Birds of the Week # 28

House Finch



The House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It is native to western North America and has been introduced to the eastern half of the continent and Hawaii. This species and the other “American rosefinches” are placed in the genus Haemorhous. Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s. The birds were sold illegally in New York City as “Hollywood Finches”, a marketing artifice. To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, vendors and owners released the birds. They have since become naturalized; in largely unforested land across the eastern U.S., they have displaced the native purple finch and even the non-native house sparrow. In 1870, or before, they were introduced to Hawaii and are now abundant on all its major islands.

There are estimated to be anywhere from 267 million to 1.7 billion individuals across North America. Instances of naturalization originating in escapes or releases of cage birds have been recorded in Europe, such as in 2020 in Murcia, (Spain).


Brown-headed Cowbird



The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is a small, obligate brood parasitic icterid native to temperate and subtropical North America. It is a permanent resident in the southern parts of its range; northern birds migrate to the southern United States and Mexico in winter, returning to their summer habitat around March or April  The brown-headed cowbird is an obligate brood parasite; it lays its eggs in the nests of other small passerines (perching birds), particularly those that build cup-like nests. The brown-headed cowbird eggs have been documented in nests of at least 220 host species, including hummingbirds and raptors.The young cowbird is fed by the host parents at the expense of their own young. Brown-headed cowbird females can lay up to 36 eggs in a season. More than 140 different species of birds are known to have raised young cowbirds. Unlike the common cuckoo, the brown-headed cowbird is not divided into gentes whose eggs imitate those of a particular host.

Some host species, such as the house finch, feed their young a vegetarian diet. This is unsuitable for young brown-headed cowbirds, meaning few survive to fledge.


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Special Places # 44

Halloween!


Photo Gallery



1 – Top Left: My son Tyler loves Halloween since he was little at Day Care Center, before Kindergarten. In fact, this picture shows him from-sit (The kid with the yellow sneakers). My son is 11 years old now (5.4 Ft. – 155 Lb.)

2 to 10: These are pictures shot in at Halloween season in Upstate New York, New Jersey and Georgia.

I’m hoping that you will enjoy your Halloween and safely get lots of candy!


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Red Art Gallery – Northern Cardinal # 53

Red Art Gallery


Photo Gallery


Northern Cardinal (Female)
Northern Cardinal (Female)

Northern Cardinal (Male)
Northern Cardinal (Male)

© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

Birds of the Week # 27

Blue Jay



The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a passerine bird in the family Corvidae, native to eastern North America. It lives in most of the eastern and central United States; some eastern populations may be migratory. Resident populations are also found in Newfoundland, Canada; breeding populations are found across southern Canada. The blue jay occurs from southern Canada (including the southern areas of provinces from Alberta eastward to Quebec and throughout the Atlantic provinces) and throughout the eastern and central United States south to Florida and northeastern Texas. The western edge of the range stops where the arid pine forest and scrub habitat of the closely related Steller’s jay (C. stelleri) begins, generally in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Recently, the range of the blue jay has extended northwestwards so that it is now a rare but regularly seen winter visitor along the northern US and southern Canadian Pacific Coast. As the two species’ ranges now overlap, C. cristata may sometimes hybridize with Steller’s jay. The increase in trees throughout the Great Plains during the past century due to fire suppression and tree planting facilitated the western range expansion of the blue jay as well as range expansions of many other species of birds. From 1966 to 2015, the Blue Jay experienced a population decline along the Atlantic coast, but a greater than 1.5% annual population increase throughout the northern part of its range, including Labrador, Nova Scotia, southern Quebec, and southern Manitoba.


Northern Mockingbird



The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather. This species has rarely been observed in Europe. The mockingbird’s breeding range is from Maritime provinces of Canada westwards to British Columbia, practically the entire Continental United States south of the northern Plains states and Pacific northwest, the Greater Antilles, and the majority of Mexico to eastern Oaxaca and Veracruz. The mockingbird is generally a year-round resident of its range, but the birds that live in the northern portion of its range have been noted further south during the winter season. Sightings of the mockingbird have also been recorded in Hawaii (where it was introduced in the 1920s), southeastern Alaska, and three times as transatlantic vagrants in Britain, most recently in Exmouth, Devon, UK in February and March 2021. The mockingbird is thought to be at least partly migratory in the northern portions of its range, but the migratory behavior is not well understood. In the 19th century, the range of the mockingbird expanded northward towards provinces such as Nova Scotia and Ontario and states such as Massachusetts, although the sightings were sporadic. Within the first five decades of the 20th century, regions that received an influx of mockingbirds were Maine, Vermont, Ohio, Iowa, and New York. In western states such as California, the population was restricted to the Lower Sonoran regions but by the 1970s the mockingbird was residential in most counties. Islands that saw introductions of the mockingbird include Bermuda (in which it failed), Barbados, St. Helena, Socorro Island, the Cayman Islands and Tahiti.


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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