October 2, 2014 - Orange Bishop, Northern Red Bishop, Grenadier Weaver, Orange Bishop Weaver, or Orange Weaver (Euplectes franciscanus)
Requested by: karrikut
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, these birds have been introduced to parts of the Caribbean and the United States. They eat seeds, grains, and insects and build round woven nests in grass or reed beds. Males have bright orange and black plumage during the breeding season, but molt to a brown sparrow-like coloration that is similar to the female the rest of the year. Males build a nest for each of several females. The females incubate the eggs and care for the chicks alone.
Blue Petrel (Halobaena caerulea)
The sole member of the genus Halobaena, the blue petrel is a small species of petrel (Procellariidae) which inhabits the southern oceans ranging from South Africa to Australia. to portions of South America. They are known to nest on a range of subantarctic islands (Like Prince Edward Island and South Georgia). Like other petrels blue petrels spend most of their time out in the open ocean, where they will feed on small fish, squid, and various crustaceans by diving (at depths of around 6 m (20ft)).
HOUSTON AUDUBON BEAK OF THE WEEK:
Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)
Broad-winged Hawks are small, compact raptors with chunky bodies and large heads. In flight, their broad wings come to a distinct point. The tail is short and square with black-and-white bands. Their call is a piercing, two-parted whistle.
One of the greatest spectacles of migration is a swirling flock of Broad-winged Hawks on their way to South America. Also known as “kettles,” flocks can contain thousands of circling birds that evoke a vast cauldron being stirred with an invisible spoon.
Witness the marvel of migration in person by visiting the Smith Point Hawk Watch on the Bolivar Peninsula. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, counters and volunteers record the number of hawks observed from Aug 1- Nov 15. Broad-winged Hawk migration makes up 70% of the birds counted. During the peak of Broad-winged Hawk migration on the day of or the day after a cold front, it is not unusual for more than 10,000 raptors to pass by the tower.
Learn more about the watch by visiting their blog:
(via: Houston Audubon)