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Archive for February, 2014

Cassowary

When Julie Craves, a contributing editor at BirdWatching magazine, was asked to name the world’s most dangerous bird, she immediately answered: a Cassowary.

A Cassowary is a large, heavy, flightless bird similar to an Ostrich. It is about 5 to 6 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds. Native to Australia, they are generally shy, solitary birds that live in deep forests. But they will defend themselves by kicking their adversary with their powerful legs. Each foot has three large toes. The inner or second of the three toes has a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease. There is at least one documented case of Cassowary killing a human.

Julie relates the story of one Cassowary that took an instant dislike to a scientist. It held the scientist captive in his car by flattening all the tires and puncturing the radiator.

That story may or may not be true but does illustrate the power of an angry Cassowary. Not the type of bird you want to visit your backyard bird feeder.

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Bald Eagle - 33

A recent wildlife census tallied about 100 Bald Eagles between Croton Point Park and the Bear Mountain Bridge. Last week’s EagleFest drew thousands of spectators. There is a strong interest in eagles. However, the typical man-on-the-street can’t imagine eagles in Westchester. They envision eagles in the remote areas of the Rocky Mountains, not 40 miles from NYC.
How Much Do you know about Bald Eagles?

Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine created the following short multiple-choice quiz about Bald Eagles. See how much you know.

1 Bald Eagles, once on the endangered list, are found only in North America. How many bald eagles are estimated to reside in North America?

a) 300
b) 3,000
c) 30,000
d) 300,000

2. How much does a typical adult bald eagle weigh?

a) 3 pounds
b) 5 pounds
c) 10 pounds
d) 17 pounds

3. How many eagle species occur in North America?

a) One
b) Two
c) Three
d) Four

4. Eagle’s favorite food is

a) Small mammals
b) Dead fish
c) Ducks
d) Small children

Answers: 1 (d), 2 (c), 3 (b), 4 (b)

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History of Name Popularity

This is not bird related, but it is interesting. Someone send me this link.

http://www.vintagereprints.net/names/

When you enter a first name, the results show you the popularity of that name for each of the last 100+ years.

Try it. Enter your first name and see if you were part of brief period when your name was part of national fad.

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The average person might think that the highlight of this morning’s bird walk would have been the good views we had of five Bald Eagles.
Bald Eagle in Flight
Or that maybe they opt for the excellent look we had at a Red-headed Woodpecker (a rare bird in Westchester). Red-headed WoodpeckerHowever, if you polled the dozen birds on our walk, they would not have voted for either of these options, as good as they were.

Their overwhelming favorite of the morning was the sight of five coyotes patrolling the ice sheet on the Hudson River.
From a birding perspective, the walk would be described as one with quality views of good birds but not one with a large variety of species seen.

Below is a complete listing of the 24 species seen.

Waterfowl: Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Mute Swan, Double-created Cormorant
Birds of Prey: Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk
Back Yard Birds: Cardinal, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Junco, Morning Dove, Pigeon, Carolina Wren, Crow, Grackle, Starling
Woodpecker: Red-headed Woodpecker
Gulls: Ringed-billed, Herring, Great black-backed.

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