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Title: Sharing the Wonder of Birds


1
Sharing the Wonder of Birds
A Companion Guide to the Bird Lessons and
Activities in Our Shared Forests
  • by
  • Georgann Schmalz
  • Birding Adventures, Inc.

2
Sharing the Wonder of Birds
  • Birds have always been of great interest to
    people. We share their beauty and wonder in our
    culture, art, literature, religion, music and
    folklore.
  • Learning about them can help to reinforce this
    connection and inspire us to protect their
    habitats and our environment.

3
This companion guide to the bird lessons and
activities found in Our Shared Forests presents
information about the natural
history of birds in A
Birds World the techniques of
bird identification in
What Bird is it?
the ways you can help birds in
Why Birds Matter
4
A Birds World
  • Birds live throughout every continent on
    earth. from the Arctic to the Antarctic. They
    occupy habitats from the cold mountain tops to
    the gentle prairies, from misty rain forests to
    parched deserts.
  • There are more species of birds living in
    tropical rain forests than any other area. The
    farther one travels away from the equator, the
    fewer species there are.

5
Many birds, such as shorebirds, are able to
travel and live world-wide migrating the entire
coastal areas of the entire Western Hemisphere.
Other birds are restricted to living in a small
area within a specific habitat such as the
colorful parrots in the tropics or the penguins
in the Antarctic. No matter what species, each
bird has adaptations, both physical and
behavioral, that suit it to a particular life
style in its world.
6
What is a bird? Birds
are placed in the class of animals called Aves.
Feathers are their only unique feature, but we
recognize birds because they build nests, lay
eggs, fly, sing and have beaks, wings, and tails.
Learning about their characteristics and how to
identify them is in Part 2 of this
presentation. Part 3 deals with the hazards
birds face and what can be done to help them.
7
  • Birds are placed into groups called orders. By
    studying their similarities and differences, we
    can learn about their characteristics and
    behaviors.
  • Waterfowl
  • Chickens
  • Shorebirds
  • Raptors
  • Wading Birds
  • Marsh Birds
  • Pigeons and Doves
  • Owls
  • Hummingbirds
  • Woodpeckers
  • Songbirds

8
Part 1 A Birds World Eggs Nests Hatching Nest
lings Migration Songs Territories
9
All birds develop from an egg or ovum. A birds
ovary may contain 25,000 ova but no more
than about 50 will mature in a birds lifetime.
The Egg
.
The ovum is the yolk or what we normally call
an egg.
Ovum
10
It takes about 24 hours for the ovum to travel
from the ovary through the oviduct and cloaca.
Along the way it gathers its soft membranes,
albumen (egg white) and hard shell.
Albumen here
Egg shell here
11
Inside an Egg
  • Albumen is the
  • egg white.
  • Germinal spot
  • is the beginning of
  • the embryo.
  • Chalaza is a protein
  • string that twists
  • to keep the germinal
  • spot on top.
  • Yolk is the source of
  • food for the embryo.
  • Air Sac provides air
  • before hatching.

