Archive for the 'Glossary' Category

Bird Word: migration

Migration: the regular seasonal or annual movement of a species from one area to another.

Some birds are resident in an area the year round. For example, the Australian Magpies in our garden are here all the time. They have a territory of several hectares that they defend with great enthusiasm, especially during the nesting season. “Our” magpies would rarely venture more than a few hundred metres from our garden.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

Other species move around over a much wider home range. The White Winged Choughs around here are not in our garden or even nearby every day. The pass through our property every day or so; some weeks we see them every day while sometimes they may not visit for three or four days. Their movements are not migration; their home range or territory is far larger than the local magpies, perhaps ten or more hectares in size.

White Winged Choughs

White Winged Choughs

Some species we only see in the summer time. Rainbow Bee-eaters are a good example of this. During the cooler winter months they migrate to warmer places in northern Australia. In summer they migrate south and we have recorded them nesting on our property on a few occasions.

Rainbow Bee eater

Rainbow Bee eater

Click on the photos to enlarge the image.

More explanations of the meanings of words  to do with birds can be found in my Glossary of Birding words.

Bird Word: Mandibles

  • Mandibles: the two parts of a bird’s beak, namely, the upper mandible and the lower mandible.

Bird beaks come in a variety of sizes and shapes and they are used in many different ways. Some are long and pointed such as a honeyeater beak that probes flowers for the nectar. Others are flat and and wide, like a spoonbill which enables the bird to sift through the mud looking for food. Parrots have curved, sharp and powerful beaks used for cracking open food like seeds and nuts. Hawks have pointed beaks that enable them to tear open their prey.

Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

Bird Word: Lifer

  • Lifer: the first ever time that a birder sees a species of bird it is called a “lifer” or a “tick”.

When you are new to the world of birding and birdwatching, nearly every bird you see is a “lifer” or a new tick in your bird note book or field guide. As the years go by it becomes increasingly hard to find new birds to add to your list. To overcome this there are several courses of action:

  1. Take a holiday in a different part of the country. For example, when I go to Queensland I am sure I will have no trouble adding some 50 or more lifers to my life list. This is because I’ve never been there and there are quite a few birds best seen there (or are not seen anywhere else in Australia).
  2. Take a holiday in another country. When I went to Nepal in 2005 it was my first overseas trip (see my blog called Trevor’s Travels) so almost every bird I saw was a lifer. Great stuff.
  3. Enjoy the common birds. I take delight in even the most common of birds that surround my house and which I see every day. I get to know the regulars in my garden and my ears are easily tuned in to anything unusual or different.
  4. Give up. Start another hobby like stamp collecting… no – that’s not an option.
  • Check out other words and terms about birds and birding by going to my Glossary of Bird Words.
  • See also another article on this topic here.
Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

Updated Glossary of Bird Words

I’ve just done a major updating of my Glossary Of Bird Words.

This glossary contains a list of nearly 80 words and phrases that are used by birders. Many of these are not well known by non-birders. When you go to the Glossary it will contain a simple explanation of each word or phrase. By clicking on the words highlighted in colour the link takes you to an article about that word or phrase.

I am progressively working through the list posting articles about these words and phrases. I’m just over half way through so not all words have an article about them – yet. These will appear regularly on this blog over the coming months.

The Glossary can be accessed at any time by going to the contents section on the sidebar.

Bird Word: Juvenile

  • Juvenile bird: a young fledged bird that has not yet reached sexual maturity.

One has to be careful with juvenile (or immature) birds. It can be tricky identifying them. This is because young birds recently out of the nest sometimes have non-adult plumage. Their colours and feather patterns can vary markedly from the adult plumage and markings. This can be so for as long as a year or more after hatching.

Most good Field Guides will show plumage variations either in the illustrations or explain them in the text – preferably both. Look for these variations when trying to identify a young bird.

Juvenile Striated Pardalote

Juvenile Striated Pardalote