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Birds

All about these curious, inquisitive and amazing creatures
by

Maggie Craftily

on 18 June 2015

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Transcript of Birds

Tweet, tweet
Birds
- All birds have feathers
-Not all birds fly
-Are bipedal (walk on two feet)
-Endothermic (warm blooded)
- Lay hard shelled eggs
-Some birds migrate south in winter
- Has a beak
-Live in almost all environments
What is a Bird?
- Also called "birding"
- If using binoculars, put them to your eyes and don't lose sight of the bird
- Form of wildlife observation
- Often involves sitting and listening
- Traced back to the late 1800s
- Some of the first birdwatchers were Gilbert White, Thomas Bewick, George Montagu and John Clare
- Became very common in Britain during the Victorian era
Bird watching
Habitats
- Ontario is separated into five biophysical regions: Carolinan Forest, (deciduous forest) Great lakes-St. Lawerence Forest, (mixed forest) Boreal Forest, Hudson Bay Lowland Forest (boreal barrens) and Tundra
-Every biophysical region or "bioregion", has many unique habitats inside it
- A bird's habitat is the place where it usually lives
- Knowing where a bird's habitat is makes it a lot easier to identify birds in their habitats


Birdwatching Sites
- Point Pelee National Park
- Rondeau Provicial Park and Rondeau Bay
- Long Point Provincial Park
- Big Creek National Wildlife Area
- Turkey Point Provincial Park
- The Niagara River
-Dundas Marsh
-The Toronto Islands
- Tommy Thomson Park
- Rouge River Provincial Park
- Cranberry Marsh
- Lynde Shores Conservation Area
- Presqu'ile Provincial Park
-The Bruce Peninsula
Birdsong
- Birds sing to communicate, attract mates, claim
territory, find family members, share info about food and
to warn other birds of danger
- Different birds communicate using a variety of chirps, chips, tweets, twits, trills and much more
-

Some examples of birdsong
List of birds and the sounds that they make

- Common Loon
- Northern Flicker
- Black Capped Chickadee
By Maggie

Evolution
1- Lizards use flaps of skin to glide
2- Glidig lizards evolve to become huge flying
reptiles called pterosaurs
3- In 1861 the first known feathered animal was discovered, "Archaeopteryx", which was much like the present day crow
4- After the mass extinction, the pterosaurs died off with the dinosaurs and feathered creatures eventually
evolved into the modern bird
Wings
- Only insects, bats and most birds
can fly using their own body power
- But the birds are the masters of flight due to
mother nature's genius wing design
- Attributes of a bird's wing are lightweight, strength
and flexibility
- A bird's wing uses air resistance to hold up the body of the bird
- Leonardo Da'Vinci copied bird's wings and drew
plans for all sorts of flying machines that he never
built
- Wing feathers come in many designs: Lopsided,
graded, balanced blades, in-flight markings,
slotted feathers and silent feathers
Feathers
- There are four different types of
feathers: Flight feathers, Tail feathers,
body feathers and down feathers
- Feathers begin as a pulp inside a a tube called
a feather sheath
- The actual feather will gradually unroll within the sheath which will eventually disappear
- Feathers are brightly colored epidermal growths
( A growth on the skin)

Wing feathers
Birdsong
- Birds sing to communicate, attract mates, claim
territory, find family members, share info about food and
to warn other birds of danger
- Different birds communicate using a variety of chirps, chips, tweets, twits, trills and much more
-

