Saturday, October 29, 2016

5 Crow .gifs for all your Ominous Portension Needs

Boo! Spooked you didn't I? No, not with my 'boo', but you were spooked that your beloved bird blog website (this one) hadn't posted any killer Halloween content yet. Don't worry reader, the website has not been a ghost the whole time, it's alive and well. But at this time of the year it's more like.. undead. That's why we're back at you for the annual spooktacular with some haunted bird .gifs. This year we're focusing on the most dreaded of birds, the crow. Never mind this writer's love of the corvid family, there's nothing we can do for them now, for they've been forever symbologised in pop-culture as signs of misfortune, death, and disaster. Today we present five examples from recent(ish) film in convenient .gif form.
Beetlejuice (1988)
Suggested use: Reaction .gif for negative birding experiences
Jurassic World (2015)
Suggested use: 1) For any conversation that turns to dinosaurs being related to birds 2) Any time you want to say the phrase 'putting my foot down'
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Suggested use: Road trips
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Suggested use: To show displeasure when someone wakes you up too early or texts you at a time when you're sleeping
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Suggested use: 1) When you're feeling like a style icon 2) A triumphant 'haters can't stop me' moment

Do with these .gifs what you will, dear reader. However, be warned that townsfolk whisper that these .gifs are cursed. MWAHAHAHAHahahahaha ha ha ha

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow aka. Weary Willie (*see below)
Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, USA
October 2016
Member of the American Sparrow Family
§A Rein of Sparrows§

*~true bird history~ An unusually wistful entry on informs me that this bird's song is "melancholy" and "seems to reflect the bleak beauty of its surroundings". This is an interpretation that was shared by early 20th century miners who interpreted his song to say "no gold here" and/or "I'm so weary". That's a lot of projection for such a little bird. Judge for yourself, I guess I kinda see it..

~true bird fact~ A bird we know relatively little about, especially in the summer months. He spends those summers in the tundras and shrublands of Western Canada and Alaska, places remote enough and far enough from human civilization that study isn't merited. I don't know about you, but I find the existence of such places very comforting.

This bird just has a great attitude, can't wait to start his day. Why would he be melancholy, he doesn't have to mine for gold. He's a bird.
Sometimes flies out of his way a little bit to get those really good berries
Big fan of 'roughing it'
Musically inclined

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Brandt's Cormorant

Brandt's Cormorant
Point Joe, Pebble Beach, California, USA
October 2016
Member of the Cormorant Family
§A Swim of Cormorants§

~true bird fact~ Impressive divers, they are built for the strenuous task of undersea hunting. They can dive up to 120 feet deep to seek their preferred prey of rockfish and pacific herring.

Has a cruel-sounding laugh
Mysteriously knowledgeable about narrow subjects
Quick to disengage with people who disappoint him
Well developed palate

Oh hey Amateurnithologist, who's this Brandt guy??

I'm glad you asked, very few people would actually care about that. You, reader, are a special flower. Anyway, you've given me an opportunity for another..

Naturalist Profile!

Johann Friedrich von Brandt
1802 - 1879
Like many of our eponymous naturalist, von Brandt was a bit of a renaissance man. In addition to his bird work, he wrote about medicinal plants, specialized in beetles and millipedes, and might actually be most well regarded as a paleontologist. Although he was German born and educated, he emigrated to Russian in his early 30's to found and direct the Zoological Museum of St. Petersberg. His description of this Cormorant came from museum specimens that had been collected by Russian explorers on trips to the Pacific coast, but never previously identified. He also is credited with the Spectacled Eider and Red-legged Kittiwake. So if either of those are your favorite birds, this is your guy, I guess. His wikipedia page is very dry and more in-german than any other english wikipedia page I've ever seen. My guess is a dry wikipedia page is a sign of a basically moral and drama-free life, so good for him. He also has a bat and a hedgehog named after him

Thursday, October 6, 2016

California Scrub Jay

California Scrub Jay
Coyote Lake Park, Gilroy, California, USA
September 2016
Member of the Crow and Jay Family
§A Party of Jays§

~true bird fact~ Tremendous news everyone, the delightful Corvid family has grown by two as of the most recent update to the American Ornithologists' Union's North American Birds Checklist. What was once considered Western Scrub Jay has now been divided into California and Woodhouse's varietals, separated mostly by slightly different plumage. Hmm, this news doesn't really fly off the page, does it? Let me try and word that in a more exciting way. Slightly different plumage, hooray! Making matters more complicated, two other species were once considered the same bird (Florida and Island Scrub Jay), and there are minimum 6 sub-species of the California Scrub Jay, also with slightly different plumage, coloration, and size than one another. Good thing I don't care about sub-species, or this would be a total lost cause.

Has an unplaceable accent that seems to shift from sentence to sentence
Believes in ghosts
Little self-consciousness, always willing to ask for help
Likes old, wooden crafts (i.e. barrels, toys, butter-churns, etc)