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The Ultimate 10 Question Black Friday Bird Quiz

Post #52 of 100 days of Blogging.

It’s Black Friday so try your luck with the Black Friday Birds Quiz! The questions are based on the 18 birds on the Bird Protection Quebec Checklist that have “black” as part of their common English names.

Unlike all of the other Black Friday deals probably popping into your inbox today, this one is 100 % Free! What’s more, instead of the usual 10 birds in our listicle posts, today’s post mentions 18 birds, so that’s 80 % more birds!

Here’s what you get in your Black Friday Bird Quiz package!

2 Ducks
American Black Duck
Black Scoter

1 Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron

1 Vulture
Black Vulture

1 Plover
Black-bellied Plover

4 Gulls
Black-legged Kittiwake
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull

1 Tern
Black Tern

1 Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo

1 Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker

1 Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

5 Warblers
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler

Yes, that’s right. All 18 birds for the price of 10!  All free! All for being a reader of this blog!

As an added bonus, because its Fishy Friday – seven of them even eat Fish!

Claim Your Free Fishy Friday Bonus Fact Now by flipping the card below just for reading this blog post!

Fishy Black Friday Bonus Facts

Click to Flip
Sometimes Black Vultures wade into shallow water to feed on floating carrion, or to catch small fish. The other fish eating birds in the Black Friday package include the Black-legged Kittiwake, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, The Black Tern and the Black-crowned Night-heron.

Ready – set – go take the Black Friday Bird Quiz!
And please share your results on Facebook!

#1. The American Black Duck looks most like...


Fishy Friday: 10 Ways Birds Eat Fish and Fish Eat Birds


Day 44 of 100 days of Blogging

It’s fishy Friday again but instead of focusing on just one bird, here are 10 facts about how birds eat fish and, for a change of pace, fish eat birds!

#1. There a quite a variety of birds that eat fish such as the ones that have been the topic of previous posts: herons, ospreys, cormorants and kingfishers and there’s even the fish eating owl! Others include mergansers,terns,penguins,eagles, anhingas, storks, gulls, gannets, pelicans and puffins.

#2. Birds use behaviours like plunge diving, surface diving, skimming the surface, spearing and stealing to catch fish. Since none of that describes the osprey’s talent for using its talons to snatch fish out of the water, lets add that to the list too!

#3. Fish-eating birds tend to have rear-facing hooks on their tongues to prevent fish from slipping away.

#4. Mergansers, specialized for eating fish, have sharp tooth-like structures on the edge of the bill to hold fish tightly.

#5. Pelicans use their pouches to scoop up fish.

#6. Fresh water Largemouth Bass will eat small birds (among other things).

#7. As if birds don’t have enough to worry about by looking out for cats,  apparently there’s a species of catfish that preys on pigeons!

#8. Researchers discovered that African TIgerfish eat Barn Swallows skimming close to the surface of the water. These fish will jump out of the water to snatch the unsuspecting bird out of mid-air.

#9. Monkfish have a taste for seabirds. A huge variety of species have been found in monkfish stomachs including loons, grebes, cormorants, wigeons, scaups, scoters, merganser, herring gulls, alcids, and Manx shearwaters. Read an interesting article here which cites the original study.

#10. Sharks are known to eat seabirds such as young albatrosses still learning to fly. However, a recent study discovered that they feed on land birds as well. Migratory species that are disoriented by the lights on oil rigs have ended up in shark stomachs too. You can read more about the problem facing migrating songbirds and the shark study here.



Fishy Friday: 10 Things about the Belted Kingfisher

Female Belted Kingfisher (Image:Wikimedia)

Day 37 of 100 Days of Blogging

The Belted Kingfisher, with its snazzy looking crested head, belted clothing accessory-like markings and aerobatic diving abilities is hard to mistake for another bird,and a fun to watch. He is found across North America in the summer, on the PQSPB checklist and this week’s totally cool fish eating bird!

Early Birder Fishy Friday Profile #5

The Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Family: Alcedinidae   French: Martin-pêcheur d’Amérique

#1. Kingfishers are fun to watch with their aerobatic antics as they hover over the water hummingbird style looking for fish, then dive head first into the water to snatch their prey with a dagger like bill.  It may also take a more leisurely approach and observe the water from a perch before plunging after its prey.

#2. Once the Kingfisher has captured a fish, it flies back to a perch. Since fish are rather slippery, it first wacks its catch sideways against the tree or whatever it is sitting on. Presumably this stuns the fish and makes it easier to manoeuvre and eat.

#3. Kingfishers can be seen foraging throughout the day, They are very territorial and will voice their displeasure at the slightest disturbance. So it is likely to be heard before you ever see it. 

#4. Kingfishers are sexually dimorphic and decked out with really nice accessories to complement their plumage and stylish crest . The female, like the male, has a bandanna-scarf shaped band around her neck and also sports a rufous belt around her midsection. (If you prefer, In scientific parlance that would be “dichromatic pectoral bands on white underparts” and the female displays “rufous sides and rufous band across the lower breast”.) Frankly, I find clothing accessories easier to visualize! 

These birds are abundant where earthen banks suitable for excavation of burrows are available. Nests are created at the end of  tunnels excavated by both parents. Excavation generally takes 3-7 days, but may take up to three weeks in some circumstance.

#6. The nest cavity is not usually lined. However, the Kingfisher has a rather “messy” housekeeping style and doesn’t remove all those coughed up pellets containing undigested fish bones, and it adds up after a while. The regurgitated mess does have a useful purpose though, as it provides some insulation between the incubating eggs and the earthen floor. 

#7. Parents share the 2-24 day incubation period; the female sits all night then the male takes her place in the early morning.

#8. Once hatched, feeding a nestling requires on average some 8 fish per day per bird, and more during the peak growth time. Total nesting time is about 27-29 days before the fledglings leave the burrow.  

#9. Diet consists of shallow water fish, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles young birds, small mammals. For a sweet alternative, the Kingfisher will occasionally eats berries!

#10. The Kingfisher inhabits areas close to rivers, lakes and estuaries. Breeds from Alaska eastward across southern Canada and south throughout most of the US . Winters on the Pacific coast down from southern Alaska, from the Great Lakes southward through the southern state, and found along the Atlantic coast south of New England. Some northern populations winter as far as Central America, the West Indies and northern South America.

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