Wednesday June 19, 2013
The deadline for this month's photo contest is fast approaching, and with the theme "10,000 Species" there are still 9,975 to choose from that haven't yet been entered! Of course, there's no harm in duplicating favorite species as well - but get those entries in by June 23. All photos must be submitted in the forum to be officially entered, and finalists will be revealed later this month with open voting to choose the winner. Show off what unusual species you've seen and enter the contest today!
Photo © Eric Kilby
Tuesday June 18, 2013
It's no surprise that commercial fishermen catch more than fish in their nets, but a new study has revealed that more than 80 species of birds are often their inadvertent victims. According to Science Direct, gillnets are responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of seabirds annually, including shearwaters, albatrosses, gannets, cormorants, petrels, auks, pelicans and penguins. Reducing the numbers of birds accidentally drowned by nets can be difficult, however, because there are few effective deterrent methods that are economical for fishermen, who also want to reduce the bird fatalities to minimize damage to their nets and loss of productive fishing time.
Nets can be treacherous for seabirds, but there are other threats pelagic birds face - learn why fishing line and balloons are also grave hazards to these birds, and what you can do to help.
Photo © Miemo Penttinen
Monday June 17, 2013
It's Mailbag Monday time again, when a reader's question is the focus of the week. This week, Aimee from Kentucky asks...
"I've got a thistle sock in my yard and have seen goldfinches a few times, but they never stick around. What can I do to get them back?"
Goldfinches are great backyard birds, but they're also very picky eaters. If the seed gets a bit wet or moldy, they are likely to move on to new food sources. You can take other steps to attract goldfinches, such as planting seed-bearing flowers and adding a bird bath, and they'll be more frequent guests.
Not interested in goldfinches in your yard? Learn how to attract cardinals, bluebirds or orioles instead!
Photo © Larry Hennessy
Sunday June 16, 2013
Many birds aren't great fathers, but for some species, how the chick matures is all about the dad and singing Dad's praises is more than a metaphor. According to NBC News, a study of zebra finches has shown that young birds learn their songs from their male parent, though as the hatchlings grow and interact with their siblings, they change those songs subtly to their own unique version. One sibling can encourage another, but the mother bird is rarely involved - female zebra finches do not sing.
What birds have you observed being great avian dads? Share your experiences in the comments!
Photo © Jim Bendon