Tuesday, April 30, 2013

birds.gif: Anhinga

Click to Watch me Swim
Anhinga aka. Snakebird aka. American Darter aka. Water Turkey
Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
Member of the Darter Family
~true bird fact~ The Anhinga does not have special water-proof oily feathers like most water birds. This enables him to swim quickly through the water, as you see above. The downside of this is that he gets very wet, and must dry himself as you see below.

Darkly graceful
A sharply placed word can leave you in tears
Doesn't believe in empathy or altruism as concepts
Immune to threats from all sorts of negative types, a good bird to have in your corner
Click to Watch me Dry
And because I love you, the full, uncut anhinga vids

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
Member of the Limpkin Family
 ~true bird fact~ The Limpkin is the only member of his family. In laymans terms, he's not closely related to any other birds. Speculation is that he branched off, evolutionarily, because his diet was so heavily made up of Apple Snails. Loves them Apple Snails.

Doesn't exactly fit anywhere, but is always a welcome addition to any group or event
Has an engaging way of communicating, gregarious
Participates in lots of different sub-cultures
Appreciates simplicity

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birds of The California Academy of Sciences

Rufous-crowned Tanager, South American Rainforest, Persuasive

Today's entry will be about birds that "Don't Count". What does this mean, exactly? Well, one component of bird watching that we don't really dabble with here at Amateurnithologist is the concept of a 'Life List', a list containing all the birds you've ever seen. The goal being, obviously, to make like a pokemon trainer and catch em' all.

Red-legged Honeycreeper (female), South and Central American Rainforest and Forest, Meticulous

While your bird blogger does not have a life list, he does have this blog. And this blog has standards, oh yes it does. Standards like 'not writing about a bird I do not have a picture of' and 'not including pictures I have taken myself'. This weekend I saw a magnificent golden eagle up close, he is almost certainly a god among birds, but I will not be writing an entry about him until I can take a picture.

Red-legged Honeycreeper (male), South and Central American Rainforest and Forest, A Wizard

Another example of a standard I have developed: A bird does not count unless you see it in the wild. I haven't ever seen a serious birder talk about this issue, but that's probably because I've done zero investigation ("zero investigation" is our motto here at Amateurnithologist).  For myself, the logic behind this rule is that a bird in captigivty removes a vital component of the birding process, that of The Hunt. The feeling of accomplishment that one gets when finding A Bird of Importance. Also, seeing a bird in captivity always kinda bums me out.

Bay-headed Tanager, South American Low and High Mountain Forest, Pandering

However, as an enjoyer of all things avian, it's not like I'm gonna not take a picture if I see some cool bird. So what to do with these images? Well, this I guess. Rather than do an in-depth profile, I'll simply share the bird's name, origin, and one adjective that might describe him. In this way I hope to separate this entry from what I usually do, while still honoring these incredible birds. We walk a thin line.

Common Ostrich (Juvenile), African Savannah, Precocious

With a perspective, your Amateurnithologist.

African Penguin, South African Beaches and Islands, Brusque

All of today's birds were photographed at the California Academy of Sciences, in beautiful San Francisco, California. They are loved and taken care of very well there, so maybe go see them?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
Member of the Heron Family
~true bird fact~ The Great Blue Heron is a really big bird. The largest Heron on the continent, he is about 4 feet tall, but only weighs like 6-7 pounds. Birds are really light you guys (it is so they can fly).

The Salt of the Earth
Considers himself an amateur philosopher
His neighbors seek out his opinion on things
Sometimes gets in bar fights, but mainly for existential reasons
Stares at the horizon for a long time, just imagining 'what if..'

Saturday, April 13, 2013

MYSTERY BIRD: Very Small Bird

San Francisco, California, USA
Best Guess: Tricolored Blackbird (probably juvenile??)

Speaks in riddles, subtly hallucinogenic
Likes to visit grassy meadows on warm days
Desired by many, but must always remain free
Has a fluid beauty to her movement, like she is always dancing
Too much for most men to deal with

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican
Member of the Pelican Family
Riviera Beach, Florida, USA
~true bird fact~ He eats around 4 pounds of fish every day. Despite this, he gets along just fine with fishermen because the type of fish they prey on are almost always different from the type of fish we humans eat.

There's no getting around it, he's a disgusting glutton
Calculating, self-centered
A self-made bird who you have to respect for achieving success, despite all obstacles
That pouch thing is creepy
A product of his environment?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird
Richmond, California, USA
Member of the Thrush Family
~true bird fact~ Thrushes face fierce competition for nesting space from sparrows, swallows, and starlings. However, once they have established a nest, it has been observed being defended from intruders by other species of birds, usually swallows. True friendship?

They hate fascists
Playful and inquisitive, sometimes to the point of cockiness
Teases dogs
Has a lot of fun, just a fun bird
Lucky, obviously

Monday, April 1, 2013

European Starling

European Starling aka. Common Starling aka. Starling
Member of the Starling Family
Seattle, Washington, USA
~true bird fact~ The European Starling is a bird with a gift for mimicry. He has been shown to be able to learn the songs of 20 other birds, and people have a long relationship with teaching them to mimic speech. A native to Europe originally, he lives in the Western Hemisphere today because 100 Starlings were released in Central Park 100 years ago by some nutjob who wanted American to have all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare. Ok buddy.

A brave bird who will willing volunteer for dangerous missions
Doesn't let others in easily. A mystery to even his partner.
Would never tell this to other birds, but often feels more at home in the world of humans. An odd bird out.
Can easily run afoul of the law if he isn't careful.