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.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Pyrrhuloxia aka. Desert Cardinal
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the American Sparrow Family
§A Radiance of Cardinals§

{Etymology Corner} So, that name, huh? As you might guess, it's origin is Greek. Pyrrhuloxia used to be part of it's scientific name, but fell out of favor I guess, when we moved to the standardized binomial system, replaced by the much drier Cardinalis sinuatus. Pyrrhuloxia is the combination of Pyrrhos (Reddish-Orangish) and Loxos (Oblique), referring to the color of the bird and the shape of its bill, respectively. Information that I could not find anywhere, however, was why on earth we are still calling this bird such a bizarre name, when Desert Cardinal is right there. It seems to fly in the face of convention, convenience, and standardization. What's your take on the name, reader? Charming? Baffling? Oh, and it's pronounced pir-uh-lok-see-uh.

~true bird fact~ Pyrrhuloxia have been observed using an inventive technique for surviving spiking desert temperatures. They hang out around houses with open doors or windows with their air-conditioning on. This behavior has been seen in several desert birds, including cactus wrens and loggerhead shrikes. Take that, people who say we've made the environment worse for birds!

Gives you the impression that he could do something absolutely insane without warning
Always knows how to deal with 'desert problems'
Sort of a fatalist
Surprises you with an artistic side on occasion

You know, maybe one factor that might explain his weird name is that he was first described (to Western audiences) by...

Charles Lucien Bonaparte
1803 - 1857

A real international type, Charles was born in Paris and raised in Italy. He was, in fact, the nephew of the most famous Bonaparte, Napoleon. He moved to the United States at age 19, having already discovered a new warbler in Italy, and was so big on bird-discovering that he found a new species of storm petrel on the trip over. During his time in the states, he worked on finding new birds, publishing accounts of them, and boosting for his buddy John James Audubon in equal measure. The edition of American Ornithology that he edited contained over a hundred** new species discovered* by him. All this in only 4 years, after which he returned to Europe.

He continued to work on the scientific classification of animals, but was also active politically, helping establish the Roman Republic and defend it from the armies of his cousin, Napoleon III. And the weird names? That was definitely a theme. He named a whole genus of doves after his wife, and a bird of paradise after the concept of the republic. All things considered, Pyrrhuloxia got off easy. He had 12 kids, and died at 54. Busy guy.

*- Author's note- I always find it a little bit conflictual to describe an animal as having been 'discovered' by some European guy, when in reality it existed among whatever indigenous populations lived in its area for centuries beforehand. We'll give Charles partial credit, given that he brought knowledge of these birds to a large audience and published accounts of them, which is still something. Assume the same caveat for future descriptions of 'discovered' birds.

**- AN2- Whenever something is described as 'over a hundred', I wonder exactly how many we're talking about. I assume it's something like 103, since if it were significantly higher, you'd just say the number, right?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow aka. Desert Sparrow
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the American Sparrow Family
§A Meinie of Sparrows§

~true bird fact~ Like many desert birds, these fellas are uniquely adapted to their hostile habitat. In the case of the Black-throated Sparrow, they can go for unusually long periods of time without water, instead extracting maximum moisture from their diet of seeds and bugs. It sounds like a thirsty life. On an unrelated note, this is one of those birds that occasionally comes up where there's like, zero interesting facts about him. He sure is sharp looking though.

Lover of dried fruit - cranberry, cherry, apricot, mango, you name it
Acts decisively
Might sometimes accidentally hurt your feelings with a pointed comment
Feels driven to create a 'legacy'

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gambel's Quail

Gambel's Quail
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the New World Quail Family
§A Battery of Quails§

~true bird fact~ A bird suited to life in their home in the Sonoran Desert, these Quails have a life cycle that mimics the desert landscape that surrounds them. In exceptionally dry years, few chicks are born and they just kinda hang in there, but in years with a good wet season, they thrive and their numbers increase dramatically.

