17 April, 2013

A To Z Challenge: Ornithology And Observing Raptors

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that focuses on birds. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, there are 9,865 species of birds within class Aves in the world. The earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx lithographica, existed 150 million years ago and had feathers, wings, and a reptilian face--birds are evolutionary descendants of reptiles.

Normally I'd give you a recent development in the field of ornithology, but instead I'll link to this live webcam of Bald Eagles in Washington, D.C. The juveniles--hatched last March--are the dark-colored ones in the nest, which is situated on the grounds of the Metropolitan Police Academy. There is also a highlights video on the right side of the page if you want to watch more exciting bits like the parents feeding the chicks.

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Sources:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ornithology
http://animals.about.com/od/birds/a/bird-facts.htm
http://birdwatchersdigest.com/youngbirders/coolbirdfacts/

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What are your favorite birds?


-----The Golden Eagle

32 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

Actually, birds are descended from dinosaurs, which were not reptiles, we now know. I did ornithology today, too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll have to go check out the video!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not a lot happening right now in the webcam shot, but the highlights video was cool.

The Golden Eagle said...

Andrew: Looks like we'll have at least one overlapping post this year!

Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware of the difference.

Alex: One of the juveniles was moving around when I looked at it but soon settled down; I guess it's hard to tell when the eagles are about to do something on camera.

Glad you liked the highlights video!

Elaine Smith said...

Ornithology is a great subject for a post - who'd have thought it would prove controversial ;)

Andrew Leon said...

I think we had one other back at the beginning, but I don't remember which. And we both did a neuroscience thing, although I put mine under "B" for brain surgeon.

And no problem. A lot of those classifications have changed just in the last couple of decades, so a lot of the info that's out there is still wrong, like calling dinosaurs reptiles. Not that they have something new to call them, yet, but they're now pretty sure dinos were warmblooded and many were probably covered in feathers.

Murees Dupé said...

Thank you so much for the info and the cool link. I love learning something new.

Old Kitty said...

Thanks for the webcam link!! I love this sort of stuff and can get quite mesmerised by them! I am currently watching a few webcams of baby wildlife brought in to a wildlife centre here in the UK and they're brilliant!

One of the eagles is feeding these gorgeous youngsters! It's amazing how big the babies are - well done mum and dad! Hope this pair of eagles continue to breed in this spot for many many many more years! Take care
x

Pat Hatt said...

They are cleaning themselves or something at the moment.

M Pax said...

Eagles and other raptors are so neat to see flying around in the wild. There was a nesting pair of eagles along the Potomac when I lived in the DC area. And I've seen several out here.

shelly said...

You always do the most interesting topics for the A to Z. You're one smart cookie, you know.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly

Paul Tobin said...

Fantastic link thank you

Nick Wilford said...

Very cool video! Majestic animals.

Li said...

Bald eagles are actually becoming a bit of a problem in my area - we have a lot of organic farms, and the eagles (and a number of hawks as well) are picking off the free-range chickens.

Elise Fallson said...

Love the live video, thanks for sharing it. I'll be checking up on them from time to time. And why am I not surprised you highlighted ornithology today. (;

Rob-bear said...

If people thought you were "for the birds" they now have proof. Being "for the birds" is a good thing, I think.
My parents were, and so is our family.

Too bad the ones on the camera weren't Golden Eagles.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting

Trisha F said...

That is so amazing - pity the webcam is currently focused on a nightscape I can't make much out in ;)

Jan Newman said...

My husband and I love raptors and have a chance to observe a pair of hawks once or twice a year from our back yard. They hunt the neighborhood. We can't determine what kind of hawks they are, though.

Jan at Website
Beyond Acadia
Faith Talk
Swamp Lily Review

laughingwolf said...

love most birds... except those that crap on my car :(

btw, the earliest known bird is seen, regularly... in the b.c. comic!

JeffO said...

A subject near and dear to my heart.