12
Egg Colors
Eggs come in a variety of colors. Pigment glands
in the oviduct deposit colors as the egg passes
through it.
13
Egg Color Egg coloring is controlled to a large
extent by genetics and is typical of a species.
All robins, for example, lay blue eggs without
markings.
14
Egg Shapes
Eggs can be oval, round or pointed. Most birds
lay oval eggs, but where they are laid, the type
of bird and how they fit in the nest can
determine the eggs shape.
Birds nesting on a cliff
Songbirds in a nest
Shorebirds
Owls
15
Egg Markings
Eggs may be plain or marked with spots, scrawls,
wreaths, streaks, or blotches of colors.
Baltimore Oriole
House Wren
Red-tailed hawk
Eastern Screech-Owl
House Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
16
Egg Size
Eggs vary in size from the smallest hummingbird
egg (about 1/2 inch) to the largest Ostrich egg.
Approximately, 2000 hummingbird eggs can fit into
an Ostrich egg.
17
A clutch is the number of eggs laid in a nest
in a single nesting.
Clutch size varies from one group of birds to
another.
Eagles lay only 2 eggs. Quail can lay up to
10-15 eggs. Shorebirds lay 3-4 eggs. Most
songbirds lay from 4-5 eggs.
Songbird Nest
Quail Nest
18
Nests
Most birds build a nest to hold, protect and
hide their eggs and nestlings.
19
Nest Locations
Nests are built almost anywhere on the ground, in
shrubs or trees, rocky cliffs and natural or
man-made cavities or ledges.
20
Nest Safety depends upon the nest
being inaccessible
Predators cannot easily reach these Oropendula
nests
21
Nest Safety depends upon the nest
being difficult to get into.
Wood Duck eggs are well protected inside this box.
22
Nest Safety depends upon the nest being invisible
Camouflaged nests are hard to find.
23
Nest Safety depends upon the nest
being invincible
This parent Bald Eagle will protect its eggs
and nestlings.
24
Nest Construction
Nests can be simple scrapes on the ground like
those of ducks, geese and shorebirds.
or platforms made by herons and hawks.
25
Nest Construction
Most songbirds build cup-like nests
that sit on tree limbs
or hang from tree branches
26
Nest Materials
Materials, both natural and man-made, are used
in nest construction
Red-eyed Vireo nest using plastic strips
Mud nests of Cliff Swallows
Grass nest of an American Robin
27
Sometimes interesting items can be found such as
these feathers and bones taken from an Eastern
Screech-Owls nest.
28
Incubation
All eggs must be kept warm after being laid in
the nest.
29
Eggs are Incubated
And hatch…
Until they hatch …
And become nestlings
30
Altricial Nestlings are born without feathers,
are blind and helpless and remain in the nest for
some time. It is the parents job to bring food
to them, keep them warm and protected, and keep
the nest clean.
Until they leave the nest.
31
Precocial Nestlings
These soft, downy chicks can leave the nest
immediately after hatching and feed themselves,
but rely on their parents for protection.
32
Migration
is the seasonal movement between the breeding and
non-breeding areas. Sometimes birds travel a
long distance from North America to Central or
South America following ancestral routes, or
flyways, that take them over land and water.
33
Fall Migration
As the colder temperatures return each winter,
many birds nesting far from the tropics must
migrate. In the tropics they find an ample
supply of food. But competition for food and
nesting sites forces them to migrate again in the
spring.
In the fall the stimulus to migrate for birds in
North America is the shortening of the length of
the days.
34
Migration
Other clues such as rainfall and wind, along
with an internal clock, forces these same birds
to migrate again in the spring back to their
nesting grounds.
Red-breeding Green-migration Blue-non-breeding
The Arctic Tern has one of the longest migration
routes in the world.
35
Migration
Birds prepare for migration by eating
energy-rich food that builds their fat
reserves. You can help them by planting fruit
trees and shrubs along their fall migration
routes.
Flowering Dogwood
Beautyberry
36
Migration
  • Birds find their way by using star patterns,
  • the suns position, the earths
    magnetic fields and geographic features of the
  • landscape.
  • Birds fly about 20-30 miles per hour during
  • migration.
  • Songbirds fly at an altitude of 2000-3000 feet.
  • Bird encounter many hazards during migration
  • and many of them do not survive.

