Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hey, is that Harry Potter's Owl?

Harry Potter had quite the ally in Hedwig. Hermione once noted that Hedwig would draw a lot of attention if she was used too often to deliver notes to Sirius, as Snowy Owls are not native to Great Britain. In fact, it made the newspapers when three individual Snowy Owls showed up in 2009. UK Birders were no doubt thrilled, whether wizard or muggle.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Black Skimmer, summer citizen of New York

The Black Skimmer is a coastal bird species that breeds on/around sandy beaches, including in New York City at Breezy Point and potentially other spots in Rockaway. They also feed in and around Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Their lower mandible is actually longer if you look closely; they derive their name from this mandible and the associated feeding habit. They fly close to the surface of the water, drop the lower mandible into the water, and snap up small fish. If you ever see a bird near the coast skimming, there is a good chance you have found a Black Skimmer!