Birds 101

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A primer on birds, bird identification, and human impacts on bird survival.

A primer on birds, bird identification, and human impacts on bird survival.

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  • Tilling ground permanently removes habitat Range cattle can interfere with nesting in indirect way - Farmer shoots prey Farming led to our survival HOWEVER - did not understand importance of preserving large tracts of land for existing inhabitants until it was too late even then, some greed persisted
  • Nesting ground for waterfowl is obvious loss Migration stop over/foraging grounds for waders and shorebirds dramatic loss Long trip to Texas example
  • Ivory-billed Woodpecker Needs large, recently dead trees for nesting and forage Non-migratory Not tolerant of humans Large territory Not too high on food chain, but specific eater
  • Boston socialites Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and her cousin Minna B. Hall founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society. After reading about egret hunting practices in 1896, the two women were determined to persuade and convince prominent women that they were committing a deadly and tragic wrong by wearing birds or bird feathers on their hats. Through a boycott and tea parties, they convinced some 900 women not to wear feathered hats, and to work with their new group to promote bird protection. They also encouraged the use of ribbons and other millinery decorations in place of feathers.
  • - Trumpeter Swan Skins taken in Fur Trade Feathers used for hats Skins used for powder puffs Thought to be extinct in 1900 2 nests found in 1919 70 birds counted in 1935 640 birds by late 1950s 3 Populations Today Pacific, Rockies, Restored est. 16,000 birds 1918 Migratory Bird Act First step to protect migrating species
  • Derived from phosphoric Acid Related to Nerve Gasses cholinesterase inhibitor accumulation of acetylcholine (Ach) leads to paralysis Usually More toxic than Organochlorines Typically unstable or nonpersistent Monocrotophos Registration cancelled in U.S., Canada, and other countries Produced and marketed to other countries Swainson’s Hawk mortality 1995: 5,000 found dead 1996: 20,000 killed 1997: 62,000 killed Ciba-Geigy: 1/3 Argentine monocrotophos sales agreed to buy back remaining monocrotophos stock, and encourage other companies to follow suit.
  • Bar-tailed Godwit 9-day, 1200KM non-stop flight from New Zealand to Yellow Sea in China
  • * 07/16/96 * ## Other Bird Species House Sparrow Out competes cavity nesters Brown-headed Cowbird Expansion following cattle operations Cattle expansion into woodlands Mammals Cats Estimated killing 1 billion songbirds Domestic animals on islands Pigs and dogs in Hawaii Endemic species most threatened
  • Historical nester before 1900s Large territory - fragmenting of wetlands a problem Specific type of wetland needed 1900s nested for sport, plumage
  • * 07/16/96 * ## The above maps provide a glimpse of the possible changes in Minnesota's vegetation due to global warming. The left map corresponds to the current situation - orange areas are Grasslands, gray areas are Hardwood Forests, and green areas are Conifer/Hardwood Forests. The right map depicts Minnesota's vegetation with a simulated doubling of CO 2 levels in the atmosphere - orange areas are Grasslands, yellow areas are Savanna, and gray areas are Hardwood Forests. Could benefit some species by allowing for triple broods Will not benefit others - more specialized feeders
  • * 07/16/96 * ## The above maps provide a glimpse of the possible changes in Bobolink nesting distribution if global warming is true and continues. Current nesting habitat in red from Breeding Bird Survey
  • * 07/16/96 * ## 9800+ Birds worldwide 2000+ in the Americas 924 in North America 425 in MN 280 in Southwest Minnesota

