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Sam Crowe on October 15th, 2016

Woodpeckers offer an endlessly fascinating study in bird behavior and style. The more you watch, the more engaging they become. Part of it is anatomy. Their broad wings, stiff tail feathers, and unusual toe arrangement are ideally combined for maneuvering quickly through your trees and bushes, screeching to a halt, and grabbing onto the bark […]

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Sam Crowe on October 10th, 2016

To answer the question of what makes a white bird white we first have to ask what makes a black bird black.   The answer to that question is a pigment called melanin.  Melanin is a black pigment that produces the black feather color in birds. Melanin is an important pigment to birds, even those that […]

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New research from the Nature Conservancy and university scientists revealed that only 41 percent of the natural land area in the United States retains enough connectivity to facilitate species tracking their preferred climate conditions as the global climate changes. As part of that study, scientists modeled the distribution and habitat needs of 2,903 vertebrate species […]

Continue reading about Migration in Motion: Visualizing Species Movements Due to Climate Change

Sam Crowe on September 26th, 2016

A widely used phrase for developing a bird-friendly yard is “habitat development.”  Plant a few trees, shrubs and flowers, add a water feature and you are done – habitat developed. I prefer to think of my home, its two inhabitants and the surrounding yard, as a micro-ecosystem.   If a giant, and oddly shaped bell jar […]

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Sam Crowe on September 21st, 2016

One of the most interest facets of bird watching is studying bird behavior..  The behavior of a bird, including posture, the way they move, feed and fly can be distinctive enough to identify a bird just by its behavior.   Here are my five favorite bird behaviors, mostly learned early in my birding career, which is […]

Continue reading about Distinctive Bird Behaviors

Sam Crowe on September 11th, 2016

Euphonias and chlorophonias are neotropical birds in the finch family.  They were previously placed in the tanager family.  DNA research has moved them to the finches but future research may change things again. They are typically small, colorful birds about 4 inches long. They primarily feed on fruit and berries and will also take small […]

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Sam Crowe on September 5th, 2016

The path of Hurricane Hermine seems ideal for birders looking to discover birds far removed from their normal range.  As it moved through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico the eye of the storm trapped thousands of birds that were then forced far north of their normal range. As birds encounter rotating hurricane force winds […]

Continue reading about Hurricanes: Bad for birds, good for birders?

Fall is a great time to study migrating raptors.  Multiple hawk watch locations around the country are located where the geography funnels large numbers of hawks through the area. Hawk Mountain, PA: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is a 2,600-acre natural area in southeastern Pennsylvania, about 30 miles west of Allentown, Pa. It is perhaps the best-known […]

Continue reading about Fall raptor migration – Look to the sky for hawks, eagles and falcons

Sam Crowe on August 28th, 2016

I may be in the minority of people that feed birds but I love Blue Jays.  Whenever a neighbor or birding buddy makes a disparaging remark about a Blue Jay I counter with this quote from the Bent Life History series. “The blue jay is a strong, healthy-looking bird, noisy and boisterous.  He gives us […]

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Sam Crowe on August 21st, 2016

If you went on a birding trip to Melanesia, where would you be?  Any guesses? Melanesia extends from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. The region includes the four countries of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Now you know. Each of these […]

Continue reading about Birding in Melanesia