Birding by Smartphone

In 1917, the American poet Wallace Stevens published a poem called 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. In truth, 13 is a major understatement, with just as much variation in "why" as their is in "how". Whether you're a life "lister", a casual admirer, or anywhere in between, at some point each and every one of has had a moment where we saw a bird and thought to ourselves, "what is that?"

The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Chrissy Bowker of Texas asks, “What’s this animal?” COMMON NAME: Yellow-crowned Night Heron SCIENTIFIC NAME: Nyctanassa violacea; ORDER, Pelecaniformes DIET: Mainly crustaceans, insects, and some types of fish. Occasionally, it may feed on small lizards, rodents, or other small birds. SIZE: Average height, 25 inches; Wingspan, 44 inches WEIGHT: Average weight, 1.65 pounds HABITAT: Wetlands, marshes, bayous, shallow lake shores, mangroves, and … Continue reading The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

The Northern Cardinal

Species: Cardinalis cardinalis                     Order: Passeriformes Chrissy Bowker of Texas asks, “What’s this animal?” The bird in the picture above is none other than a young Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis. This one in particular is very young, presumably a recent fledgling from the nest. Hatchlings leave the … Continue reading The Northern Cardinal

The Tree Swallow

Species: Tachycineta bicolor                      Order: Passeriformes Chrissy Bowker of Texas (who, yes, also happens to be my mother) asks, "What's this animal?" The bird in the picture above is none other than the Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor. The Tree Swallow is an insectivorous, migratory passerine bird that breeds in … Continue reading The Tree Swallow