Welcome to #BirdGlamour!
I am not shy about professing my bird-nerdiness. Birds, being our only living dinosaurs, have fascinated me for as long as I can remember.
Friends and family often ask me “What’s this bird?” The most recent one was a picture posted by a friend on Instagram asking about the identity of an owl (he was having a sick run of awesome owl sightings.) I identified it as a Short-eared Owl, and described it as having a “dramatic smoky eye.”
Over the next few days, I started thinking “what if I showcased different species of birds using their diverse eye patterns and colors as a template for eye makeup?” I mused the question out loud to my husband on a drive, and his response was “That’s awesome! Do it! You have to do it!”
And thus #BirdGlamour was born!
Bird Glamour is where I, inexperienced with eye makeup, ask our friends the birds what they would recommend wearing for different occasions. I’ll post a new bird eye look each Friday afternoon. If you have a favorite bird you would like to see done, feel free to comment!
Newest Bird Glamour looks will be at the top! Also, check out my social media handle @Lisavipes on Twitter and Instagram for the latest on Bird Glamour!
For Bird Glamour-related questions, please email me at birdglam_at_gmail.com
April 11, 2020 – Bird Glamour Video: White-tailed Ptarmigan
Shot on-location in White-tailed Ptarmigan territory in northeast British Columbia, the White-tailed Ptarmigan is the smallest grouse in North America! They are the perfect camouflage artists among rocky alpine slopes.
Merganser Extravegan-zer! Merganser Comparison Series
This series was presented on Twitter and Instagram in a different order: female plumages first, and then male plumages. Here I will pair the female and male plumages together, but include the dates when they were posted.
April 17, 2020 – Female Hooded Merganser
Female Hooded Merganser brings us more Bird Glamour for our Merganser Extravegan-zer series! Hooded Merganser females use brood parasitism, sometimes laying their eggs in other Hooded Merganser nests: some nests have 44 eggs in them! Babies leave their cavity nests 24 hours after hatching.
May 6, 2020 – Male Hooded Merganser
Our final Bird Glamour in the Merganser Extravagan-zer is the male Hooded Merganser with their striking black and white crest. Hooded Mergansers hunt for fish visually and have great underwater vision: they have a built-in pair of swim goggles called nictating membranes (inner eyelids)!
April 10, 2020 – Female Red-breasted Merganser
This week’s Bird Glamour Merganser Extravagan-zer is the female Red-breasted Merganser! They differ from female Common Mergansers with a smoky-grey neck and breast while sporting a spiky brown crest. Red-breasted Mergansers don’t get their breeding plumage until they are two years old!
May 1, 2020 – Male Red-breasted Merganser
Male Red-breasted Mergansers bring tousled Bird Glamour for Merganser Extravagan-zer! Red-breasted Mergansers are known as “sawbills” for serrated bills, which are great for holding onto fish! Red-breasted Mergansers need to eat 15-20 fish per day and spend at least four hours a day hunting!
April 3, 2020 – Female Common Merganser
Welcome to the Bird Glamour Merganser Extravagan-zer series! This week is the female Common Merganser with cinnamon-punk hair and clear white chin and breast. Common Mergansers are cavity nesters and will use human-made nest boxes. Baby mergansers leap out of the nest soon after hatch day!
April 24, 2020 – Male Common Merganser
This is the start of the Bird Glamour Male Merganser Extravagan-zer! Male Common Mergansers are dapper with slick green heads and crisp white fronts! Excellent fishers, other birds will try to steal the fish that Common Mergansers catch. Baby mergansers dive for their own food by Day 12!
March 6, 2020 – Western Bluebird
Ready to lend a helping wing yet still be a tough birdie? Western Bluebird Bird Glamour is for you! Breeding pairs often have helpers (maybe their own older kids?) to raise the young. All bluebirds are thrushes (like the American Robin!) but unlike robins, nest in cavities.
February 28, 2020 – Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird males need not worry about their Bird Glamour: females are more interested in nest sites he chooses! Competition with Tree Swallows for nest boxes is high. Northern Flickers sometimes renovate bluebird boxes, making the opening too big for bluebirds!
February 21, 2020 – Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird Bird Glamour is great for munching on insects in grasslands! These cavity-nesters live year-round in many parts of eastern North America. Their teeny beaks can’t carve out nest holes: they rely on pre-carved cavities in posts and trees, or human-made nest boxes!