Some examples of birdsong
Tails
Tail feathers
Flight
- Important
- Strong,light and flexible
- Surprisingly, birds have a particularly small
amount of feathers on their wings
- Wing feathers work together
- Long, outer wing feathers provide lots of power
in flight
- The outermost feathers spread out and close
together in order to help steer
- Feathers overlap for a smooth wing surface
- Often, feathers are lopsided, this design allows them to
slice through the air
- Fringed owl feathers allow silent flight
- Inner wing feathers are more evenly shaped and are
shorter and wider
- Feathers at the boundary between the inner and
outer wing have curved quills and blunt tips
- Birds do not have real tails
- Instead, they have a little stump of a bone
with feathers on the end
- When landing, a bird spreads out it's tail feathers
which act as a break to slow the bird down
- Tails act as balance, help birds to perch and attract mates as well as flight
- Woodpeckers use their tails to climb trees
- Most birds have twelve
feathers at the ends of their tails
- These are called tail feathers
- Tail coverts (another kind of feather) lay at the
base of the tail to improve airflow
- Rump feathers sit on top of the base of the tail and keep the bird warm
- The tips of the tail feathers often get frayed and
worn from flight
- Great spotted woodpeckers rub the ends of
their tail feathers against trees to create sharp
points
- Some small birds have forked tails that
provide more maneuverability
- Lots of birds
have round and wide wings
for chasing prey
- The roller has a peculiar way of flight, it flaps
it's wings to fly up, then it folds in it's wings and falls down, after that it repeats the process to fly
- The roller also perches on a branch or building and then swoops down on it's prey
- To fly, the pheasant quickly beats it's wings and
then does a glide forward
- Swifts only ever land to breed, they may continuously
fly for up to three years
- The peregrine falcon holds the record for being the
fastest bird, reaching up to 280 kph when diving
- Any bird that is heavier than 18 kg can not
fly

Keeping warm
- To keep warm birds have down
feathers
- There are many different types of down
feathers that serve different purposes
- Soft fluffy feathers are tightly packed on the body of birds to keep them warm
- On colorful birds, only the visible tips of the feathers are patterned, the rest of the feather is dull and fluffy
- The barbs on down feathers are separated to
form a fluffy mass
- Lots of birds have feathers that have a
mass of down near where the feather attaches to
the body
- A lot of birds pull out their breast
feathers and put them in a
nest
Courtship
- Some birds remain partners
for life, whereas some birds attract
many mates and then mate with one before
dumping her for the next
- Male lyrebirds make themselves a stage and then
strut around on it in order to attract a mate
- Peacocks have some of the most amazing tails in the bird world
- In the terms of a red phalarope, the female courts the male, this is quite unusual for a bird
- When courting females, the count Raggi's bird of
paradise hangs upside down and fans out it's tail
Camo
- If faced by danger, most birds will
immediately take to the air
- But some will stay down and hope not to be noticed
- The luckiest ones are those who are cleverly
camouflaged to fit with their surroundings
- Birds can be camouflaged in all sorts of places, even the
beach! In the case of a Ringed Plover
- For the Woodcock, camouflage is the first part of protection from predators
- Some birds, such as the Rock Ptarmigan, shed their
feathers every year to change color and blend in with
seasonal changes in surroundings
- Some records show that night jars have even been
stepped on by the occasional passer by


Tweety Feet
- Different birds use their feet for different things,
therefore, bird feet vary greatly
- The reptilian creatures from which birds evolved would
have had five toes, however most modern birds have three or four, with
the exception of the ostrich who has just two.
- Wood Peckers have feet built for climbing up trees to reach yummy
bugs. The clever design required to do this has four toes; two backwards pointing
toes and two that point forward. This balances and anchors the bird as it climbs
- The foot of a predatory bird has long talons for gripping stubborn meals
- These talons are so long that sometimes the birds will have trouble
walking. Some predatory birds also have long feathers that go down to just below the ankle, which is hidden from
sight
- Owls feet and legs are covered densely in feathers so as to mask sound and keep
warm
- Eagles can carry really heavy objects with an amazing grip
- Predatory birds spread out their toes to catch prey, whereas the crow generally keeps it's feet quite
narrow
- Waders generally have similar characteristics to their feet. Most have wide
spread out toes so that they don't sink in soft mud and long legs for deep water
- The long, thin toes of a jacana allow it to walk on aquatic plants such as lily pads
- The coot has scaly flanges down each toe to help it swim and walk in the mud
- Most seabirds have webbed feet to aid swimming. Petrels can almost use this to walk across the water
- The muscles in a birds leg are mostly at the top, unlike human. This is why birds legs
are so thin
- It is actually harder for perching birds to take off than stay perching
- Most birds in cold climates stop the warm blood flow to the legs so as to conserve energy
- Small birds will hop to move around on the ground whereas large birds find it inefficient
and actually walk




