Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Tuesday's Tips

Look & Listen

You may think this is just all 'old hat' and that it's obvious, but lots of beginning birders don't seem to do it. Yes, although it is exciting to go outdoors and find some birds, there's no way you're going to see any interesting ones with all the noise you're making. If you're quiet enough, you can see some pretty neat birds that are deep in the reeds or woods.

If you are also quiet enough, you should be able to hear birds. Use your ears to seek out the birds (while being quiet!). This is why it is also handy to have not only good sight identification skills but also ear identification skills. I admit myself that identifying birds their looks is a lot easier and I lack a bit of knowledge on that.

Just follow these two simple rules and you'll find more cool birds, faster. And you'll have great stories to tell your fellow birders about.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Bird Of The Week

Ruddy Duck

(Oxyura jamaicensis)

Trust me, you'll know if you've seen one or not. With its blue bill, black cap, white chin and chestnut body there is no other bird that can compare. The first time you see one, you have to blink several times and/or rub your eyes to make sure you're not seeing things.
But when you rub your eyes, it does disappear. You begin to think of how odd that duck was, when, fifteen seconds later, it pops back into your sight again. By now, you're slightly confused. Then you see its head dip into the water and it dives deep into the water. You know for certain that you're seeing something real.
Do you want to see this unique bird? Do they live around you? 
In Canada, Ruddy Ducks are around only the summer and are found from Manitoba to the Rockies. Their habitat? Marshes, especially one that border lakes and ponds. (Oak Hammock Marsh is a good hot-spot) You won't find one anywhere else unless it's in the air.


Wingspan: 56-62 cm (22-24.4 in)
Length: 35-43 cm (13.8-16.9 in)
Weight: 300-850 g (10.6-30 oz)
Food: Omnivore. Eats most aquatic insects and crustaceans. May also eat water weeds.
Habitat: Marshes, especially ones that border lakes and ponds.
Ruddy Duck - 2013 © Christopher Martin