While many birds are excellent parents, others lack any maternal or paternal instincts altogether. The common cuckoo, a nesting bird in Europe and Asia, is a well-known brood parasite that would rather slip its eggs into the nest of other bird than raise its own young. In scientific terms, “brood parasite” refers to creatures that rely on others to raise their young. In addition to some birds, this tactic is also employed by some species of insects and fish.
Photo by Bryan Stevens • Female brown-headed cowbirds stay alert to observe bird leaving or coming to a nest. Once they have located a nest, these birds slip their own eggs into the nests of other birds.
The strategy is effective, if, in the human way of thinking, rather heartless. In biological terms, however, this “foster parenting” allows brood parasites to ensure a new generation without expending much energy on the…
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On occasion, readers seek out my help with identifying birds they encounter. I am always glad to assist. Photographs, a recording of the bird’s song, or even a well-written description are often all that’s necessary to pinpoint the identities of mystery birds.
Lewis and Jeana Chapman, residents of Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, notified me in an email that they have been enjoying some good birdwatching trips. They also wanted some help with the identity of a bird they observed last summer.
Photo by Bryan Stevens • The Northern waterthrush, pictured, has a beige eye line rather than the white one usually shown by the Louisiana waterthrush.
“My wife and I love to go to the Creeper Trail in Virginia and enjoy the creek,” Lewis wrote in an email. “On these trips in the summer months, we have watched this bird run along the rocks of the shore feeding.”
He also mentioned…
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The Los Angeles Audubon Society is seeking volunteers to help us connect local school children with nature. Our high quality environmental education programs help to raise awareness among elementary and middle school students about the wonderful natural habitats found within our own city limits, at the Ballona Wetlands and at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. Over 3,000 budding naturalists participated in our field trips during the 2016-2017 school year.
Training for the Ballona Wetlands program commences on Thursday, September 13th and continues on the five following Thursdays until October 18th. Each training session run from 9 am to noon.
Training for the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area on Friday, September 21stand continues on the five following Fridays until October 26th. Each training session run from 9 am to noon.
No experience is necessary…
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