Meet Zizi, a gorgeous little American Kestrel with some thoughts to share. ⠀ ⠀ Zizi is a non-releasable bird that lives at @theraptortrust because she’s imprinted on humans. I got to visit with her and several of the Trust’s other birds this past weekend. I was happy to support the important work that they do—last year, they admitted over 6,000 birds and were able to release 2,400 of them back into the wild!⠀ ⠀ The Raptor Trust is open to the public to visit. Expect way more portraits of their beautiful birds coming soon!
Last month you probably heard the news that North America has lost almost 3 billion birds since 1970. Today @audubonsociety put out a new report that pivots to the (grim) future and shows that third-thirds of our bird species are vulnerable to extinction because of climate change. (Link in bio.)⠀ ⠀ The cliche 'canary in the coalmine' is absolutely true when it comes to birds today: they're important indicator species, because "if an ecosystem is broken for birds, it is or soon will be for people too."⠀ ⠀ It can be hard working in the conservation field, as bad news drops practically daily. Thankfully this report shows that we still have time to change our act, if we want a better future. Whether we actually do anything remains to be seen...⠀
An urban Red-tailed Hawk shows off its pantaloons
This tiny Virginia Rail has become quite famous in NYC. It’s been hanging out in Abingdon Square Park, a tiny triangular park that many people visit to eat lunch, for the past few days. It’s a juvenile and isn’t scared of anything yet, walking in and out of the bushes and onto the sidewalk with no care for who’s around. Hopefully that behavior changes soon—gotta tell you, buddy, don’t trust any human. ⠀ ⠀ Thanks to @marthaharbison and @hollylainem for the lunchtime visit and to @camillacerea for letting me borrow a camera to capture these shots (only took 70 shots to get these few that are somewhat in focus using an unfamiliar camera 😅)! Working at a bird conservation organization definitely has its perks!
The hottest album of 2019 is dropping soon. Ewe ready?
🔊 A new study out today from @cornellbirds, @americanbirdconservancy, and other partners has revealed that we’ve lost almost 3 BILLION BIRDS in North America since 1970. Yeah, that’s billion with a B. Once in a while in the morning in spring, I’m woken up by an especially enthusiastic bird really belting it out—I can’t imagine how it must have been 50 years ago. I wish I could have known what it sounded like. #BringBirdsBack⠀ ⠀ We need to act now if we don’t want this trend to continue. Cornell has offered 7 actions you can take to help birds now (link in bio). And advocacy organizations like ABC, @audubonsociety, and others are working to protect birds everyday. Please consider supporting them.
This Red-tailed Hawk put on a show for us this weekend at Governors Island. After a kestrel (allegedly) injured a Mourning Dove, the hawk swooped in and took its prize. Then it landed in a tree right above us and calmly began plucking and eating its meal.
Other than gulls and some faraway egrets and herons, this Short-billed Dowitcher (I think?) was the only close-up bird @shayna.marchese and I saw during a recent kayaking trip in the Meadowlands. Every time Shayna and I get together, we tend to have the worst bird luck but we keep trying! 😅
Little drop of sunshine with dinosaur claws
Just build me a little cottage on the edge of this path 🏡
Hummingbirds are colorful, they’re pretty, they’re brilliant flying jewels. But one of the main reasons I love them is because they’re feisty, ferocious little jerks that will defend their territory no matter if you’re another hummer or a big ol’ human. The Aztecs weren’t fooled by hummingbirds’ razzle dazzle—their god of war, Huitzilopochtli, was a hummingbird. #NationalHummingbirdDay⠀ ⠀ Aggression is “a deep and pervasive part of hummingbird life.” For more on how evolution has shaped these tiny marvels, check out the link in my bio.
A face only a parent could love? Nah, I think vultures can be adorable! (Follow @george_the_vulture or @thedailyjames for proof). #InternationalVultureAwarenessDay⠀ ⠀ Whether or not you think vultures are cute, there’s no arguing the fact that they play a crucial role in the ecosystem. Because they feed primarily on dead animals, they help keep the environment free of diseases that those carcasses could carry and spread if there was no one there to help get rid of them. Vultures have extremely corrosive stomach acid that allows them to consume rotting flesh, which can often be infected anthrax, rabies, and other toxins that would otherwise kill other animals that tried to eat them. ⠀ ⠀ Unfortunately, more than half of the world’s vulture species are endangered, due to habitat loss, poisoning, and persecution. If we don’t want a world littered with dead animals spreading deadly diseases, we need to keep these incredible birds around!⠀ ⠀ Lappet-faced Vulture, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are one of the coolest, most unique animals. They can roll themselves into a ball in self defense and their scales are capable of a cutting action, which can inflict serious wounds on anything that gets in between them. They can also emit a noxious-smelling acid from their glands!⠀ ⠀ Unfortunately, because humans suck, they’re also the world’s most trafficked mammal.⠀ ⠀ Trafficking is driven by the demand for their meat (considered a delicacy in some places) and their scales, which are believed to hold magical and curative properties. Guess what? The scales are made of keratin, the same substance that makes up our hair and nails. 😑⠀ ⠀ Pangolins are in trouble but you can help—click the link in my bio to learn more about pangolins, and support orgs like @africanwildlifefoundation, that are working on pangolin conservation. Gorgeous pangolin pin from @shopshoal! #brandambassador
Post pouring rain, post huddled under a tarp, post being absolutely devoured by mosquitos, Caroni gave us this.