their life list.

April 30, 2017 (20053)
What American bird is referred to as a “mud hen?”
The American Coot.

April 29, 2017 (20052)
What American bird has been referred to as a “cow-frog duck?”
The Northern Shovelor.
◦Phylum: Chordata
◦Class: Aves
◦Order: Anseriformes
◦Family: Anatidae
◦Genus: Anas
◦Species: Anas clypeata
◦Authority: Linnaeus

Comments on taxonomy:
Now Anas clypeata (Linnaeus); until 1973, regarded by AOU as Spatulata clypeata *05*; a.k.a. shoveller, spoonbill, spoonbilled duck *06*; spoon-bill teal, broady, blue-winged shoveler, red-breasted shoveler, swaddle-bill, butter duck, cow-frog *07*.

April 28, 2017 (20051)
What is the relationship between Black-headed Grosbeaks and Monarch butterflies in central Mexico?
In central Mexico, where monarch butterflies and Black-headed Grosbeaks both spend the winter, the grosbeaks are one of the butterflies’ few predators. Toxins in the monarch make them poisonous to most birds, but Black-headed Grosbeaks and a few others can eat them. They feed on monarchs in roughly 8-day cycles, apparently to give themselves time to eliminate the toxins.

April 27, 2017 (20050)
In the 1800’s what was the value of a Snowy Egret’s unique breeding plumage?
During the breeding season, adult Snowy Egrets develop long, wispy feathers on their backs, necks, and heads. In 1886 these plumes were valued at $32 per ounce, which was twice the price of gold at the time. Plume-hunting for the fashion industry killed many Snowy Egrets and other birds until reforms were passed in the early twentieth century. The recovery of shorebird populations through the work of concerned citizens was an early triumph and helped give birth to the conservation movement.

April 26, 2017 (20049)
What is the smallest Swift in North America?
Vaux’s Swift is the smallest swift in North America.

April 25, 2017 (20048)
What type of family relationship does a Wrentit enjoy?
Wrentit pairs mate for life, and may be together for more than 12 years. Both sexes incubate and sing to defend the territory.

April 24, 2017 (20047)
Which owl in America is the tallest?
Although the Great Gray Owl is the tallest American owl with the largest wingspan, it is just a ball of feathers. It preys on small mammals and has relatively small feet. Both the Great Horned and Snowy owls weigh half again as much, and have larger feet and talons.

April 23, 2017 (20046)
What are the differences between eastern and western Marsh Wrens?
Eastern and western populations of the Marsh Wren show slight differences in appearance, but large differences in song. In general, western birds are paler and drabber, and sing less musical songs. The differences may mean that the two forms are separate species.

April 21, 2017 (20045)
What is a migrating group of Broad-winged Hawks often called?
Each fall, hundreds of thousands of Broad-winged Hawks leave the northern forests for South America. They fill the sky in sometimes huge flocks that can contain thousands of birds at a time, and these “kettles” are a prime attraction at many hawkwatch sites. As they move from the broad stretches of North America to narrow parts of Central America their numbers get concentrated, leading people to describe places such as Veracruz, Mexico, and Panama as a “river of raptors.”

April 20, 2017 (20044)
Where do Red-faced Warbler build their nests?
Nest placed in small hole in ground, beneath a log or plant. Cup of bark, dead leaves or pine needles. Lined with grass and hair.

April 19, 2017 (20043)
How good a fisherman is a young Caspian Tern?
Young Caspian Terns appear to have a difficult time learning to catch fish efficiently. They stay with their parents for long periods of time, and are fed by them even on the wintering grounds. Many young terns do not return to the nesting grounds for several years, remaining instead on the wintering areas.

April 18, 2017 (20042)
How do American White Pelicans often react to human activities?
On their nesting grounds, pelicans are very sensitive to human disturbance – people, boats, and low-flying planes can cause the birds to leave their nests, exposing eggs and young to excessive heat and predatory gulls.

April 17, 2017 (20041)
What is the mascot of the U.S. Air Force Academy?
Sports audiences across the country have been intrigued and delighted by the aerobatics of the falcon, flying mascot of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Trained and handled by cadet falconers, the birds soar and dive, sometimes zooming low over the heads of spectators.

