HummerBird Celebration 2012

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Keynote speaker Kevin Karlson will be joining in every field trip of this popular annual event. As an accomplished bird, wildlife photographer and professional tour leader who has published a host of articles for an assortment of magazines, journals and books, Kevin currently writes the Birder’s ID column for Wild Bird Magazine. His program features “Birds on the Wind: The Miracle of Migration”. For more information on this exciting event, please visit the The Rockport-Fulton Hummingbird Website.

Dates: 13-16 September 2012
Venue: Rockport-Fulton
State: Texas
Country: United States

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

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The 18th Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival will feature a number of fantastic seminars, field trips, a trade show, authors signing, childrens activities, Raptor Project flights and more. Seminar topics will include: Birding by Ear, Shorebird ID, Butterflies, Tales with Tails, Intro to Birding in Spanish, Nature Journaling, Great South Texas Birding Quiz Show and more. The Big Sit on Saturday involves counting birds for twelve hours. Register now so as not to miss out.

Dates: 9 to 13 November 2011
Venue: Harlingen Municipal Auditorium Complex and Casa Amistad
City: Harlingen
State: Texas
Country: United States of America

9th Annual Galveston FeatherFest

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The Galveston FeatherFest is one of the biggest bird watching events in Texas, where some 200 bird species can be spotted. Excursions by boat, bus and kayak will take visitors to bays, beaches, wetlands, coastal praires, upland wood mottes and bay marshes. Besides field trips, a number of seminars will be held, including photography, birding basics, butterflies and moths, digiscoping and optics tips, identification and more.

Date: 7 to 10 April 2011
Venue: Burns High School
Location: Galveston Island
State: Texas
Country: United States of America

Texas Bird Breeders Annual Fall Show and Fair 2009

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The Texas Bird Breeders Annual Fall Show and Fair is an anticipated event for all bird breeders, as it gives them the opportunity to show off their best birds, and win a few prizes. Held on the 7th of November 2009, the show is organized by the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association, and there will be a variety of birds, vendors and exhibits to look forward to. Some of the birds on display include Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Softbills, Finches, Lovebirds and a few different parrot species.

Information and details about the show is available on the Texas Bird Breeders and Fanciers Association website, at http://www.texasbirdbreeders.org .

Date: 7 November 2009
Venue: Mayborn Convention Centre
City: Texas
Country: United States of America

Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera)

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The Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera) is easily distinguished by its plumage, and the males and females can by determined by their coloring. Males have a cinnamon-red coloring over their belly, flanks, head and neck. Their backs are predominantly dark brown, with long bills and red eyes. The females have brown eyes, gray bills, and pale coloring over their heads. Their body plumage is somewhat mottled with browns and a dark back. They also have a light blue patch of plumage on the upper part of their wings. There is also a distinctive pale ring around their eyes. Juvenile males have a similar coloring to the females.

These dabbling ducks, are commonly found in western North America, including areas of California, Texas and Mexico. The Cinnamon Teals are always found in small flocks with female and male pairs. Flocks will generally frequent lakes, streams, small rivers and ponds. They need the water areas to have reeds or plants round the edges, as they feed in shallow waters and live off seeds, plants and on the odd occasion, insects. Cinnamon teals are extremely comfortable on the water, and can dive beneath the surface to find food and can also take off from the water, with quite astounding speed.

During the breeding period, females will find a suitable partner and swim in front of him. To attract the attention of the females, males will preen themselves to perfection and take quick flights to impress her. The female Cinnamon Teal takes care of building the nest, and uses plant stems, grass and other plant materials for construction. The nest is built with a tunnel that leads to it through the plants as she constructs her nest under reeds and plants to obstruct it from view. She will lay between nine to twelve eggs, and takes care of the three week incubation period. The chicks hatch already covered in down, which enables them to leave the nest within 34 hours of hatching. The female Cinnamon Teal will remain with her chicks until they fledge her protection, at the age of approximately one and half months.

Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans)

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The Elegant Trogon or the Trogon elegans is very similar to the rarer Eared Trogon, the difference being the barred undersurface of the tail and the white breast band. This stunning bird is related to the Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the bird of the Maya emperor-gods. The Trogon has a small habitat range, which barely reaches the United States and so is a birder‘s treasure when they find it. Trogons are insectivorous but they often include small fruits in their diet. Their legs are weak and their bills broad, a clear indication of their diet and arboreal habits. They are fast flyers but don’t enjoy long distances hence the small habitat that they are confined to.

The Trogon is 10 inches or 28 to 30 cm long and has a short, stout hooked yellow bill, weighing 65-67 grams. It has an upright posture and the tail is long and square-cut at the tip. The male is beautiful and has a lovely dark, glossy, emerald green upper body as well as the head and upper breast. The breast also has a white band with the belly and tail coverts being crimson in color with a black band. The underpart of the tail is gray with white bars going across it, the head is black with a pale color around the eye.

The female is duller in color and is plain brown where the male is green, pink and crimson, with a white breast and light coffee-colored bands across the chest. The Trogon will nest 2 to 6 meters high in a shallow cavity like an old woodpeckers hole and has 2 to 3 eggs in every clutch.

The Elegant Trogon is restricted to the southeastern part of Arizona in the United States to northwestern Costa Rica, and at times in the southeastern and western part of Texas. The Elegant Trogon is considered a near passerine bird or a higher land-bird assemblage, a name given to those believed to be related to the true passerines because of their ecological similarities. The Trogon’s normal call is a croaking “co-ah co-ah co-ah” sound and sometimes it includes a chattering noise.

Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa)

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Its long slender toes stretch out across the floating water vegetation, it easily runs across the water in search of a tasty meal, this is the “lily trotter” or Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa). Jacanas throughout the world are known for their remarkable body structure and walking on water skills. The Northern Jacana is found all along the coastline of Mexico, into western Panama, in Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba and even Texas of USA. This is a truly fascinating wading bird to observe, so keep an eye out for them on marshy waterways.

The Northern Jacana as with most Jacanas is easily identified by its long toes. Their bodies are about the same size as a robin. The body is mostly dark with black plumage on the head and neck. The Northern Jacana has pale green flight feathers and a distinctive yellow bill and frontal shield. Juveniles have white underparts. These unusual birds are also identified by their harsh “jik” call which progressively speeds up to a chatter. The large feet and claws of the Northern Jacana are what give it the ability to walk atop floating vegetation. In fact, the toes cover an area of 12 by 14 cm, thus dispersing the bird’s mass over a large area. They are particularly fond of lake and fresh-water marsh habitats.

Northern Jacanas are known for being quite aggressive and territorial. They frequently fight with each other using their weapons – spurs located on the bend of the wing. Floating nests are built on the water. Female Northern Jacanas are polyandrous and are often spoken of as the prostitute bird. A clutch of 3 to 5 eggs is laid in the floating nest which is built and cared for by the male. The male Northern Jacana incubates the eggs for a period of 22 to 24 days whilst the female guards her males. Once the young ones hatch, they will fledge in 28 days. The father will teach his precocial chicks how to forage for various foods such as insects, mollusks, worms and fish. Should danger approach, he will carry them under his wings. Its quite easy to understand why the unique Northern Jacana’s are popular amongst bird watchers.

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

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Bird lovers looking for a fantastic long-weekend getaway should look no further than the 15th Annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. The festival will take place, as always, in Harlingen, Texas, and will provide plenty of great, nature-orientated activities for young and old.

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2008 Hummer/Bird Celebration

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Every year hundreds of people gather together to celebrate the amazing migration of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This year will be no different and fans are getting ready to enjoy the 20th Anniversary Hummer/Bird Celebration which will take place from September 11-14.

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The Balcones Songbird Festival in Texas

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Bird lovers will often tell you that the first thing that attracted them to these often delicate, pretty little creatures was their delightful songs. For centuries this caused man to catch and cage these little bards so that they could hear their delightful music both day and night. Fortunately today we no longer seek to put wild birds in cages, but we still enjoy the sweet melodies that they utter.

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