Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#71 What's in a Name? Booby

Boobies are pelagic seabirds associated with tropical warm waters. There are several species, that can be found within United States waters - Masked, Blue-footed, Red-footed and Brown, which has yellow feet.

We recently had a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster along the New Jersey coast, this being well north of its range.

The name Booby comes from the Spanish "bobo" for stupid. On the nesting grounds boobies were considered stupid or "boobies" for acting / walking awkwardly on land, as well as for just hanging around when sailors came to harvest them for food.

The scientific name Sula comes from the Icelandic for foolish or awkward person, while leucogaster is from the Greek "leukos" for the color white and "gaster" meaning belly, as noted on the adult Brown Booby.
photo © adrian binns

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#70 Keeping an Eye On....... Cooper's Hawk

I have watched birds scatter in all directions from my feeders as soon as one of them gives the alarm. Danger is in the air, and more often than not I find the culprit to be a Cooper's Hawk.

It is perfectly natural to have a predator such as a Cooper's stalk your feeders. Their long tails are adapted for maneuverability amongst trees and shrubs as they chase smaller birds.

While we do not like to see a finch, sparrow or dove succumb to a raptor, it is a fascinating part of nature that we may be fortunate enough to witness.
photo © adrian binns

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#69 Conservation Tip: Every Bean Counts

Every bean matters in our coffee-consuming culture. Shade grown coffee benefits birds and people far more than coffee grown in treeless, sunburned plantations.

The key message of this java jive is that shade grown coffee helps the long-term survival of neo-tropical migrants throughout central and south America.  Passerines, including endangered Golden-winged Warblers and Baltimore Orioles, need trees to survive, and without economic incentive for farmers to grow coffee under the canopy, our feathered friends may be doomed.

Buy shade grown coffee today, for your own caffeine fix, or as gifts for friends!  It's easier than ever to find shade grown coffee available from local retailers or nature centers.
photo © adrian binns

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#68 Backyard Tip: Bins in the Kitchen

Some of the most enjoyable birding occurs right in my kitchen!  My backyard feeding station is close enough to see the birds well through the window, but occasionally I want a better look at an individual in action.

It's best to keep binoculars and field guide handy, to take advantage of any unexpected sightings when you want a closer look.  A pair of handy binoculars enabled me to pick-out a Clay-colored Sparrow last autumn, amongst a group of Chipping Sparrows.

Caution: Grease and food particles build up quickly in kitchens - keep optics in a safe, dry place to protect them!
photo © adrian binns