37
Non-breeding Season
Once on their wintering grounds, birds spend
time doing normal, daily behaviors of
Sleeping
Foraging
Grooming
Bathing
38
Spring Migration
As spring months approach, migratory birds
prepare again for their migration back to
their nesting grounds. Male birds usually
arrive before females and immediately begin to
establish territories by singing.
39
Songs and Territories
Once he is successful in establishing and
defending a territory, a male bird sings to
attract a mate. He can now assure her that he
has a suitable place to help raise a family.
40
Part 2 What Bird is it?
How to use bird characteristics and behaviors
to help you identify the birds you see.
41
Getting Started You need very little to enjoy
watching birds and learning to identify them.
Choose a bird field guide that has either
drawings or photographs of the birds. Find a
checklist of birds in your area so you know what
is most likely to be seen.
Get a pair of binoculars that are not too big,
heavy or expensive. Binoculars will help you see
more detail in birds that are farther away.
42
  • Study your bird field guide and
  • learn the parts of a bird.

43
Notice the sizes of birds using common ones
as references for small , medium or large.
Small like a House Sparrow
Small 4-6 inches
Medium 7-12 inches
Large as a Crow
Large 13-18 inches
44
Next, study the shapes of the bodies, heads,
necks, wings and tails.
45
Try to use birds sizes and shapes to put them
into groups or orders.
Waders
Woodpeckers
Waterfowl
Shorebirds
Quail
Songbirds
Raptors
46
Watching how birds behave and where they live
also helps to identify them.
Woodpecker
Creeper
Nuthatch
How does it climb? Woodpeckers climb on tree
trunks along with nuthatches and creepers.
47
How does it walk and hunt for food?
Heron
Shorebirds
Herons wade and shorebirds run and probe in
shallow water on the beach and mudflats.
48
How does it swim? Does it dabble or dive?
  • Loon 2. American Coot
  • 3. Diving Duck 4. Dabbling Duck

49
How does it fly?
  • Woodpeckers fly like a roller coaster, up and
    down.
  • Doves fly in a straight line.
  • Kingfishers hover in one place.

50
Next, look closely at beaks, tails, wings,
colors and field marks.
51
Some Types of Beaks
Filter feedingducks and geese
Seed eatersfinches and grosbeaks
Nectar feeding--hummingbirds
Spear-likeegrets and herons
Hookedbirds of prey
Insect eating--warblers
52
Some Types of Tails
1. Forkedswallows and terns
3. Notched--finches
  • Pointeddoves
  • and parakeets

2. Squarehawks and trogons
4. Roundedjays and crows
53
Some Types of Wings
Broad
Fast
Soaring
Hovering
Diving
54
Field Marks
55
Field Marks Tails
Tip
Spots
Broad-winged Hawk
Bands
56
Field Marks Wings
57
Field Marks Chest
Stripes
Killdeer
Barring
Necklace
58
Practicing Identification Skills
Grab your binoculars! What do you see?
It is a large bird22 inches long, 51 inch
wingspan
It is soaring
It is black and white
It has a forked tail
Grab your bird Field Guide!
A large, soaring birdraptorfront of your Field
Guide
Black and white with a forked tail American
Swallow-tailed Kite
Excellent
59
Practicing Identification Skills
Grab your binoculars! What do you see?
Medium sized bird9 inches
Red head, black and white body
Hanging to the tree trunk
Grab your bird Field Guide!
On the side of a tree--woodpecker
Red head, white wing patch Red-headed Woodpecker
Good Job!
60
Practicing Identification Skills
Grab your binoculars! What do you see?
It is bright yellow
It is tiny5 inches.
It is singing.
It has a small, pointed, insect-eating beak.
It has a black necklace.
Grab your bird Field Guide!
Tiny and singingsongbirdsecond half of your
field guide.
Yellow and insect-eating beakwarbler section
Black necklaceCanada Warbler
Is this getting easier?
61
Part 3 Why Birds Matter
  • Birds are important as a part of the natural
    ecosystems as pollinators, seed dispersers, and
    members of the food chain.
  • Birds are a natural connection to our environment
    and are indicators of the health of our world.
  • Birds are fun to watch. We can enjoy them
    anywhere and at anytime.

