Birdland Park & Gardens, located in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds, is home to more than 500 birds representing around 140 species, including pelicans, flamingos, penguins, storks, cranes, cassowary and a variety of waterfowl in their water habitats, with over 50 aviaries housing exotic parrots, owls, toucans, touracos, pheasants, hornbills and more. The park is also home to the only King penguins to be found in England, Ireland and Wales and a webcam allows visitors an up-close view of these fascinating birds. Specialized habitats at the park include the Desert House and Toucan House. The Marshmouth Nature Walk covers an area of 2.5 acres with a network of pathways featuring hides and feeding stations, offering visitors an opportunity to enjoy the wildlife in a tranquil haven.
The Discovery Zone features a play and seating area with two display areas, one of which offers examples of all classes of animals, including birds, insects, fish, reptiles, mammals and amphibians, with the other answering the question “What is a bird?” Explanations include the purpose of a bird’s feathers and how they relate to camouflage, displays in courtship, warning signals and habitat conditions. The Snowy Owl is a good example of the multiple uses of feathers with dense feathers and feathered feet offering warmth in their Arctic habitat and their color providing camouflage. The use of beaks, feet, legs and claws are detailed, along with various feeding habits. Nesting habits of birds, their breeding cycles, fledglings and parenting patterns are other fascinating topics covered at Birdland. Birds of prey – vultures, falcons, hawks, eagles, harriers and owls – are among the highlights of a visit to this nature sanctuary, and visitors will discover how they use their keen eyesight, speed in flight and talons to catch their prey with deadly accuracy.
The Desert House is home to birds that live in arid conditions, and visitors can view the birds from a platform at one end of the habitat, while the Toucan House is home to a range of these colorful birds. Events at Birdland include a Summer Talks program; Meet the Keeper; Penguin Feed; Pelican Feed; and Birds of Prey Encounter Days. Facilities include a playground, gift shop and the Penguin Café – everything necessary for a memorable family outing.
Organized by the Klamath Basin Audubon Society, the 2011 Winter Wings Festival will feature a fascinating schedule including field trips, workshops, lectures and more. Keynote speakers will include Jeffrey Gordon and Arthur Morris. Other events taking place during the Winter Wings Festival are a photography contest, art contest, art show, pelicans on parade auction and much more.
The area in which the Winter Wings Festival takes place is ideal for exceptinal birding, particularly as it is home to a large number of wintering Bald Eagles. So be sure not to miss this amazing event.
Date: 18 to 20 February 2011
Time: 5:45 am
Venue: Oregon Institute of Technology
City: Klamath Falls
Country: United States of America
As the name might suggest, the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is predominantly white in color with black plumage on its wings, and is approximately 60 inches in length with a 110 inch wingspan. They have very long, orange bills with pouches on their lower mandibles, and short legs with large webbed feet. Another very unique characteristic of the American White Pelican’s beak is that males develop a fibrous plate on the upper part of their beaks during the mating season.
The American White Pelican is an extremely social bird, and is always found in colonies, or in the company of a friend. They are also family orientated, and therefore they will breed and rear their families in the safety of the colony. They tend to nest on islands and quiet areas, where the female can lay two to four white eggs, with a one month incubation period. Nests are built on the ground, using grass, reeds and sticks. Both parents take an active role in the rearing of their young, as both male and female pelicans will participate in feeding. The adult birds are very quiet, with the exception of the occasional grunt. The young however, will make themselves heard by squealing noisily.
As the American White Pelican feeds on fish, they are found in coastal areas, near lakes and even in marshes. That includes areas such as Utah, northern California, southwestern Minnesota, northeastern South Dakota and Colorado. Occasionally, the pelicans can be seen on the coast of Texas. During the winter months, they are known to migrate to the Pacific Coast.
It might seem to be impossible for birds of their size to float on top of the water, but the American White Pelican has the advantage of air-filled bones and air sacs that are located in their bodies. In contrast to other pelican species that dive from great heights to catch food, the White Pelican simply glides around, scooping fish out the water with its immense pouch. As the pelican is bound to scoop as much water as he does fish, the pouch is able to hold about 3 gallons of water. And instead of swallowing gallons of water with his meal, he bends his bill downward to drain the water, and then lifts his head up, to let his catch slide down his throat. An adult American White Pelican can eat approximately four pounds of fish a day, with preferred choices being that of jackfish, shiners, catfish, carp and yellow perch.
The Farallon Islands, located in the Gulf of the Farallones off the coast of San Francisco, California, around 32 kilometers south of Point Reyes, are home to a growing number of Brown Pelicans that at one time were facing extinction. Conservationists at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory have noted that the numbers of these fascinating birds have reached a forty-year peak, which is great news for all who have been keeping track of fluctuating Brown Pelican numbers since 1968.
The moment the word “Everglades” is spoken, many people imagine the dark waters of a marshland filled with alligators. However, even though alligators are at home in the Florida Everglades, it is the bird species that steal the spotlight from these illusive predators. Birding in the Florida Everglades has become a popular activity, and while silently waiting for a bird to appear visitors also get the chance to meet some of the other fascinating animals that have carved out their own existence in the Florida Everglades.