Transcript

  • 1. Birds & Birding an introduction
  • 2. Birds & Birding 101• Quick Stats• Classification & Organization (taxonomy)• Diversity & Distribution• Observation & Study (identification)• Field Notes & Sketches• Bird Survival & Human Impact
  • 3. Birds & Birding Quick Stats
  • 4. Quick Stats• Longest Migration: Arctic Tern• Biggest: Whooping Crane• Smallest: Costa’s Hummingbird• Fastest: Peregrine Falcon• Slowest: Dead Bird
  • 5. Quick Stats• Almost 10,000 species worldwide – 950 in North America – 434 in Minnesota • 320 Regular in MN • 236 in SW MN
  • 6. Birds & BirdingClassification & Organization
  • 7. Bird Classification and Organization • Kingdom: animal • Phylum : Aves • Order : Passerformes • Family : Cardinalidae • Genus : Cardinalis • Species : cardinalis Common Name: Northern Cardinal Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
  • 8. Bird Classification and Organization Common Name: Rose-breasted Grosbeak Scientific Name: Pheucticus ludovicanus • Kingdom: animal • Phylum : Aves • Order : Passerformes • Family : Cardinalidae • Genus : Pheucticus • Species : ludovicianus
  • 9. Birds & BirdingDiversity & Distribution
  • 10. Diversity & Distribution• Birds fill every niche of every habitat – Habitat: an area of similar composition where something lives • Riparian Forest Habitat • Prairie Habitat • Oceanic Coastline • Your House
  • 11. Diversity & Distribution– Niche: places within a habitat that serve a specific purpose for a specific species • Within the Riparian Forest Habitat: – Upper Canopy – Trunk – Root area
  • 12. Examples • Upper Canopy – Rose-breasted Grosbeak • Trunk – Pileated Woodpecker • Ground – Ovenbird
  • 13. Geography& Climate• Primarily influence on bird distribution.• Geography & Climate Shape – Habitat/Ecosystem • Example:Rainforest vs. Desert – Food Source • Diet influences distribution and migration pattern
  • 14. Birds & BirdingObservation & Studying
  • 15. Basic Observation Mantras• Look at the Bird, not the Book• Take Good Notes• Knowledge is Power
  • 16. Bird ObservationSpend Your Time Looking at the Bird!!!
  • 17. Identification Characteristics• Characteristics (Markings) • Size • Shape (bird, bill, tail, wings) • Color (general, patterns) • Specific Identification Markings • throat, breast, and belly • underwing pattern • head and face • tail pattern • wing bars and eye rings • soft parts color • miscellaneous • Behavior, Geography, and Season
  • 18. Color• Color
  • 19. Color Pattern• Distinct Color Pattern
  • 20. General Size
  • 21. Body Shape
  • 22. Body Shape
  • 23. Specific Characteristics - Bill styles
  • 24. Observation – Bird Parts
  • 25. Observation Basics• Knowledge is Power • Bird Family Identification Characteristics • 99 Birds to know • Repetition • Hawk Ridge, Spring Ducks • Study in Small Sections • Seasonal • Families • Backyard Birds
  • 26. Identification Characteristics• Each Family tends to have one or two field marks used to distinguish species within that family
  • 27. Throat, Breast, & Belly • Sparrows, warblers, finches – Lark Sparrow and Song Sparrow
  • 28. Front Markings• Palm Warbler and Northern Waterthrush
  • 29. Eye Markings • Blue-headed Vireo and Tennessee Warbler
  • 30. Wing Bars Flycatchers, warblers, vireos, finches• Blue-winged Warbler and Prothonotary Warbler
  • 31. Wing Bars• Eastern Wood-Peewee and Eastern Phoebe
  • 32. Bill Shape & Size Hairy Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker
  • 33. Tail Pattern• Broad-winged Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk
  • 34. Voice Meadowlarks, empidonax flycatchers, thrush, terns• Least Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher
  • 35. Birds & BirdingObservation Field Notes
  • 36. Bird ObservationField Notes and Sketches • FIRST: Take Notes (when the bird is present) • SECOND: Take More Notes (after the bird is gone) • Don’t forget behavior, vocalizations, feeding, habitat • THIRD: Look in the book• Know the field marks to look for in each family. • (Yes, that means studying)• Develop a strategy that works for you • Example Field Notes Pages
  • 37. Quick Field Notes
  • 38. Detailed Field Notes
  • 39. Field Notes Exercise
  • 40. Field Sketches• Sketches do not have to be works of art•Concentrate on: •Relative Shape •Predominant Characteristics •General coloration
  • 41. Sketch Examples
  • 42. Field Sketch Exercise
  • 43. Birds & Birding Survival
  • 44. Survival• Food• Water• Safety/Shelter – Predators – Weather
  • 45. Factors Affecting Survival • Habitat Destruction • Loss of Food Source • Selectivity • Overharvesting • Chemical Use • Migration Route • Introduced Competition • Human Tolerance • Territory • Climate Change
  • 46. Habitat Destruction Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Northern Spotted Owl
  • 47. Habitat Destruction Least Sandpiper Caladris minutilla
  • 48. Selectivity
  • 49. Overharvesting Snowy Egret Egretta thula
  • 50. Overharvesting Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator
  • 51. Chemical Use Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni
  • 52. Migration • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • 53. Introduced Competition
  • 54. Factors Affecting Survival • Human [in]Tolerance
  • 55. Territory Needs• 300 ac winter• 1,000 ac nesting Whooping Crane Grus americana
  • 56. Whooping Crane Food Web
  • 57. Is Climate Change Affecting Vegetation?Current Minnesota Vegetation Possible Minnesota Vegetation?
  • 58. Could Climate Change Affect Birds?
  • 59. Birds are Important• Control pests (bugs and rodents)• Help to limit spread of disease – Bark beetles• Indicator species of environment – Canary in a Coal Mine
  • 60. Is the pendulum swinging?• Wetland Conservation Act• CRP, CREP, RIM, WRP, EQUIP, ETC.• Clean Water Legacy Act• More people interested in Birding• Better understanding of our past actions
  • 61. Roger Jay Schroederhttp://singingwings.rohair.combird@rohair.com