- 15 minutes ago
Chuck-will’s-widow belongs to a family of birds with the folk name “goatsuckers.” The family name, Caprimulgidae, literally means “milker of goats” and is based on an ancient belief that the birds milked goats with their enormous mouths each night.
In reality, the birds’ attraction to livestock was likely due to the presence of insects. Chuck-will’s-widow forages at dusk and dawn, silently swooping over the ground in search of prey. Specialized feathers known as rictal bristles help funnel insects into the bird’s mouth, which is so large that they may occasionally swallow small birds and bats as well!
The “chuck” is the largest nightjar in North America and is almost entirely nocturnal. During the day, the birds roost along tree branches or on the ground, where their beautifully mottled brown plumage provides perfect camouflage against dried leaves and tree bark.
Chuck-will’s-widows do not build nests, instead laying their eggs on the ground among dead leaves, pine needles, or on bare dirt. Incubating adults are almost invisible against the forest floor and only flush off their nests when closely approached.
Since they have a highly insectivorous diet, Chuck-will’s-widows are impacted by pesticide use. They are sometimes killed by cars when they land on roads at night to pick up grit. Habitat loss on both breeding and wintering grounds is also a continual threat.
This nightjar winters in lowland forests throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, where it shares habitat with Wood Thrush, Kentucky and Prothonotary warblers, and Painted Bunting. Chuck-will’s-widow is benefiting from ABC’s efforts to “bring back the birds” in these areas, with our focus on conserving geographically linked habitats both north and south.
I just need to state that a guy at breakfast had the chuck-wills-widow call as his ringtone.. And then this pops up on my dash. Sweet!
- 15 minutes ago
- 21 minutes ago
When researchers studying several bird-pollinated species of Impatiens flowers in the mountains of western Cameroon noticed one with an odd, upwardly curving nectar spur, they couldn’t imagine how any sunbird could ever sip from it. After recording visitors to the flower continuously for a period of days, they had their answer, which they report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 8.
When sunbirds insert their beaks into those funny-shaped spurs, the flowers do a little twist. That apparently small modification significantly affects how pollen is placed on the birds’ bodies, increasing the likelihood that the pollen will successfully land on the stigma of another member of the same flower species to produce the next generation of Impatiens frithii.
The observation offers the first evidence of a pollination system in which plants have overcome floral architecture constraints on pollen placement by twisting their nectar spurs, according to the researchers. It is also an example of how evolution sometimes comes up with elegant and unexpected solutions, they say.
(via shoresoftheshadowlands)Source: sciencedaily.com
- 29 minutes ago
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- 48 minutes ago
Meet the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police, serving the capital of Iceland. By the looks of their incredible Instagram account, a normal day includes holding kittens, eating candy and wearing false mustaches.
For the record the Icelandic police are probably the best police force in the world, There has only been one instance where an officer shot and killed a civilian in the entire history of the country (which is nearly a hundred years) and everyone was completely devastated by it, the police especially — because, as made clear in their statements after the incident, they understand their function is to protect the people. Not to mention that their general police go unarmed except for special squads.
Let’s run through some more facts while we’re on the subject: Compared to 31,000+ shooting deaths in the US in 2009, Iceland had… 4, because they have very rigorous screening processes for gun permits. There is very little economic disparity between upper, middle and lower classes, and social welfare programs take care of their people. Drug use affects less than 1% of the population between 15 and 65 years old, and 90% of drug-related court cases are settled with a fine rather than jail time. Violent crime is virtually non-existent. [x]
Iceland is like if you took the entire idea of chill and personified it as an country, and this exemplifies that.
Can I just move there and be friends with Sigur Rós and just chill?
(via wolfinohio)Source: micdotcom
- 50 minutes ago
- 50 minutes ago
man, i don’t think i’ll ever get over this picture.Someone please make this a gif with the stars moving or sparkling!!
Oh my gosh this is amazing
No one realizes that this is what the sky is supposed to look like but we fucked it up congrats earth
That looks like heaven
(via wolfinohio)Source: fieldguidetobirds