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2014 spring all bird presentation

  1. 1. Birds By Tim Sebesta Lone Star College-CyFair
  2. 2. Birds are Important to U.S. Citizens •We watch them and feed them •We write books about them •We market our businesses with their images •We name our sports teams after them •We choose them as symbols of our patriotism
  3. 3. Why Watch Birds?  76 million Americans currently enjoy the sport of watching birds.  Birds are colorful, interesting to watch or listen to and relatively easy to attract to our backyard.  Does not require a lot of specialized equipment, just a good pair of binoculars and a field guide that helps identify the bird.  Texas is one of the premiere locations in the country for birdwatching. (614 different species in Texas alone!)
  4. 4. How to Identify Birds
  5. 5. Where Should You Start?  1. Begin by identifying the bird to a group.  Use features like body shape and size, bill shape, length of neck and legs, and shape of wings and tail.
  6. 6.  Learn to recognize shapes for quick recognition.
  7. 7.  2. Use field marks to identify similar species.
  8. 8. Yellow-rumped warbler Lark Sparrow Canada Warbler Louisiana waterthrush
  9. 9. Common nighthawk
  10. 10. Northern Cardinal Scarlet tanager House finch Summer tanager Rose-breasted grosbeak Vermillion flycatcher
  11. 11. Summary on Identifying Birds  First, identify the bird at the group level and practice recognizing birds by shape alone.  Second, use field marks on the bird to identify the correct species.
  12. 12. Migration Facts • 778 are migratory • 300 species migrate to Latin America • 19 species of shorebirds migrate 8,000 miles 1 way • 34 species of wood warblers and 22 of the 29 species of waterfowl are shared between U.S., Canada, Mexico Of the 852 bird species in the United States:
  13. 13. Golden-Crowned Kinglet American Goldfinch Yellow-Rumped Warbler Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Eastern Phoebe Orange-Crowned WarblerCedar Waxwing Dark-Eyed Junco Common Winter Birds in Houston Backyard
  14. 14. Merlin
  15. 15. Merlin
  16. 16. How Did Bird Migration Routes Become Established? • Migration is affected not only by food supply, but also by wind and oceans currents. These make some routes and locations easier to reach. While many birds migrate from northern breeding areas in the summer, to southern wintering grounds (mainly because there is more land near the northern pole than the southern), there are many other migration patterns. Some birds migrate horizontally, to enjoy the milder coastal climates in winter. Other birds migrate in terms of altitude; moving higher up a mountain in summer, and wintering on the lowlands.
  17. 17. Migration Fun Facts • The arctic tern flies a phenomenal round trip that can be as long as 20,000 miles per year, from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. The sandhill and whooping cranes are both capable of migrating as far as 2,500 miles per year, and the barn swallow more than 6,000 miles. • How do they keep going? Some birds store a special, high-energy fat before the trip. Soaring raptors, for example, may not eat for several weeks as they migrate. Other species eat along their migration routes. • How high can they fly? Higher than Mt. Everest. Bar-headed geese have been recorded flying across the Himalayas at 29,000 feet. From radar studies, scientists know that birds can change altitudes to find the best wind conditions. To fight a headwind, most birds stay low, where ridges, trees and buildings slow the wind. To ride a tailwind, they get up high where the wind is as fast as possible.
  18. 18. How Do I Get Started?  Go with someone who has already been doing it for a while. Consider joining one of the local organizations such as the Audubon Society.  Many good book and nature stores have an excellent selection of books, videos, magazines and tapes on bird watching (Wild Birds Unlimited).  Birding is also a popular Internet subject.  Learn to identify common local species using your field guide and audio tapes. Consider putting a bird feeder and/or bird attracting native plants around your home.  Try to visit as many different habitat types as you possibly can. Many state and national parks and forests are great places to go bird watching.
  19. 19. Viewing Tips Viewing Tips - Follow these tips from experienced behavior watchers to witness wildlife without startling them or sapping their energy. It's a feeling you'll always remember.  Fade Into the Woodwork  Wear natural colors and unscented lotions. Some birds can smell! (turkey vulture)  Remove glasses that glint.  Walk softly so as not to snap twigs or trample wildflowers.  Crouch behind boulders or vegetation to blend your figure or break up your outline.
  20. 20. Where Do I Look For Birds?
  21. 21. Which Field Guide Should I Buy?  A practical guide will have the picture of the bird, the verbal description, and the range map all on facing pages.  A Texas birder needs a guide that covers bird species occurring throughout the United States. East meets west and north meets south in our great centrally located state.  The National Geographic Society's Field Guide to the Birds of North America is a good one, as are the Sibley Guide, Peterson Guides and the Golden Guide.
