Spoiler Alert: Can Gray Jays Survive Warmer Weather?

“Where’d they go?”

Scientist Ryan Norris was puzzled. Just moments ago, two doting Gray Jays were bouncing about the nearby spruce trees like Labrador retrievers happy to see their owner. When he wrapped a couple of cotton balls around one of the spruce tips, his rotund chums had quickly seized upon the offering. Cotton comes in handy for birds when they’re in need of insulation material for nest construction.


How Evolution Reshaped the Woodcock

Evolution works with what’s at hand. So if you start with a normal bird skull – bill pointing forward, eyes oriented front or sideways, ears behind eyes – and introduce the challenge of seeing behind your head while your bill is pushed deeply into the soil, what do you get? The American Woodcock! With its long bill constantly probing the soil for earthworms, its entire skull has been rearranged. Relative to other birds, woodcocks’ eyes have moved toward the top and rear of the skull, pushing the ear openings downward. Apparently the brain followed suit!


When 136 Bird Species Show Up At A Feeder, Which One Wins?

There’s something tranquil about watching birds coexist at your backyard feeder, pecking away in their quirky abandon. That is, until the local Blue Jay arrives, flushing all your daintier songbirds out in a raucous flurry. It might seem like just plain bullying, but there’s more going on than meets the eye in the fast-moving (and frankly addicting) world of bird-feeder drama. Setting out a limited food resource (like a feeder full of seeds) in a time of scarcity (like winter) naturally brings birds into conflict. Just beyond your kitchen windowpane, your backyard feeder is creating the perfect stage to glimpse the inner workings of birds’ social lives—what behavioral ecologists call “dominance hierarchies.”


All About Bluebirds: Presentation at Jenkins Arboretum

Wed, January 16, 2019
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST

Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens
631 Berwyn Baptist Road
Devon, PA 19333

Led by Ken Leister, PA State County Coordinator for the Bluebird Society of PA.

Get ready for bluebird season with Ken Leister, PA State County Coordinator and Board Member for the Bluebird Society of PA. After retiring from a full career as an educator, coach, and school principal, Ken fell in love with the bluebirds in his backyard. He will share his passion for bluebirds and his knowledge of their nesting, lifecycles, habitat, and behavior during an informative presentation. The following week, Ken will lead a workshop to help you build a bluebird box for your very own backyard.

This presentation is free of charge. All are welcome. Pre-registration is encouraged.


Tyler Arboretum Bird Walk

January 16 @ 8:15 AM

Tyler Arboretum
515 Painter Road, Media, PA 19063
Phone: 610-566-9134

Tyler is a wonderful winter haven for non-migratory birds.
Explore Tyler’s winter landscapes with experienced birders who
know all the best places to look. Birders of all experience levels welcome.

Bring bird guides and binoculars if you have them. Meet at the
Visitor Center


What’s Up With the Weird Mouths of These Finch Chicks?

Peer into the mouth of a hungry African Silverbill, Gouldian Finch, or other Estrildid finch chick, and you’ll see something unexpected, intriguing, and maybe even a little unsettling: strange mouth markings. These marks—such as beaks rimmed with a black lining or glow-in-the-dark beads, and mouth roofs covered in trypophobia-inducing holes—are so disturbing to some that they’ve inspired comparisons to aliens.


Birds on a Cold Night: How do our feathered friends fare when it’s cold?

During December, birds spend the long, cold nights in a protected place, sheltered from rain and safe from nighttime predators. Small forest birds, such as nuthatches and creepers, may spend the night huddled together in tree cavities. Birds like this male Mallard fluff up their feathers for insulation, hunker down over their legs and feet, and turn their heads around to poke their beaks under their shoulder feathers.