Tag: birds

Greenlaurel: Bring birds and butterflies to your backyard with native plants

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Crossing your fingers that lots of butterflies, birds, and bees will visit your outdoor space this summer? Integrating native plants into your backyard is the secret to building habitats for these pollinators. Plus, natives are affordable and just as beautiful as the usual garden plant suspects.

MDTA Officer and Friends Detained After Allegedly Shooting Federally Protected Birds Near Key Bridge

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Key Bridge, where the birds’ bodies were found. Photo by Patorjk, via Wikimedia Commons.

A state transportation officer is in hot water for an ill-advised evening hunting expedition on the Patapsco River.

Border Patrol Agents Intercept Illicit Stuffed Puffin at BWI Airport

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Photo via U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

In these tense times, customs agents at BWI Airport are on high alert for all threats, big or small. This month, they protected our borders from a taxidermied Atlantic puffin that a passenger brought in from Iceland.

Maryland Zoo Gets Three Tiny New Penguins

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Courtesy Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Courtesy Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Keepers at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore have welcomed a trio of small, fuzzy baby penguins into world over the last six days. The birds are the first to hatch at the zoo during this year’s breeding season for African penguins.

New Webcam Obsession: Baltimore’s Peregrine Falcons

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peregrine-tweet

In 1978, a peregrine falcon named Scarlett made her home on the 33rd floor ledge of Baltimore’s Transamerica building. In the decades since, Scarlett’s fellow falcons have continue to nest on the downtown skyscraper.

Birds of A Feather Flock Together

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Twitcher photo via Wikipedia
Twitcher photo via Wikipedia

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

I’ve become a birder (in British English the pejorative is a “twitcher.”)  The kind of person for whom “the very mention of some exotic avian delight, a purple Peruvian rock thrush for example, sends them into paroxisms. They literally twitch; hence “twitchers.” I set out seed every day during the winter and it has been really wintry recently and I watch the birds from the bay window of the house eating and flocking with the kind of rapt attention Husb. has for Battlestar Galactica. 

Baltimore Without Orioles?

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Photo by Patty McGann/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo by Patty McGann/Flickr Creative Commons

Global warming isn’t just bad news for humans; it also poses dire risks for birds–including the iconic Baltimore oriole–according to a new study by the National Audubon Society.

The study examined hundreds of bird species, looking at how they adapt (or fail to adapt) to changes in climate. The news was not good: 126 species, or more than 20 percent of those studied, can expect “severe declines” as soon as 2050; a further 188 species could see significant declines by 2080.

The Seahawk, the Fish Eagle, aka, the Osprey

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Osprey_mg_9605

My father had a wooden sailing skiff named Seahawk that he kept tied at the dock at my grandparents’ farm in McDaniel on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In late March we’d start seeing the return of the birds the boat was named after, the only diving and live-fish-eating hawk in North America: the seahawk, a.k.a the osprey. “They have grippy pads on their feet to keep the fish from slipping!” said my aunt.

That Nature Show: Love Doves

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The Mourning Dove. Photo by Ken Thomas, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
The Mourning Dove. Photo by Ken Thomas, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

The first bird my daughter, 6, learned to correctly identify was the Mourning Dove. I felt very proud of myself. “Good job, honey!” I kvelled, “Zenaida macroura, Order Columbiformes!” Then I thought, wow, Zenaida would be a great name for a girl.

Whatever are the many failings I have as a mother (the kids complain I don’t make chocolate chip pancakes on demand, and that I am sometimes “really boring”) are hopefully offset by the fact that I have introduced my kids to ornithology.  Right?  There are fortunes to be made in ornithology.

Lawyers, doctors, multi-use land developers? Feh. There are already a lot of those.

During the recent ice storm we got cheap thrills watching the mourning doves try to land as they usually do on the branches of the crabapple tree in the backyard, but the branches were so glazed with ice the doves would scramble for a perch, fail, and fall off.  Their usually placid expressions and unruffle-able demeanors were ruffled. They had the look in their round black eyes like, What the hell, universe? which is an expression I know well.

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