  22. 22. Binoculars  These will help bring the birds closer to you optically so you can better discern a bird's field marks, plumage pattern and color, as well as subtleties of behavior.  While good optics can be expensive, the choice of brand is very individual. A good guideline is to buy the best optics you can afford. If you are a beginner, start with a cheaper model and graduate to a more expensive model as your skills increase.  Remember, before purchasing an expensive pair, it's important to try them out yourself to see which size, weight, eye relief, field of view, and light-gathering abilities are best for you. http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/binoculars1.html#binoculars
  23. 23. What Are All Those Numbers?!?  Binoculars have a set of numbers on them referring to their magnification power and the size of their objective lens. These numbers are expressed as a formula such as 7 X 35, 7-15 X 30, 8 x 30, 8 x 42 or 10 x 42 are good binoculars for birdwatching.  The first number refers to the power or magnification. If this number is hyphenated it means that the binoculars are capable of a range of magnifications. In the example used above the 7-15 means that the binocular is capable of zooming between 7 and 15 power. Binoculars over 10 power may be difficult to hold steady enough to see the image clearly. Often these binoculars have provisions for mounting on a tripod. With a pair of either 7 × 50 or 7 × 35 binoculars, for example, things 1000 feet away would appear as large as they would if the viewer were standing (1000 divided by 7 = ) 143 feet away.
  24. 24. Aperture  The second number represents the aperture or the size of the objective lens in millimeters. The larger the objective lens the more light it allows into the binocular and the brighter and clearer the image will be. Unfortunately, as objective lenses get larger, the optics get heavier and more uncomfortable to hold.
  25. 25. Eye Relief  Eye relief is the maximum distance in millimeters that your eyes can be away from the eyepieces and still see the whole picture. Normal binocular eye relief ranges from 9 to 13 mm. This distance works well for folks with good eyesight.  Most glass wearers need eye relief over 13 mm. Binocular manufacturers try to provide this relief through the use of rubber eyecups that can be rolled down. Often this is not enough! Some binoculars are constructed with extended eye relief for glass wearers. Many manufacturers add the letter AB@ the description of binoculars with long eye relief.
  26. 26. How to Use Binoculars  Find the subject with your unaided eyes.  Bring the eyepieces just under your eyes.  Sight the subject over the tops of the eyepieces.  Slowly bring the binoculars to your eyes.
  27. 27. Notebook  Buy yourself a high quality, compact notebook that fits easily in a vest pocket, book pouch, or backpack.  Carry it with you at all times in the field, along with a waterproof pen.  Keep good field notes, recording interesting observations as they occur. Make this a habit. Always record the time of year, time of day, weather conditions, and place (part of the state with a short description of habitat, vegetation type and geology if you know it).  Don't ever try to commit your observations to memory. Better to take detailed notes on plumage, shape, size, behavior, or any confusing observations. Often what you think is an unimportant detail turns out to be the key element to properly identifying a species.  Don't wait to "bird" your field guide when you get home at the end of the day.  Making your own sketches with pertinent comments can also be helpful.
  28. 28. Start a Life List  Keep a Texas bird list, as well. 614 different bird species have officially been accepted by the Texas Rare Birds Committee.  The list gets even larger as you bird the entire state at different times of year.  Then, put your lists on computer if you have one.
  29. 29. I am ready to watch some birds, so where do I start?
  30. 30. Birding Ethics  Do not to disturb either the birds or their habitat. Walk softly on the land.  Stay on established pathways and keep motor vehicles on established roads and parking areas.  Avoid harassment; don't disturb birds that are nesting or their nesting areas. Do not handle eggs or young or stay too long at a working nest.  Don't over-use playback tapes or screech owl recordings to call birds in.  Don't trespass on private property.  Avoid "tree-whacking" to arouse cavity dwellers.  Divide larger groups of people into smaller, more manageable numbers.  Support local and national bird conservation organizations.  Support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Nongame and Threatened and Endangered Species fund.  Support the National Audubon Society and Texas Nature Conservancy.
