April 8, 2014

steepravine:

Late Night Special: Old Douglas Fir Woodpeckers Covered With Acorns

Acorn woodpeckers spend their time collecting acorns, drilling holes in firs, and then popping the acorns in the holes for safe keeping. This is the most extreme example I’ve seen to date, with hundreds of holes on every surface, including the underside of the limbs!

(Mount Tamalpais, California - 4/2014)

I suspect these little miscreants would be a nightmare for our arborists and groundskeepers. Aside from trees, they’ve been known to create acorn “granaries” in just about anything they can punch holes in—buildings, fenceposts, etc. Lucky for us they’re westerners through and through. —MN

(via thebarkblog)

January 16, 2014

astronomy-to-zoology:

Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea)

Also known as the Lotusbird or Lilytrotter, the Comb-crested Jacana is the only member of the genus Irediparra. I. gallinacea occurs throughout Southeast Asia and northern and eastern Australia. Like other jacanas (jacanidae) comb-crested jacanas spend most of their time on floating vegetation using their large toes and small size to keep afloat. They feed mainly on seeds and aquatic insects which are gleaned from floating vegetation or directly off the water’s surface. Comb-crested jacana pairs are polyandrous and will build their nest on floating vegetation.

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Charadriiformes-Jacanidae-Irediparra-I. gallinacea

Images: John Hill and Djamnalawa

This little bird uses water plants to walk on water. Australia, you win in the cool animal game, hands down! ~AR

November 19, 2013

A Forest in the Bronx

Of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx is arguably the greenest, with over 7,000 acres of parkland, which means around 25% of the borough’s land is set aside for recreation and relaxation.

And what’s more, 50-acres of that—our own Thain Family Forest—is the largest remaining remnant of the primeval forests which once covered the entirety of New York City before colonization. This un-cut, old growth woodland was once home to the Lenape Indians, and today is home to an assortment of native animals and plants and the scientists who study them.

The Forest contains over a mile of hiking trails which weave along and over the Bronx River. The Bronx River is New York City’s only freshwater river (the Hudson River is a fjord and is tidal up to Troy, and the East River is a tidal straight connecting to the Long Island Sound) and is home to New York City’s only beaver population, and a returned population of alewife, as well as an assortment of waterfowl and other local fish, reptiles, and amphibians. At certain special events held at the Garden, and in conjunction with our partners at the Bronx River Alliance, it is possible to canoe on the river, though there is a portage around the waterfall and gorge.

The Forest, and the adjacent woodland of the Native Plant Garden, is home to an important collection of deciduous trees including newly reintroduced American Chestnuts, the incredibly tall London planes, many varieties of maple, birch, and oak, along with sweetgum, tulip trees, and hickory, and populations of troubled species like hemlocks, elm, and ash. The Forest also contains an important collection of conifers. In addition, the understory is populated by beautiful native shrubs and small trees including shadbush, eastern redbud, dogwood, American hazelnut, and home to a beautiful display of spring ephemeral wildflowers. See a complete listing of all the plants in the Thain Family Forest here.

The animals that call the Thain Family Forest home are every bit as diverse and interesting as the plants that serve as their homes and food. In addition to the very famous beavers, the Forest is also home to a population of great-horned owls with a penchant for nesting in trees that allow for easy observation—a rarity in any forest, let alone one situated in the middle of a city! The owls are joined by many, many other birds, including red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, saw-whet owls, barred owls, a gorgeous array of migrating warblers, cheeky chickadees, hummingbirds, turkeys, herons, ducks, and so many more! In addition, keep an eye out for muskrats, snapping turtles, black squirrels, raccoons, and even the occasional fox. Don’t bet on seeing all these animals when you visit though. Many of them are very shy and will only come out at night. But the most important thing is this: Please do not feed the animals, and please do not approach them or try to pet them. We want them to stay wild forever!

So, I do hope that our guide to the flora and fauna of the Thain Family Forest has enticed you to come visit us. The easiest way to reach the Garden is by Metro-North Rail Road on the Harlem Line from Grand Central Terminal. It is an approximately 22-minute ride that lets you off at Botanical Garden Station, directly across from our entrance. We’re always happy to answer your questions, so feel free to drop us a line. The Forest is beautiful in all seasons, yes, even in winter! So don’t let cooler temperatures dissuade you. I hope to see you on the trails soon! ~AR

Photos by NYBG photograher Ivo M. Vermeulen, and from the digital archives of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library.

