Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Louie Uses a Tool and a There's a Wood Duck Where?

A fascinating avian moment from long time contributor Robin of Illinois-
I have a friend here in East Peoria who has four rescued big birds -- cockatoos, parrots of various kinds, including an African Gray. She sent this photo of Louie using a shed wing feather to scratch himself. Does Silver do that kind of thing too?

Silver will chew the ends of molted feathers and sometimes play with them but using them to scratch himself as in tool use hasn't happened while I was watching at least so far.

Which brings up a whole new area of interest in the parrot area. We know that there are other species who do use tools but are there other reports of tool use in parrots? Is using something to scratch oneself officially considered tool use?

I can't wait to find out! More to come!

Pat Gonzalez was photographing wildlife in her favorite place, the New York Botanic Garden when she ran across an interesting duck.

Odd duck is down right in this photograph.
She thought it might be a female Wood Duck and sent it along to me to see what I thought.

I agree with her. This hen certainly looks like a Wood Duck, Aix sponsa, though most of her kin will have gone south to likely somewhere in the Carolina's by now.

Of course, we've all seen or at least been reading about how migratory birds have begun to fly less far south, sometimes as far as a couple hundred miles, likely due of climate change. Though Mrs. Wood Duck still seems to have stopped short. But that is part of the magic of the artificial habitats of NYC, sometimes because of the specialized habitats and the open water a bird who ordinarily would go further, for whatever reason, whether physical, disoriented, or just that perhaps she liked the look of the place, will stop for a longer sojourn than the others.

Wood Ducks are beautiful. I'm told that their scientific name translates into "waterbird in a bridal dress". Who says all scientists and naturalists are sticks in the mud?

Well Folks, there was much more wondrous news in my email box today from many contributors-- including copulating eagles, more on Louie the Amazon, hawk sightings in Morningside park, the Blackwater Eagles, more Morningside Park history from Winkie....the wonders continue. But it is 4:30am currently and your bloggist is a bit under the weather so it will not be coming to you this minute but rather COMING SOON!

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