Tales of bird behaviour from Florida, US

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Our earlier post on “Look, watch and listen” attracted the attention of a naturalist from McIntosh, Florida, US. Buford Pruitt (left) maintains the blog, Nature Adventures (below) and sent in the following comment to support our call for more studies on bird behaviour:

“…Just identifying and photographing birds is not enough (for me). In this day and age of appalling species extinction, the least we naturalists can do is to document the bahavior of birds. I try to do that with my own blog.

Buford gives as examples the following, and you need to read the original account to benefit from the fascinating stories, and adds. “I am sure there are many exciting bird behaviour out in the field for our birders to document…

“So, folks, please post more stories about bird behavior. We already know how pretty they are, and there are a zillion good photographers out there, so please let’s also post on how smart birds are! The gray parrot is not an isolated intelligent bird species!”

1. A woodpecker and its bait tomato is a fascinating account of how curiosity can lead to discovering why a Red-bellied Woodpecker drilled holes in tomatoes. Can you imagine that this was to lure tomato-sucking insects for its snacks?

2. The cormorant and the catfish is another observation on the use of a “tool” – in this case an oyster bed, by a Double-crested Cormorant to break off the three long and poisonous spines of a catfish it caught before swallowing it.

3. The owl, hawk, crows and coots at dusk on Orange Lake is about how one species affects the behaviour of others. The arrival of a Great Horned Owl just before dark makes the coots floating around the lake nervous. The coots congregate in small groups for mutual protection. The arrival of a pair of Bigmouth Hawks (actually, red-shouldered hawks Buteo lineatus), causes the coots further concern, so they congregate more. When the Fish Crows join in, the coots form tighter groups, so the original 50 flocks now become 20. Why not visit the site to find out what happen next?

Thanks for the compliments and the plug. I like the way you handled the “teasers.” I am a little embarrased to admit that there is no such thing, at least around here, as a bigmouth hawk. They are red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus), but I call them bigmouths because they scream all day long. But that’s better than listening to barking dogs! LOL


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