November 13, 2013
mothernaturenetwork:

10 berries that birds loveThese shrubs and trees produce attractive flowers that develop into a colorful berries, which will attract songbirds and other birds to your backyard.

This is a decent list, and a lot of these plants are also native to the United States, and do well planted in difficult areas. But mainly I’m reblogging this because I am a sucker for Cedar Waxwings. I love their coloration, they look airbrushed! ~AR

mothernaturenetwork:

10 berries that birds love
These shrubs and trees produce attractive flowers that develop into a colorful berries, which will attract songbirds and other birds to your backyard.

This is a decent list, and a lot of these plants are also native to the United States, and do well planted in difficult areas. But mainly I’m reblogging this because I am a sucker for Cedar Waxwings. I love their coloration, they look airbrushed! ~AR

November 6, 2013

odditiesoflife:

Incredible Feather Art

Using feathers acquired from zoos and private aviaries, artist Chris Maynard creates delicately constructed scenes of birds with feathers. The artist admits to being “feather obsessed” and is fascinated not only with birds and flight, but with the color and texture of their plumage which he explores through his small dioramas. You can see much more on his website and Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico will soon be showing some of Maynard’s larger work.

source

I’m not an ornithologist, but I recognize five of the six birds above, and know for sure that you can see at least four of them at the Garden if you time it correctly (the timing being predicated upon whether or not one of the Bronx Zoo’s peacocks has flown the coop and come for a visit. Yes I’m serious). What a beautiful way to celebrate these birds, both common and exotic! ~AR

(via odditiesoflife)

October 14, 2013

nicpan:

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

And now you know how small you have to be in order to stand on one of the Victoria waterlilies. ~AR

(Source: cryptanthus-spp)

October 9, 2013
philamuseum:

Today we celebrate the birthday of artist Faith Ringgold, who often honored the contributions of African American women and their traditions in her work. This sunny picture includes images of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, among others. She also added a surprising artist to the far right. Can you guess who?“The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles,” 1996 

It’s still sunflower time at the Garden, though they are winding down and providing important food for the birds that are beginning their winter migrations. And so, I just had to reblog this wonderful painting celebrating the sunflower! ~AR

philamuseum:

Today we celebrate the birthday of artist Faith Ringgold, who often honored the contributions of African American women and their traditions in her work. This sunny picture includes images of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, among others. She also added a surprising artist to the far right. Can you guess who?

“The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles,” 1996 

It’s still sunflower time at the Garden, though they are winding down and providing important food for the birds that are beginning their winter migrations. And so, I just had to reblog this wonderful painting celebrating the sunflower! ~AR

September 11, 2013

birdandmoon:

While I work away on some new stuff, and since it’s warbler migration season (!), I thought I’d repost this print I made last year (you can buy it here). I’m a birding fan AND a video game fan. How many can you identify?

Remember to keep office lights off at night so that those migrating birds can pass safely through your city. Find out more here.

Half of me is reblogging this because it is warbler migration season, and last Saturday marked the return of the weekend Bird Walk here at the Garden. It takes place every Saturday at 11 a.m., and it’s one of the best opportunities in the city to take up the birding habit and scope out species for your life list with an expert birder (Debbie Becker’s a whiz). And with newly-opened bird havens like the Native Plant Garden now available, spotting these teensy puffs of migratory color is a breeze.

The other half of me just freaking loves pixel art. Thanks goes to Ann for pointing this one out to me. —MN

June 7, 2013
Sometimes these guys make it into the Garden. Always a pleasant surprise! ~AR

Sometimes these guys make it into the Garden. Always a pleasant surprise! ~AR

(Source: sixdollarcamera)

June 2, 2013

astronomy-to-zoology:

Some male Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) showcasing their ‘impressive’ mating displays.

Video Source

Guys. Guys. It’s not working. Just … just stop, go home.

We’ve often got plenty of these hooded fellas hanging around Twin Lakes, but we also get the punk rock Red-breasted variety on the scene. Not sure if their pickup artist goofcapades are as, er, forward. —MN

May 28, 2013
headlikeanorange:

A tawny-bellied hermit (Untamed Americas - NGC)

As a kid, I saw my first hummingbird sipping sugar water from a farm feeder in upstate New York. I saw my last few here in our Perennial Garden, buzzing around the spring blooms back in 2012.
With our area’s Ruby-throated Hummingbirds returning for spring and summer, it’s just about time we got to plunking ourselves down on a garden bench and watching. —MN

headlikeanorange:

A tawny-bellied hermit (Untamed Americas - NGC)

As a kid, I saw my first hummingbird sipping sugar water from a farm feeder in upstate New York. I saw my last few here in our Perennial Garden, buzzing around the spring blooms back in 2012.