Constantly creates a dramatic soundtrack to his own life
Prefers to drink his meals when possible (smoothies, shakes, etc)
Easily becomes jealous of the success of others
Hates/fears bugs

William Gambel
1823 - 1849

Hometown- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He got his start in naturalism going on collecting trips with his mentor, the well-known Thomas Nuttall at the age of 15 (!). By18 he set off on his own, traveling all the way west to California, taking a more southerly route than previous expeditions had. His birding contributions include this Quail, Nuttall's Woodpecker, and the Mountain Chickadee. He was the first trained naturalist (well... let's say trained in the European tradition) to spend significant time in California. He continued to explore the American West until he died at age 26 from typhoid while crossing the Sierra Nevada. Couldn't find an image of young William, but below is his final resting place, Rose Bar on the Yuba River.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher aka. Common Vermilion Flycatcher aka. Darwin's Flycatcher aka. Galapagos Flycatcher
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the Tyrant/Flycatcher Family
§An Outfield of Flycatchers§ (I show you this stupid name, dear readers, only to illustrate the injustice that somehow this is a thing, but not my wonderful suggestion for a group of chats. The mind boggles)

~true bird fact~ As debonair in personality as he is in appearance, the male Vermilion Flycatcher woos females with a colorful bouquet (usually a butterfly or other interesting looking insect).

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a trust fund to beat the bank
Lives a globetrotting life of excitement
Since he's done it all already, it's hard for him to get excited for much anymore
He's not really a bad guy intrinsically, but he has trouble connecting with people in a sincere way

*record scratch*

*fancy classical music starts playing*

First Described by...

Pieter Boddaert
1730 - 1795
This guy over here. He was a Dutch doctor and naturalist, and his main claim to fame seems to have been that he knew a lot of other better known naturalists and thinkers. I want to rag on the guy, but honestly, being a very good friend to a lot of famous people is a good historical niche to find yourself in. He corresponded extensively with our pal Linnaeus, for example. When he published a series of illustration plates from the blockbuster french encyclopedia Histoire Naturelle he added his own scientific names to the animals, thus christening them. What a sneaky way to get into the history books, good on you Boddaert. He stayed in the animal encyclopedia game, publishing Elenchus Animalium (A Directory of Animals) where he named even more stuff.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting aka. Nonpareil (fr)
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the Cardinal Family
§A Palette of Buntings§

{Etymology Corner} The scientific name of this bird is Passerina ciris. Evidently, it's named after the Greek Mythological character, Princess Scylla. She is turned into a bird after betraying her father in favor of an invading King Minos, who she has fallen in love with at first sight. She subsequently drowns while attempting to swim after her fleeing love, who wants no part of this whole thing. It's a wild story. It's also a pretty bad name for this bird, since she was supposedly transformed into a seabird, which this is not. I can agree, however, that this looks like a bird brought into the world through magical means.

~true bird fact~  As anyone can see from looking at it, this bird is incredibly colorful. This has made him a frequent target of poachers. In the 1800's, the were trapped in the thousands and shipped back to Europe for heavily marked-up sale as caged birds. This kind of trade is now illegal, happily, but has not been entirely eliminated. I know it's probably none of you dear readers, but please stop buying wild animals.

How endangered are they? They are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Now I don't want you to panic, because they are till a fairly common bird, with an estimated 13 million adults out there. The rating is probably the result of a dramatic 60% dip in their population that took place between 1966 and 1995. Numbers have seemed stable since then, but you can never be took careful with a bird like this. The pressures on their population seem to be habitat loss from development and the aforementioned poaching.

Musically inclined
Despite his outwardly confident appearance, he's been the subject of a lot of pressure throughout his life
You can tell how he's feeling very easily- 'wears his hear on his sleeve'
Always laughs at your jokes

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
July 2017
Only Member of the Chat Family
The brand new family this bird belongs to has §No Collective Noun§, but if I was gonna just straight make one up (as I suspect often happens), I'd call them a... §Smalltalk of Chats§

~breaking bird news~ The Yellow-breasted chat, was, until this very year, considered to be our largest Wood Warbler. I guess this was based mostly on him being a yellow songbird, even though he is, like, twice as big as all the other wood warblers, and displays other biological differences as well. He even imitates songs, like a member of the mockingbird family. I guess hindsight is 20/20 and I'm no bird scientist, but I think we probably could've called this one a little sooner. Anyway, this is all so new that he is currently considered to be the only member of his taxonomic family, and almost all websites still incorrectly list him as a wood warbler. In fact, things as so uncertain for the chat, that he might get categorized as something else entirely at some point. I think we should just let him do his thing.

