posted March 23rd, 2015; last edited March 23rd, 2015 –– David Sibley

A new quiz on backyard birds

AlpineNY_IMG_2145_2013-06-29_quiz
Test your “partial cues” recognition skills. Each photo shows only part of a common North American backyard bird. (All photos © David Sibley.)

….Continue reading A new quiz on backyard birds →

posted March 17th, 2015; last edited March 17th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Why do phoebes pump their tails?

Eastern Phoebe
Lots of birds have a habit of pumping (or wagging) their tails. It’s mostly open-country birds like phoebes, wagtails and pipits, Palm Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper, and others. Many hypotheses have been suggested to explain why the birds do it, but nobody came up with an answer until Gregory Avellis in 2011.

He studied Black Phoebes in California, and tested four different hypotheses to see if tail pumping was related to:

  • balance – but tail pumping rate did not change depending on where the phoebes perched
  • territorial agression – playback of Black Phoebe song caused a territorial reaction but did not change the rate of tail pumping
  • foraging – tail pumping did not change significantly whether the birds were foraging or not
  • predators – playback of the calls of a potential predator – Cooper’s Hawk – caused tail pumping rate to triple

Avellis concludes that tail pumping is a signal meant to send a message to the predator. It tells the predator that the phoebe has seen it, and therefore the phoebe is not worth pursuing.

Avellis, G. F. 2011. Tail Pumping by the Black Phoebe. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123: 766-771. abstract

posted December 6th, 2014; last edited March 16th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Cackling-ish Geese

Cackling Goose is a rare fall migrant through Massachusetts and I usually see a couple of them each fall among the hundreds of Canada Geese around Concord. I look forward to the challenge of sorting through the flocks and picking these birds out, and once a candidate is located the identification has usually been straightforward – until 2014.

To begin the discussion and establish a baseline, here is a typical Cackling Goose with a typical Canada Goose:

A classic Richardson's Cackling Goose (left) with a typical Canada Goose (right).

A classic Richardson’s Cackling Goose (left) with a typical Canada Goose (right). The Cackling’s smaller size, relatively small bill and short neck, silvery gray back, and darker gray-brown breast with narrow white collar are all evident here. Belmont, MA Dec 2014. Photo copyright David Sibley.


….Continue reading Cackling-ish Geese →

posted December 3rd, 2014; last edited March 17th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Four new prints to benefit conservation

Limited edition prints are now available of the four paintings shown below. These gouache paintings were completed between 2011 and 2014, and a portion of the proceeds from their sale will be donated to benefit efforts to preserve and manage bird habitat.

Be sure to check out the other conservation prints available here.

Male and female Tree Swallow

Male and female Tree Swallow

Bubo_virginianus_431_forprint_web

Great Horned Owl

Male Eastern Bluebird

Male Eastern Bluebird

Male Blackburnian Warbler, now available as a limited edition 9 x 11 print

Male Blackburnian Warbler, now available as a limited edition 9 x 11 print

Price: $45

When you click the “add to cart” button your “cart” will appear at the bottom of this page.

These 9 X 11″ limited edition giclee prints are made with archival ink and paper. Each edition is limited to 300 prints (with one Artist’s proof). Each print is signed and numbered, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Payment is through PayPal. If you are not already a PayPal member you can still pay with a credit card through the PayPal portal, which is easy and secure.

The shipping fee is $7 per shipment (not per print, higher outside the US); shipping is free on orders of three or more prints. Sales tax will be added for shipments to Massachusetts addresses.

Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail; please allow 7-10 days for packaging and shipping (contact me if you need faster delivery).

Other Prints for Sale

Gray_Hawk_print

Gray Hawk from “The Wind Masters”

Snowy Owl portrait

Snowy Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl portrait

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Avocets and Semipalmated Sandpiper

Avocets and Semipalmated Sandpiper

posted December 3rd, 2014; last edited March 16th, 2015 –– David Sibley

The extremely variable American Pipit

I have been noticing variation in American Pipit for many years, and last month I had the opportunity to photograph a small flock. The photos here are of three randomly selected individuals in that flock, all taken within a few minutes on October 27, 2014 in Acton, MA.

The differences in color are striking: compare the color of the underparts (and contrast between flanks and back), the boldness of streaking on the breast, and the pattern on the face.

ConcordMA_2014-10-27_IMG_3395_w

Bird A

….Continue reading The extremely variable American Pipit →

posted November 23rd, 2014; last edited March 16th, 2015 –– David Sibley

A hawk in pigeon’s clothing

I saw a Cooper’s Hawk catch a Rock Pigeon a few days ago. By itself that experience is noteworthy – a Rock Pigeon is a big bird for a Cooper’s Hawk to handle – but more remarkable was the way the attack unfolded.

Cooper's Hawk, original acrylic painting copyright David Sibley

Cooper’s Hawk, original acrylic painting copyright David Sibley

….Continue reading A hawk in pigeon’s clothing →

posted September 18th, 2014; last edited March 17th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Print to support shorebird habitat preservation

My newest print to benefit conservation efforts is this 2014 gouache painting of a Semipalmated Sandpiper with American Avocets (more info about my gouache technique here). This is a common scene in the Mississippi River Delta region, where catfish ponds and other managed wetlands create habitat for large numbers of American Avocets, migrating Semipalmated Sandpipers, and many other species.

