Friday March 7, 2014
It was a tight flight, but the blue tit flew to a late victory over the European robin and will represent Europe in the next round of birding March Madness. Which of these Asian birds will join it?
The national bird of India, the Indian peafowl and is immediately recognizable for the male's beautiful, fan-like tail, though those elaborate feathers aren't his tail at all - they're the uppertail coverts. These astonishing birds are popular residents of zoos, aviaries and botanical gardens worldwide.
The Mandarin duck is widely considered to be one of the world's most beautiful ducks, and while the female is more camouflaged, there is no mistaking the male with his bold colors and unusual feather shapes. Like their competitor in this challenge, these ducks are also popular residents of exotic bird collections.
Which of these beauties should move on to the next round of competition? Your votes will decide, so be sure to participate in the poll below and help choose the winner!
Thursday March 6, 2014
This week's featured bird is a familiar one around the world, but not because it has an exceptionally large range. The common myna is one of the world's most invasive birds and has been introduced far from its native Asian territory. Also a popular pet bird, escapees often establish feral colonies, particularly in cities. Easily recognized by its bare eye skin and bright yellow bill and legs, this bird is an accomplished mimic and always a surprise, despite its widespread appearances.
Where have you seen the common myna? Share your sightings in the comments!
Photo © Jes
Wednesday March 5, 2014
The scarlet macaw dominated the swallow-tailed hummingbird by a 2-to-1 margin and will move on to the next round of our international March Madness competition. Which of today's European birds will join it?
The blue tit is a colorful and energetic European garden bird, renowned for its curiosity and intelligence. With a wide range of subspecies and color variations, watching blue tits is an exciting way for any birder to bird their way across Europe.
The European robin is another of Europe's most popular and widespread birds. Though not a thrush like its colonial cousins, this bird is a delicate passerine with a stunning singing voice that makes it a welcome visitor in any garden.
Which of these birds should move on to represent Europe throughout the competition? Cast your vote below to help choose the contender! Voting will only last for two days, however, so be sure to vote right away and stay tuned all month to see what other worldwide birds are competing for this year's championship honors!
Voting for this round has ended. See which bird took the honors, and vote in the next matchup!
Tuesday March 4, 2014
The largest die-off recorded in France since 1900 is being attributed to winter storms. According to The Local, severe storms that have battered French coasts since January have led to the deaths of more than 21,300 seabirds, primarily Atlantic puffins, common murres and razorbills. When birds are unable to access good fishing areas in storms, they do not have the energy to survive the weather and can starve. Additionally, higher numbers of birds contaminated with oil and other pollutants have been reported, likely because of ships dumping contaminants during storms.
While thousands of birds have been unable to recover, more than 2,500 birds have been turned over to shelters and rehabilitators. Anyone interested in helping can contact local wildlife rehabilitators and offer to fulfill their wish lists or otherwise make donations to help support the birds' care.
Photo © Robert Bieber