birds

Flying Snowbird

Flying Snowbird

After meeting two marine loving animals, we wanted to find one that calls the air and ocean home. We were so excited to find the Snow Petrel.

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Snow Petrels Fun Facts: 

  • Snow petrels can vary in size, but can grow up to 1 lb.
  • They spend most of their lives alone, they come together in early November to breed in large colonies.
  • They are carnivores. They eat krill, fish and carrion.
  • They are highly territorial during breeding season.
  • Snow petrels spit an waxy stomach oil at predators to keep them away.
  • They have small dark beaks and eyes.
  • Snow petrels prefer packed ice and icebergs when they land. They nest on rocky areas where they make their nests of small pebbles.

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These gorgeous birds are so neat. When you think of Antarctica- you usually only think of penguins, but other birds call these cold islands home too.

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Emperors of the South Pole

Emperors of the South Pole

We put on our warmest coats, gloves, hats and boots and headed out to the meet one of Antarcticas most iconic animals- the Emperor Penguin. These tall flightless birds live in a harsh climate, but they are built to survive.

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Emperor Fun Facts: 

  • These penguins can grow up to 45 inches and weigh up to 85 lbs! They are the largest penguins on earth.
  • These birds huddle together for warmth. The birds rotate from the interior of the group to the center.
  • They can dive 1,800 ft deep and stay under water for up to 20 minutes. They can dive deeper than any bird on the planet.
  • Females lay one egg. The males incubate the eggs on top of their feet. They cover the eggs with their brood pouch.
  • Females head out to the open ocean to gorge on food while the eggs are incubating.
  • When the chicks hatch, the females and males switch duties.
  • These big gorgeous birds are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.

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We had fun watching these birds. They are very curious. We can not imagine living in the frigid temps though or swimming so much time in that cold ocean. This horse & elephant miss the warm weather.

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Toucan Toucan!

Toucan Toucan!

What better animal to meet in the rainforest than the iconic toucan! These bright beaked birds were on our list and we were thrilled to find a few! Come meet them with us!

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Keel-billed Toucan Fun Facts: 

  • Those large colorful bills make up a 1/3 of their body length. The bills are not heavy as they are made up of hollow bone.
  • The bills are covered in keratin- the protein that makes up your hair & nails.
  • These jazzy looking birds have blue feet! Those feet have two toes facing front and two facing backwards to help them grip on branches.
  • Keel-billed toucans are very social. They live in family groups of around 12 individuals.
  • They are omnivores. Fruit makes up most of their diet, but they occasionally eat insects and eggs.
  • Both females and males help rear the chicks. They are born with no feathers and can not see til they’re around 3 weeks old.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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It is so fun to watch the toucans eat fruit they find. They may dissect the fruit first, but often they throw it back whole! They are even known to play ball with fruit- throwing to each other. And just like those howler monkeys- they weren’t sharing! Bummer.

 

 

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All About Acorns!

All About Acorns!

 

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Hello Little Songbird!

Hello Little Songbird!

After spotting the largest predator in the area we went looking for a little song bird. This gorgeous little was so fun!

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Blue-gray tanager: 

  • Blue-gray tanagers belong in the tanager family. It is the 2nd largest family of birds on the planet. They represent about 4% of all birds.
  • All tanagers live in the new world.
  • They grow about 7 inches long.
  • They are primarily herbivores. They eat fruit and a few insects.
  • They often thrive where there are humans.
  • Blue-gray tanagers color vary by the area they live in.
  • They are listed as least concern by the IUCN.

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We loved watching these little birdies in the trees! They are sooooo cute!

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Hello Bright Colored Bird

Hello Bright Colored Bird

Hello! We went birding today! We were looking for one of the most brightly colored and gorgeous macaws on the planet. Come meet them with us!

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Scarlet Fun Facts: 

  • There are two subspecies of scarlet macaw. We met the North Central American Scarlet Macaw.
  • They have blue on their wings and not green. They are also larger than their South American cousins.
  • They weigh around 2 lbs and grow up to 32 inches long.
  • Scarlet macaws eat fruits, nuts and seeds.
  • They mate for life.
  • Chicks leave their parents after about a year.
  • They have a life span of around 40-50 years.

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We enjoyed watching these beautiful birds. They are social and intelligent. They are kept as pets, which is often a bad idea. They have long life spans and are very high maintenance. They can also be very destructive.

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Teeny Tiny Bird

Teeny Tiny Bird

After our all nighter looking for frogs, we stayed up a bit longer to find a little bird before napping away the day. This little fast birdie was not easy to spot as it is one of the smallest hummingbirds around.

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Scintillant Hummingbird Fun Facts: 

  • These little birds grow up to around 3 inches long. It is just a little larger than the smallest bird in the world- the bee hummingbird.
  • They have little straight black beaks.
  • Scintillant hummingbirds eat nectar.
  • Males are very territorial.
  • Females build the nests, incubate the eggs and raise the babies.

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These teeny birds are so adorable. They are Ellie and Edmond sized :)!

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What the Quail?

What the Quail?

We are so excited to meet today’s bird! We have never met a quail before and of course we have to find the ones with the cutest feathers around!

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Gambel’s Quail Fun Facts: 

  • Both males and females have the topknot of feathers on their head. Males have a black patch on their bellies.
  • They are about the size of a basketball.
  • Gambel’s quails are ground dwellers. You can see them running around the ground.
  • They live in groups called coveys.
  • They are omnivores. They eat insects as chicks and graduate to mostly plant material as adults.
  • Females chirp to their eggs before they  hatch and the chicks cheep back to her.

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These funny little quails can fly, but they mostly run around looking for food! They are so neat to watch in their little family groups.

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Bird in the Burrow

Bird in the Burrow

We had a great adventure looking for an unusual bird today. This owl doesn’t live in trees it lives in burrows underground. Neat!

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Burrowing Owl Fun Facts: 

  • Burrowing owls live in burrows they dig themselves or ones that other animals have made, like prairie dogs.
  • Burrowing owls are carnivores. They eat small mammals, insects, lizards and birds.
  • They hunt day or night.
  • Burrowing owls line their burrow entrances with animal poop. This marks their territory and it attracts insects that the owls eat.
  • They stow food to have during the incubation period of their eggs.
  • Burrowing owls spend most of their time near the ground.

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Burrowing owls are so gorgeous. They are more tolerant of Co2 because they live underground where the gas can be more concentrated. This bird’s adaptations are so cool.

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Run Bird Run!

EepRun Bird Run!

We are meeting one of the coolest birds in the southwest today- the greater roadrunner! Luckily this one didn’t have a coyote chasing it!

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Greater Roadrunner Fun Facts: 

  • Roadrunners have X shaped feet. The Pueblo people consider this shape sacred as it is thought to ward off evil spirits.
  • They are carnivores. They spent most of our time on the ground hunting small mammals, reptiles and toads.
  • These fierce predators slam their prey against rocks. They are also known for their ability to kill rattlesnakes, scorpions and venomous lizards.
  • Roadrunners can reach speeds of up to 20 mph.
  • They have a special gland by their eye to help excrete excess salt!
  • Roadrunners are territorial.
  • They are not good fliers.

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These funny looking birds are suited for the terrestrial habitat. Those fast feet give them an advantage in finding food and staying away from predators. Once only found in the southwest, these birds are moving east can be found as far as Louisiana now.

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