With our area’s Ruby-throated Hummingbirds returning for spring and summer, it’s just about time we got to plunking ourselves down on a garden bench and watching. —MN

February 17, 2013
Living in the city and don’t have a backyard? No problem! Come to the Garden (pretend our 250-acres are the biggest backyard in the city) and help us count our birds!
mypubliclands:

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count - now through Monday. If you have 15 minutes, you can help The National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology count birds in your area! 
http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc American Goldfinch Photo by Pamela Wertz, LA - Great Backyard Bird Count Participant in 2012.

Living in the city and don’t have a backyard? No problem! Come to the Garden (pretend our 250-acres are the biggest backyard in the city) and help us count our birds!

mypubliclands:

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count - now through Monday. If you have 15 minutes, you can help The National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology count birds in your area!

http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc

American Goldfinch Photo by Pamela Wertz, LA - Great Backyard Bird Count Participant in 2012.

February 7, 2013
Mystery of Owls’ Rotating Necks Solved
For anyone who’s ever watched an owl swivel its head 270 degrees and thought it unnatural (you’re not alone), there’s good news: it is absolutely not a process made possible by malevolent or supernatural forces. Rather, owls just have much more agreeable blood vessels.
Whereas we would cause serious damage to our arteries if we were to try and cock our heads that far in the wrong direction, owls have flexible, ballooning circulatory infrastructure that allows them to perform these feats of cranial acrobatics. It makes looking around with those stationary eyes a much more agreeable process.
Click through for more of a scientific explanation on how—and why—these raptors do this. Better yet, you’re welcome to visit us on Saturday mornings in the NYBG for our weekly Bird Walks, where you might see it for yourself.
Debbie Becker has been leading these birdwatching tours for over 25 years, and if there’s any time to see our several species of owl in action, it’s a chilly winter morning with the leaves gone from the trees. As always, just be sure to keep your ears open for the telling hoots in the Forest. —MN

Mystery of Owls’ Rotating Necks Solved

For anyone who’s ever watched an owl swivel its head 270 degrees and thought it unnatural (you’re not alone), there’s good news: it is absolutely not a process made possible by malevolent or supernatural forces. Rather, owls just have much more agreeable blood vessels.

Whereas we would cause serious damage to our arteries if we were to try and cock our heads that far in the wrong direction, owls have flexible, ballooning circulatory infrastructure that allows them to perform these feats of cranial acrobatics. It makes looking around with those stationary eyes a much more agreeable process.

Click through for more of a scientific explanation on how—and why—these raptors do this. Better yet, you’re welcome to visit us on Saturday mornings in the NYBG for our weekly Bird Walks, where you might see it for yourself.

Debbie Becker has been leading these birdwatching tours for over 25 years, and if there’s any time to see our several species of owl in action, it’s a chilly winter morning with the leaves gone from the trees. As always, just be sure to keep your ears open for the telling hoots in the Forest. —MN

January 23, 2013
GPOY. That is all.
(Photo by our lovely, bearded resident photographer, Ivo M. Vermeulen.)

GPOY. That is all.

(Photo by our lovely, bearded resident photographer, Ivo M. Vermeulen.)

January 4, 2013
The next time you’re walking through the Forest enjoying the symphony being trilled from the trees, remember this: The birds are having an emotional response, too! According to a new study, birds respond to the songs of their fellows in much the same way we respond to Beethoven’s “Pastoral” or the theme song the “Twilight Zone.” So much for bird brains … ~AR
(via Birds Found to Have Emotional Reactions to Song - NYTimes.com)

The next time you’re walking through the Forest enjoying the symphony being trilled from the trees, remember this: The birds are having an emotional response, too! According to a new study, birds respond to the songs of their fellows in much the same way we respond to Beethoven’s “Pastoral” or the theme song the “Twilight Zone.” So much for bird brains … ~AR

(via Birds Found to Have Emotional Reactions to Song - NYTimes.com)

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