Emily R. King said...

I saw the most amazing thing the other day. The highway near my house runs alongside a cow field. In early February, I was driving past and I counted FIVE bald eagles congregated in the field. A cow was lying in the center of them. Although I see bald eagles all the time, I've never seen that many together (I live in PNW). My first guess was that they had gathered because the cow was calving. The next day as I was driving past I noticed two new calves in the field. I couldn't help but grin. I was right! The eagles had come for the afterbirth. Birds of prey are so cool.

Sandy said...

WOW, that's very cool and seems so appropriate they be in DC. I guess just to look at I'm partial to Cardinals because of the color, and maybe chickadee's because they look so sweet.

A-Z

Laurel Garver said...

Of course the Golden Eagle would love ornithology.

I have to admit that I just love owls. When I was little, an adorable screech owl roosted in our garage, and I loved to just sit and watch it sleep. Sometimes it would open its huge eyes and look back at me--which would usually send me running to Mom, screeching with fear. LOL.

Charles Gramlich said...

I am having fun describing some alien birds on Talera at the moment.

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

This post has a serious lack of any reference to the Cornell school of Ornithology, often the "go to" source for anything NPR.

Samuel Bledsoe said...

This link is now occupying my time. We had eagles show where I grew about 10 years ago, but they never revealed where the nest was at.

nutschell said...

Ornithology. Intriguing! I'll have to check out the video when i get home:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Michael Di Gesu said...

Great topic for this post...

Eagles are such majestic creatures and a beauty to behold...

The Golden Eagle said...

Elaine: LOL. Not controversial--I'm always open to people pointing out my errors!

Andrew: I hadn't thought of that one.

Now that you mentioned the endothermic/feathers thing, it does faintly ring a bell.

Murees: You're welcome!

Old kitty: Aw, that sounds like fun to watch.

It would be nice if more generations were raised in that nest!

Pat: Birds do that quite a lot.

Mary: Cool! I love watching raptors as well.

Shelly: Thanks. :)

I try to entertain my readers!

Paul: You're quite welcome.

Nick: They really are.

Li: Oh dear. Sounds like the wolf incidents some farmers have where wolves are attacking their herds.

Elise: I have no idea . . . it can't have been my username or anything like that. ;)

Rob-bear: I hope to come across a golden eagle cam one of these days! I'm sure they're harder to film since they live in remoter areas.

Trisha: Maybe some hours later? I hadn't thought of that!

Jan: I wish we had raptors in the backyard. All we have are the occasional small bird and crows (though crows are some of my favorite birds as well).

Laughingwolf: LOL. That's one of the problems with birds--they're rather indiscriminate about their business. :P

He usually cracks me up, too.

JeffO: Mine as well. :)

Emily: That's amazing! I would never have made the connection to the eagles and afterbirth--what a fascinating observation.

Sandy: Cardinals are so bright.

Laurel: Yup!

That's a funny story. Have you ever seen frogmouths? They're just so adorable . . .

Charles: Oh, creating new birds sounds like fun!

Michael: I visited the site (I've actually been to Sapsucker Woods at the University) but since they didn't have any general facts about birds or an eagle cam, I didn't think it would make sense to put them under "Sources".

Samuel: Birds are good at hiding their nests. Which is probably a good thing, in a lot of cases!

Nutschell: Hope you like it. :)

Michael: Thank you!

Susan Kane said...

My favorite raptor is the red tail hawk. They make me smile when I see them overhead.

Krispy said...

I love these types of cams, even if they can be a time-suck. It's so cool to see the birds just living their lives. :)

I've always loved the big birds of prey because they're so majestic, but I also have a soft spot for ravens and crows. There used to be big flocks of them in my town, so I grew up watching them from my window. They're so clever and visually dramatic.

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: All raptors make me smile. :)

Krispy: Ravens and crows are some of my favorite birds! I don't understand why some people dislike them so much . . .