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OUTDOORS | Nature


ASTONISHING BIRD TRIVIA How Many Facts Do You Know?


by LEE BELANGER Master Naturalist


• Mallard Duck: Only the female makes the familiar “Quack, quack” sound. Male sounds are much quieter, almost like a hiss.


• American Robin: This bird will eat fermented berries and get so drunk it may pass out.


• Northern Cardinal: Pairs mate for life. They are so “in tune” with each other, they often finish the others song.


• Blue Jays: Bird colors originate by various means. Some come from chemical pigments. Melanin made in their cells, produces brown and black colors. Carotenoids come from food they eat resulting in red, orange, and yellow shades. One example is the flamingo that would be white if it did not eat shrimp and crustaceans. Amazingly, other colors like the blue in a blue jay’s, bluebirds, and Indigo bunting, are not pigments at all. The color results from the manner in which light hits tiny parts of the feathers called barbules. In other words, the color comes from light and the wing design, not pigment.


• Rudy-throated Hummingbird: This is the only hummingbird on the east coast flyway. Like all hummingbirds, it not only hovers, it can fly backwards, upside down, and turn summersaults in the air.


• Great Blue Heron: This bird does not sweat. Instead, it vibrates its throat to speed evaporation resulting in cooling.


• Bald Eagle: Bald eagles reuse their nests year after year. Some nests reach a 10-foot diameter by 10-foot depth and weigh two tons, more than most


SavannahShorelines.com • February 2017 •25


SUV’s. Eventually the nest breaks supporting branches, and it falls to the ground.


• Wood Stork: The word “Stork” comes from an Anglo-Saxon word for starch. Because wood storks often stand in a stiff, erect posture, they look as if they were starched, hence their name.


• Brown Thrasher: Most people know mockingbirds sing and copy many bird songs, but so does the brown thrasher. This bird has over 1000 vocalizations and copies not only other bird songs,


but also bells, whistles and other non- bird sounds.


• Canada Goose: The tight, V- shape migratory flying pattern of the Canada goose is familiar to all of us, but do you know why one side of the V is often shorter than the other? (Bad joke coming up) The answer is because there are fewer geese on one side of the V.


What is on your mind? E-mail Lee at Lungwort@aol.com


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