birds

Black & White Bird

Black & White Bird

As we were exploring the cliffs and coasts to meet puffins, we met another neat sea bird- the razorbill! These neat looking birds look even more formal than penguins!

razorbills

Razorbill Fun Facts:

  • They grow up to 8 1/2 inches long and weigh up to 30 oz.
  • These carnivores eat fish and crustaceans.
  • These sea birds spend most of their life at sea. They spend time on cliffs and coastlines to breed in the spring.
  • Male and females mate for life. They come together to incubate the egg.
  • The oldest living razorbill lived to 41 years.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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These gorgeous birds are so cool! They have the neatest little white lines on their beaks. They are quiet fun to watch dive for food.

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Puffins!!

Puffins!

We headed to the coast line to meet one of the most iconic birds of Norway’s coastline- the Atlantic Puffin! These adorable birds are so much fun to watch. We wish one would come live with us the University.

puffin

Atlantic Puffin Fun Facts:

  • These little handsome birds grow up to 10 inches long and can weigh up to 17 oz.
  • They are nicknamed the “sea parrot”.
  • These carnivores eat fish.
  • Their brightly colored beaks are duller in color during the winter. They bright colors are brightest during breeding season.
  • These sea birds spend most of their life at sea. They can swim under water using a flying motion. They can even dive up to 200 feet deep.
  • In the air, they can fly up to 55 mph.
  • Both parents incubate the egg and then feed the chick.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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These amazing birds form large breeding colonies. They breed in the same place every year. Scientists are not sure how the birds navigate back to the same place yet.

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We Spots a Spotted Owl

We Spots a Spotted Owl

When people think of Africa, people think of all the big animals, but rarely do they think of owls! Well, Africa is home to many species of owls. We went looking for the Spotted Eagle and we found one! Come learn more about them with us!

spotted eagle owl

Spotted Eagle-Owl Fun Facts:

  • Spotted eagle-owls have a 3 foot wing span!
  • They have large ear tufts and bright yellow eyes.
  • Like many owls they are nocturnal.
  • These carnivores eat mammals, birds and amphibians. They are also known to eat carrion.
  • Spotted eagle-owls are known to bond for life.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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Seeing an owl in the wild is always a treat! These owls have a fun musical call. We could listen to them all night.

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Flamingo!

Flamingo!

We are off to meet a bird who calls this country home- the greater flamingo! These iconic birds are one of our favorites too! Let’s learn more about them together.

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo Fun Facts: 

  • These large birds can grow up to 59 inches tall and weigh up to almost 9 pounds. They are the largest member of the flamingo family.
  • Males are larger than females.
  • Greater flamingos are a soft whitish pink. They do have bright pink and black feathers on the back of their bodies.
  • Young flamingos are grey and turn pink after a few years. That pink coloration is caused by the food they eat.
  • During breeding season they turn brighter pink!
  • These carnivores eat small crustaceans, insects and fish.
  • They are highly social.

Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus at Marievale Nature Rese

Flamigos always make us smile. Did you know that knobby joint they bend is actually their ankle? Their knees are closer to their bodies! Neat!

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Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue

We are feeling blue- just kidding! We’re off to meet one regal blue bird! In fact they are the national bird of South Africa! Are you ready to learn more about the blue crane? Let’s gooooo!

blue crane

Blue Crane Fun Facts:

  • These cranes can grow up to 40 inches tall and weigh up to 11 pounds.
  • They are known for their loud honking calls.
  • These omnivores eats grasses, seeds and small invertebrates.
  • The males perform elaborate courtship dances.
  • The entire population of blue cranes call South Africa home.
  • Blue cranes are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

blue crane2

These elegant but funny looking cranes are so amazing. There are several organizations that are working to protect these neat birds, including the International Crane Foundation!

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Golden Bird

Golden Bird

We went on an excursion today to look for a native bird of China. These birds are hard to miss with their bright colors and golden heads.

Golden Pheasant, Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China

 

Golden Pheasant Fun Facts: 

  • Golden pheasants can grow up to 41” long. Two-thirds of that length is tail.
  • The males are much more colorful than the females. Females are typically more brown in color.
  • These diurnal birds are omnivores. They eat leaves, grains and insects.
  • Golden pheasants spend most of their time on the ground.
  • They will roost in trees at night.
  • While they can fly, they only do so in short bursts.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We enjoyed seeing this bird in the wild. You often spot them in zoos too!

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Hey Nene!

Hey Nene!

After exploring for bats, we decided to sleep in again and go birding. Today we wanted to find the State bird of Hawaii. Off to meet a goose.

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Hawaiian Goose Fun Facts: 

  • The Hawaiian goose is also called the Nene- named after their soft call.
  • They grow up to 16 inches tall and weigh up to 6 3/4 lbs.
  • They are herbivores. They eat seeds, grasses , fruit and flowers.
  • Nenes evolved from the Canada Goose.
  • Males are slightly larger than females.
  • There were only 32 birds in 1952. With great conservation efforts, their populations have been raised to 1000 birds.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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We had a fun time on Maui meeting these rare species. It is with great care that they have been a success story. We hope their population continues to grow.

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Birding Fun

Birding Fun!

We slept in after our big snorkeling trip yesterday! We hoped a plane to the island of O‘ahu for a few days in the late morning. We were on a mission to find one of Hawaii’s native birds in the wetlands! We were super lucky to spot some! Come learn about them with us!

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Hawaiian Gallinule Fun Facts: 

  • Hawaiian Gallinule are also known as the Hawaiian moorhen.
  • They can grow up to 12 inches long and weigh up 3/4 lbs.
  • They are omnivores. They eat grass, algae and insects.
  • These wetland birds do not have webbed feet. They are excellent swimmers though.
  • They molt once a year in the summer. The molt takes 25 days or so.
  • Hawaiian gallinule are known to be very secretive.
  • Nesting parents are very territorial. They both help incubate the eggs and protect the young chicks.
  • They are listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

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It was neat to see these shy water loving birds. We love their funny long legs and feet!

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Noddy bird not a Noodle bird

Noddy bird not a Noodle bird

We are meeting our first animal here in Hawaii. We headed to the beach to meet this shore bird. Come join us on the sand!

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Brown Noddy Fun Facts: 

  • These 18 inch birds are related to gulls and terns.
  • They are the largest member of the noddies.
  • They are carnivores. They nab fish from the ocean as they fly above it.
  • Brown noddies nest together in large colonies.
  • Males and females have a courtship ritual that includes bowing to each other and flying together.
  •  Both parents incubate the eggs and help raise the chicks.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

 

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It was fun to watch these birds around the beach. We had never heard of the noddy bird, but it makes sense that they are related to seagulls!

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Red Crest

Red Crest

We have northern cardinals at the HQs! They are such colorful songbirds! It turns out there are cardinals here in the Pantanal. These birds don’t have a full body of red, but they are gorgeous! Let’s learn more about them.

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Red-crested cardinal fun facts:

  • Red-crested cardinals have red heads, white chests and black wings and bodies.
  • These little birds grow up to 7 1/2 inches and weigh up to 1 1/2 oz.
  • They are omnivores. They eat fruit, seeds and insects.
  • A pair of cardinals is very territorial, especially during breeding season.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We loved meeting this little bird who looks like one of our favorite backyard species! We had no idea there were other kinds of cardinals out there!

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