Isnin, 29 Januari 2018

Birds With Beautiful Crown

Cockatoo has beautiful crest/crown on top of its head. 

Birds have many beautiful features and some of them also have elaborate crown or crest while other have less or none at all. These crown not only to give those birds beautiful features to attract mates but also to show the bird’s emotions. So their crown is very important for communication.

They are few types of crowns for birds. Most of the bird's crown are formed by different colours and shapes of feathers. It can be small or sometimes very different from their head’s feathers such as for crowned crane or cockatoo. There are many other birds have the same type of crown and they use it for different purposes.

Crown craned crest made up of totally different feathers.

Malachite Kingfisher has more prominent crest of feathers.

While some other birds crown are formed by fleshy upright structure known as comb. Their comb can be vary in size, colour and shape that located at the top of the bird’s head. The easiest example for birds that have this type of comb are jungle fowl, and domestic roosters.

They are various types of chicken combs.

Casque is little bit different as it is built from keratin (more like cow’s horn). There are also different types of shapes, colours and sizes of casque in birds that showing signs of wear over time. Few example of birds with casque are cassowary and hornbill.

Casque on cassowary's can be part of their weapon too.
Rhinoceros hornbill is another type of bird with casque on its head. 

Little bit different than comb, wattles is formed by fleshy growths on a bird’s head, face and neck. So this structure not only formed on the head that make it different than comb. The easiest example for this type of crown are Muscovy ducks and wild turkeys.

Wattle on these wild turkeys will expand and turn redder when they get excited.

It is wonderful to see the different types of these crowns on birds as it also the easiest way to identify the bird species in the field. While for the birds itself, it shows how unique they are from any other species of animals (mammals) that mostly use their horns for protection or fighting.

No matter what are the reasons birds have such elaborate crown on their head, all we need to do is to properly observe this feature on birds. Hopefully this is another interesting thing for us to learn more about birds in order to protect them for the future.

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Sabtu, 27 Januari 2018

How to Start Bird Watching?

Bird-watching can be relaxing activity.

Bird-watching also known as birding can be wonderful activity individually, in group or as a family activity. Bird-watching usually just for recreational purposes, however birdwatchers can provide their findings to help serious organizations with valuable data before serious findings can be conducted. Nowadays more birdwatchers contribute to these purposes with the advancement of gadgets and internet technologies.

Here we want to talk about the basic tools for birdwatcher. With these basic tools we can start this new wonderful hobby to identify birds that available in our areas or maybe nearby. Even though in order to observe the birds you just can do it without any tools, but we need to learn how to collect data so the activity will be more organized.

Notebook for bird-watcher - photo from wildbirdonthefly.

Notebook - notebook is very important for this activity. Yes, you need to keep some details about your observation. Date, weather, location, bird types and location can give more information about the bird behaviour. Well, some birds are migratory and you will never see it in the same location every day. While their behaviour will help you to identify them more accurately (check the video below).

Always make sure you have some guides.

Local field guide - as a beginner always bring together some references to make sure the identification process will be much easier. So make sure you have the right reference for local areas because the birds are different according to geographical of the areas.

Digital resources make it simpler.

Digital resources - your digital equipment can be so helpful for bird-watching activities. They not only provide references, but you also can tag the location, upload the information or ask for help from other birders or get professional help for identification. You also can join larger birder groups locally or internationally.

There will be extra benefits when you do it in group.

Local group - get involve with other groups locally so you can join with their activities. Such kind of activities will make sure you gain more experiences while contribute something more valuable to the community.

Binoculars make sure you enjoy the activity without disturbing the birds.

Binoculars - always make sure you have one when doing your observation so you can enjoy more of bird-watching activity. Start with something simple (but good quality) until you find out what suitable for you bird-watching activities. Binoculars allow you to make the observation without disturbing the birds and make them fly away.

Always learn more from the experts as bird-watching can be interesting when you gain more knowledge about it. Some bird-watchers also combine their hobby with photography that will create more public awareness and add another source of income too (if you sell it). They are many possibilities when you truly enjoy what you do.

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Jumaat, 26 Januari 2018

Why Birds Have Different Feathers?

White peacock has totally white feathers.

Feathers play important roles for birds other than become their main characteristics for recognition. Even though their beautiful plumage act as part of the attractions for mates and camouflage, there are many other functions provide by their feathers. This article will looking to the special functions of birds feathers.

The main purposes of bird feathers are to provide insulation and to provide suitable functions for their living habits. All of birds have feathers weather it’s thick or thin. Their feathers not always colourful or look vibrant – but they always work to suite the birds need.

Ostrich feathers are coarse but still fluffy.

Ostrich has less feathers and much coarse compare to any other birds with smaller size especially the birds with ability to fly. This because, the ostrich need their feathers to protect them from the daily heat while provide them the warm of their own body temperature during the night.

Owl have good night vision and special silent flight.

Extra feature on owl's feather to make it's flight more silent.

The owl have special feathers to make their flight become silent during the night. These feathers dampened the sound when they flap their wings. This characteristic is so important to avoid their prey from noticing that the owl almost near them - second before they being zapped by the nocturnal owl.

