This post is dedicated to my friend Jessica Schein, who piqued my interest in birds when we worked together in NYC. In particular, the hawks and other large birds living in the “wild” in New York City. There are webcams and you can check in on them if you want to. Also, please note I am not a bird photographer and have not taken any of these bird photos. I will link each photo to the source if you want to learn more about birds!
Now that I live in a less populated part of the country, I share my space with a much wider variety of birds, though we still have pigeons! Is there anywhere in the world that doesn’t have pigeons? This is a map posted to Reddit, so grain of salt and all, but it seems as though pigeons populate appx 90% of the world. I would guess penguins take the other 10%?
There is a ladder-backed woodpecker that has created a nest in our tree. She worked away at that branch for days and now there’s a huge nest with a perfectly round hole through which she enters/exits. They are pretty loud birds and don’t necessarily produce a pretty sound, but the male has a gorgeous red mohawk, see right. They also try to eat from our hummingbird feeders. I hope they have babies this spring and come home to visit often and stop messing with our hummingbird feeders.
We have three (yes, three) hummingbird feeders at our house and we name most of the birds, even though I know they all look the same and we’re calling 10 birds ‘Honey’ thinking it’s the same one. They are truly fascinating creatures and if you watch this BBC documentary you’ll appreciate them just the same. We have a few kinds here, but this one seems to brave the colder months better than this one.
There are a lot of other birds (obviously) in Joshua Tree, but the ones mentioned above are ones I am personally invested in. Like, emotionally, not financially, although the hummingbirds eat so much I may need to invest in a bulk size bag of sugar.
Now on to the fun stuff! The following birds have recently caught my eye for various reasons, but mainly due to plumage or novelty.
First, we have the Luzon bleeding-heart! As per Wikipedia, “The Luzon Bleeding-heart is the species in which the “blood” feature is most pronounced, with the reddish hue extending down the belly, furthering the illusion of blood having run down the bird’s breast.” These birds are only found on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, so my chances of a sighting are slim.
They were featured on a few stamps, as seen above, and you know how much I love stamps. I really love their bleeding hearts.
Next up, the chicken! I was thinking about hummingbird eggs when I was eating eggs for breakfast one morning, and more specifically, how horrible I would feel eating a hummingbird egg. Then I started thinking about chickens, started looking at photos of them, and then started finding some really beautiful chickens.
I still eat chicken and learned there are more chickens in the world than any other bird, so I’m chalking it up to population control. There are so many breeds of chickens, too! I just found this photo book project. I need to read more (too excited by photos now) to see if I can get my hands on a copy. The first photo in this blog post is from that book, but hyperlinking the photo was causing issues I won’t go into here, so just consider this the photo credit.
One breed of chicken, in particular, has caught my attention: the “Dragon Chicken” or Dong Tao Chicken of Vietnam. It has thighs that look like chicken fingers (I know, I know, but they do! Look above!) and is both beautiful and grotesque at the same time. Just the kind of creature one would think to eat, no?
Finally, we have the California Condor! It is the largest North American land bird and she’s critically endangered. And gorgeous!!! In 1982 there were only 21 of these birds in existence. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are 230 California condors in the wild today. More are in captivity, but no more than there are in the wild.
The stamp is uncanny and I hope to see one someday.
What weird birds do you like?
PS!!!!! I forgot about this! Watch this video about this chicken from hell – all the way to the end, I promise it’s worth it.