62
Birds help pollinate flowers both in wild areas
and in our gardens.
63
Birds eat berries and fruit, dropping and
dispersing the seeds
64
Birds are predators in the food chain and eat
many insects and other small animals.
65
Birds are sensitive indicators of the health of
our environment.
Because of the use of deadly pesticides such as
DDT in the 1960s, birds of prey such as the
Peregrine Falcon were threatened with becoming
extinct.
Peregrine Falcon
66
Watching birds has an economic value for people
involved in bird related products, activities and
even jobs.
67
Major Threats Affecting Bird Populations
  • Habitat Loss
  • Development
  • Selling Birds
  • Invasive Plants
  • Chemical Toxins
  • Fragmented Forests
  • Tower Strikes
  • Outdoor Cats

68
Habitat Loss Most of the prairies have been
destroyed for cattle grazing and farming of wheat
and corn.
69
Development and Coastal Erosion results in the
loss of safe stop-over habitat for birds during
migration.
70
Urban Development has destroyed bird habitat.
71
Selling Birds
  • Tropical and migratory birds are captured for the
    caged bird trade on their wintering grounds in
    Mexico, Cuba and Central America.

72
Invasive Plants and Insects
  • Introduced plants take over natural vegetation
    and exotic insects destroy our native plants and
    habitats.

Japanese Honeysuckle
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
English Ivy
73
Chemical Toxins
  • Birds can become sick or die from eating or
    absorbing agricultural and yard toxins including
    DDT, pesticides and herbicides from yards.

74
Fragmented Forests
  • In spite of green development and saving
  • greenspace, the loss of contiguous forested
  • areas results in forest fragmentation.

75
Fragmented forests have more edge habitat which
increases predators including Brown-headed
Cowbirds that lay eggs in other birds nest.
76
  • Communication towers, including cell phone
    towers, power lines and wind turbines, confuse
    birds migrating at night, resulting in collisions
    with towers or the guy wires that support them.

77
What you can do…
  • Choose native plants that create a diverse
    habitat structure.
  • Preserve large areas of habitat.
  • Support and buy shade-grown coffee and cacao.
  • Create a wildlife sanctuary and give birds food,
    nesting boxes and water.
  • Make your neighborhood as safe as possible.
  • keep cats indoors.
  • reduce window reflections.

78
Create Better Habitat Structure
Plant vegetation that grows at various levels
including the forest Canopy Under
story Shrub and Ground layers.
This forest has no under story or ground cover
79
Create Habitat Diversity
  • Even the smallest piece of habitat with trees,
    shrubs or flowers can be useful to birds.

Into this
Turn this
80
Preserve Large Forests in Georgia
Upland Hardwood
Appalachian Mountain Cove Hardwood
Live Oak Maritime
Longleaf Pine Wiregrass
Oak-Gum-Cypress
81
Preserve Large Forests in Central and South
America
Montane Foothills
Mangrove
Montane Subtropical
Lowland
Montane Temperate
82
Coffee and cacao trees grown in shade under
native plants attract many more species of birds
than non-native species.
Buy Choco Andean Shade Grown Coffee
83
Create a Wildlife Sanctuary
84
Feed Birds
Choose a variety of feeders and a variety
of bird seed..
85
Give Birds Boxes to Nest In
86
Give Birds Water to Drink and Bathe In
Build a pond...
or put out a bird bath.
87
Create a Safe Place for Birds
Keep cats indoors.
An indoor cat is safe for birds (and the cat).
Outdoor cats kill millions of birds a year.
88
Create a Safe Place for Birds
Birds fly into glass windows that reflect trees
Make windows visible with decals
89
Our Shared Forests connects learning about
Ecuadorian tropical forests and
Georgia's temperate forests by studying the lives
of ten neotropical birds that share the forests
of both countries. You can learn much more
about birds and how to help them in the
activities in Our Shared Forests.
90
Photo Credits
  • Giff Beaton
  • Steve Price
  • Robert Royse
  • Georgann Schmalz
  • Jim Wilson
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