The Falcon Thief: A Book Review

10,000 Birds

It didn’t occur to me till I started reading The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird that there was also a possible threat to the eagle herself: poachers, who steal raptor eggs and chicks. The Falcon Thief has come along at a good time.

Here’s the new bird family tree. It’s amazing.

10,000 Birds

’s bird family tree in a new tab and follow along as you read. “New World” vultures (in scare quotes because they have fossil relatives from the Old World) and hawks (including Osprey and Secretarybird but, importantly, not falcons) are sister taxa and split off from other members of the Afroaves clade early on. shocked everyone with a suggestion that passerines were most closely related not to woodpeckers and kingfishers but to parrots, falcons, and seriemas.

2014 87

Quinta do Casal Branco: Lobo e Falcão Reserva (2016)

10,000 Birds

A falconer and his bird from the Mosaico de Cavaleiro in Mértola, possibly the oldest depiction of falconry in Iberia. Colorful birds adorn many of the pages of the so-called Cervera Bible and several captivating miniatures portray hunting scenes with falcons. In English, the plays of William Shakespeare abound with the language of the falconer. Quinta do Casal Branco has been in the family of winemaker José Lobo de Vasconcelos for over two centuries, since 1775.

2019 45

Backyard Birdfeeder Bragging Rights, a Great Adventure for a Great Twitch, and More: This Week in Birding News

10,000 Birds

Let us no more speak of this week’s extraordinary failure by a cast of Falcons to finish off their prey. This lucky youngster from Massachusetts has almost 300 ticks, but just added his favorite— a Great Gray Owl his supportive family drove hundreds of miles to glimpse. News Allen’s Hummingbird Atlanta Falcons Avian Influenza backyard birds bird feeders Bird Flu Brood Parasitism eBird eggs Great Gray Owl poultry Project FeederWatch Super Bowl woodpeckers

2017 40

Great Kestrel Count 2011

10,000 Birds

Those bigger birds of prey command respect, but it’s not like falcons are unknown. Even outside of Atlanta , Peregrine Falcons spend their breeding seasons smiling for the ( web ) camera from atop edifices all across the country. But ask the average Joe if he’s ever seen a tiny blue-and-orange falcon and you’re likely to get laughed at. Birding bird count falcons kestrelKestrels may be the coolest raptors nobody knows of.

2011 55

Songbird-parrot link strengthened in new study, with implications for vocal learning

10,000 Birds

Last month, I wrote about hypothesized relationships between passerines, parrots, falcons, and seriemas , noting a need for further research on the subject. found support for several major clades of birds on which scientists have reached agreement in recent years, and they also found seven retroposons unique to a clade containing falcons, parrots, and passerines but absent in groups traditionally thought to be more closely related to them (hawks, woodpeckers, etc.).

What’s in a Name: Northern Goshawk

10,000 Birds

Since we’ve covered some generalities already, once a month I’ll be exploring how a species, genus, or family of birds got its name, and how those names fit in with our larger understanding of, and relationship with, birds. Some people do think the Northern Goshawk is undignified, at least compared to the falcons, as I learned while reading the excellent memoir H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

2015 79

Grouse in PA, Grouse in Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

Groups them by family too and by their shape” His extra long arm extended and passed me that precious book. Competing with well adapted tinamous would have always been tough, the same goes for a related yet separate family of very grouse-like birds; the New World Quails.

Keeping Cool in Tierra Caliente, part 2

10,000 Birds

Here in Michoacán, we have four different species from the Myiarchus genus of the Tyrant-Flycatcher family. It isn’t often that a single outing of mine yields enough photos for two weeks’ posts. But last Wednesday at 1 a.m.,

Backyard Beneficiaries

10,000 Birds

The provision of housing and food is most gratifying, I have successfully spread this joy to one of my three neighbors, who now gleefully sends me pictures of the Cocoa Thrush family on his front porch, and Green Iguanas lounging in his avocado tree.

Grifalco: Aglianico del Vulture “Gricos” (2016)

10,000 Birds

The Gyrfalcon ( Falco rusticolus ), the largest falcon in the world, is as sought after by falconers as it is by birders – and for many of the same reasons: namely, the rarity with which these imposing raptors of the Arctic visit us residing in more temperate climes. But we can imagine that at some point – at least within Frederick’s Sicilian realm – both Arctic falcon and Mediterranean wine were unlikely companions at court (and perhaps in the field, as well).

