Every year, the American Ornithological Society (AOU) reviews a number of proposed changes to the classification of North American birds. This affects the definitive list on which we birders base our life lists. Species may be added or deleted. Sometimes, a species is divided into two or more new species, such as the split of the Western Scrub-Jay a few years ago. (I gained a new life species as a result, as I have seen and photographed both the California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay.)
Other times, species may be lumped together—what was once considered two species is now thought to be only one, with various subspecies. Sometimes, entire genera are moved into new families. Or, a species remains unchanged, but the name is updated, as when the Gray Jay became officially known as a Canada Jay.
Continue reading “The AOU’s 2019 Bird List”
Broccoli and cabbage, mustard and turnips. Radishes, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Kale and kohlrabi. Asian vegetables such as daikon radishes, bok choy, and gai lan (Chinese broccoli). Never has a plant family had so many tasty members.
Continue reading “Meet the Mustards”
Brown-headed Cowbirds have a bad reputation. A lot of birders don’t like them because they seem to be shirking their parental duties. Because they are obligate brood parasites—they don’t build their own nests, and only lay their eggs in the nests of other species—we accuse them of taking advantage of other species by forcing them into doing all the work of feeding a hungry nestling. It’s unfair. We’re indignant.
Continue reading “Brown-headed Cowbirds”
If you were stymied on Monday, now can you name this bird? The photo was taken in Florida in January. The answer will appear in Monday’s post.
Three-leaf Sumac, Rhus trilobata
Red-twig Dogwood, Cornus serica
Oregon Grape-holly, Mahonia repens
What kind of fruit comes in red, white, and blue? Berries, of course!
Blueberries are a huge treat. Our daughter in western Washington grows them by the bucketful, although our granddaughters have a habit of grazing on them in the backyard, so they don’t always make it into the kitchen.
Continue reading “Red, White, and Blue Berries”
This bird was photographed in Florida in January. Can you name it? I will post the uncropped photo on Saturday, giving you one more chance to identify the bird. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.
This week I stumbled across yet another website offering garden “advice”—hacks to make you a better gardener. This one focused on used tea bags. Yup, did you know that you can reuse those bags to help your garden thrive? Or not…
Continue reading “Used Tea Bags”