If you start hanging out with birdwatchers, it is inevitable the day will come when one of them bends down to poke around in the grass, comes up with a grey, lumpy thing and declares it to be “a rather nice owl pellet”.
What are the most common bird species in North America during the winter? Well, there are a lot of people working to figure that out.
All living organisms on Earth are organized into a hierarchical classification system which permits scientists to keep track of which animals are which and to give them each an official name. The methods used to accomplish this immense classification task are known as the science of taxonomy.
Birds are an incredibly diverse animal group. This is reflected in the large differences between some of the species with regards to their plumage, as you can see in this short list of facts about bird feathers.
Birds are the only animal group in which virtually all of the species are referred to more by their common names than their scientific names. This is due to the popularity of birds and birdwatching; non-scientists insist on using common names. Not only are they easier to remember but they also provide the birds with a more personable familiarity.
While scientists have worked hard over the last three centuries to describe and classify living organisms such that each distinct species would be known by a unique name, there are many species which have more than one (and in some cases, several) common names.
There are eighteen species of owls in North America. Some species are resident and do not migrate (e.g., the Great Horned Owl) while others migrate long distances (e.g., the Burrowing Owl nests in southern Canada and winters in Mexico).
One of the most fundamental questions about birds is, “How many birds are there?” But that question is not as simple to answer as it seems. For one thing, it lacks the precision necessary to tackle what is, and has been for over a hundred years, the difficult problem of determining exactly how many birds are present on earth. So, we need to divide the problem into two more precise questions: “How many different bird species are there?, and “How many different individual birds are there?’
It’s a simple question: “How many birds are there on Earth?” Not how many different species, but how many different individual birds? Despite the simplicity of this question, arriving at an answer is incredibly difficult.
Birds share many seemingly unique traits with other animals. So, it there one or more traits which are unique only to birds? Read on to find out just what those traits may be.
It’s safe to say that birds are pretty unique animals. But what exactly is it that makes them unique, aside from the obvious traits like the ability to fly? As it turns out, there are a number of traits that are possessed only by birds, or more common traits that birds have developed to a much higher degree than other animal groups.