The other major weather variable birds encounter is precipitation. Where birds only have a small patch of territory to choose from, it can produce incredible concentrations of birds—mythic fallouts that birders speak about in reverent whispers. Fallouts occur with some regularity along the Gulf coast, the first piece of land many struggling migrants reach.
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The best days will be the ones where lots of birds have moved overnight i. Those living just to the south of a line of precipitation are best positioned for a heavy showing of birds in the morning. For example, let me tell you about the Big Day I just attempted in Mississippi back on April 24 full recap here. Birders on the w. We almost got it. Wind direction in that map is indicated by the music note-looking marks, which point in the direction the wind is moving.
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Birds cruised on the south wind over the Gulf but then were knocked down into great birding mornings in places like South Padre Island, Texas , and Cameron, Louisiana. As you can see in the map, the winds stayed southerly over the Mississippi coast, and migrant birds just kept sailing north, somewhere right over our heads.
We barely saw any migrants at all on our Big Day. Just rule those out. Look for a day, if possible, preceded by some calm days or light south winds, but where conditions might shift overnight to northerly winds, or where there is precipitation or clouds to your north.
How Do Wild Birds Keep Cool in Summer?
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology produces forecasts during spring and fall migration to let birders know what they should be expecting for weather and species in their area. The page is updated every week sometimes more frequently, when things are getting exciting and is an excellent companion for the birder looking to the week ahead.
If the timing is right and the weather cooperates, you might have a chance to see them on their way. Wish them well, and enjoy the rest of spring migration!
Like chickadees, all cold-weather birds depend on some form of insulation — fat, fur or feathers — to keep warm. Many birds, like owls, make sure to fluff their feathers consistently. Cold-climate birds also add extra body weight in late summer and fall in preparation for winter. Another defense against the cold involves trapping pockets of air around their bodies for an additional layer of insulation.
In order to preserve these barriers against the cold, many birds apply an oil produced by a gland on their tails through a process known as preening. One well-known example are penguins, who each year clean, rearrange and oil their feathers , which are not naturally waterproof. Not all birds use the special oil to insulate themselves, however. According to USFWS, birds like egrets, herons and mourning doves grow a special type of feather that disintegrates into a powder, which the birds then use to waterproof their feathers.
Like humans, birds look to each other to keep warm during winter. In addition to providing warmth, these cavities help birds hide from predators. Another natural adaptation that helps birds survive cold winters comes in the form of special scales on their feet and legs, which help to reduce heat loss. The first bather was a female orchard oriole.
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Over the next hour, the bath was visited by a gray catbird, male and female bluebirds, house finches, and cardinals. In one instance, a bluebird, orchard oriole and gray catbird were all belly deep in the cool water at the same time.
If you have never seen a bird bathe, you are missing a real treat. If we bathed like a bird, we would splash water over the entire bathroom.
WILD BIRD BLOG
The birds hop into the water and begin rapidly flapping their wings. This causes the water to fly everywhere. In short order, they are soaked to the skin and look totally bedraggled. If you want to help your bird neighbors deal with the stress of the heat, keep a birdbath full of clean water. Then sit back and watch. From bathing to becoming less active when temperatures soar, birds are uniquely equipped to cope with our near-tropical weather.
Terry W. With temperatures soaring into the 90s and heat indexes topping , it seems as if everyone is talking about the weather and trying to cope with it—from spending more time indoors to taking more trips to our favorite pool or swimming hole. The eastern bluebird is one of our most beloved birds.
One reason for its popularity is that its beauty can be enjoyed without having to gaze at the bird through a pair of binoculars.
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If you are a homeowner, you know there are many tasks you need to complete before winter. These jobs range from raking leaves to splitting and stacking wood, checking the insulation around your doors and windows, planting wildflower seeds, winterizing faucets, and, well, you name it. In the not too distant past, humans were considered the only animals that used tools.
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However, biologists throughout the world have discovered that an amazing array of animals including mammals, insects, fish, birds and even cephalopods e. With this much water blanketing the globe, it is hard for us Georgians to understand why most backyards are veritable deserts for many wildlife species.
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