I was speaking to a resident on the phone a few days ago about crows, ravens, and blue jays, all corvids. She was asking about ravens because she was hearing an unfamiliar bird call that she didn’t recognize as crow. We had a very pleasant conversation and I was able to play the sounds of ravens, crows, and jays for her over the phone. How did I do that? Cornell Lab of Ornithology!

I write about this family-friendly resource quite often. It has so much to offer the bird lover and the bird liker as well. Webcams so you can see into the nests of birds in real time. Bird feeders in real time as well. Pictures and vocalizations of 100s of birds. This is a very impressive website and I can’t recommend it more highly.

I found a video on the site that is so great I have to share it. It documents a hummingbird nest from eggs to fledglings. It runs about 11 minutes, is broken into 3 parts (with a 10 second commercial between them) and is so well done you can practically hear the little ones and their mama. Here is the link https://youtu.be/s-PR0Egcm8k

If you are interested in checking out the webcams, use this link: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/ The webcams are situated at the nests of bird species around the world and include the Brown-Headed Chachalacas on a fruit feeder in Panama. Never heard of a Brown-Headed Chachalaca? Check it out.

Last weekend my husband Bob saw a ring-necked pheasant on the dirt road near our house. He said he hadn’t seen one since his early teens, which was a very long time ago. These ground-dwelling game birds are native to Asia, but have been introduced to much of the world. They have been present in the United States for about 200 years.

They are usually found in rural, agricultural areas where there is also thick cover for them to hunker down when they want to take cover or have young in the nest. Being referred to as an ‘upland game bird’, means they are a ‘non-water fowl hunted with pointing breeds, flushing spaniels, and retrievers’. Can you guess what they taste like? You got it-chicken.

It’s hard to imagine that the pheasant chicks hatch completely covered with down, and their eyes open. They follow their mother out of the nest almost immediately and pretty much fend for themselves. Mom does teach them where and how to find food.

“DEC has a long history of propagating pheasants to help meet the demand for pheasant hunting opportunity. Wild populations of this introduced species have reached all-time lows. Without propagation and release programs by DEC and private entities, pheasant hunting opportunities would not exist in New York State.” https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/

Would that be such a bad thing?

 Jolene Wallace is the consumer horticulture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. Contact her at 518-561-7450 or jmw442@cornell.edu.

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