Bird sense
- Birds have extremely good vision
- Scientists do not know if birds can taste their food
- Birds also have exceptional hearing
- The south american oil bird can use hearing to maneuver
around obstacles like a bat
- Because of the outstanding vision and hearing of birds their brains are
not developed to be very large
- However birds in the crow family are actually quite intelligent
- Long billed birds that use their beaks to find food actually have nerve receptors on their beaks
- Owl's eyes almost point straight forward, this allows a good amount of
binocular vision (Vision with both eyes)
- Owl's straight pointing eyes also give the bird good judgement of distance
- Most predatory birds have similar eyes to the owl
- Owls can only move their eyes about 2 degrees but make up for that by having
a neck that can swivel all the way to look backwards
- Owl's ears are at different levels so as to give a good idea of where the
noise is coming from
- Night jars have bristles on either side of their mouths to help
push bugs into the bird's mouth that are in mid flight
Beaks
- Other than parrots and birds of prey
all birds retrieve and carry their food in their beaks
- Beaks have evolved into many different designs for eating
different foods
- Beaks have the most strength near to the base
- Chaffinches and other birds that eat a diet of hard seeds have a cone of
of a beak that is very short so that they can break seeds open
- Waders (which includes sand pipers and plovers) have long beaks for
searching for food in the mud
- Unlike other waders, the woodcock uses its beak to find worms in the mud
on land
- The curlews beak resembles forceps
- Most ducks have a flat beak that they dabble across the water to find food
- Birds do not have true "teeth", however the merganser has tooth like
contraptions in it's mouth
- The European blackbird and many other birds have tweezer shaped
beak for picking up seeds and earthworms
- Many carnivorous birds have hooked beaks for tearing food
apart
- Parrots use their hooked beaks to rip at the flesh
of fruit whereas they also use the bottom
jaw to crack seeds

Pellets
- Predatory birds cannot chew food
because of their lack of teeth
- This means that they have to either rip up their prey
before eating it or swallow it whole
- Birds who eat their food whole will regurgitate pellets of
indigestible materials such as bones, fur, feathers etc
- The shape and contents of a pellet allow you to diagnose the species it
came from
- The only pellets that you are likely to find in a park are those of the tawny owl
- If a pellet is left on the ground for a long time then it will slowly disintegrate
- The pellets of many waders contain broken shells and seed cases
- Members of the crow family eat a wide variety of different foods including
insects, plants etc
- The most common components of songbird pellets are seeds
- Falcon pellets usually have bones and insect remains inside
- Barn owls have readily identifiable smooth and black pellets that pile
up under roosts
- Dissecting pellets allows you to find out more about what a bird
has been eating
- Birds eat other birds, and feathers have a protein in
them which cannot be digested
Nest Building
- There are two steps to building the
perfect nest
- These steps are collect and create
- The time that it takes to do each step varies with species
- The cup nest (the classic bird nest) is made by placing the
materials somewhere near where they will go, then standing in
the middle and spinning around, pushing down with the feet and outwards
with the chest
- The two main categories of nest materials are natural and man-made
- Examples of natural materials are mud, seed heads,leaves,
needles, twigs and sticks
- Examples of man-made materials are string, tin foil, twine, paper and tissue
- Stronger materials are usually used as a skeleton for the nest
- Softer materials line the nest for insulation
- Smaller nests usually have a wider range of materials
- Other materials are feathers, cattle hair, wool, moss, lichen, grass and
horse hair
- Cup nests can be made of almost anything
- Birds have adapted very quickly to building nests on
buildings
- West african weaver birds build amazing
trumpet shaped nests