For flying birds the feathers help to shapes their wings according to their flight styles. Most birds that flying low have their wing shapes and size just suitable for their frequent flapping styles. This types of flying is suitable for short to medium range of flight but allow high controllability.

For high altitude fliers such as condors, cranes, eagles and few other migratory birds has their wing tip feathers bend to reduce drag. By reducing drag, it will save the birds lots of energy to allow them to fly further to search for foods or during the long migration.

Compared to any other birds, penguin’s feathers are so important in order to avoid them from die freezing. Their feathers are so tight and also waterproof. These allow penguins to stay warm even when they’re diving into the frigid water. Their special feathers also aid their swimming to catch fish in the water.

Other than their structures, bird feathers also provide colouration that allow them to blend in with their surroundings. Other than to avoid detection by their predators it also help them to be detected by their prey – what a brilliant ideas! Ptarmigan in the other hand change their plumage according to the seasons so they don’t have to migrate to other places during winter.

Ptarmigan during summer - photo by Gary Kramer

Ptarmigan during winter - photo by Gary Kramer
Collections of bird feathers.

Stunning iridescent colours of hummingbird - photo by Jess Findlay

Then there’s the best part of all of the bird feathers – to make it looks stunning. Birds have beautiful colours of plumage mostly to attract their mates. Unfortunately it also attract human to keep them as pet. Their colours either produce by pigments or by light diffractions (for the iridescent colours). Besides colours their feathers shapes also play a big roles in their grand display.

Birds inspires human in many ways especially in flight technology. Even after the invention of an aeroplane, human still studying in order to improve the technology. By studying the wing tip of birds, nowadays we have most of the aeroplane wing tips come with bend at the end of it. We don’t have to tell more when the planes name itself come after birds such as – blackbird and nighthawk. This also encourage the Festo the robot inventor to produce robot fliers that truly assembled as bird.

High altitude fliers need to reduce the drag.

Robot flier resembled bird by Festo.

There are so many things to learn just by observing bird feathers telling how important for us to make sure they survival. By understanding their behaviour we can understand how to provide them with right environment. Human have the capabilities to provide development without causing other species to extinction.

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Rabu, 24 Januari 2018

Beautiful World of Birds

Peacock has magnificent feathers.

Since 2018 was announced as “Year of Bird” by world known organizations such as National Geographic, National Audubon Society, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we are here going to share the same spirits to know more about the bird’s world. There are plenty of articles about birds in this blog but mostly written in Malay. Today we will see another special characters about this wonderful creature.

Birds are known for their colourful plumage, beautiful sounds and the most important ability to fly. Even though not all birds share the same capabilities as some of them have dull colouration nor the ability to flies. Birds same as any other species in the world plays important roles in the ecosystem and most of them are threaten to extinction.

Pigeon can adapt to live among human.

Flightless bird have ability to protect itself.

There are around 9,800 to 10,500 species of birds (well the numbers are varies caused by the classification of taxonomic viewpoint), but still showing large numbers of species. From that numbers only some of them can survive in modern day world to live among human such as pigeons, crows, house sparrow, starling, robin, falcon and few others. Unfortunately living in their unnatural habitats, most of these birds are considered as pest rather than how beautiful they are supposed to be.

In this short article we are going to see how beautiful the birds can be. Since the birds has the ability to fly, some bird plumage are totally to attract mates rather than to avoid predators. These are true mostly for birds of paradise that lives millions of years isolated from predators. While some other lost their ability to fly such as kiwi, dodo, kakapo, penguins, ostrich, emu, and cassowary. Most of the flightless birds already extinct.

The most elaborate feathers in peacock.

Perhaps we all know the most elaborate plumage of peacock where the length of their tail’s feathers exceed their body’s length. The peacock also have iridescent colours of blue, green and mixture of yellow and brown. Peacock had inspired human in many ways, and their plumage been used for decorations in sacred rituals.

Scarlet Macaw have the brightest colours in parrot's family.

Then they are family of parrots. Another stunning colourful birds - mostly found in tropical forest. Not just their colourful feathers are so stunning, their beak shapes also make it looks cuter. Parrots of the tropics has more colourful plumage with iridescent colours. Here in the tropics their colours still blend in perfectly to the dense of forest canopy.

Flamingo live in large group.

Different with flamingo with shades of pink colours. Their colours actually come from their food source. They are born with white feathers, as their parents feed them – the parent’s colours will turn pales while theirs chicks will change to pink.

Greater Bird of Paradise showing their beautiful plumage.

The distribution of Birds of Paradise in Papua New Guinea.

As we mentioned above, far-far away in the East at Papua New Guinea there are groups of birds known as birds of paradise with different characters. These groups of birds not only have beautiful plumage, but most of them have special ways to attract mates - all species have their own unique courtship dance. Here in this island, these birds can concentrate their energy to attract mates than thinking about to avoid predators.

Since there are thousands of birds and most of them have colourful plumage, here are small examples that you can start with. The more we know about these beautiful creatures the more we understand how to help them to survive in the wild or perhaps in the urban areas too.

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