Ahead of his time- in 20 years we'll all look back on what Yellow-breasted Chat was doing and realize he was just miles ahead of us
Pursues his personal philosophy very consistently
Shows vulnerability in a very strong way
Finds the more simple acts of day to day living challenging sometimes

Friday, August 4, 2017

Cartoon Roadrunner vs. Real Roadrunner

Let's talk about the Road Runner. He was my favorite cartoon when I was a kid for sure, beating out even the antics of beloved proto-troll, Bugs Bunny. But as you age, you put away childish things, and now I probably prefer real road runners. This is a bird that's been on by bird-bucket list (birdcket list(TM)) for a while now, and on my recent Texas trip I finally got to see him, and in abundance. So I was thinking, just how does the Road Runner cartoon compare to the genuine article.

Long, prominent tail
Dark crest
Darker wing than belly

Not really predominantly purple/blue
Wrong number of toes
Beak shape wrong
Neck too long


Runs quickly, favoring roads (up to 15 miles per hour)
Doesn't really fly (flight is possible, but brief)
Lives in the Southwestern American Desert (per Chuck Jones)

Can outrun a coyote (they can get up to a whopping 43 miles per hour)
Would be hunted by coyote (coyote are voracious hunters and scavengers, but one of the few things that live in their range that they don't eat are Road Runners. Not worth the effort?)
Call is just extremely wrong

So how do we put this all together? Ultimately, I'm going to give him a passing grade because I think this cartoon succeeds in depicting a caricature of a roadrunner for the most part. The important part is that he is recognizable as his real-world inspiration, but just barely. The color is the real tricky part- it's just not a color these birds have (except in a small spot behind the eye). Most damningly, no other Looney Tune has a color scheme this unrealistic. Rabbits can be grey, ducks black, pigs pink, coyotes brown, etc. I guess what I'm saying is he's no Beaky Buzzard

Realism Score: C-

Also, have a profile, cause why not 

Greater Roadrunner aka. Chaparral Bird, aka. Chaparral Cock, aka. Ground Cuckoo aka. Snake Killer
Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio, Texas, USA
July 2017
Member of the Cuckoo Family
§A Race of Roadrunners§
Excellent State Bird of New Mexico

~real bird legend~ Road Runners have a special place in the belief systems of many Native North and Central American peoples. They are considered to be courageous, strong, and fast, perhaps because of their habit of taking on fearsome venomous prey like rattlesnakes, scorpions, and horned lizards. The X shaped mark their feet make (2 toes in front, 2 in back), is thought to ward off evil and has been used as a sacred symbol by the Pueblo tribes. The footprint disguises the direction you're going in, keeping evil spirits from following.

Adventurous, tends to rush in
Equally at ease by himself and around big groups. Either way he ends up talking a lot
Maybe should be a little more careful, seems to walk around like he's invincible
Sleeps well at night

Friday, July 28, 2017


Killdeer aka. Chattering Plover aka. Noisy Plover (archaic)
Odessa Meteor Crater, Odessa, Texas, USA (Trip Advisor Quote: "Don't expect much, and you won't be disappointed")
July 2017
Member of the Plover/Lapwing Family
§A Season of Killdeers§

{Etymology Corner} Named onomatopoetically after the sound it makes. It's archaic names refer to this habit of noisy, frequent, distinctive calling as well. As for whether the cry sounds like 'killdeer' or not, your amateurnithologist is extremely skeptical.

~true bird fact~ Killdeer build their nests right out in the open, not attempting to disguise or protect them environmentally. What they do instead is a very active defense of their nest. The Killdeer may be most famous for her 'broken wing display' (below), in which she flutters around and pretends to be injured, to get predators away from the nest. When they've been lured far enough away, she simply pops up, good as new, and flies away. To deal with larger, non-predatory animals, the killdeer will charge them and perform a different display, attempting to get them to change their path to avoid a nest-trampling.

