Rivercities Garden Club

Meeting 1/7/2001


Program - Charles Lyons - Birding in Louisiana

Charles Lyons is a doctor, an ophthalmologist. But he is also one of the most outstanding ornithologists residing in Louisiana. We were most fortunate that he generously offered his time for a most informative lecture about the birds that can be seen in our gardens, the surrounding countryside and waterways.

Program Notes:

www.birdsource.org is Cornell University web site which provides information about birding and feeder watching. Interested people can send data to the site which is used to estimate bird population.

The Peterson field guide is a good source of bird information. A camera with a 600 mm will permit good pictures of birds, but long lens TV camera great also.

The cardinal is a member of the finch family. The bird is red, and has a large beak to crack seed.

When there is ice, food crops decline so more birds flock to yards which leads to prime bird watching in yard.

White throat sparrow - has a white patch below its' neck. It is a weaver finch and likes millet. It is a ground feeder. This is one of the most abundant birds in this area in winter. During the summer it lives in Iowa and Minnesota.

The dark eyed junco - It looks like a blue cardinal it is a sparrow.

The tufted titmouse like feeders and also look for bugs.

Goldfinch use feeders and are partial to thistle seed

Chickadees prefer feeders.

Frequently mixed species of birds flock together. They fly and eat together but what and where they eat is somewhat different. This activity stirs up multiple prey items which benefits the whole flock.

Brown thrasher - related to mocking bird is a very secretive garden bird. Brown top, stripped bottom. Goes more for insets and invertebrates and are characterized by a very long brown tail

Brown creeper - insect specialist creeps up trees looking for bugs. Feeds on open areas of trees

Song sparrow is marked fine streaking. Leave brush cover in the back yard for them. They have a beautiful song but don't breed here in La.

Cover in back yard also leads to attract more birds and more diversity of birds.

American pipit - seldom seen eat small insects

Vermilion fly catcher - Mexican species, breeds in south east Arizona. The bird is bright red has a very short bill and very thin. It has a dark brown wing black mask and a red crest and chest. Smaller than a cardinal and its movement can be described as darting about.

Vesper sparrow. Nests in fields. Most difficult group to evaluate because most species are dark brown.

The Easter Towhee - Hides in brushes. Red breast black top.

White pelicans - The locks on the river have changed environment. They are now now frequently seen; but none were here till 12 years ago. They have largest wingspan of any bird in US almost eight feet.

Bald eagles are now being seen now that DDT is no longer being used.

Cormorants are multiplying very rapidly. They make a heavy demand on fish, and the state is considering methods of limiting the population.

Orange crown warbler likes dead leaves, yellowish green

Pine warbler bright bright yellow and can be seen in pine trees in one's garden.

Bluebirds like open fields and water.

Bewick's wren. Declining in the east, like brush insects. Long tail swishes side to side

Carolina wren - most common will build a nest in a wreath. Make false nests and may nest three times.

Pine warblers like sewet

Turkey and black vultures prefer dead animals.

Snow geese and blue geese like fields. Their numbers are massively increasing which results in the destruction of the environment in the arctic.

The Great Blue Heron - not a crane is a fish eater, likes goldfish. Is most common here in this area.

Great egrets are frequently seen in pastures

Gulls - they follow up the Red River . They are scavengers. They are not lost.

Birds will change feeding requirements depending on season and available food.

Plans are in progress to create a birding trail here in Louisiana. Such trails create an awareness for birds. They are a great tourist attraction, and the trails helps the birds and the environment.

Cats house cats are a great cause of death in birds. Migration probably causes more death.

Window kill - silhouette of a falcon and put it on picture window. Plate glass windows are another killer of birds. Frequently males will attack the window thinking that they are attacking a rival.

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