Book Review: Bird Behavior by John Kricher

By Adrian Binns | September 25, 2020

Birds are fascinating, and they are found everywhere. No matter where you go, you will most likely find a bird. The more we look, the more we see. We start to notice not only a bird’s physicality (color, shape, size, etc.), but movements and behaviors. The diversity of species and individual behaviors is vast, and…

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ELEPHANT DEATHS CAUSE DETERMINED

By Adrian Binns | September 22, 2020

Elephants, intelligent and powerful giants of Africa, have been much in the news this year. Sadly, most of it has not been good. In May, we learned of the mysterious death of 169 elephants at numerous pans (watering holes) in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. By August, the death toll had reached 330, and conservationists…

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CALIFORNIA CONDOR VIRTUAL PUBLIC RELEASE Sept 26

By Adrian Binns | September 20, 2020

We are delighted to learn that the 25th annual California Condor release in Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona, will be broadcast virtually on September 26. Though the public cannot be on-site due to covid-19, the event will go on, and everyone is invited to watch via The Peregrine Fund’s YouTube channel The Peregrine Fund, in collaboration with many…

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IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia early-September

By Adrian Binns | September 18, 2020

September is peak time for many of our breeding warblers to pass through the Philadelphia area.  On the back of a several days with north winds, we witnessed a feeding frenzy on the 15th with 9 warbler species –  Black-and-white, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Cape May, American Redstart and Northern Parula, all…

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IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia late-August

By Adrian Binns | August 31, 2020

It’s the end of summer, and birds are done nesting in my suburban-Philadelphia backyard. Gape-mouthed fledglings have been replaced by a sometimes-motley assortment of birds whose patterns, colors, and textures catch the eye for various reasons. There is nothing wrong with this Northern Cardinal – it’s just molting! (And is one of the scruffiest-looking that…

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Sunrises and Sunsets

By Adrian Binns | August 23, 2020

Sunrises and sunsets are beautiful all year long, but summer is an especially relaxing season to enjoy the first and last rays of the day. Birders and photographers well understand the rewards of getting out early and staying out late to catch unique moments in nature. Silhouettes emerge from burnt-orange palettes; shapes shimmer in soft tones;…

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Surrounded by Superb Starlings

By Adrian Binns | August 19, 2020

If you’ve walked in your local park or green space anywhere in the US, no doubt you’ve seen a European Starling (or dozens). They are abundant, widespread, and often derided as an aggressive, non-native species. Look closely and you’ll see they are quite stunning with dark, glossy, iridescent green and purple feathers, white spots and…

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IN THE BACKYARD : Philadelphia early-August

By Adrian Binns | August 16, 2020

August is barely half over, but it’s already been a busy month in our metro-Philadelphia backyard. It’s wonderful to see birds take full advantage of the summer smorgasbord available in the garden. Black-eyed susans and purple coneflowers flowers provide fresh feed source to canary-yellow American Goldfinches. They are the last of our resident birds to…

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Are Birds Left-handed?

By Adrian Binns | August 13, 2020

In honor of National Left Handed Day (August 13), it seems fitting to profile a “left-handed” bird! Of course birds don’t have hands, but studies have shown that Australian parrots prefer to use their left foot and left eye for grasping objects and coordinating activities. Apparently the majority of Australia’s Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Glossy Black…

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Kingfishers of the Americas

By Adrian Binns | August 9, 2020

Kingfishers are among the most compelling birds – flying fast and straight down waterways, rattling loudly along the way, and diving for fish with expert precision and speed. Actually, most of the world’s kingfishers, ~100 species, are not water-based at all. But here I’ll highlight the six species of kingfisher found in the Americas – all…

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Big Bold Birds of the Pantanal

By Adrian Binns | August 6, 2020

It’s August, the time of year when I would usually be in Brazil exploring the Pantanal – the largest freshwater wetlands in the world. The Covid pandemic has thwarted travels, but not dreams or memories of some of the wonders of this outstanding destination. I’ll share highlights of some big, bold birds of the Pantanal.…

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Secretive Heron of the Gallery Forest

By Adrian Binns | August 4, 2020

Herons, egrets, and storks are always fun birds to observe and photograph. They often congregate together, stalking open wetlands or marshes, hunting patiently for fish or invertebrates in waterways. One special wading bird species requires more planning and patience to observe than most: the reclusive, solitary Agami Heron. This medium-sized heron is notoriously difficult to…

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