Seems nice, but really loves to gossip
Always a few months behind the curve in discovering new trends and technologies
Thinks she knows everything about your kids, just because she has kids
Great cook

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hooded Oriole

Hooded Oriole aka. Palm-leaf Oriole
Alvarado Park, Richmond, California, USA
July 2017
Member of the Blackbird/Oriole Family
§A Split of Orioles§

~true bird fact~ He's called a Palm-leaf Oriole especially in California because of the unusual way they make their nests. A female Oriole will poke holes in the underside of a palm frond and then thread fibers through these holes, essentially sewing a nest to the bottom of the leaf. In fact, the northward expansion of his range is largely owed to more people planting more ornamental palm trees. These birds certainly live up to their nickname in your Amateurnithologist's own neighborhood, as this bird was observed flying to and from a palm tree (actually I've seen him for a few years now, but this was the first time I was able to get a decent picture).

Loves citrus fruit (this one sounds like something I would make up, but appears to be true)
Always on the lookout for a shortcut to avoid hard work
Summer is his favorite season
Just very chill

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trip Report: Cosumnes River Preserve

Cosumnes River Preserve, Galt, California, USA
January 2017

Duck, var.

Another day in paradise, another trip to a local birding destination. These pictures were taken when your amateurnithologist found himself with some unusual time off and was able to go on some fun day trips to birding locales slightly further afield.

Cinnamon Teal, has a youtube prank video series

Today's pictures come from the Consumnes River Preserve and the adjacent Woodbridge River Preserve in eyebrow-raisingly named Galt, California. The preserves are part of California's heavily farmed central valley and the Consumnes River represents the last free flowing river of the valley. Located between Sacramento and Stockton, there are 46,000 acres of protected land, 40,000 of which are farmed.

Green-winged Teal couple, collect salt and pepper shakers

It's an important spot for birds, and your amateurnithologist was blown away by the variety and sheer quantity of birds present. And that makes a lot of sense, since this spot is part of the Pacific Flyway, one of the 4 major migration routes for American birds. Among its 250 native bird species are the rare Sandhill Cranes (got em') and Tri-colored Blackbirds (WHEN?). Both the Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy have declared it an "Important Bird Area."

Sandhill Crane, always stands next to shorter birds to make himself appear taller
The preserve itself is beautiful and well-maintained, and given that we attended in the middle of the day, on a weekday, it was surprisingly well-attended, mostly by like-minded bird people. Some serious scopes were on display.

White-fronted Goose, high tolerance for crowds
It was mostly a waterfowlful affair, and all manner of ducks and geese and assorted others were on display. I had the great experience of getting a much, much better shot of a Northern Pintail immediately after I had posted a blog about him. Such is the life of a bird blogger. We appeared to be right in the middle of White-fronted Goose migration, who got riled up and all took off together and blacked out the sky a few times.

Northern Pintail, always acts weird when you try to take a picture of him

Best spots for me were the rarely observed Sora (still have no idea how I spotted him in the reeds) and the vaunted and endangered Sandhill Crane. It was my first time getting a shot of the California subspecies (all previous cranes I had seen were in Florida). Other birds seen, but not included in this photo essay included Great Egret (in breeding plumage), Northern Shoveler, Belted Kingfisher, Canada Geese, American Kestrel, and Black-necked Stilt.

Sora, loves to do amateur research on topics that interest her

Overall I would give Galt, CA objectively high marks. It's a veritable fountainhead of birds, and you won't find yourself shrugging off enough birds to fill a whole atlas. Take the train. Go Ayn-y time.

Final Rating: Yes

Friday, June 30, 2017

Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe aka. Black-necked Grebe
Lake Merritt, Oakland, California, USA
April 2017
Member of the Grebe Family
Cirque du Soleil presents §A Water Dance of Grebes§
World's Most Abundant Grebe (congratulations!)

~true bird fact~ Eared Grebe goes through a pretty astounding cycle of transformations every year. While 'staging' (the period of prep time before migration), his body doubles in weight and he becomes completely flightless to bulk up. Then, right before migration, his digestive organs all shrink and his flight muscles and heart increase in size dramatically, allowing him to make the mirgratory flight. This process takes so long that this grebe has both the Latest Fall Migration of any North American Bird and the Longest Period of Flightlessness for any flighted bird (9-10 months of the year). I guess this goes without saying, but he also seasonally gets those cool head frills. This bird is a more compelling transformer than anything in those terrible Michael Bay movies, and you didn't even have to pay 15 dollars to see him.