  31. 31. Birds of LSC-CyFair (177) Acadian Flycatcher American Bittern American Coot American Crow American Kestrel American Pipit American Redstart American Robin American Woodcock Anhinga Bald Eagle Baltimore Orioles Barn Owl Barn Swallow Barred Owl Belted Kingfisher Black and White Warbler Black Vulture Black-bellied Whistling Duck Blackburnian Warbler Black-crowned Night-Heron Black-necked Stilt Black-throated Green Warbler Blue Jay Blue-grat Gnatcatcher Broad-winged Hawk Brown Thrasher Brown-headed Cowbird Bufflehead Canada Goose Canada Warbler Canvasback Carolina Chickadee Carolina Wren Cattle Egret Cedar Waxwing Chestnut-sided Warbler Chimney Swift Chipping Sparrow Chuck-will's Widow Cliff Swallow Common Grackle Common Nighthawk Common Yellowthroat Cooper's Hawk Crested Caracara Dark-eyed Junco Double-crested Cormorant Downy Woodpecker Eastern Kingbird Eastern Meadowlark Eastern Phoebe European Starling Field Sparrow Forster's Tern Golden-crowned Kinglet Grasshopper Sparrow Gray Catbird Great Blue Heron Great Crested Flycatcher Great Egret Great Horned Owl Greater White-fronted Goose Greater Yellowlegs Great-tailed Grackle Green Heron Green-winged Teal Harris Sparrow Hermit Thrush Herring Gull Hooded Warbler House Sparrow House Wren Inca Dove Indigo Bunting Killdeer King Rail Laughing Gull Le Conte's Sparrow Lesser Scaup Lesser Yellowlegs Lincoln's Sparrow Little Blue Heron Loggerhead Shrike Long-billed Curlew Magnolia Warbler Mississippi Kite Mottled Duck Mourning Dove Mourning Warbler Nashville Warbler Northern Bobwhite Northern Cardinal Northern Harrier Northern Mockingbird Northern Waterthrush Orange-crowned Warbler Orchard Oriole Osprey Painted Bunting Peregrine Falcon Pied-billed Grebe Pine Warbler Purple Martin Red-eyed Vireo Red-shouldered Hawk Red-tailed Hawk Red-winged Blackbird Ring-billed Gull Ring-necked Duck Rock Pigeon Roseate Spoonbill Rose-breasted Grosbeak Ruby-crowned Kinglet Ruby-throated Hummingbird Rusty Blackbird Sandhill Crane Savannah Sparrow Scarlet Tanager Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Sedge Wren Sharp-shinned Hawk Snow Goose Snowy Egret Solitary Sandpiper Song Sparrow Spotted Sandpiper Summer Tanager Swainson's Hawk Swainson's Thrush Swamp Sparrow Tennesee Warbler Tufted Titmouse Turkey Vulture Vesper Sparrow Warbling Vireo Western Kingbird Western Meadowlark White Ibis White-crowned Sparrow White-eyed Vireo White-faced Ibis White-tailed Hawk White-tailed Kite White-throated Sparrow White-wing Dove Willow's Flycatcher Wilson's Warbler Winter Wren Worm-eating Warbler Yellow Warbler Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Yellow-billed Cuckoo Yellow-brested Chat Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Yellow-rumped Warbler Yellow-throated Vireo
  32. 32. Start In Your Own Backyard! Food  Bird feeders & plants around your yard that offer fruits, seeds and habitat .  Black oil sunflower seed - To attract a diverse group of birds to your feeder, including chickadees, nuthatches, finches, cardinals and jays.  Suet (wintertime)- To attract insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches.  Peanuts – Blue jays!  Add plants to add to your landscape!
  33. 33. Things To Remember About Feeders  Birds need an escape route, so make sure you place the feeder near shrubs or evergreen trees so they can make a quick get-away. Woody plants with thorns are helpful to birds because they provide refuge from predators such as house cats. This can also help keep the feeders out of the rain and food dry.  Keep your feeders clean to prevent diseases and deter pests. Disinfect occasionally with one part chlorine bleach and nine parts lukewarm water and dry thoroughly before refilling.  Once you start to provide food for birds, continue throughout the cold season. It's best to provide only one type of food per feeder. Birds feeding at feeders with mixed seed discard the seeds they do not want while selecting their favorites.  Do not feed birds spoiled leftovers, salty snack foods or sugary cereals.  Cornell Lab Bird Feeder
  34. 34. Start In Your Own Backyard Shelter  Shelter can be provided in many ways, including bird houses or nest boxes (beginning of the year)  Choosing a bird house will depend on your goal. Do you want a great looking garden ornament or are you looking to attract a certain type of bird? One other way to provide shelter is with the types of trees and shrubs in your yard.
  35. 35. Things To Remember About Birdhouses  Face the entrance hole to the north or east to prevent the birds from overheating if summers are hot in your area.  Mount bird houses on poles or posts rather than nailing them to trees or hanging them from limbs, making them less vulnerable to predators.  Don't put bird houses next to bird feeders.  Clean your bird house yearly.
  36. 36. Start In Your Own Backyard Water  Water can make a difference to the number of birds visiting your feeders. If birds must fly long distances to find water in the winter, they may choose to stay near their water source rather than coming back to your feeder.  Circulating or moving water is more attractive to birds than stagnant water.  The easiest way to provide water is by maintaining your bird bath year round.
  37. 37. Where To Go in Houston? Houston Area Spring Bird Walks - All of these events are open to the general public and are free. Wednesday Bird Walks at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary Herman Brown Park Bird Walks Jesse Jones Park & Nature Center Call 281-446-8588 to make reservations for above events that require reservations.
  38. 38. Where To Go Next On The Gulf Coast?
  39. 39. Useful Websites/Resources Texas Ornithological Society - http://www.texasbirds.org/ National Audubon Society - http://www.audubon.org/ American Birding Association - http://www.americanbirding.org/ American Bird Conservancy http://www.abcbirds.org/ World Birding Center - http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/worldbirdingcenter/ Bird Links to the World (Texas) http://www.bsc-eoc.org/links/links.jsp?page=l_usa_tx Houston Audubon Society - http://www.houstonaudubon.org/ Outdoor Nature Club - http://www.texasbirding.net/hog/ USGS - http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/infocenter.html Enature - http://enature.com/birding/birding_home.asp Saturday Edition of the Houston Chronicle, Star Section, “Wonders of Nature” TEXBIRDS listserv - http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/texbirds.html http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/
  40. 40. Songs http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/