Saturday, November 18, 2017

Just a Bunch of Bird .gifs from Labyrinth

Hello blogfans. You know how sometimes you have a couple of busy weeks, and then the day before you go on vacation to Mexico you realize you haven't updated your bird blog in a while, and you feel kinda bad about it? And then how you remember that one of your half finished ideas is to post bird .gifs from movies? And you just watched Labyrinth starring David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connolly and holy smokes are the bird gifs amazing in it? Well, dear readers, if you do, in fact, know 'that feel', we have something in common this week. So here, presented hastily, and without further comment, are a bunch of bird .gifs I made from the movie Labyrinth. Part 1 of 1.

 Aw yeah, you know you're in for a wild ride when a movie starts like this. I knew at this point I would be .giffing Labyrinth. I would recommend using this .gif to invite people to a Labyrinth viewing party, or maybe if you created an actual labyrinth and wanted to welcome people to it.
 They really let you get a good look at that CGI owl, and it's a good thing too, cause it turns out that owl is very plot-important. Use this .gif if you're having any kind of owl-themed conversation.
 Seamless. This .gif might be useful for making fun of someone for rapidly changing on an issue. Or it could be like a 'me, heading into the weekend on friday' kind of thing, I don't know.
 Yes, the owl is David Bowie. Use this .gif to get all pumped for 80's night at the club, or maybe ironically for #relationshipgoals
 The other significant bird action is a little bit of high quality chicken action in the Magic Dance scene. You could use this .gif if someone online is mad, and you made them mad, thereby winning online debate.
 I don't think they kicked an actual chicken for this scene. If you look carefully you can see the real chicken directly to the right of the kicked object and a much more obvious puppet chicken to the left. Why does the goblin lair contain so many chickens? Anyway, this .gif is for when you've had it with someone's bullshit. (Sorry for the cuss)
Aaaaand also there's this. I think this is like a 'me, listening to my own dumb ideas' .gif. See you next week, hopefully with some great Mexican birds (pajaros)


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the Cardinal Family
§A Season of Tanagers§

North America's Only Completely Red Bird ...I guess that's something?

~true bird fact~ So you might've noticed above that this bird is called a Tanager, but is grouped taxonomically with Cardinals. So what's the deal with that? Basically there was a switch in families back in 2009, when scientists realized that he and his immediate family members had more in common with Cardinals than their previous categorization. Oddly, this means that Hawaii has a few birds that are called Cardinals, but are actually Tanagers, and the mainland has a few birds that are called Tanagers, but are actually Cardinals. This indicates to me that no one has any idea what they're doing wrt Cardinals and Tanagers, and maybe just generally.

~a second true bird fact~ Really good at eating bees and wasps and other dangerous insects. Summer Tanager can catch these guys mid air and then strike them against a tree to kill them. Then, before they can eat them, they dexterously remove the stinger by rubbing it against a branch. They're so good at hunting wasps that they can kill all the adults in a hive, then tear it open to eat the larvae as well. Brutal.

Has a good grasp on esoteric bureaucratic procedures
A manager
Spring is his favorite season

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the Woodpecker Family
§Descent of Woodpeckers§

~true bird fact~ A species that is, in many ways, mid-evolution. Golden-fronted Woodpeckers in the northern part of their range have begun interbreeding with Red-bellied Woodpeckers and are starting to look, genetically speaking, more closely related to them. Meanwhile, southern Golden-fronteds (which are, ironically, less golden and more red), are starting to look more like they ought to be a separate species. Bizarrely, this bird was once considered 4 different species before its current taxonomic form. No word on what this confusion does to the bird's sense of identity and relationships with his fellow woodpeckers. We may have a Professor Sylvester McMonkey McBean Sneeches situation here.

Always has a feeling like he's forgotten something
Prefers cake to pie

Johann Georg Wagler

Originally named this bird (usual caveat- for Western audiences). He was a lecturer and the assistant of an apparently much more famous and significant German biologist, who I've also never heard of. That would be Johann Baptist von Spix, who was well known for his work collecting and identifying Brazilian plants and animals, but also did some anthropological work on the native peoples there. Our man Johann Georg here never did visit the Americans, but he did extensive work of combing through and organizing the collection, and writing books with the other Johann about his discoveries. He was honestly more of a reptile guy. He died at age 32 when he accidentally shot himself while out in the field.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the Verdin Family (known outside the Western Hemisphere as the... Penduline Tit Family)
§No Name for A Group of Verdins§

His cavalier attitude worries his older, more responsible brother
Never really had a career goal
Young enough to still feel invincible

In addition to being the only member of his bird family in the new world, Verdin is quite an accomplished nest builder. That means it's time for another episode of Bird-er Homes and Gardens, featuring a Verdin's nest.

So these buddies build nests, like, non-stop. One pair was observed to construct 11 in a single year. They have nests for breeding and nests for roosting. As you can see from our intrepid builder here, the rooting nests have a soft, downy interior, which insulates the nest in winter. In the summer, they build the nests with the entrances facing a breeze to make them cooler. Smart little guys, and another bird in our current series on surviving harsh desert conditions.

Usually the male builds the hard stick exterior and the female does the lining, which makes our male here out front a little unusual. Or maybe he has just gathered the lining for the lady, who may be inside. Who knows. I'm not about to judge this Verdin for embracing a non-traditional role in homemaking.