Very high level of energy, seems to never run out of things to do
Cares a lot about being addressed with "respect"
Loves bawdy jokes
Has a pretty deep knowledge of old time-y hair products that he uses to get that look

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Hayward Regional Shorelines, Hayward, California, USA
April 2017
Member of the Sandpiper Family
§A Trip of Dunlins§

{Etymology Corner} Derives from 'dun' the color, which is a dull, greyish brownish number. It's basically a name that means 'boring-colored'. There are way, way drabber shorebirds than this, so I don't know what they*'re on about.

*- The 'They' of the previous sentence refers to the international bird-naming consortium.

~true bird fact~ The Dunlin is a very successful shorebird and has a mind-boggling range that most other birds could only dream of. He can be found on most shorelines around the Northern Hemisphere, making him a very common bird. Take a look for yourself! Still, he was one your amatuernithologist hadn't quite 'gotten' until he did this blog. If you, dear reader, are looking to up your Dunlin-Identifying game know that he has a distinctive black belly-patch and reddish back, but only in summer. The real trick is the slightly droopy bill that makes him look a bit sad or melty. He is, apparently, a good one to learn to ID other shorebirds by.

A bit 'judgy' of shorebirds who haven't traveled as much as him. Not everyone has that much disposable income, Dunlin
Long periods of inaction, followed by bursts of manic productivity
Still acts like a young adult despite being well into adulthood. This is a problem that could get worse with time
Thinks he can just tell what's true and what isn't by gut instinct, but honestly doesn't have that good of a radar

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Baby Owls in Golden Gate Park

Great news everyone! And I do mean great, because Great Horned Owls are nesting in Golden Gate Park. Well, probably not anymore, because even at the time I took these shots, a few months ago, they were getting kinda close to fledging I think. Big shout out to local bird-friend Eliya who gave me the hot tip and showed me the owls. These good good baby owls were shot around sunset, so the pictures I took aren't the best. Go see them next spring, why not. They're very good.

Great Horned Owlet aka. Fluffems aka. Sweet Baby Owl aka. Robert "DOWNy" Jr.
Bison Paddock, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA
April 2017
Member of the True Owl Family
§A Glaring of Owls§
The Provincial Bird of Alberta, Canada★

~real bird myth~ Pretty much any group of people who came into contact with this bird came to believe it had some kind of supernatural powers. The Pima thought the owls were reincarnated warriors, while the Passamaquoddy thought of them as friendly spirits whose calls could make people fall in love. The Hopi saw them as harbingers of warm weather and good harvests, and the Zuni used their feathers in battle to imbue themselves with some of the owl's powers of stealth. If there's anything everyone seems to be able to agree on, it's that the owls are not what they seem.

This is their mother. She has had it up to here with their shenanigans.

And these are the babies. I think there were three all together, but I never got a good shot with all of them. They:

Are always attached to their phones
Just want things handed to them, must've been all those participation trophies
Use all this slang I don't understand
Why can't they work their way through college?

Just kidding, I love these baby owls, and to prove it, here's an amazing .gif I made of them from some of Eliya's footage. May it see you through some hard times.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

American Flamingo

American Flamingo aka. Caribbean Flamingo
Ardastra Gardens, Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas
April 2017
Member of the Flamingo Family
§A Colony of Flamingos§
The Most Widespread Flamingo
State Bird of Gujarat, India

~true bird facts~ This is one weird bird, so there's a lot of cool facts about them. Problem is, you probably already know most of them. Here's some cool things you already know about flamingos:

We've all learned this one at some point- they've got that distinctive pink color because of the brine shrimp and algae that comprises much of their diet. Much like our friend the Roseate Spoonbill, their feathers would be grey without this supplement.

Thanks to their recent brush with virality you probably also know why they stand on one leg. It's because of the alignment of their hip and knee joints- they balance perfectly in the center of the bird when bent, meaning that standing this way actually uses almost no energy. It's also a way to regulate body temperature. Important for large animals that don't sweat.