Eggs
- Bird's eggs shape and size depend
entirely on where and how it lives
- Seabirds only come on land to lay their eggs and
breed
- Seabirds lay eggs on rocky cliffs away from predators
- Waders lay well camouflaged eggs in reed beds
- Small birds lay small eggs in large clutches
- Larger birds lay bigger eggs in much smaller clutches
- An egg clutch can contain an undersize egg just as a dog litter can have
undersize puppies
- Murres lay their eggs on a cliff, they do not build any nest, the shape
of the egg causes it to roll back in a circle instead of in a straight line
so as to keep it from falling
- Murre eggs also have the widest variety of different colors
- Gallinules will put their eggs in another bird's nest for them
to look after
- Albatross incubate their eggs for a full 2.5 months
- Cuckoos lay their eggs in other bird's nests
Life cycle and hatching
- Some birds are completely undeveloped
when they hatch
- Some birds, called precocial birds leave the nest only a few
days after hatching
- When hatching, the baby bird faces the blunt part of the egg and
breaks open the air sack
- This allows the chick to breath in and call for it's mom
- Using an egg tooth which falls off after hatching and a strong muscle to
power hits, the chick makes a long circular crack around the base of the egg
- When the circle is completed the chick uses it's toes and shoulders to pry off
the blunt part of the egg
- Only some waders and ground birds hatch in a significantly different
method than this
- Birds that hatch undeveloped really need an amazing amount of food every day, together
blue tit parents can make up to 1,000 trips per day to bring their chicks food
- Instinctively, chicks open their mouths for food when a parent reaches the nest
- At five days old a blue tit's back will have feather sheaths developing
- At nine days old a blue tit will be looking a lot less bald
- When blue tits are just over two weeks old they will leave the nest, but that won't stop
them from following their parents and asking for food
Birds Around You
- In the winter time, there is nothing a bird
needs more than food
- If you set up some bird feed in winter then you will have
a yard full of birds
- Birds will also be very appreciative of a place to nest in the
summer and spring
- A good bird house will need a roof that will repel rain water
- Not necessarily a waterproof roof, but something slanted
- If a birdhouse is aimed at attracting smaller birds then it will have to be
to small for any predators
- A feeding table on a birdhouse is not a good idea as other birds like it and
this could disrupt the nesters
- Some types of backyard birds to watch out for are...
- Different types of woodpeckers
- Different types of sparrows
- Cardinals
- Chickadees
- Robins
- Juncos
Facts
- There are more than 9,500 species of
bird on the planet
- Two thirds of bird species live in tropical rain forests
- The chicks of a Hoatzin have claws on their wings that they use to
climb out of the nest and safely reach the ground
- Woodpeckers don't sing, they drum with trees
- Lammergeiers eat nutritious bone marrow by smashing the bones when they are dropped on rocks
- Mallee fowls lay their eggs in a huge pile of rotting vegetables instead of a nest, the compost gives off enough heat to incubate the eggs
- Layers of pigment on a male peacock's tail feathers give it a shimmery look
- Bar headed geese fly almost as high as jet planes when they migrate
Bird records
- Birds are the most diverse class on the
planet
- Swans have the most feathers, 25,ooo
- African grey parrots can learn up to 800 words
- Andean condors weigh 12 kg as the heaviest predatory birds
- Red-billed queleas are the most common birds in the world with
1.5 billion
- Peregerine falcons can reach speeds of up to 280 kph when they
dive down on their prey
- Large wandering albatross live 80 years
- Gentoo penguins can swim at up to 36 kph
- Sooty terns fly for over 3 years
- Arctic terns fly 40,000 km per year to migrate
- Ostriches are the biggest birds at 2.7 m and 160 kg
- Bee hummingbirds are the smallest birds, they are 5.7 cm
- American woodcocks only fly 8 kph which is the slowest of all birds
- Bald eagles build nests in trees that are 2.9 m wide
- Vervain hummingbirds make nests that are 1.5 cm wide

Some Bird Orders
1. Flightless birds
2. Large waders
3. Waterfowl
4. Predatory birds
5. Game birds
6. Shorebirds and waders
7. Parrots
8. Owls
9. Kingfishers and hoopoes
10. Perching birds
The End
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