Question: Why do kingbirds barf?
That's right: Kingbirds find it impossible to digest the husky exoskeletons of the insects they feed on. It takes a kingbird three seconds to vomit up the buggy remains: two to look around and see if anyone's watching, and one to aim properly for their target of a fellow rival kingbird or idiotic birder watching them. The real impressive ones can fling an exoskeleton a couple feet.
Question: What's causing all the excessive damage to my sunflower leaves?
Goldfinches need their greens too. A lesser known garden tip is to leave out lettuce for vegetable-hungry Americans.
American Goldfinches, of course. That's definitely what I meant.
Question: I saw a warbler drinking nectar. Is this normal?
Just like hummingbirds go on insect raids like wannabe warblers, warblers do the vice versa. And who can blame them? If I ate insects all day, I would probably want to become a hummingbird too.
Many unexpectedly sweet birds, whether it's sap-sucking woodpeckers or shy grosbeaks, have a taste for sugar, so don't be surprised if you catch one sneaking a sip at your nectar feeders!
Fun Fact: Orioles are mainly insect-eaters, but a lot of birders will tell you that they feast mainly on fruit. I blame the oriole feeders.
Vortex: Do birds experience parallel universes?
Something's fishy about this Red Turtle-dove standing on this apartment roof. Maybe it's the oddly placed coat hanger. Or maybe it's the fact that the apartment looks like it was painted by Picasso, with everything shifting in three different directions. It doesn't matter: either way, it looks like this poor unsuspecting dove is seconds away from being hurtled into a parallel universe.
Mystery Bird question of the month
Whatever your first thoughts of what this was were, they probably weren't "Common Gallinule" which is exactly what this is. God knows what the sneaky little bugger is planning in this eucalyptus bramble. Either way, it doesn't want to be seen by the other gallinules, wherever in the forest they are.*
Question: Who thought it would be a good idea to introduce House Sparrows?
A lot of people, apparently, since they were released several times.
What do two birds of different species think when they meet each other eye to eye? Well, now we know. Maybe birders aren't alone in the universal hatred of House Sparrows.
House Sparrows and humans go a long way back. They were first released by a bunch o' bozos who thought the good cities of America needed some cheering up with the lively jive of HOSPs.
Just when things are looking mighty stupid, remember that it could have been worse. It's widely purported that the European Starling, an even more destructive bird, was released by some corny sucker who thought that the New World needed all of the birds that Shakespeare had mentioned in his plays. You never quite read Shakespeare the same way again, after you know he indirectly launched a plague that nearly pushed many species, such as our lovely "All-American" bluebirds, out the door.
It's also a little know fact that Loggerhead Shrikes, which are in a precipitous decline today, were shot in good numbers back in the good 'ol days to protect the newly introduced House Sparrows.
Did you know? A few of the introduced species in Hawaii, like the Northern Cardinal, were released by homesick men who needed something to remind them of the lower 48 U.S. where they came from.
Grebes are absolute loonatics, and loons are an e-grebe-ios lot. The minute you take their eyes off them, they become little Grebeman U-35 submarines and Loon Ness Grebesters. So, for grebes and loons to adapt to the lifestyle of extreme marine mastery, their wimpy little feet moved further backwards and they found it consequently much harder to take off.
Not to be confused with the humbly-dumbly of Cassin's Auklets. Temporarily disabled by their gluttony, fat Cassin's Auklets that have gorged a little bit too much for their own good find it impossible to take off.
Question: Are smaller raptors scared of bigger ones?
This Red-tailed Hawk is no buts about this Golden Eagle getting too close to its lawn. Or, his dead brown grassy expanse, considering this is taken in California.
Of course, not all raptors display such mutual daring. You don't want to touch Great Horned Owls, not if you're a Golden Eagle or a Red-tailed Hawk or even another Great Horned Owls No one messes with them. They take out ospreys, falcons, and other various assorted raptors.
Even your small dog, too, so NO --- that isn't just a myth! Keep an eye on your pups.
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*Not factual information. Gallinules prefer swampy marshes and the sort, not forest.