You might've also seen their entertaining synchronized walking-dancing thing they do. It looks like this (these are not American Flamingos, but rather Chilean). It's a mating/pairing ritual, but no one is really sure how the birds decide exactly. It has to do with when they move in unison and when they stop.

One thing you might not know is that Flamingo tongues were considered to be a prized delicacy in ancient Rome. Why do we know so much stuff about Flamingos? I can only assume it's because they're big and cool looking.

Easily upset stomach
Likes to complain
Beauty-product based pyramid marketing scheme
High self esteem, has a high bar for others

Thursday, June 1, 2017

BUrdZZFEED presents: What Kind of Bird Are You?

That's right loyal fans, Amateurnithologist has sold out again, this time but good! We've partnered with Buzzfeed to bring you the only official quiz that will tell you what kind of bird you are (please do not fact check either of these statements). Featuring all new bird photos from yours truly, as well as over 9 meticulously calibrated questions, this bird quiz is unlike anything you've ever seen. Amateurnithologist is now taking offers to appear on morning shows, publish books, and receive prestigious awards. So without further ado, go take the quiz, and like, I don't know, post your results? Whatever people do with these things.

Friday, May 26, 2017

7 Music Video Bird .gifs to Brighten your Day

Since the dawn of time they have inspired art. Birds, the land-animals of the sky. Paintings, poetry, literature, even great film. But you know, there are also a lot of songs out there about birds, and some of those songs even have music videos, and some of those music videos even have birds. In fact, birds are so great, that some music videos just have birds in them for seemingly no reason. So obviously I had to make some .gifs.

Aaliyah, Are You That Somebody (1998)

Bird Type: Hawk (hard to tell from the shots what type, my guess is Red-tailed)
Bird Justification: Aaliyah wants the "Boy" of the song to know that she is "watching (him) like a hawk in the sky". Not a tremendous justification given that the hawk is in kind of a lot of the video.
Use this .gif: When you want him not to speak (you know that would be weak)

Prince, When Doves Cry (1984)
Bird Type: Release Dove (a white domestic subspecies of the common Rock Dove aka. Pigeon)
Bird Justification: The song is called "When Doves Cry", but honestly it's not really clear what that means. There are only a scant few dove moments in the video, but they're all very good.
Use this .gif: As inspiration for your extremely obscure 80's music video-themed costume party

Drake, Take Care (2012)
Bird Type: Blue Jay
Bird Justification: The video uses a variety of animals in motion in ways that are reminiscent of the ways the human animals in the video move. Furthermore, the Blue Jay is the mascot of Drake's home town of Toronto's MLB team.
Use this .gif: with the hashtag #relationshipgoals

KMD, Peachfuzz (1991)
Bird Type: Rock Dove aka. Pigeon
Bird Justification: Lev Love X declares in the opening verse of the song that you should "..use your imagination, just a smidgen/if I was a bird I'd be a pigeon", at which point the music video does a fade out to a really tight shot of a pigeon. As a bonus, he moments later declares that he likes to "eat fresh fish like a pelican". In the larger context of the song, he seems to be trying to convince some fly girls that he's old enough to date despite his young appearance.
Use this .gif: to demonstrate a high level of maturity

Nelly Furtado, I'm Like a Bird (2000)
Bird Type: Digital, generic (although earlier in the video she appears to hand feed what really appears to be a white-headed black bulbul, which is so insane that I don't even know what to think)
Bird Context: Whole song
Use this .gif: moments of triumph, elation

Kylie Minogue, All the Lovers (2010)
Bird Type: That dang Release Dove again, clearly the most popular music video bird
Bird Context: virtually none. They appear throughout the song as some kind of visual theme
Use this .gif: Ok, I might be totally off base here, but based on the music video, I feel like this dove is kind of an orgasm metaphor (sorry to be blue, this is usually a family blog)

Katy Perry, Roar (2013)
Bird Type: Blue and Gold Macaw
Bird Context: The music video's concept is that Katy is going to find her inner strength to tame a tiger in this jungle. During this time she sings at many animals, one of which is this lovely Macaw.
Use this .gif: When you've got a friend crush and they're not as enthusiastic as you to hang out and stuff, but you're sure you'll wear them down with your persistence