Friday, August 28, 2015

Common Tern

Common Tern aka. Sea Swallow (n.b. is not a type of swallow)

Battery Park, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
July 2015
Member of the Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers Family
§A Committee of Terns§
The Most Widespread Tern in North America

~true bird fact~ You ever wonder where these birds that pretty live at sea drink from? The answer is, actually, The Ocean. Like many sea birds, they have special glands that deal with the excess salt in their water source by excreting it. They don't even drink fresh water when it's around. As a Californian, I wish we could learn from these Terns, cause maybe it would help with the drought.

Has a list of priorities. Actually has a lot of lists
Envious of his simpler relatives, the Seagulls
Suffers nobly (even when it's probably not necessary)
Always feels like he's forgotten something

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Life of Birds.gif part 5: Life is Cute

Last time we checked out the first half of the .gifs I had made for Life of Birds, episode 3, the one about eating and pooping. Relive that experience here if you dare. And if you're late to the party, Life of Birds is an early example of the great Attenborough narrated BBC nature doc, pre Life and pre Planet Earth. It focuses on birds, and therefor we focus on it.

So what else did the episode have in it? Well it had bird eating in non-disgusting ways. Like take a look at this one. Hummingbird's are always neat for a .gif. Although I'm still pretty sure it's a bug or something, and therefor not eligible for this blog on a technicality.

This might be my favorite eating trick. Looks so satisfying, like tossing a piece of popcorn into your mouth. Toucan's always showing off.

Not sure if this falls into the cute or gross category. I think the bird being the supercute Quetzel pushes it over the line, but what do you think? He is regurgitating the undigested part of his fruit, by the way.

We also have Mr. Attenborough being overwhelmed by parrots. It's a heck of a job if you can get it.

Finally, the episode featured a number of symiotic relationships between birds and other animals. Or as you otherwise might call it Unusual Animal Friends

A good fact I know about the capybara, pictured here, is that it loves to splash and play.

Yeah, like so. I hope these help you win the next .gif contest you are challenged to.

Clean that Giraffe. Finally I leave you with a .gif of a cute baby bird falling asleep.

More Life of Birds .gifs here, if you're into it. Good night blog fans, try to click quietly so you don't wake him up.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Life of Birds.gif part 4: Life is Gross

Welcome back to the series exploring, through the art of .gif, the BBC's cracker-jack bird doc from '98, The Life of Birds. Here's a link to the other parts. Today we're going to look at the series low for me, honestly. This episode purports to be about birds eating.
So far, so good. But aside from fruit, a lot of the things birds eat are gross. Look, here's a crow poking a maggot in the face with a stick.
Not so glamorous now, is it. It doesn't help that I try to watch these with Mrs. Amateurnithologist, and that she has a thing about bugs. There are a lot of bugs in this episode. These remain ungif'd

We've also got parrots eating a bunch of clay. Like the crow using a simple tool to catch his food this is interesting. The parrots are doing this, by the way, to line their stomachs and protect them from the otherwise poisonous fruit they're eating. It's just not a great visual image.
But frankly it doesn't have to be a gross food to be kinda gross. Sometimes the episode just gets too close for comfort.
Nope, not into it. Gross weird tongue.
And I'm pretty sure no one needed to see this. The other significant problem with this episode for me is that it included a lot of images of things riddled with little holes. That's just something that bothers me for some reason. Between that and the bugs, well, this episode was nearly unwatchable.

Oh, and also this. Yeah, I understand, it's a natural part of eating and digesting. But this episode really had a lot of closeups of birds pooping. Like, more than I think anyone would expect. There is some really great stuff here, and we'll cover that next time, but I had to wade through a pretty prickly cactus patch for you guys on this one.

As always, check out The Youtubes to watch The Life of Birds online yourself, for free!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What Kind of House is That, House Sparrow?

House Sparrow aka. English Sparrow
Battery Park, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
July 2015
Member of the Old World Sparrow Family
§A Host of Sparrows§
The Most Widely Distributed Bird

{Etymology Corner} The word Sparrow derives from the Old English word for speed. Makes sense, I guess, but there are faster birds.

~"true" bird fact~ Things this bird is claimed to 'represent' by various sources; loneliness, solitude, insignificance, loyalty, lust, sexual potency, commonness, vulgarity. People projecting all over this sparrow, dang.

What makes something a house and what makes something a home? This is a question a House Sparrow surely deals with often, since he has 'house' in his name. Is that really a house, House Sparrow? Are you living up to your name?

Nest Details
Construction: man-made hole in a traffic light, lined with coarse, dried vegetation.
Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC intersection.

PS- This is another bird released into New York City by the crazy guy who wanted all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare to live in the new world. You know, the guy responsible for all these Starlings all over the place.