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What are Birds?

Carly Ho
November 05, 2017

What are Birds?

Birds are a hugely varied and fascinating part of our world's ecosystem, from common sparrows to parrots to eagles to cranes to weird muppet-looking birds like the potoo. In this talk, I'll showcase a few of my favorite birds and their interesting qualities, and discuss some ways we can help make the world a better place for our feathered friends.

Carly Ho

November 05, 2017

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  1. What Are Birds? a discussion of birds, by carly ho

  2. None
  3. But really, what is a bird?

  4. Generally, a bird: ◦ Has a beak ◦ Reproduces by

    laying hard-shelled eggs ◦ Has feathers ◦ Is warm-blooded and has a spine ◦ Has a four-chambered heart ◦ Has pretty light bones
  5. Things some birds do, but not all: ◦ Talk ◦

    Use tools ◦ Fly ◦ Pass on knowledge across generations ◦ Migrate
  6. Birds are incredibly diverse

  7. None
  8. None
  9. A selection of intriguing birds

  10. Nightjars

  11. Facts about the nightjar ◦ Might be a cryptid -

    an old myth says they suck the milk from goats ◦ So good at hiding that some species have only been seen literally once ◦ Some of them can hibernate for weeks or months ◦ Fancy wings ◦ A close relative is the potoo
  12. some nightjars males get these sweet wing decs during breeding

  13. (a potoo)

  14. Pigeons

  15. Facts about pigeons ◦ Technically city-dwelling wild pigeons are called

    "feral pigeons" ◦ Domesticated bird species, which means they are actually pretty good pets ◦ Have served honorably in past wars, e.g., the highly-decorated Cher Ami
  16. More facts about pigeons ◦ They're some of the more

    intelligent birds ◦ There are so many kinds of pigeons I could probably do a whole talk on just pigeons ◦ While we consider city pigeons overabundant, passenger pigeons went extinct after being v numerous ◦ Many species of pigeon are extinct in the wild
  17. Polynesian ground dove (left), soccorro dove (right)

  18. Parrotlets

  19. Facts about parrotlets ◦ The smallest new world parrot species

    ◦ They form life-long pair bonds with mates and do the same with people in captivity sometimes ◦ Parrots of any size (parrotlets included) have v powerful beaks and are not to be messed with ◦ They can potentially live 20-30 years ◦ They think glasses are a jungle gym
  20. tumblr user flock-talk and the best encapsulation of parrotlet personalities

  21. or: birding Let's look at a bird

  22. What is birding? ◦ Birding, or birdwatching, is going out

    and looking for birds for fun! ◦ Birders try and view interesting birds, and/or identify them by sound, since types of birds have unique calls ◦ There are many organizations dedicated to helping people appreciate birds in their community by birding
  23. Birding resources In Chicago: chicagobirder.org American Birding Association: aba.org The

    Audubon Society: audubon.org/birding You'll probably want a field guide for IDing birds and some binoculars!
  24. Help a bird! or: conservation

  25. Bird conservation matters The biggest threats to bird populations are

    often generated by human populations. ◦ Hunting, pre-Migratory Bird Treaty Act ◦ Unsupervised outdoor cats ◦ Window collisions ◦ Congress
  26. What you can do! ◦ Go to audubon.org/takeaction ◦ Find

    a local wildlife rescue to volunteer with ◦ Keep any outdoor pets supervised ◦ If you want a pet bird, consider adopting! ◦ Help efforts to lobby for bird-safe windows in new buildings ◦ Get involved in birding to learn more about birds!
  27. this has been a discussion of birds @carlymho