April 16, 2017 (20040)
What type of bird is a Bluebird?
Bluebirds are thrushes.
Reference: Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

April 15 2017 (20039)
What is the dertrum?
The extremity of the maxilla of a bird’s bill, especially when hooked or differentiated from the rest of the bill, as in pigeons and plovers.

April 14, 2017 (20038)
In Arizona how many openings does a Brown Creeper nest feature?
In Arizona, Brown Creeper nests often have two openings, one which serves as an entrance and the other as an exit. Entrances face downward and exits upward.

April 13, 2017 (20037)
Does the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher migrate?
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is the northernmost-occurring species of gnatcatcher, and the only truly migratory one. Most members of its genus are resident in the Neotropics.

April 12, 2017 (20036)
How is the Buff-breasted Flycatcher affected by forest fires?
The Buff-breasted Flycatcher may benefit by periodic forest fires. Fire may open new habitat for this species by clearing dense undergrowth, which inhibits foraging.

April 11, 2017 (20035)
Do Lazuli Bunting males sing the same song?
Song copying by young male Lazuli Buntings can produce song neighborhoods, in which songs of neighboring males are similar.

April 10, 2017 (20034)
What is the avian hind toe called?
The hallux.The average bird foot has four toes (the technical name for that condition is anisodactyly), and typically the first big toe (the hallux) is turned backward, while the other three toes face forward. You can see this clearly in the above pictures. Usually the hallux grows at the same level as the other toes so that it can grasp an object from the opposite direction of the other toes. Some birds — cranes, many rails, and members of the Pheasant Family, for example — have their halluces growing higher up their legs so that they never touch the ground. These birds usually walk or run on the ground, so a hallux dragging along behind the main part of their foot would only get in the way.

April 9, 2017 (20033)
Do ducks have fur and do all of them have webbed feet?

Hi. Ducks can have a fine type of feather, like down or sometimes they’ll have hair-like crests. But it’s still feathers. Fur and feathers are completely different, and no bird has real fur. And all ducks have webbed feet. I mean, there was a mutant duck hatched that didn’t have webbed feet. But that was a mutation. So, no fur, all webbed feet.

April 8, 2017 (20032)
Are all Egrets Herons?
The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationship of the genera in the family is not completely resolved.

April 7, 2017 (20031)
Which Bird has the
most feather?

The Whistling Swan.

April 6, 2017 (20030)
Is a Green Heron considered a single species?
The Green Heron is part of a complex of small herons that sometimes are considered one species. When lumped, they are called Green-backed Heron. When split, they are the Green Heron, the widespread Striated Heron, and the Galapagos Heron.

April 5, 2017 (20029)
How many sets of eyelids does an owl have?
An owl has three eyelids: one for blinking, one for sleeping and one for keeping the eye clean and healthy.

April 4, 2017 (20028)
Who said, “I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

April 3, 2017 (20027)
Does a Trumpeter Swan have yellow in its bill?
No. However Tundra Swan which looks similar do have yellow on their bills. (Reference Sinbley’s Trumpeter Swan and Tundra Swan articles)

April 2, 2017 (20026)
Wintering Golden-crowned Sparrows frequently associate with which other sparrows?

White-crowned Sparrows

April 1, 2017 (20025)
Which bird is consider the highest flying bird and has been confirmed of flying at an altitude of 11,000 meters (36,100 ft) above sea level?
The Ruppell’s Vulture

March 31, 2017 (20024)
What is the largest songbird in North America?

Common Raven.

March 30, 2017 (20023)
What is the top knot that quails have called?
A hmuh.

March 29, 2017 (20022)
What are Hermit Thrushes sometimes called?
Swamp Angels.

March 28, 2017 (20021)
What Australian bird is capable of imitating almost any sound and has been recorded mimicking human caused sounds such as a mill whistle, a cross-cut saw, chainsaws, car engines, car alarms, fire alarms, rifle shots, camera shutters, dogs barking, babies crying and even human voices?

March 27, 2017 (20020)
What is the largest species of Woodpecker?

The Imperial Woodpecker.

March 26, 2017 (20019)
How many taste buds does a chicken have?

