Birds 101

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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
  • Birds 101

    1. 1. Birds & Birding an introduction
    2. 2. Birds & Birding 101• Quick Stats• Classification & Organization (taxonomy)• Diversity & Distribution• Observation & Study (identification)• Field Notes & Sketches• Bird Survival & Human Impact
    3. 3. Birds & Birding Quick Stats
    4. 4. Quick Stats• Longest Migration: Arctic Tern• Biggest: Whooping Crane• Smallest: Costa’s Hummingbird• Fastest: Peregrine Falcon• Slowest: Dead Bird
    5. 5. Quick Stats• Almost 10,000 species worldwide – 950 in North America – 434 in Minnesota • 320 Regular in MN • 236 in SW MN
    6. 6. Birds & BirdingClassification & Organization
    7. 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. 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. 9. Birds & BirdingDiversity & Distribution
    10. 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. 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. 12. Examples • Upper Canopy – Rose-breasted Grosbeak • Trunk – Pileated Woodpecker • Ground – Ovenbird
    13. 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. 14. Birds & BirdingObservation & Studying
    15. 15. Basic Observation Mantras• Look at the Bird, not the Book• Take Good Notes• Knowledge is Power
    16. 16. Bird ObservationSpend Your Time Looking at the Bird!!!
    17. 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. 18. Color• Color
    19. 19. Color Pattern• Distinct Color Pattern
    20. 20. General Size
    21. 21. Body Shape
    22. 22. Body Shape
    23. 23. Specific Characteristics - Bill styles
    24. 24. Observation – Bird Parts
    25. 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. 26. Identification Characteristics• Each Family tends to have one or two field marks used to distinguish species within that family
    27. 27. Throat, Breast, & Belly • Sparrows, warblers, finches – Lark Sparrow and Song Sparrow
    28. 28. Front Markings• Palm Warbler and Northern Waterthrush
    29. 29. Eye Markings • Blue-headed Vireo and Tennessee Warbler
    30. 30. Wing Bars Flycatchers, warblers, vireos, finches• Blue-winged Warbler and Prothonotary Warbler
    31. 31. Wing Bars• Eastern Wood-Peewee and Eastern Phoebe
    32. 32. Bill Shape & Size Hairy Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker
    33. 33. Tail Pattern• Broad-winged Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk
    34. 34. Voice Meadowlarks, empidonax flycatchers, thrush, terns• Least Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher
    35. 35. Birds & BirdingObservation Field Notes
    36. 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. 37. Quick Field Notes
    38. 38. Detailed Field Notes
    39. 39. Field Notes Exercise
    40. 40. Field Sketches• Sketches do not have to be works of art•Concentrate on: •Relative Shape •Predominant Characteristics •General coloration
    41. 41. Sketch Examples
    42. 42. Field Sketch Exercise
    43. 43. Birds & Birding Survival
    44. 44. Survival• Food• Water• Safety/Shelter – Predators – Weather
    45. 45. Factors Affecting Survival • Habitat Destruction • Loss of Food Source • Selectivity • Overharvesting • Chemical Use • Migration Route • Introduced Competition • Human Tolerance • Territory • Climate Change
    46. 46. Habitat Destruction Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Northern Spotted Owl
    47. 47. Habitat Destruction Least Sandpiper Caladris minutilla
    48. 48. Selectivity
    49. 49. Overharvesting Snowy Egret Egretta thula
    50. 50. Overharvesting Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator
    51. 51. Chemical Use Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni
    52. 52. Migration • Bar-tailed Godwit
    53. 53. Introduced Competition
    54. 54. Factors Affecting Survival • Human [in]Tolerance
    55. 55. Territory Needs• 300 ac winter• 1,000 ac nesting Whooping Crane Grus americana
    56. 56. Whooping Crane Food Web
    57. 57. Is Climate Change Affecting Vegetation?Current Minnesota Vegetation Possible Minnesota Vegetation?
    58. 58. Could Climate Change Affect Birds?
    59. 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. 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. 61. Roger Jay Schroederhttp://singingwings.rohair.combird@rohair.com

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