If you’ve seen the blockbuster animated movie The Lion King - and if the box office, DVD sales, and other related figures are correct, you very likely have - you undoubtedly remember Zazu, the officious and somewhat pompous bird who served as majordomo to King Mufasa. But what you might not know is that Zazu was modeled (physically, at least) after a species of African bird: the Red-billed Hornbill.
However in real life, Red-billed Hornbills are nothing like the overly formal and fastidious Zazu. As this Wingscapes BirdCam video clip recorded by GlobalBirdTrekkers of Red-billed Hornbills feeding alongside a few Crested Francolin on the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, South Africa shows, they are perfectly sociable omnivorous birds not at all opposed to a “catch-as-catch-can” meal.
For more exotic bird feeding photos and videos, please visit the Wingscapes Youtube channel and Facebook page.
Originally established in 1857 and subsequently dramatically improved under the direction of the famous landscape designers Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux (not the person for whom the well known species of swift was named; that was William Vaux) in 1873, New York City’s Central Park covers 843 acres of land and is the most visited urban park in the United States. It is also home to a host of bird species and, not surprisingly, the central focus of a particularly dedicated community of bird watchers.
Now, thanks to the diligent of work of first-time film-maker Jeffery Kimball and the award winning team at HBO Documentaries, the stories of many of the birds of this iconic American park as well as some of the group of dedicated enthusiasts who devote a substantial portion of their lives observing them are to be profiled in a film titled “Birders: The Central Park Effect” to be aired on HBO this Monday, July 16th.
Needless to say, we’ll be watching. If you will be as well, we’d very much enjoy learning your thoughts about the film via our Facebook page.
It doesn’t take a very long look at this BirdCam 2.0 video of a Tufted Titmouse cracking a seed, as recorded by TreeBreeze, to see that titmice and chickadees share a primary feeding technique. And after all - why shouldn’t they? They’re close relatives in the great family of birds.
In fact, it’s only out of a sense of overpowering but misplaced prudishness that the various species of chickadee in North America are even called “chickadees” at all. Everywhere else these birds exist they are called a “tit,” an English word dating back to the 1540s meaning “a very small animal or thing.” (In case you’re wondering the “mouse” in “titmouse” comes from an even older English word “mase” meaning tiny; thus a titmouse is a “tiny very small animal.”)
Incidentally, TreeBreeze has quite a collection of his BirdCam 2.0 videos online at his YouTube channel - one-hundred-eighteen if we counted correctly - all of which are collected into three different playlists. We’re sure he’d enjoy having fellow BirdCam enthusiasts take a look at them, and leave a comment or simply give them a “thumbs up.”
Not so long ago we brought your attention to the National Audubon Society / Explore.org sponsored live webcam that is focused on an Osprey pair nesting atop a 30 foot high tower at the Audubon Society’s Hog Island Camp in Bremen, Maine. Well, there have been a few developments at the nest since then. Not only did the female lay a clutch of eggs (which it turns out she did at the end of April) but they’ve hatched and the chicks are now easily seen in the nest.
Click here for Audubon Osprey Cam
A mature Osprey may lay between one to four eggs in a clutch each year. Judging from the Audubon Cam close-ups, it looks like the female opted for the upper middle range this year as three growing chicks are clearly visible. As can be seen, they’re still not anywhere near ready to fledge yet. As the Osprey nestling stage can go on for over 50 days, it may be over a month yet before they’ll fly off on their own.
With Spring now well underway, it’s time to be sure that all your backyard feeders are cleaned and stocked. While for most seed feeders this is a seasonal activity, for hummingbird feeders it should become a weekly one for the upcoming warmer months.
Be sure to change the sugar solution (no red dye; just four parts water to one part ordinary sugar) at least once each week and keep the feeding ports nice and clean so the solution doesn’t collect in them and mold.
And of course, make sure your Wingscapes Audubon BirdCam, BirdCam 2.0, or, if your hummingbird feeders are particularly busy, your TimelapseCam 8.0 has fresh batteries and is in position to record all the activity.
We’re very interested to see what all you’ve recorded so please don’t forget to share your images and videos with us on our website’s Photo or Video Galleries, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Flickr page, or Twitter feed.
You know how turkeys are when they get together at a favorite watering hole - they just can’t seem to control themselves. All mugging for the camera and crowding around the bar; in this video one even gets up and dances on it.
We’d better stop before we rile the ghost of Benjamin Franklin. A keen observer of Wild Turkeys - as is mfthom whose BirdCam 2.0 video we’ve featured here - Ol’ Ben knew well what reserved and respectable birds Wild Turkeys truly are. In fact, he famously proposed making them the official bird of the United States rather than the Bald Eagle due to the turkey being a “much more respectable bird” than the eagle.
As the creators of the original BirdCam, the Audubon BirdCam, and the BirdCam 2.0, you might have guessed that all of us on Team Wingscapes are delighted with the opportunity to watch a pair of nesting Red-tailed Hawks live and up-close via Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s online nest cam.
As of March 22nd, three eggs have been laid and, according to Cornell Lab, the hatching should begin sometime around April 13th.
If you’re anything like we are, you’ll likely find yourself visiting the site regularly. While there, be sure to take the opportunity to visit with fellow enthusiasts via the site’s “Chat” feature, or check out some of the previous events the camera has recorded, such as the nest itself being built, in the “Videos” section.
Hearing on the news that the weather in England has been on the exceptionally cold side recently brought to mind our friends at the The Horticultural Channel, so we popped over to their YouTube channel to see what winter-time garden birds they’ve been recording at their bird table with the Wingscapes Audubon BirdCam.
While they’ve put up quite a bit of new BirdCam video footage, including one segment where they obviously had to dig the camera out of the freshly fallen snow, we were particularly impressed with this short clip of a beautiful (Eurasian) Jay making a breakfast feast of a fat (suet) ball.
Both the American Ornithologists’ Union and BirdLife International still include it on their respective lists of species. Scientists still hotly debate its existence. Novelists are even using the possibility of its continued survival as the theme of their books. Such is the mystique of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
It’s not difficult to understand why the idea of its existence is so compelling. Just look at this BirdCam 2.0 video recorded by Ferdie2009 of its smaller cousin, the Pileated Woodpecker; now imagine this bird twice as large with a massive ivory-colored bill nearly three times the bill on this one. The prospect that such a spectacular bird may still be flying through some isolated forest is a very appealing thought indeed.
Our friends at The Horticultural Channel in London, England have really provided us with quite a parade of birds visiting their bird table that they’ve recorded using a Wingscapes Audubon BirdCam.
From the sweet-singing Blackbirds to the proverbially cheeky Robins to a squirrel helpfully giving the camera’s lens a quick “cleaning,” a good selection of the most common garden bird table visitors are represented.
There’s even a quick cameo appearance by a Carrion Crow and a Jay (which North American bird watchers will find remarkably different in appearance from the jays they’re accustomed to seeing at their own feeders.).
We discovered The Horticultural Channel through their posting to our Facebook page (they have one of their own as well, by the way); and we’re very glad they did. We hope to see many more of their videos in the weeks and months to come.