250 – 350.

March 25, 2017( 20018)
What is the favorite prey of the Golden Eagle?

The rabbit.

March 24, 2017 (20017)
When is a Sunbittern most vocal?

Sunbittern utters high, penetrating whistle “wuuuuuuuu”, often repeated twice. Alarm call is a loud “kak,kak,kak,kak” of several notes. When the bird is disturbed, it gives high-pitched, thin trill. Sunbitterns are mainly vocal at dawn and dusk.

March 23, 2017 (20016)
In ancient Greek legends, what were sirens?
The glamorous sirens were creatures variously depicted as birds with women’s heads, breasts and arms. They used their charms to lure mariners to their destruction. Modern sirens include the manatees, dugongs and sea cows, and these ungainly creatures are believed to be the mythical mermaids.

March 22, 2017 (20015)
What is the range of the Scaly-sided Merganser?
For the most part, the species is probably Chinese (northwester Manchuria) but also inhabits extreme southeaster Russia, and possibly the border regions of North Korea. This little -known, rare fish-duck is commonly known as the Chinese Merganser.
(Article and Photo)

March 21, 2017 (20014)
What do Boreal Chickadees cache for winter survival?
Like most chickadees, the Boreal Chickadee hides food regularly. Such storage is probably vital for winter survival in the harsh boreal environment. An analysis of the items a Boreal Chickadee cached found that the only seeds stored were those of spruce trees. Most of the stashed items were insect larvae.

March 20, 2017 (20013)
Why is the recovery of California Condors so slow?
One reason California Condor recovery has been slow is their extremely slow reproduction rate. Female condors lay only one egg per nesting attempt, and they don’t always nest every year. The young depend on their parents for more than 12 months, and take 6-8 years to reach maturity.

March 19, 2017 (20012)
How many eggs per year can an ostrich lay?
An ostrich hen can lay somewhere between forty to hundred eggs in a year. One ostrich egg weighs 1600 grams, which is equivalent to the weight of about twenty-four chicken eggs and takes two hours to hard boil. An ostrich’s egg hatches in forty-two days.

March 18, 2017 (20011)
During colder weather what does the male Broad-tailed Hummingbird do to conserve heat?
In some areas of Broad-tailed Hummingbird breeding habitat, cold air descends into valleys at night, with warmer areas up slope. This phenomenon is called a thermal inversion. The male Broad-tailed Hummingbird, which does not attend the nest, goes up slope at night to conserve heat, reducing the energy costs of thermo regulation by about 15 percent.

March 17, 2017 (20010)
What characteristic of the White-tailed hawk makes it easier to identify when it is perched?
Unlike most Buteo hawks, the wing feathers of a perched adult White-tailed Hawk extend noticeably beyond the tail. A juvenile bird has a tail up to 15% longer than an adult, and its wing feathers barely surpass the tip of its tail.

March 16, 2017 (20009)
What gender of Yellow-rumped Warbler would you observe higher in a tree?
Male Yellow-rumped Warblers tend to forage higher in trees than females do.

March 15, 2017 (20008)
In North America, what elevation best suits the Hairy Woodpecker?
Across North America the Hairy Woodpecker can be found from sea level to high in the mountains. In Central America, it is restricted to higher mountain forests.

March 14, 2017 (20007)
How many broods per year will Wood Duck produce?
Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.

March 13, 2017 (20006)
What species does the Spotted Towhee belong to?
The Spotted Towhee is a large, striking sparrow of sun-baked thickets of the West. When you catch sight of one, they’re gleaming black above (females are grayish), spotted and striped with brilliant white. Their warm rufous flanks match the dry leaves they spend their time hopping around in. The birds can be hard to see in the leaf litter, so your best chance for an unobstructed look at this handsome bird may be in the spring, when males climb into the shrub tops to sing their buzzy songs.

March 12, 2017 (20005)
Which hummingbird is considered the feistiest hummingbird in North America.
The feistiest hummingbird in North America. The brilliant orange male and the green-and-orange female Rufous Hummingbird are relentless attackers at flowers and feeders, going after (if not always defeating) even the large hummingbirds of the Southwest, which can be double their weight. Rufous Hummingbirds are wide-ranging, and breed farther north than any other hummingbird. Look for them in spring in California, summer in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and fall in the Rocky Mountains as they make their annual circuit of the West.

