Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe aka. American Dabchick aka. Dabchick aka. Carolina Grebe aka. Devil-diver aka. Dive-dapper aka. Dipper aka. Hell-diver aka. Pied-billed Dabchick aka. Pied-bill aka. Thick-billed Grebe, aka. Water Witch
Lake Chabot, Castro Valley, California, USA
April 2016
Member of the Grebe Family
§A Water Dance of Grebes§

{Etymology Corner} We don't usually editorialize here at amateurnithologist (least of all in the Etymology Corner), but come on people who name Grebes, get it together. Look at that list of names up there, just look at it. Hell Diver? Water Witch?? Anyway, the Pied-billed Grebe has the latin name PODICIPEDIFORMES, which basically means Butt Feet. Which is true, the feet really are very far back on the bird in this case. It helps make her an expert swimmer, but she looks rather awkward on land.

~true bird fact~ Eats a great amount of her own feathers. At any time a Pied-billed Grebes belly might be as much as half full of feathers. Does she do this because she's an idiot? No, she does not. It is believed that the stomach feathers make a kind of biological sieve, which keeps sharp or hard parts of the crustaceans she eats from entering and damaging her intestines.

Plays the standing harp
Even if you really don't believe in the supernatural, you have a feeling that this bird has a bit of magical powers to it
Unclear, but seemingly beneficent, motives
Makes a lot of complaints to managers

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Light Brahma

Light Brahma aka. Brahma Pootra aka. Burnham aka. Gray Chittagong aka. Shanghai
Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga, California, USA
January 2016
Member of the Junglefowl Family
§A Brood of Chickens§

~true bird fact~ The Brahma, along with another feather-footed chicken called the Cochin brought about a chicken craze in the 1850's in the US and UK that was called HEN FEVER. During this time, he was nicknamed The King of All Poulty (!!!). Perhaps this came from his regal bearing, or, more likely, because he gets to be up to 18 pounds, making him the second largest chicken breed. Many hipsters have hen fever these days as well, so I hope they're still using this terrific nickname.

Gentle-hearted, but project toughness
Gives generously of his considerable wealth
Secretly just wants to be taken care of, pampered
Loves rich foods

Once again we bring you selected Excerpts from customer reviews of the Brahma on Your favorite feature and mine...

Bird Reviews
Rated #16 in chickens (of approx. 170 breeds), with a 94% positive rating. There are 113+ reviews of this chicken.

"If I were starting my flock over, I'd consider having all Brahmas"

"I love that they are big girls, and their feathered feet"

"Gentle, lovey, wants you to hold her"

"Sometimes her fluffy feet get dirty. A small price to pay to look fancy everyday!"

"I brought her in the house yesterday and fed her peanuts on the couch!!!"

"She thinks she's a dog, and I just love her."

"He loves to snuggle. When I go outside and sit down he immediately will jump on my lap along with the lady brahmas. One day I was standing in the coop and someone was pecking my shoe and then they started tugging on my pant leg! I looked down and Aggie, the rooster, was pulling on me. We made eye contact, he stopped and stood completely still until I picked him up and snuggled with him. I cannot stress enough what a good bird he is. It honestly amazes me. The other day I gave him a bath and be stood still nearly the entire time."