A portion of the sale of each print will be donated to help fund the preservation and management of shorebird habitat. Delta Wind Birds is doing this work, partnering with private landowners in the Lower Mississippi River Basin to provide quality stopover habitat for migrating shorebirds along the Mississippi Flyway.

American Avocets with Semipalmated Sandpiper

Price: $45

When you click the “add to cart” button your “cart” will appear at the bottom of this page.

This 9 X 13″ limited edition giclee print is made with archival ink and paper. The edition is limited to 300 prints (with one Artist’s proof). Each print is signed and numbered, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Payment is through PayPal. If you are not already a PayPal member you can still pay with a credit card through the PayPal portal, which is easy and secure.

The shipping fee is $7 per shipment (not per print, higher outside the US); shipping is free on orders of three or more prints. Sales tax will be added for shipments to Massachusetts addresses.

Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail; please allow up to 3 weeks for packaging and shipping (contact me if you need faster delivery).

Other Prints for Sale

Gray_Hawk_print

Gray Hawk from “The Wind Masters”

Snowy Owl portrait

Snowy Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl portrait

Northern Saw-whet Owl

posted February 21st, 2014; last edited March 17th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Saw-whet Owl print to benefit research

I have made prints of this gouache painting of a Northern Saw-whet Owl from 2006 (more info about my gouache technique here). This painting also appeared in a weekly newspaper column “Sibley on Birds”, and the original was auctioned to benefit the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art.

A portion of the sale of each print will be donated to help fund research and conservation of Northern Saw-whet Owls, such as the work of Project Owlnet, which facilitates communication and cooperation among hundreds of owl-migration researchers in North America, in particular studying the amazing migrations of Northern Saw-whet Owls.

Northern Saw-whet Owl portrait

Price: $45

When you click the “add to cart” button your “cart” will appear at the bottom of this page.

This 9 X 11″ limited edition giclee print is made with archival ink and paper. The edition is limited to 300 prints (with one Artist’s proof). Each print is signed and numbered, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Payment is through PayPal. If you are not already a PayPal member you can still pay with a credit card through the PayPal portal, which is easy and secure.

The shipping fee is $7 per shipment (not per print, higher outside the US); shipping is free on orders of three or more prints. Sales tax will be added for shipments to Massachusetts addresses.

Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail; please allow up to 3 weeks for packaging and shipping (contact me if you need faster delivery).

Other Prints for Sale

Gray_Hawk_print

Gray Hawk from “The Wind Masters”

Snowy Owl portrait

Snowy Owl

posted February 20th, 2014; last edited March 16th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Quiz on Belizean Birds and Greater Coverts

Find the Greater Secondary Coverts

These are some of my digiscoped photos from a recent trip to Belize, all taken at the fantastic Black Rock Lodge.

On each photo body parts are labeled with letters, and your challenge is to identify the greater secondary coverts on each bird.

Good luck!

Belize Bird Topography

Congratulations - you have completed Belize Bird Topography.

You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%.

Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
Thraupis_abbasBelize_IMG_5721_2014-02-09_quiz_web Yellow-winged Tanager
A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
E
E
Question 2
Psilorhinus_morio_Belize_IMG_5662_2014-02-09_quiz_web Brown Jay
A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
E
E
Question 3
Thraupis_episcopus_Belize_IMG_5785_2014-02-09_2014-02-09_quiz_web Blue-gray Tanager
A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
E
E
Question 4
Malacoptila_panamensis_Belize_IMG_5494_2014-02-06_quiz_web White-whiskered Puffbird
A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
E
E
Question 5
Pionus_senilis_Belize_IMG_5640_2014-02-08_quiz_web White-crowned Parrot
A
A
B
B
C
C
D
D
E
E
F
F
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 5 questions to complete.
posted January 13th, 2014; last edited March 17th, 2015 –– David Sibley

Snowy Owl print to benefit research

I have made prints of this gouache painting that I did in 2011 for the cover of the Journal of Raptor Research to highlight a paper on Snowy Owls (more info about my gouache technique here).

A portion of the sale of each print will be donated to help fund research, such as the work of Project SNOWstorm, which seeks to understand more about the invasion of Snowy Owls that is happening right now (January 2014) in eastern North America. And of course you can also donate directly to the project.

Snowy Owl portrait

Price: $45

When you click the “add to cart” button your “cart” will appear at the bottom of this page.

This 9 X 11″ limited edition giclee print is made with archival ink and paper. The edition is limited to 300 prints (with one Artist’s proof). Each print is signed and numbered, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Payment is through PayPal. If you are not already a PayPal member you can still pay with a credit card through the PayPal portal, which is easy and secure.

A shipping fee of $7 will be added per shipment (not per print), and sales tax will be added for shipments to Massachusetts addresses.

Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail; please allow up to 3 weeks for packaging and shipping (contact me if you need faster delivery).

Other Prints for Sale

Northern Saw-whet Owl portrait

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Gray_Hawk_print

Gray Hawk from “The Wind Masters”

And more…