March 11, 2017 (20004)
What species does the Gilded Flicker compete with for nesting locations?
A study reported that European Starlings had no effect on the nesting success of the Gilded Flicker in saguaro cactus, even though the two birds compete for nest holes. Starlings did negatively affect the Gila Woodpecker, perhaps because they were able to displace the smaller woodpecker. The larger and more aggressive Gilded Flicker may have been better able to compete for holes.

March 10, 2017 (20003)
Why do Black Vultures usually soar higher than Turkey Vultures?
Turkey Vultures have an excellent sense of smell, but Black Vultures aren’t nearly as accomplished sniffers. To find food they soar high in the sky and keep an eye on the lower-soaring Turkey Vultures. When a Turkey Vulture’s nose detects the delicious aroma of decaying flesh and descends on a carcass, the Black Vulture follows close behind.

March 9, 2017 (20002)
Flamingos have the longest legs in proportion to their bodies. Which species has the second longest legs in relation to their bodies?
Five species of rather similar-looking stilts are recognized in the genus Himantopus. They have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos.

March 8, 2017 (20001)
How do Wilson’s snipe handle the raising of their young?

The clutch size of the Wilson’s Snipe is almost always four eggs. The male snipe takes the first two chicks to hatch and leaves the nest with them. The female takes the last two and cares for them. Apparently the parents have no contact after that point.

March 7, 2017 (20000)
Where does a Tundra Swan sleep?
During the breeding season the Tundra Swan sleeps almost entirely on land, but in the winter it sleeps more often on water.

March 6, 2017 (19999)
What physical characteristic does a Swamp Sparrow posses, that distinguishes it from other sparrows?
The Swamp Sparrow has longer legs than other members of its genus; this adaptation allows it to wade in shallow water to forage.

March 5, 2017 (19998)
Why do scientists think the Mountain Chickadee incubates their eggs longer than the Black-capped Chichadee?
Mountain Chickadees incubate their eggs almost a full week longer than their near-twins, the Black-capped Chickadees do. Some scientists think this is an evolutionary change that’s been made possible by Mountain Chickadees’ tendency to nest inside harder-walled trees, which are safer from predators.

March 4, 2017 (19997 )
What capability does the Band-tailed Pigeon share with other doves and pigeons?
Like other doves and pigeons, Band-tailed Pigeons can suck up and swallow water without raising their heads.

March 3, 2017 (19996 )
What is the tallest bird in North America?
The tallest bird in North America, the graceful Whooping Crane is an inspirational symbol of conservation. Though this bird remains an endangered species, it has rebounded from a low of just 15 cranes in the 1940s to about 600 today. Its recovery has been thanks to tireless efforts by conservationists, including Operation Migration, a creative program that helps Whooping Cranes learn migratory routes by leading them with an ultralight aircraft.

March 2, 2017 (19995 )
What species is the Orange-crowned Warbler often confused with in the early fall?
It is likely that most, if not all of the early fall (August and early September) reports of Orange-crowned Warblers from the eastern United States and southeastern Canada are actually dull Tennessee Warblers.

March 1, 2017 (19994 )
Why is the Black-rosy Finch among the least studied species of North American Birds?
Black Rosy-Finches are among the least studied of North American birds because of the inaccessibility of their alpine habitat generally and their nest sites on cliffs in particular. Reflecting this, actual nests had been reached by only three researchers as of 2002.

February 29, 2017 (19993)
What is the origin of the name Osprey?
The name “Osprey” made its first appearance around 1460, via the Medieval Latin phrase for “bird of prey” (avis prede). Some wordsmiths trace the name even further back, to the Latin for “bone-breaker”—ossifragus.

February 28, 2017 (19992)
What unusual food source does the Yellow-billed Cuckoo enjoy?
Yellow-billed Cuckoos are among the few bird species able to eat hairy caterpillars. In the East they eat large numbers of tent caterpillars—as many as 100 in one sitting.

