Thursday, February 25, 2016

bird news

Just two bits of information to share, both of which came to me (appropriately, now that I think of it) as twitter "tweets."

First: one of the Great Horned Owls has hatched! Here's an owlcam image of mama and the youngster, posted by @SavannahOwls earlier today.

please left-click to embiggen!

We're looking down at the top of Mama's head, and she is looking down at the baby, whose little round white fuzzy head is peeking out right above Mama's feathered toes. You can even make out the baby's beak with the egg tooth - pretty sweet!
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Second (and you are going to love this): the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been building an online Feather Atlas for North American birds.

(screenshot from USFWS Feather Atlas)

This makes so much sense, I can hardly believe it didn't already exist! Maybe something similar is already available in other countries? Perhaps in Britain, where birdwatching (or "twitching") seems to have a long history as a national past-time?

(Screenshot from Atlas)

As someone who often picks up a feather and thinks, "Ooh, it's from a hawk! Or...an owl! Or...a duck?" I think this online atlas with it's user-friendly identification tools may be very useful!
~~~~~

6 comments:

  1. A feather atlas...I wonder why nobody thought of this before. It's even better that it's online for anyone to use. And little owlet...yay!

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  2. I saw this new owlet too!! Tonight I was actually just watching mama owl gulping down a swamp rat (blech). I find it amazing that the owlets eat raw meat as soon as they are hatched. This feather directory is a great idea. I feel the same when I find a feather and just assume it's from an owl or eagle, but in reality it's probably just a roughed grouse or turkey :( Thanks for sharing this info Quinn!
    Wendy

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  3. Cute photo!
    I haven't seen the in owlet yet. I the mom adjusting in the nest more. She's clicking her beak at the moment. I thought it was a oodpecker.
    Berry College eagle cam, has two eaglets in the nest.

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  4. I cannot believe the owl hatched already. I am always amazed at how early owls and eagles have their young. What a cute photo!

    And I love the feather atlas. I have a bunch of feathers around here that I've picked up in the forest. Now maybe I can figure out who dropped them!

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    Replies
    1. And now the second chick has hatched!

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