Have you paused lately to take notice of all the birds hanging around your yard? Birds are especially busy this time of year building nests, feeding their babies, and searching for food in the grass and trees. In this week’s blog, I have some interesting facts you may not know about the birds you see every day.
1. Northern Cardinals
If you’ve ever seen (and heard) a Northern cardinal tapping its beak on a window of your home, it’s not trying to get your attention. A male cardinal can mistake its reflection for another male bird. It’s tapping furiously to try to intimidate the male bird that has invaded its territory.
Ducks gather in groups to sleep on land. The ducks on the outer edges of the group sleep with one eye open so they can alert the others of approaching predators.
You already know that hummingbirds are some of the smallest birds on earth. But some hummingbirds are lighter than others. The Bee hummingbird weighs less than a penny while the Giant hummingbird weighs about as much as a AA battery.
4. Acorn Woodpeckers
These birds get their name from their habit of storing acorns in the holes they make in trees. With a single acorn in each hole, a tree may hold 50,000 acorns deposited by this bird.
If you’re lucky enough to see an owl, watch how it turns its head. An owl is able to turn its head almost 360 degrees. This is helpful because an owl can’t move its eyes.
Mockingbirds can imitate a variety of sounds around them. Some of those sounds include car alarms, squeaking doors, other bird calls and even the meowing of a cat.
7. Blue Jays
Blue jays rub ants on their feathers before eating them. Ants contain formic acid that comes out when they’re rubbed on the bird’s feathers. Scientists believe the ants taste better to the birds when the acid is removed.
8. House Sparrows
You may have seen a house sparrow or two rolling in a patch of dirt and creating a lot of dust in the process. Sparrows do this to remove bacteria and mites from their feathers.
9. American Robins
If you’ve ever watched an American robin hop across your yard, it’s not just hopping in a random way. These birds have very good eyesight allowing them to spot the little movements of worms in the soil. The hops help them hone in on their prey.
10. American Goldfinches
11. Mourning Doves
Mourning doves are a familiar sight around most bird feeders. At times, they seem to be swallowing a large supply of seed that has fallen to the ground. However, these birds are able to store seeds in their crop to swallow and digest later on. I bet you didn’t know mourning doves were getting takeout from your bird feeder!
It’s fun to learn a little more about the feathered fliers all around us, isn’t it? It makes me appreciate them all the more. Thanks for reading. -Alan