February 27, 2017 (199919)
What kind of weather would be most helpful in identifying a Chihuahuan Raven from other American crows and ravens?
The bases of neck and body feathers of a Chihuahuan Raven are white, not gray like those of other American crows and ravens. The white is difficult to see in the field, and is only revealed by wind blowing the feathers, or when a bird fluffs its feathers to display at another raven. Although this coloration is unique in North America, a number of other crows and ravens around the world have white bases to their feathers.

February 26, 2017 (19990)
From which ducks are domestic ducks descended?
Ducks have been domesticated as pets and farm animals for more than 500 years, and all domestic ducks are descended from either the mallard or the Muscovy duck.

February 25, 2017 (19989)
Why do vultures circle and what does it mean?
It is a myth that vultures will circle dying animals waiting to feed. These birds are powerful fliers and will soar on thermals while they look for food, but when they locate a carcass, they will approach it quickly to begin feeding before other predators find it.

February 24, 2017 (19988)
What makes a purple Martin easier to identify in flight, than other swallows?
The male purple martin is the only North American swallow with a dark belly. This makes in-flight identification easier than with many other swallow species.

February 23, 2017 (19987)
How many sets of eye-lashes do owls have?
An owl has three eyelids: one for blinking, one for sleeping and one for keeping the eye clean and healthy.

February 22, 2017 (19986)
How many seeds per day can a White-winged Crossbill consume?
Individual White-winged Crossbills can eat up to 3,000 conifer seeds each day.

February 21, 2017 (19985)
What food source is extremely important to Red Crossbill?
The Red Crossbill is so dependent upon conifer seeds it even feeds them to its young. Consequently, it can breed any time it finds a sufficiently large cone crop, even in the depths of winter.

February 20, 2017 (19984)
In which US state would you most likely find a Brown-capped Rosy-Finch?
Like the other rosy-finches, the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch is a bird of the high mountains, breeding above timberline. It has the smallest range of the three American species, being found primarily in Colorado.

February 19, 2017 (19983)
What are the foraging techniques common to the Curved-billed Thrasher?
Forages on ground, pokes and probes in plant litter, and digs holes in the soil with its long, down-curved bill.

February 18, 2017 (19982)
What does a female Northern Shovelor often do to protect her nest when flushed by a predator?
When flushed off the nest, a female Northern Shoveler often defecates on its eggs, apparently to deter predators.

February 17, 2017 (19981)
How did the European Starling get its start in North America?
All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds set loose in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. The birds were intentionally released by a group who wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned. It took several tries, but eventually the population took off. Today, more than 200 million European Starlings range from Alaska to Mexico, and many people consider them pests.

February 16, 2017 (19980)
The Chipping Sparrow is a common species, what did Edward Forbushhave to say about this species in 1929?
The early naturalists had a gift for description you just don’t see anymore. In 1929, Edward Forbush called the Chipping Sparrow “the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives.”

February 15, 2017 (19979)
Are Violet-green Swallows good neighbors?
Based on the following report Violet-green Swallows might be considered great neighbors! A pair of Violet-green Swallows was observed assisting a pair of Western Bluebirds in raising young. The swallows guarded the nest and tended the bluebird nestlings, and after the bluebirds fledged, the swallows used the nest site for their own young.

February 14, 2017 (19978)
What is a local
nickname for a Harlequin Duck?
When engaged in behavioral interactions, the Harlequin Duck gives distinctly unducklike squeaks, the source of one of its local names: “sea mouse.”

February 13, 2017 (19977)
Dating of Late Pleistocene fossils indicate the Broad-winged Hawk has been around for a long time. How long?
Late Pleistocene fossils of Broad-winged Hawks, up to 400,000 years old, have been unearthed in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, and Puerto Rico.

February 12, 2017 (19976)
The Sora is a common bird in North America, what is the easiest method of locating one?
A small, secretive bird of freshwater marshes, the Sora is the most common and widely distributed rail in North America. Its distinctive descending whinny call can be easily heard from the depths of the cattails, but actually seeing the little marsh-walker is much more difficult.

February 11, 2017 (19975)
What territorial distinction does the Purple Sandpiper own?
The Purple Sandpiper has the northernmost winter range of any shorebird.