birds Archive

How birds handle hot weather September 2, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding. Tags: birds, birds and heat, ornithology.

By Bob Lewis

With our temperature climbing this week, some of us are wondering how birds deal with elevated temperatures. Remember, they’re sitting inside a feather quilt. A review of Cornell’s Handbook of Bird Biology and a bit of personal experience provide some clues.

Like mammals, birds control their core body temperature in a fairly narrow range. For birds, that range is usually 39-43 degrees C (102-109 degrees F). Usually the ambient temperature…

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Oakland herons released at MLK Shoreline July 29, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding, Conservation, Golden Gate Audubon. Tags: bird rescue, birds, egrets, herons, International Bird Rescue, Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland birds, Oakland herons, Oakland wildlife, Oakland Zoo.

By Ilana DeBare

Our three-way heron rescue partnership with International Bird Rescue and Oakland Zoo paid inspiring dividends again on Friday, when 19 young herons and egrets were released into thriving marsh habitat at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline.

There is hardly anything more uplifting than witnessing the release of wild birds that had been threatened with death, rescued, and nursed back to health. Watching them stick a tentative…

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Hatching strategies – when and why? May 29, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding. Tags: altricial, birds, hatching, precocial.

By Daryl Anne Goldman

It’s breeding season — an opportunity for birders to watch courtship rituals, nest building, eggs hatching, and parents caring for their chicks. It’s fascinating how much diversity there is among species in the number of eggs in a clutch, what the newly hatched chicks look like, and how dependent or mobile chicks are after hatching.

Did you ever wonder why the eggs of songbirds and owls hatch up to several days apart, while…

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Do birds love? (an ongoing argument) February 13, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Birding. Tags: bird behavior, birds, courtship, love birds.

By Joe Galkowski

It’s Valentine’s Day, the day we celebrate romantic love, so I thought I would pose the question, “Do birds love?”

Scientists will say this question has been definitively answered with a big “no.” There are other scientists, however, who are just as sure it is “yes.” The argument is ongoing. They have, in trying to prove the other side wrong, gathered a bunch of interesting facts and…

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What birds do in the rain December 21, 2014

Posted by GGAS in Birding. Tags: Bay Nature, birds, birds and rain.

Bay Nature magazine recently ran an online column on what birds do in the rain, by San Francisco consulting naturalist Josiah Clark. We liked it so much that we’re reprinting it! (With permission of course.)

By Josiah Clark

The sea gives birth to the storm and it’s the seabirds that feel it first. With instincts any sailor would envy, seabirds sense and flee from the storm front, often arriving in numbers days before the weather makes landfall.…

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Bird Tongues December 17, 2014

Posted by GGAS in Birding. Tags: bird anatomy, bird morphology, bird tongues, birds, ornithology.

By Nancy Johnston

Birders quickly learn to use bird bills to help identify species. Bird tongues, if we could easily see them, would also be helpful in identifying species. This blog is to whet your tongue about bird tongues and highlight the diversity that evolution has brought to avian tongues.

First, most birds have pretty prosaic tongues. They look somewhat similar to ours but can have some interesting extra features. As shown in Figure 1, the tips …

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A birdy Valentine’s Day from GGAS! February 13, 2014

Posted by GGAS in Birding. Tags: birds, courtship, pairs, romance, Valentine's Day.

By Ilana DeBare

Which pair of birds best sums up YOUR relationship(s)?

“Sometimes I feel like we’re talking past each other.”

Black Oystercatchers by Ethan Winning


“I’m head over heels for you.”

Bushtits by Ethan Winning


“Honey, are we there yet?”

Ross’ Geese by Rick Lewis


“Is that just a breeding bump or are you happy to see me?”

White Pelicans by Lee Aurich

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