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Sam Crowe

Sam Crowe

Sam Crowe is founder and president of Birdzilla.com.

Posted by on in Conservation

During fall and winter chickadees and titmice may flock together and are often seen flitting back and forth from cover to your feeders at the same time. Titmice, which are larger than chickadees, dominate certain feeding niches chickadees might otherwise occupy. But the advantages of being part of a flock may compensate the chickadees for loss of feeding area.

black-capped chickadee

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_titmouse-1-700.jpg
Flocking advantages include having more than one pair of eyes to locate dwindling winter food supplies. The death rate due to predation may also decline when birds flock together. Because most trees have lost their leaves, the woods are more open in winter, making these birds more vulnerable to predation. Flocking birds also share responsibility for predator alerts. Once an alarm call is given, the flock will often engage in a behavior known as “mobbing”. Instead of fleeing, the birds will gather together and harass the predator. Titmice seem to be particularly bold in their attacks and will dive at the predator or pull at its feathers or fur.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Titmouse-on-raccoon-tail.jpg

Posted by on in Conservation

An old etiquette saying maintains that “horses sweat, men perspire and women glow.” There’s no mention of what Turkey Vultures do. Probably with good reason – they urinate and defecate on their feet to stay cool!

b2ap3_thumbnail_bathing-robin.jpg
American Robin enjoying a cooling bath.

When summer temperatures soar, and the air resembles warm, sticky molasses, be thankful for that rivulet of perspiration coursing down your back – as the water evaporates, it cools you. Besides sweating, we beat the heat of brutal summers by enjoying air conditioning or fans, swimming holes and tall, frosty beverages. We also slow down and show a lot more skins than we normally do. To stay cool, birds do variants of all of these things, too…. with one exception.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_chickadee-on-birdbath.jpgThis chickadee is all wet!

Birds can’t sweat – they don’t have any sweat glands. To avoid over-heating and sudden death, many birds pant to cool off. Heat wand water vapor are perspired into air sacs, carried to the lungs, and exhaled through the mouth. Some non-passerine birds expel excess heat with a “gular flutter” – a rapid vibration of the upper throat and floor of the month.

b2ap3_thumbnail_eastern-phoebe-on-dripper.jpg
Eastern Phoebe on a dripper.

Posted by on in Conservation

An old etiquette saying maintains that “horses sweat, men perspire and women glow.” There’s no mention of what Turkey Vultures do. Probably with good reason – they urinate and defecate on their feet to stay cool!

b2ap3_thumbnail_bathing-robin.jpg
American Robin enjoying a cooling bath.

When summer temperatures soar, and the air resembles warm, sticky molasses, be thankful for that rivulet of perspiration coursing down your back – as the water evaporates, it cools you. Besides sweating, we beat the heat of brutal summers by enjoying air conditioning or fans, swimming holes and tall, frosty beverages. We also slow down and show a lot more skins than we normally do. To stay cool, birds do variants of all of these things, too…. with one exception.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_chickadee-on-birdbath.jpgThis chickadee is all wet!

Birds can’t sweat – they don’t have any sweat glands. To avoid over-heating and sudden death, many birds pant to cool off. Heat wand water vapor are perspired into air sacs, carried to the lungs, and exhaled through the mouth. Some non-passerine birds expel excess heat with a “gular flutter” – a rapid vibration of the upper throat and floor of the month.

b2ap3_thumbnail_eastern-phoebe-on-dripper.jpg
Eastern Phoebe on a dripper.

Posted by on in Conservation

Birds can fly because they have low weight and lots of power. Their feathers, wings, hollow bones, warm bloodedness, powerful breast muscles, and a strong heart all contribute to this ability.

Light Skeletons
Because of their hollow bones, bird skeletons are filled with air. Although extremely light, bird skeletons are also very strong and elastic because of an interlacing network of fiber. To “trim ship” further, birds have heads that are very light in proportion to the rest of the body. This is because they do not have teeth and heavy jaws to carry them. The function of teeth is handled by the bird’s gizzard, which is located near the bird’s center of gravity.

b2ap3_thumbnail_bird-body.jpg
Feathers
Feathers, the most distinctive and remarkable feature of birds are magnificently adapted (or designed) for fanning the air, insulating against the weather and reducing weight. It has been claimed that for their weight, feathers are stronger than any wing structure designed by man. Amazing!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Finch4_20160827-131034_1.jpg
Next time: Fuel and breathing!

Birds have long inspired conservation actions around the world. Many of these measures are far-reaching laws enacted by federal governments. Others are individual or group efforts that have resulted in important changes in human attitudes and the management of wildlife and the environment. Today, thanks to birds and those who care about them, we have strong legal protections for wildlife and protected habitats, such as Refuges, important bird areas (IBA) and other wild sanctuaries. Birds have inspired many to join business groups, bird clubs and conservation organizations which work both locally and globally.

b2ap3_thumbnail_FWS_logo.png                  b2ap3_thumbnail_Centennial.png

Now, in 2016, we have a new opportunity to be inspired by the enormous success of the Centennial Celebration of the 1916 Migratory Bird Treaty. The enormous success of this landmark Treaty is best described here and here.

Please visit these important sites to learn more about the ways in which wild birds stimulated people to become involved in conservation and encouraged individuals and corporations to be a part of continuing efforts to protect our beautiful wild birds.

The Wild Bird Centers of America (www.wildbird.com) is a national franchise system supporting wild bird specialty stores throughout the USA Con tact George Petrides, Sr. at (301) 841-6404 or info@wildbird.com.

Posted by on in Organic Living

Food Fact from the Dirt Doctor - Avocados

Howard Garrett, AKA the Dirt Doctor, provides bird-friendly gardening information for Birdzilla.  He recently shared these comments on the Avocado, a natural source for many vitamins and minerals, and healthy organic living.

"One of my favorite foods is the avocado. Taste is one thing, but there is a lot more to know.

Health Benefits
Avocados have significant health benefits but still get a bad rap for their fat content. While avocados do contain fat, almost all of it is the kind that is good for you and even helps you lose weight! Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, the healthy fats that are also found in nut butters and olives. A study from the American Diabetic Association found that MUFAs actually decrease belly fat. The MUFAs in avocados may also help improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for good blood sugar control and diabetes control. Avocados are also high in fiber, have more potassium than bananas and are loaded with folates and vitamin E. Of all fruits, the avocado is the highest in protein. The natural oils are also good for your skin.
Avocados contain an array of phytonutrients and are a source of pantothenic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C.

How to Select and Store
A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft but should have no dark sunken spots or cracks. If the avocado has a slight neck, rather than being rounded on top, it was probably tree ripened and might have better flavor. A firmer, less mature fruit can be ripened at home and will be less likely to have bruises. A firm avocado will ripen in a paper bag or in a fruit basket at room temperature within a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. If you are refrigerating a whole avocado, it is best to keep it whole and not slice it in order to avoid browning that occurs when the flesh is exposed to air.

If you have used a portion of a ripe avocado, it is best to store the remainder in the refrigerator. I wrap the pieces first in parchment paper and then put in a plastic bag. Sprinkling the exposed surface(s) with lemon juice will help to prevent the browning that can occur when the flesh comes in contact with oxygen in the air.

I eat avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner – not every meal, but often. I recommend you do too. One of my favorite dishes is guacamole made from a 50/50 mix of avocado and fermented salsa. Any salsa works pretty well.

If you have any questions tune in Sunday 8am -11am central time to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. Listen on the internet or find a station in your area. The phone number for the show is 1-866-444-3478. "

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