2019 40

Corporate Branding of Birds for Conservation: A Modest Proposal

10,000 Birds

” Glancing at the man who’d interrupted, I remembered exactly how his family first made their money and decided to move ahead quickly. “We’ll take the Peregrine Falcon ,” at least seven voices said at once. ” But the others were back to talking over each other, and me, and mostly what they were saying was Peregrine Falcon, Peregrine Falcon. “The Peregrine Falcon isn’t even that rare anymore!”

2019 52

Best Bird of the Weekend (Second Weekend of 2011)

10,000 Birds

Sure, I’m likely omitting some other far more important factors involving family, friends, and professional success, but the little things mean a lot. As promised, I watched Falcons get plucked, pinioned, and debeaked this weekend. Note that I only condone this treatment for the highly localized Atlanta Falcon. Just two weekends into 2012, I already love this year.

Wakkerstroom, South Africa: It’s a Lark

10,000 Birds

On the drive I had picked up the flamboyant Red-collared and Long-tailed Widowbirds , extraordinary members of the weaver family who’s ridiculous tails make them easy to spot even from a moving car. Longclaws are African members of the pipit and wagtail family, and unlike the rest of the family they have gorgeously-coloured throats. Doing so found us an African Grassbird , a scruffy but attractive member of the African warbler family. Amur Falcons are ubiquitous.

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America & Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America: A Field Guide Review

10,000 Birds

He became the social media hit of the day: “A Peregrine Falcon in Forest Hills!” ” I was puzzled by what seemed like a universal lack of knowledge about hawks and falcons.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of July 2017)

10,000 Birds

My family and I enjoyed the Corn Hill Festival this weekend, which is definitely one of Rochester’s better events. As a bonus, I spotted one of our resident city Peregrine Falcons soaring along the Genesee River. Summer means different things to different communities across the world. The closer to the poles you live, the more likely you lustily embrace this season. Around here, summer features festivals pretty much every single weekend.

2017 40

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, Second Edition: A Field Guide Review

10,000 Birds

And, the One-page Index, a quick reference to locating major bird families, is placed in two locations–the front and the back of the book. Then again, try explaining to a new birder why falcons come after woodpeckers and before parrots!

Urban Renewal: Is It Safer for Songbirds in the City?

10,000 Birds

This may help songbirds successfully raise their families without worrying about invaders. This part of the theory doesn’t entirely jibe with the growing numbers of, say, Peregrine Falcons that make skyscrapers and urban bridges their home, but it’s interesting to contemplate nonetheless. That’s what a group of researchers suggest in a paper recently published in Behavioral Ecology. Songbirds may congregate in urban areas more than you’d expect.

2016 40

Fall Hawk Migration Hotspots

10,000 Birds

Peregrine Falcon. The STK families will be departing the panhandle of Florida, with flights possibly hugging the Gulf coastline. You’ll have to catch the Harris family when their flights leave from south central Texas and southern Arizona. Our favorite birds of prey fly south. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird. I would fly about the earth. seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot).

2018 66

National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, 2nd Edition: A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Twelve family accounts have been added. It is 72 pages longer than the first edition. An undisclosed number of family and species accounts have been updated. It is noted on the “Contributors” page that most of these authors wrote entries for the first edition, and that new species and family accounts were written by Brinkley, Garrett and Hess, with additional updating of first edition accounts by the editors.

The first Pied Oystercatcher chicks of 2018

10,000 Birds

Sadly the outcome from here is often chick loss from predation, but for now we will enjoy observing the two families of Pied Oystercatchers as they wander the dunes and come down to the ocean to feed when there are less people around. Pied Oystercatcher family wandering the dunes. Our first encounter with this family this week was one of our favourites. Pied Oystercatcher family tracks.

2018 40

Into the Nest: A Book Review in the Time of Nesting

10,000 Birds

I’m happy to say that Laura Erickson and Marie Read have written a book, Into the Nest: Intimate Views of the Courting, Parenting, and Family Lives of Familiar Birds , that is not too cute and that does not anthropomorphize. She does, and her narrative serves as a role model for how to write about birds simply and knowledgeably; informing birds’ family stories with scientific facts and research findings. Peregrine Falcon nests.

