Eastern Whip-poor-will, and
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|Blue Ridge Young Birders Club||
Nightjars are most active at dawn and dusk when they hunt for moths, beetles and crane flies. They demonstrate astonishing aerial agility as they execute rapid twists and turns in pursuit of their prey. Due to their nocturnal lifestyle Nightjar behaviour remains for the most part a mystery to science.
Eastern Whip-poor-will, and
One of the significant effects of climate change is its impact on the blooming time of flowers and the resulting impact on the feeding behaviour of migrating and residential birds.
Hummingbirds rely on nectar for up to 90% of their diet and rely heavily on the timing of nectar blooms during their breeding season. Audubon's Hummingbirds at Home program was designed to mobilize citizen scientists across the US to bolster current research by documenting the feeding patterns of hummingbirds. We encourage birders across the nation to participate in this important program to help scientists gather the necessary data in order to implement an effective conservation plan. Below we have two introductory videos about the Hummingbirds at Home project, followed by a full length documentary about the nature of Hummingbirds. Won't you join in the conservation effort to help protect these magnificent creatures? Check out Hummingbirds.net for more information about Hummingbirds, a map with first sighting reports, and how to attract them to your yard.
Bird Behaviour is a critical component of bird identification because like size and shape it remains consistent and unchanging within a species. For identification purposes we focus on behaviours that are consistent throughout the year. These are posture, foraging and flight style. This Cornel Lab of Ornithology video shares some key insights to help us learn more about identifying birds through behaviour.
This is a great beginners video guide to identifying birds by size and shape. This team from Cornell University lab of Ornithology takes you out into the field helping you make comparisons and sharing key species features to help you develop your identification skills.
Today we are going to explore characteristics of feathers and how they are unique to birds, distinguishing them for other living beings. We will provide a link to an interactive lesson from Cornell's University All About Birds Lab, where we discover the unique characteristics about feathers and how they help one identify the species of bird. Next we have three videos exploring bird evolution, and how birds fly. First a short video discussing how birds evolved from reptiles with the development of feathers, allowing them to fly out of reach from predators. Second, is a film about how birds fly, and finally, we offer the full length PBS David Attenborough feature episode #1 of The Life of Birds: To Fly or Not to Fly.
Bluebird Trial Monitoring has had a major impact in the recovery of the Eastern Blue, with citizen scientists of all ages aiding in the conservation project. From 1920-1970 there was a major decline in the Bluebird population. The bluebird went from being as common as the robin, to being so rare that birders were sure of its inevitable extinction. There were many reasons for the decline, including loss of habitat, pesticide use, weather changes, snag (dead tree) removal, and an influx of house cats. However, the main reason for the population decline was the introduction of the House Sparrow and the European Starling into America, both cavity nesters, both extremely competitive and aggressive.
Bluebird societies were established on the state level to help recreate habitat for these secondary cavity nesters, and through care and monitoring the population of Bluebirds has steadily increased. The Virginia Bluebird Society collects the data submitted by the county coordinators. Their website has invaluable information about Bluebirds and how to establish a trail of your own and submit data to your own county coordinator. The Blue Ridge Young Birders are proud to have their own BRYBC Bluebird Project and to be monitoring trails in both the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
The video below is a compilation of Bluebird videos found on youtube, the first section is produced by Audubon North Carolina and the second part of the video is of a webcam inside a Bluebird nestbox showing the chicks from hatchlings to fledging.
The James River near Richmond, Virginia has a large diversity of birds and one of the highest populations of Bald Eagles. This video explores some the birds in the area.
As young birders we learn about the need for habitat protection and restoration. The rapid destruction of earth's wild places is alarming and sad, but all is not hopeless. This video is a clear and dramatic demonstration of the interconnectedness and importance of biodiversity. It teaches us that simple measures can have impact beyond our wildest dreams. Watch this video and learn how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park helped to revitalize the forests, change the course of the rivers and brought back the birds once lost to this region.
We hope this blog of nature articles and videos serves as inspiration for your own exploration of wild birds and the diverse habitats in which they live.