Bird ID

Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Icteridae

Overview

  • Size: 8.3″ to 9.8″
  • Largest Oriole in the U.S. with a long tail
  • Bright orange mostly, with a black throat, mask, beak, tail, and back.
  • Flight feathers are fringed with white.
  • Males and females look similar.
  • Found in open woodlands with scattered trees.
  • Insects
  • Berries
  • Though mostly found in Mexico and Central America, the Altamira Oriole has stretched into the southernmost areas of Texas as early as 1939.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae

Overview

  • Size: 15.8″ to 20.9″
  • Long legs, thick necks, and a heavy, straight bill.
  • Short tail that’s rounded or squared off.
  • Black all over, with a glossiness to their feathers that depends on the light.
  • Sounds like a harsh “caaw.”
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Mussels/Clams
  • Eggs/Nestlings
  • Carrion
  • Platform
  • Ground

Short-distance Migrant or Resident

  • Crows have been known to make and use tools, as well as choose the correct tool for a task when presented with different options.

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae

Overview

  • Size: 4.3″ to 5.1″
  • Males are bright yellow with black forehead and black wings with white markings.
  • Adult females are a duller yellow beneath, with olive above.
  • Winter birds are drab, unstreaked brown, with blackish wings and two pale wing bars.
  • Molts its feathers twice a year, in late winter and in late summer.
  • Most common call sounds like the bird is quietly saying “po-ta-to-chip.”
  • Black oil sunflower
  • Sunflower hearts/chips
  • Thistle/Nyjer
  • Ground
  • Hopper
  • Screen
  • Thistle
  • Tube

Antonio Xeira, XC383960. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/383960

Short distance migrant

  • American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer. The brightening yellow of male goldfinches each spring is one welcome mark of approaching warm months.
  • American Goldfinches breed later than most North American birds. They wait to nest until June or July when milkweed, thistle, and other plants have produced their fibrous seeds, which goldfinches incorporate into their nests and also feed their young.
  • Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae

Overview

  • Size: 10.2″ to 11.4″
  • Medium-sized seabird with a big head and long, triangular bill that continues to grow and add ridges as the bird ages.
  • Black on top and white on the bottom, with a flashy black, orange, and yellow bill; juveniles have all dark bills.
  • Silent at sea but sometimes make a grunt or growling call for breeding.
  • Small fish like:
  • Sprat
  • Capelin
  • Herring
  • Hake
  • Cod

Short-distance Migrant

  • Puffin chicks are known as “pufflings.”

Audubon’s Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Icteridae

Overview

  • Size: 7.5″ to 9.4″
  • Yellow body washed with olive (especially in females and immature). Black hood and wings. Flight feathers fringed with white.
  • Long, black tail.
  • Song is described as a “slow, mellow, humanlike whistle” with almost pure tones.

 

 

  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Fruits
  • Sunflower seed
  • The most secretive of the Oriole species, Audubon's Orioles tend to breed and forage in dense vegetation and sing from inconspicuous perches, making it very difficult to locate and study.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae

Overview

  • Size: 27.9″ to 37.8″
  • Very large raptor with a long, hooked bill.
  • White head and tail with dark-brown body and wings. Legs and bill are bright yellow.
  • Immature birds have mostly dark head and tail, with the adult plumage coming around 5 years.
  • Calls are surprisingly weak for its size, sounding mostly like a high-pitched whistling.

 

 

  • Fish (main)
  • Birds
  • Rabbits
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Crabs

Resident to long-distance migrant

  • The oldest recorded Bald Eagle lived to be at least 38 years old.
  • Bald Eagles' nests are huge. A famous nest in Vermilion, Ohio, weighed close to two metric tons!

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Icteridae

Overview

  • Size: 6.7″ to 7.5″
  • Flame-orange with a black head. Black wings with one white bar.
  • Females and immature males are more yellow-orange with more gray on the head and back and two white bars in the wings.
  • Medium-sized and sturdy-bodied with thick necks and long legs.
  • Long, pointed bills with a thick base.

 

  • Insects
  • Fruit
  • Nectar
  • Platform
  • Nectar

Medium- to long-distance migrant

  • Orioles get their name from their distinct orange and black coloring, which matches the coat of arms of England's Baltimore family.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Order: Strigiformes
Family: Tytonidae

Overview

  • Size: 12.6″ to 15.8″
  • Medium-sized owls, with long legs, a round head, and no ear tufts.
  • Mix of yellow-beige and grey on the head, back, and upperwings.
  • White face, body, and underwings.
  • Instead of hooting, a Barn Owl’s call sounds like a harsh scream.
  • Rodents
  • Small Birds
  • Barn Owls can locate prey by sound alone better than any animal that's ever been tested.

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Alcedinidae

Overview

  • Size: 11.0″ – 13.8″
  • Stocky build, a large head topped with a shaggy crest, and a thick, pointed bill.
  • Short legs and a squared tail.
  • Blue-grey on top and white on bottom, with white spotting on the wings and tail and a broad, blue breast band.
  • Females also have a rust-colored band on the belly; juveniles have rusty spotting in their breast band.
  • Sounds like a mechanical rattle.
  • Fish
  • Crayfish and other crustaceans
  • Insects
  • Amphibians
  • Young Birds
  • Small Mammals
  • Berries

Resident to Long-Distance Migrant

  • The Belted Kingfisher is one of the few species of bird where the female is more brightly colored than the male.

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Tyrannidae

Overview

  • Size: 6.3″
  • Small songbird with a large head (often showing a slight peak at the rear of the crown), plump appearance, and medium-long, squared tail.
  • Mostly sooty gray with a darker, black head, white belly, and pale-gray-edged wings.
  • Sounds like “tsip” or “tweedle-deedle-eek.”
  • Insects and Arthrobods like:
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Flies
  • Beetles
  • Grasshoppers
  • Termites
  • Spiders

Resident or Short-Distance Migrant

  • While Black Phoebes eat insects almost exclusively, they are known to sometimes eat minnows from the surface of ponds—even feeding them to nestlings on occasion.
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