2015 83

Searching for Shorebirds on the East Pond of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

10,000 Birds

This year, what with family plans and other commitments, I didn’t get out on the pond until later than usual but it was worth the wait. Of course, no visit to the East Pond would be complete without at least one attack by a Peregrine Falcon , just to make everything flush and force you to start scanning over again. I just wish I knew how this chase ended: the Greater Yellowlegs made some slick moves but the falcon stayed right with it until they both were out of sight.

2015 56

Best Bird of the Weekend (Last of July 2012)

10,000 Birds

My family and I have taken our show to the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. We haven’t seen many birds yet, but did enjoy the sight of a juvenile Peregrine Falcon unruffled by a mob of belligerent Blue Jays. The month of July is drawing to a close, so prepare yourself for the inevitable chorus expressing surprise, chagrin, and dismay at the imminent end of summer. Do folks on the southern side of the globe, I wonder, do the same thing around the end of January?

2012 55

Raptors of Mexico and Central America: A Book Review

10,000 Birds

The guide presents 69 species and 1 subspecies, from “NEW WORLD VULTURES: Cathartiformes” to “OSPREY: Pandioninae” to “FAMILY: Accipitridae” (Kites, Hawks, Eagles, Hawk-Eagles), to “FALONIDS: Falconidae” (Falcons, Forest-Falcons, Caracaras, Kestrels, Merlin). I am guessing that the term ‘raptor’ is used in the title to denote wider coverage than ‘hawk,’ which is sometimes limited in common usage to hawks and eagles, leaving out falcons, New World vultures, and Osprey.

2017 49

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: A Review of the New Sibley Book

10,000 Birds

They portray the nesting cycles of Mallard, Red-tailed Hawk, and American Robin, illustrating the various ways in which birds create families. Do they have families too and do they take care of them?

2020 80

E.Z. Orchards: Hawk Haus Cider

10,000 Birds

Orchards would be as surprised as many of us were to learn that falcons are more closely related to parrots than they are to the superficially similar raptors of the family Accipitridae. It’s hard to believe that here in the northeastern United States, we’re only two or three weeks away from the peak of spring migration.

2018 40

Six Months Birding in Costa Rica, 620 Species of Birds

10,000 Birds

Snowcap and White-tipped Sicklebill – Choice hummingbirds in a speciose, fantastic family of birds. Other uncommon birds for our 2019 list have included the likes of Marbled Wood-Quail, Spot-bellied Bobwhite, Barred Forest-Falcon, Lattice-tailed Trogon, White-flanked Antwren, Turquoise and Snowy Cotingas, Bare-crowned Antbird, and the endemic Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow. Growing up in Niagara Falls, New York, June was a celebration of summer.

2019 61

But…It’s a Canada Goose?

10,000 Birds

The bird family that got his attention was originally the herons, egrets and other wading birds, but as time went on New World warblers, woodpeckers and ducks fueled the passion further. Luis Gonzalez is a Miami resident and IT major who was originally born and raised in Cuba.

Birdless Pain at Ross Coastal Plain

10,000 Birds

My family and I are enjoying our week in a beautiful house in the St. Since the coast is so quiet, apart from Ring-billed Gulls , American Goldfinches , Song Sparrows , Northern Cardinals , Blue Jays , and the rare falcon or cormorant, Seth and I decided to see if birds were hiding out in the woods. To anyone considering spending time on the serene summer shores of Lake Michigan, I applaud your discerning taste.

2012 55

Restore the West Pond!

10,000 Birds

I have taken friends birding there, I have taken my family birding there, I have met total strangers at Jamaica Bay and birded with them. Heck, even non-birders can be impressed by a flock of shorebirds evading a Peregrine Falcon , an Osprey returning to its nest with a fish, an American Oystercatcher showing off its impressive carrot-like bill. Those of you who visit this blog on more than the rare occasion are probably aware that I live in Queens and love living and birding here.

2014 56

The Birding Rally Challenge Peru 2012

10,000 Birds

The Peru Birding Rally Challenge is a joint initiative between PromPeru and the Inkaterra Family of hotels. the Forest Falcons – UK. A huge surprise was the addition of an entirely new species for Peru, a Black Swift , found by the Forest Falcons team. They beat the Forest Falcons of the UK by a measly three species in what was a tight race right up until the dying minutes on the final day. What if there was an international multi-day Birding competition?

