Deceptive commercial featuring birds (video has returned)

Update on Wednesday, Aug. 26: the video had disappeared from this post. For now anyway, it’s back.)

Birds and bird songs are often misrepresented in movies, TV shows and commercials. An eagle may fly overhead and the sound of a hawk will be played. Often you’ll hear the call of the loon, but the scene in the movie is taking place in an area hundreds (or even thousands) of miles from where the nearest loon would be. That one happens a lot. Of course, we all remember the golf tournament when the TV producers played birdsongs over the golf “action” of birds that weren’t actually there.

I noticed another bird faux pas in a commercial that is out now. The Verizon commercial with the “magnificent geese” that states “Come home for a better network,” features a flock of geese flying and feeding. At one point the commercial zooms in for a closeup on one of the geese.

The implication is that they are following a single flock of geese. At least that’s how I interpret the commercial. The problem is that they show two different species of goose. The vast majority of the commercial features a handsome goose species that I honestly can not identify. It is not a goose that is found in the U.S. _ at least not regularly.  But two briefs clips, including the close up, feature a Canada Goose. If the intention was to show multiple flocks, then the commercial is fine. If it was intended to follow one “suffering” flock, which I think it was, they tried to pull one over on us.

I know, no big deal in the grand scheme of life, but figured I’d point it out anyway. Thanks for checking out http://www.birdsofnewengland.com

Bird Book Look: Birdology

Cover of Birdology

Cover of Birdology

The book “Birdology” by Monica Russo came out earlier this year. It’s designed for kids, but is also interesting and engaging for adults. It is full of information about birds, activities for further exploration of birds and excellent photos by Kevin Byron.

I enjoy this book and have enjoyed reading parts with my kids.

Here’s the description of the book from its publisher Chicago Review Press:

“An engaging book that encourages young nature enthusiasts to explore the world of birds This generously illustrated, full-color book teaches kids that birds can be seen almost anywhere: in city parks and streets, zoos, farms, and backyards. Using “Try This,” “Look For,” and “Listen For” prompts, Birdology promotes independent observation and analysis, writing and drawing skills, and nature literacy. Kids observe the diversity of shapes, colors, patterns, and behavior of birds; listen for their songs and the clap of wings; make a juice-box feeder; plant flowers that attract hummingbirds; start a birding journal and sketchbook; and much more. Other topics that are presented in clear, kid-friendly prose include migration, nesting, food, territories, and conservation and preservation. Additional resources, such as a glossary, bird orders and scientific names, bird and wildlife organizations, and “Teacher Topics” to initiate classroom discussion and investigation, are also included.”

Red eyes in the bird world

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-crowned Night Heron looks for food in Holly Pond in Stamford in summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-crowned Night Heron looks for food in Holly Pond in Stamford in summer 2015.

My most recent For the Birds column focuses on birds with red eyes. It starts with Black-crowned Night Herons and then talks about the other New England birds with red eyes. I can run only one photo with the column in the newspaper, so here are some more photos that would accompany the column. The column may be found here.

This is not an all-inclusive list, of course, just a few photos I had readily available.

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Black-crowned Night Heron and their big red eyes

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-crowned Night Heron looks for food in Holly Pond in Stamford in summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-crowned Night Heron looks for food in Holly Pond in Stamford in summer 2015.

I finally got my big camera lens back. I sent it to the “shop” months ago. “Oh, it will be back soon,” I heard week after week. But it’s back for real now. The next morning I drove by Holly Pond on the Stamford/Darien border and noticed a few Black-crowned Night Herons perched on rocks and branches exposed from the low tide. So I got between the sun and birds and tried out my newly fixed lens. it’s good to have it back.

More shots of the birds are below. Thanks for checking out http://www.birdsofnewengland.com

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Birding starting to “heat” up

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-and-white Warbler clings to a tree in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., in summer 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-and-white Warbler clings to a tree in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., in summer 2015.

It may be hot as ever as we head toward the second half of August, but the birding action is heating up as well. After a few months of relatively slow birdwatching as our feathered friends kept a low profile to raise families, the birds are starting to show themselves again.

I visited my brother Gregg’s house in upstate N.Y. near the Vermont border and the birds were out in full force. In one day I saw a Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-and-white Warbler, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. More common birds seen that day included chickadees, titmice, catbirds, Chipping Sparrows, American Goldfinches, robins and Blue Jays.

