Tag Archives: bird facts

On The Tip Of Their Bill?

Today’s weird bird has an unusually shaped beak! What would YOU name this bird?

This got me thinking about bird beaks… and how do REAL birds taste their food?

Did you know that birds have a well-developed sense of taste and experience all four of the main tastes that humans do? (Sweet, sour, bitter and salty)

Humans taste with their tongues but birds generally have their taste buds on the roof and floor of their mouth. Many have at least a few taste buds close to the tip of their tongue bill so they can make a quick assessment of a food item as soon as they pick it up.

I learned these interesting facts from this bird book I recently purchased:

I’m hoping this book will help me draw and learn more about REAL birds this year!

Happy Weird Bird Wednesday!

Cheers! ūüėÉ

Trick Or Tweet!

I bring you a sweet treat for today’s Weird Bird Wednesday!

These birds were seen flying from birdhouse to birdhouse on Halloween night:

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Can you guess the name of the bird under each costume?

And for extra credit can you tell me what treat that bird would eat?

Answers below…

Have a spook-tacular Halloween! 

Cheers! ūüôā

Answers:

  1. Ghost – Snowy White Owl¬†–¬†eats rodents, waterfowl and carrion
  2. Black Cat –¬†Black Catbird¬†– eats insects and berries
  3. Jack O‚Äô Lantern –¬†Jackal (Buzzard)¬†with lantern¬†–¬†small ground animals and birds, snakes, lizards, insects and road kill

 

Greater Wisdom

As I was creating this old “Duffer” for Weird Bird Wednesday

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I wondered how long do birds live?¬† So I discovered online at National Geographic, that the World’s oldest Flamingo, whose name was “Greater” and lived at Australia’s Adelaide Zoo, was put to sleep at age 83!¬† The bird was suffering from severe arthritis and was nearly blind so the zookeeper felt it was the humane thing to do.

An Albatross named “Wisdom,” may be the oldest bird to give birth.¬† At age 62, she hatched a new chick, possibly her 35th baby!¬† She was still going strong in 2012 living at the Midway Atoll Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific.

I also learned online at Wild Birds, that larger birds tend to live longer.  Check out this link to find other longevity records of banded birds in the wild:  http://www.wildbirds.com/ProtectBirds/LifeExpectancy/tabid/709/Default.aspx

One final note about this old Duffer bird, who was a member of this golf club:

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Rarely did he get one stroke under par, (a birdie), two strokes (an eagle) was unheard of and three strokes, (an albatross) was never on his scorecard…

Maybe you know other old duffers who belong to the same club?!

May your day be above par!¬† Cheers!¬† ūüôā

A Bee-U-tiFul Bird – Part 1

As the temperature rises, the bugs appear where I live in the Pacific Northwest.  Soon the bees will arrive.  I know the Honeybees are important but I could do without the wasps.  This is when I wish we had Bee-Eater Birds.

I think it was their coloring that caught my eye at first.

From the National Geographic: “The bee-eater darts across the sky in a gaudy patchwork suit: a chestnut crown, black robber’s mask, turquoise breast, and throat feathers the hue of ripening wheat. Just the outfit for a bird that refuses to play it safe.”

bee eater bird in color pencil

Then I read that they eat bees!  Hence their name!  (Note to self РI wonder what imaginary birds I could create based on this idea?)

National Geographic describes it best:¬† “True to their name, bee-eaters eat bees (though they’ll prey on dragonflies, moths, termites, butterflies‚ÄĒjust about anything that flies). When the bird chases a bee, it flies like a heat-seeking missile, matching its prey’s every twist and swoop. After a midair snatch, the bee-eater returns to its perch to de-venom the bee. It’s a brutally efficient operation. Grasping the bee in its beak, the bird bashes the insect’s head on one side of the branch, then rubs its abdomen on the other. The rubbing causes the stunned, sometimes headless bee to flush its toxins.”

According to Wikipedia, some Bee-Eaters can eat up to 250 bees in one day!  Wowza!  No need for a Bug Zapper here!

I started my drawing of the Bee-Eater with a quick pencil sketch.  I found many beautiful images from the internet:

bee eater bird sketch in pencil

Next, I added color with my Prismacolor pencils:

bee eater bird in color pencil

And then I took a photo of it with a mat behind it:

bee eater bird with orange mat

Now doesn’t that make it sing!

Hope you stay tuned for tomorrow.  I will show you how to play with color.

Happy creating!