“A wonderful bird is the pelican; his bill can hold more than his belly can,” begins the limerick by Dixon Lanier Merritt. And it’s true — a pelican’s pouch can hold up to three times more than its stomach.
Kern Audubon Society News
Chapter, National and Birding News
The bright crimson ‘Apapane is part of a group of native Hawaiian birds, reminiscent of – but even more diverse than – the famed Galápagos finches. Known as the Hawaiian honeycreepers, these birds evolved into a varied group of dozens of species that originated from a few wayward ancestors.
The Sharp-tailed Grouse is closely related to Lesser and Greater Prairie-Chickens, but has several characteristics that set it apart: The “Sharptail” has a white-edged, wedge-shaped tail with two long central feathers that give it an elongated, spiky appearance.
Since the Pine Grosbeak often lives far from humans, it tends to be rather tame, often allowing observers to approach closely. This lack of fear, coupled with its slow-moving, almost sluggish ways, led the residents of Newfoundland to nickname this bird the “mope.”
The colorful Blue-headed Vireo is a standout among more plain-plumaged relatives such as the Red-eyed Vireo. This handsome Neotropical migrant is easy to identify, with a blue-gray head set off by bold white “spectacles,” bright yellow flanks, olive-green back, and white wingbars.
Internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and award-winning author of ‘The Crossley ID Guide’ series, Richard Crossley presents on April 4 at 7 PM, KCSOS Reider Building
WATCH NOW: Experience last year’s Costa Rica field trip presented at our February General Meeting
Bill Moffat took this photo at his home in Hart Flat of a Spotted Towhee. But not an ordinary Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus). This particular bird is a rare leucistic individual.
The Lesser Prairie-Chicken is slightly smaller than the closely related Greater Prairie-Chicken, but it’s no mere pale imitation! This species is found only on the high plains of the U.S. southwest and has distinctive courtship displays, vocalizations, and habitat preferences.
In the right light, a male Royal Sunangel is a striking sight, with deep, shimmering violet-blue plumage and a long, forked tail. Like the Rainbow-bearded Thornbill and Glittering Starfrontlet, this bird really shines when its feathers reflect just the right angle of direct light, although in low light and at many other angles, this avian gem looks dark and dull.
The Kiwikiu, also known as the Maui Parrotbill, is so rare that it had no Hawaiian name, or that name was lost over time. This hook-billed, olive-green and yellow native honeycreeper was considered extinct during the first half of the 1900s, until it was rediscovered in 1950.
The ‘Ākohekohe (pronounced “ah ko-hay ko-hay”) is the largest living Hawaiian honeycreeper, with striking black, silver, and crimson-orange plumage and a forward-sweeping white tuft of feathers atop its head that gives the bird its English name “Crested Honeycreeper.”
With over 23 years of annual participation by many dedicated volunteers, the Tehachapi Western Bluebird Nest Box Program is in need of NEW volunteers! Please spread the word to others who you think would be interested.
This week the 46th annual Western Field Ornithologist Conference (WFO) took place in Reno NV.
Instead of a having access to the Kern’s beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, the residents of Bakersfield are left with a dusty, lifeless riverbed, and several species of the river’s plants and animals are threatened or endangered due to the loss of riparian habitat.
The shy Swainson’s Thrush is a bird of deep coniferous woods and dense thickets, more often heard than seen. A quick glimpse reveals a plain-backed, medium-sized thrush, most distinctive for its buffy “spectacles” and the warm, buffy tones of its face and upper chest.
In his 1942 monograph The Roseate Spoonbill, conservationist Robert Porter Allen wrote: “The Spoonbill exhibits paradoxical glamour and drollery.” Decades later, modern field guide author Kenn Kaufman had a similar take: “Roseate Spoonbills are gorgeous at a distance and bizarre up close.”
The rose-red male Summer Tanager is the only completely red bird in North America — the male Northern Cardinal has a black mask; the closely related Scarlet Tanager has black wings and tail; and the duller-red Hepatic Tanager has grayish flanks and cheek patches.
The Swallow-tailed Kite is unmistakable in flight, with its long, pointed wings, deeply forked tail, and contrasting black-and-white plumage. This largest of American kites is a graceful, buoyant flier, so lightweight and maneuverable that it can capture a dragonfly mid-air.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird weighs less than a nickel, and like all hummingbird species including the Calliope and Rufous, it is a master of flight. Beating its wings 60 to 80 times a second, this tiny sprite creates a blur of motion and a whirring, insect-like sound.
The Common Loon is the most widespread of the five loon species found in North America. A formidable swimmer and diver like the King Penguin or Red-breasted Merganser, this handsome waterbird is a veritable avian submarine, beautifully adapted to a life in and on the water.
One of North America’s smallest songbirds, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is tinier than a Black-capped Chickadee and only a bit larger than a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Unremarkable at first glance, this diminutive bird is a drab olive-green and gray, with a white eye ring and wing bars.
A male Indigo Bunting in breeding plumage is a glorious symphony of shimmering blues, turquoises, and purples. But these beautiful colors are illusory: The male Indigo Bunting owes its glorious appearance to an optical trick — the diffraction of light through its feathers.
The eye-catching Acorn Woodpecker’s head is boldly patterned in black, white, and red, punctuated with wild-looking white eyes that give it a clownish look. It’s a medium-sized bird, bigger than a Downy Woodpecker and a bit smaller than its close, but more easterly, relative the Red-headed Woodpecker.
The program on the current status of the California Condor, prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a great resource, giving you the latest information via data, history and maps.
Early naturalists called the Great Horned Owl the “winged tiger” or “tiger of the air” because of its ferocity and hunting skills. This big owl (the second heaviest in North America after the Snowy Owl) is also called the “hoot owl” after its deep, booming call, which sounds like: “Who’s a-wake? Me too!”
A chattering, rattling call along the river or lakeside announces the presence of a Belted Kingfisher. Often heard before seen, this dagger-billed, shaggy-crested bird is usually spotted next to a river or lake, or hovering over the water before plunging headfirst to snag a fish.
With flashing black-and-white wings and a bright red crest, when a crow-sized Pileated Woodpecker swoops by, even the most experienced birders stop in their tracks. This is the largest of North American woodpeckers. In the United States, only the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, likely extinct, was bigger.
‘End of the Year’ Event Update June has traditionally been our ‘end of the year’ get-together for members. A time to celebrate our successes for the past year and to renew acquaintances. We have held a picnic at a local park. However, the current health crisis has caused us to cancel the annual June picnic.…
Endangered California condor chick has successfully fledged from a cliff-side nest near the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County, California.
We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe. In these challenging and uncertain times, we’re reaching out to let you know that we are thinking of you. The health and well-being of our supporters and members is of utmost importance to all of us here at the Kern Audubon Society.