The summer is not over yet and the birdwatching is finally heating up, too.

Let me know what you see out there.

Some new hummingbird photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird perches on a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird perches on a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

A highlight of a recent camping trip with the boys to New Hampshire was watching the hummingbirds at at the Errol Motel. The feeder was active with three females and two males (plus an aggressive yellow jacket.)

Here are a few more shots of the birds:

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds perch on a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds perch on a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovers near a feeder at the Errol (N.H.) Motel in the summer of 2015.

 

Wildlife of northern New Hampshire, Part I

  
I’ve been camping with the boys in the upper reaches of New Hampshire for the past several days. I love the area and its rich wildlife. 

I am greatly saddened by the decline in the New England moose population, however. For the first time in a summer visit, I didn’t see a single moose. Granted, with the boys with me, I didn’t get up at five in the morning to go looking for them with my canoe as I would normally do. I will get more into the moose story in a later post. 

We did see plenty of wildlife, however. Deer, fox, grouse, Gray Jays, turkey, to name a few. The boys were even fascinated by a nonanimal sighting. The carnivorous Pitcher Plant grows near the ponds up there and we found some near our remote camping site. Here’s a paragraph from Wikipedia describing the Pitcher Plant:

“Pitcher plants are several different carnivorous plants that have evolved modified leaves known as pitfall traps—a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with liquid.”

It was a very neat sighting and, unlike the birds and other animals up there, a cooperative photography subject. 

When I get back to a real computer, I will post more photos and stories of the trip. For now, enjoy the iPhone photo of the Pitcher Plant. 

Thank you for checking out http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com

For the Birds column: Milkweed and Monarchs

Photo by Chris Bosak Milkweed flowers bud in a meadow in Stamford, July 2015.

Photo by Chris Bosak
Milkweed flowers bud in a meadow in Stamford, July 2015.

Here’s my latest For the Birds column, which runs weekly in The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and The Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire.

Why do so many people consider milkweed a useless weed?

Perhaps because it is so prevalent (or at least used to be). Perhaps because it grows in vacant parking lots and in cracks in sidewalks. Perhaps because that’s what we’ve been told and trained to think all these years. Or it could be because is has the word ‘weed’ right in its name.

Whatever the reason it’s time to change the way we think about milkweed. Here are some quick facts about the beautiful and valuable plant:

Click here for the rest of the column.

For the Birds column: Get the lead out for loons

Photo by Chris Bosak A Common Loon swims on a lake in northern New Hampshire with two young loons.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Common Loon swims on a lake in northern New Hampshire with two young loons.

Here’s my latest For the Birds column from The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and Keene (NH) Sentinel.

***

Bad news trickled down from up north this week as the Loon Preservation Committee announced that necropsy results confirmed the first-of-the-year Common Loon death due to lead poisoning.

The loon was found on the shores and Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire. Loons face a slew of challenges in their northern breeding grounds. The biggest challenge, of course, is habitat loss. What else is new? But other factors such as collisions with boats (especially young loon), heavy rain washing away nests, and lead sinkers take a toll as well.

Then there are the predators, such as raccoons and foxes, that prey upon the eggs. Now I hear of another potential predator of loons. Of course, the comeback of the Bald Eagle is to be celebrated, but

Click here for the rest of the column.

Latest For the Birds column: Answering some more bird questions

Last week I addressed a question that was submitted to me by a reader. This week I’ll continue to draw inspiration from my readers and quickly address some more questions and comments that came my way.

One question regarded a one-legged hummingbird. A reader delighted in the antics of a group of hummingbirds at her feeder. As many as four hummingbirds were visiting at one time. The reader noticed that one of the birds had only a stump for a leg. So, can a one-legged hummingbird survive in the wild?

Before I answer that, just a quick note to say that things are not always as they appear. Many birds appear to have only one leg, but often either the leg is tucked away into the bird’s body or the angle from which you see the bird makes it look like it is missing a leg. Waders (herons, egrets), shorebirds and waterfowl often stand on one leg.

But in this case, since the reader saw a stump instead of a leg, it’s likely the bird did indeed have only one leg. Obviously it’s not ideal, but birds that spend most of their time either flying or perched in trees, such as songbirds and hummingbirds, can indeed survive in the wild. Their wings

Click here for the rest of the column