Peru 66

California Quail, The California State Bird: Now Forming Coveys

10,000 Birds

They are part of a family of New World Quail which includes Gambel’s, Mountain, Scaled and Montezuma Quail, as well as the Northern Bobwhite. The family stays very close to cover for several weeks, getting bolder as the young develop. The family group pictured below has been visiting my yard recently. In the group photo taken four days later of the family in the video, the chicks are completely feathered, leading me to believe it is a different family.

Birds at Rockaway Beach

10,000 Birds

I’m much less embarrassed by this Gull-billed Tern shot because, despite the family that has been hanging out for weeks this summer on the East Pond of Jamaica Bay, they are usually tough to find in Queens. Then I saw this Peregrine Falcon. It has to be a faux pas for a falcon to flinch when a skimmer skims it. I spent the early morning hours the last two days on the beach in the eastern Rockaways, taking advantage of slanted light and cooperative birds.

2015 59

Birds of Bolivia: Field Guide–A Book Review

10,000 Birds

Jon Fjeldså’s contributions include many of the ducks, yellow-finches, and many other families where his images of Birds of the High Andes could be used. This unfortunately happens with the large Tanager (Thraupidae) family here.

Birding Adventure in Mexico Part II: Durango Highway

10,000 Birds

This is where Gila Woodpecker and Yellow-breasted Chat meet Squirrel Cuckoo , Bat Falcon , and Black-throated Magpie-Jay. In the mean time, a family group of Black-throated Magpie-Jays were frolicking in the breeze high over the dry valley, showing off their exorbitantly long tail streamers. It did not take long before we had a family group of Tufted Jays right by the side of the road (KM 216) and an uncommon Gray-collared Becard at the same spot.

2015 60

What is Mexico’s National Bird?

10,000 Birds

Crested Caracaras, though they often associate with vultures, are actually part of the falcon family. One of the most impressive birds in North America is the Golden Eagle. It is found as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mexico, taking its place as one of Mexico’s official symbols.

Caribbean Lowland Birding at Ara Ambigua Lodge, Costa Rica

10,000 Birds

In Costa Rica, even the super shy Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon is seen more often than the island pigeon with the snow-white cap. Owned and run by a local family, they treated us very well, even making sure that we had coffee by 4:30 in the morning. The Bat Falcon that joined us for breakfast. . As with peninsulas and places situated on an isthmus, Costa Rica has more than one coast.

Plugging Kids Into Birding

10,000 Birds

Astounding because she picked up birding before she could speak and surprising because this ability was definitely not inherited from anyone in my family, myself included. Thankfully there are several really excellent family board games that you can play as a whole family. Also Audubon Guides has some of the very best apps for family birding excursions (check out their Ultimate Nature Series, an excellent resource for regional birding in the United States).

2011 84

Birding in Honduras, Part I: Highlands

10,000 Birds

Many Neotropical families and genera have some of their northernmost members here, such as the spinetails ( Rufous-breasted Spinetail ), Tangara tanagers ( Azure-rumped Tanager ), and guans ( Horned Guan ). Many Nearctic species and families reach their southern terminus in the Northern Central American Highlands, such as Common Raven , Red Crossbill , Steller’s Jay , and even Brown Creeper.

Shorebirds on the East Pond of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

10,000 Birds

But, you know, job, family, and all the other responsibilities of being a social animal means that, at best, I get out onto the East Pond once a week to see what shorebirds are stopping over on their way to their wintering grounds. Shorebirds are shorebirds and even when a jaw-dropping rarity does not appear it is still nice to see flocks of peeps evading a Merlin or a Peregrine Falcon , the feeding strategies of different species, and the gorgeous plumage of the juveniles.

The the mid year winners are….

10,000 Birds

I happen to think the Crested Cara cara is one of the most beautiful birds in the falcon family. They stay here in Mexico despite the heat, and raise their families. I have always considered it a true honor to be allowed to join this amazing team of writers, scientists and bird enthusiasts. I feel that the real skill that I bring to the group is in my photography, and some what less, my writing skills.

2017 40

What is a Jackbird?

10,000 Birds

One website I found suggested a few others that may be true but I hadn’t encountered before, are young cranes actually called colts, or falcons eyas? The saddlebacks are both members of the of the New Zealand wattlebird family, which includes the two kokako (one extinct and one… probably extinct) and the sadly lost Huia.

2016 40