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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Selasphorus calliope POPULATION: 4.5 million TREND: Stable HABITAT: Breeds in open forest and edge, scrub, and meadows at higher elevations in the of western North America; winters in thorn and pine-oak forests and shrubby edges in western Mexico.
The Calliope Hummingbird is a tiny wonder – at only around 3 inches long, it’s the smallest breeding bird in Canada and the United States, and the smallest long-distance migratory bird in the world.
When a female Calliope Hummingbird perches within his territory, the resident male swings into courtship mode, hovering in front of his potential mate with iridescent throat feathers spread into a shining starburst. He also makes a loud buzzing noise during this flashy display. If the female is suitably impressed, she leaves her perch and joins the male in an aerial dance, with both birds circling each other, sometimes even clasping bills.
The Peruvian Plantcutter has a short, conical bill like a Northern Cardinal’s, but with an important addition — serrated edges. These tooth-like ridges allow the plantcutter to chew vegetation into a pulp before swallowing, which is something quite rare in the bird world. Plus, this bird has extra-efficient intestines that process large amounts (for a songbird) of plant material in a short time.
We must ban all gill netting and trawling from Māui habitat out to 100 metres immediately, but why aren’t the same protections being offered for Hector’s dolphins? We know they are dying by the dozen in fishing nets but there is no equivalent proposal to stop those methods in Hector’s habitat.
Male Canyon Wrens songs are composed of clear, descending notes – almost sounding as if the bird is tumbling headfirst into a chasm. Chances are good that a Canyon Wren that’s singing persistently and acting territorial is a male. The female sings much less frequently, usually in response to a male’s song; her song is buzzy and ascending.
Many think this species’ tumbling, echoing notes formone of the West’s most beautiful bird songs. Both males and females sing, although their tunes sound a bit different.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Hirundo rustica POPULATION: 41 million (Americas), 190 million (world) TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Breeds in open country including pastures, meadows, and farmland, often near water. Winters in a variety of open habitats.
No bird in North America is better known as a welcome companion and a useful friend to the farmer, as it courses about the barnyard in pursuit of the troublesome insects that annoy both man and beast.
The Barn Swallow seems to benefit from life around people, as long as its prey remains abundant. The species is found around the world, as are theShort-eared Owl, Golden Eagle, Dunlin,and a handful of other bird species.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Pluvialis dominica POPULATION: 200,000 TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Nests on dry tundra; winters on grassy plains.
The American Golden-Plover is made for life on the wing, with an elegant, elongated shape set off by eye-catching breeding plumage of black and white with a gold-spangled back.
While migrating, the American Golden-Plover forms large, noisy flocks. In the spring, groups make frequent pit stops to rest and refuel in a variety of habitats, including native prairies, farm fields, mudflats, shorelines, and estuaries.