four things tagged “birds”

Steller’s Sea Eagle

The Steller’s sea eagle is one of the world’s rarest eagles. There are only around 4,000 left. It’s native to Russia and Japan. One was spotted in Maine and got bird watchers very excited.

“It would be like an elephant walking up out of Africa into Scandinavia,” Mr. Lund said. “Like getting a call that the Rolling Stones are playing in a field behind a warehouse in the next town over.”

Marion Renault, “This Eagle Is Very, Very Lost”, The New York Times

It also just happens to be an absolute unit of a bird at 20lbs with an 8ft wingspan 🔥🦅😍

Steller's Sea Eagle - 1
by Andres Vasquez Noboa

Steller's Sea Eagle - 2
Photographer unknown (source)

Steller's Sea Eagle - 3
by John Charles Putrino

Steller's Sea Eagle - 4
by Andres Vasquez Noboa

Dr. Lees said vagrancy, as a biological mechanism, could help migratory birds expand their ranges, a potential advantage as global warming redraws the contours of suitable habitat. Dr. Farnsworth said, conversely, extreme weather — which is anticipated to grow in frequency and intensity as climate change progresses — can also play a role in displacing birds by hundreds or even thousands of miles.

What’s next for the lone, pioneering Steller’s sea eagle? It could migrate along with native bald eagles down the coastline. It could find its way back to northeastern Asia. It could stick around Nova Scotia, as it is well adapted to the cold and seems able to survive there. It could die, out of range of its original flock.

“It’s like an avian soap opera,” Dr. Lees said. “We’re all rooting for it. Will it make it home? Or is it doomed to never see another species of its own in its lifetime?”

Nailbiter.

The Dracula Parrot

Also known as Pesquet’s parrot or the vulturine parrot.

The Dracula Parrot

The Dracula Parrot

The Dracula parrot is a large, heavy bird, stretching to almost half a metre from beak to tail and weighing in at almost a kilogram. It maintains all that bulk by feeding almost exclusively on figs, which researchers suspect is why it ended up with its strange semi-bald head.

Just as vultures lost the feathers on their head as an adaptation for feeding on bloody carcasses, it’s thought that the Dracula parrot did the same in response to its diet of sticky fruits – the lack of feathers around its beak and eyes mean it’s able to avoid turning its face into a matted mess.

It’s such a perfect solution to the parrot’s syrupy diet that Matt Cameron, an Australian parrot expert, asks, “If avoiding soiled and matted head feathers is a significant advantage to individuals, it is surprising that bald-headedness is not more widespread among the other fruit-eating parrots.”

Bec Crew, “The Dracula parrot is intimidating”, Australian Geographic

via Deepu.