February 14, 2020 – American Tree Sparrow
Like food? American Tree Sparrow Bird Glamour is for you! Before heading north for summer tundra breeding, American Tree Sparrows eat grass and weed seeds in our winter backyards. They need to eat 30% of their body weight in food a day just to survive!
February 7, 2020 – Lesser Redpoll
There is nothing lesser about Lesser Redpoll Bird Glamour! Lesser Redpolls are found in Europe, but they were introduced to New Zealand in 1862. These highly social birds pal around in large flocks. Right now, they are still considered a separate species from Hoary and Common Redpolls, but genetically all three may be the same species!
February 2, 2020: Superb Owl Day!
Northern Pygmy Owl
Northern Pygmy Owl brings Bird Glamour to #SuperbOwl weekend by tackling big jobs: this teeny owl often catches prey items three times its size! Northern Pygmy Owls are not fond of human-made nest boxes. Striking black eye spots on the nape of their necks make potential predators think twice before attacking!
January 17, 2020 – Bird Glamour Video: Clark’s Nutcracker
Clark’s Nutcrackers are stealthy with their caches of pine nuts in high elevation forests in the sub-alpine and alpine. Learn more about how alpine forests and Clark’s Nutcrackers work together!
UPDATES IN PROGRESS!
October 18, 2019 – Red-throated Loon
Red-throated Loon is a Bird Glamour rule-breaker! Unlike other loons, it can take off directly from water without a several meter runway and it doesn’t carry its kids on its back! Red-throated Loons are negatively impacted by climate change: a +3.0°C increase in temperature will result in a loss of +40% of its range.
October 11, 2019 – Yellow-billed Loon
Here’s a Bird Glamour comparison of the Common Loon and the Yellow-billed Loon! The largest member of the loon family, the Yellow-billed Loon breeds along Arctic coastlines and forms long-lasting breeding pairs. Unfortunately, the Yellow-billed Loon’s conservation status is Near Threatened because of climate change.
October 04, 2019 – Pacific Loon
Soft grey and bold stripes are the Pacific Loon’s idea of Bird Glamour! Breeding on tundra lakes and wintering along the Pacific Coast, Pacific Loons (like all loons) have their legs positioned far back on their bodies. It’s great for swimming but makes take-off from land impossible.
September 27, 2019 – Common Loon
The wail of the Common Loon is the sound of Nearctic lakes! Loons have solid bones which makes them efficient divers! Common Loons have black bills with intricate neck stripes: we’ll see many loon stripe variations in the Bird Glamour loon comparison series!
Here is my nail art interpretation of the Common Loon (the cuticles still need a tidy!)
September 20, 2019 – Lilac-breasted Roller
It’s hard to out-Bird Glamour Lilac-breasted Rollers! Unofficially the national bird of Kenya, this Coraciidae (this family has fused inner and middle toes!) species is found in sub-Saharan Africa in open woodlands and savannahs where it hunts small vertebrates and invertebrates.
September 13, 2019 – Yellow-billed Magpie
Do you like iridescent green-blue Bird Glamour and eating lots of grasshoppers? Yellow-billed Magpies do! Yellow-billed Magpies are ONLY found in central and western California in open oak woodlands, eating insects in the summer and acorns and carrion in the fall/winter!
September 6, 2019 – Black-billed Magpie
Flash white wing patches for your mates! Black-billed Magpies have Bird Glamour with long tails and iridescent blue-green plumage. Pica hudsonia is a social corvid that builds huge twig and branch nests. Common in developed areas, P. hudsonia is now climate-threatened!
July 26, 2019 – New Bird Glamour Video: Purple Martin
I had the opportunity to visit Ladysmith BC and see the largest nesting colony of the western subspecies of Purple Martin (Progne subis arboricola) in British Columbia! The western Purple Martin is an example of how conservation efforts do work. Purple Martin recovery in British Columbia is half-way there. The population has increased from 10 breeding pairs (1980s) to 1200 breeding pairs (2010s), but there are very few Purple Martins nesting in natural nest cavities: most use human-provided nest boxes. In order for western Purple Martins to fully recover, us humans need to change our forestry practices. Purple Martins need dead standing trees: woodpeckers excavate the holes, and Purple Martins use them later.
June 28, 2019 – Bird Glamour Comparison Series: Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)
It’s Bird Glamour comparison time for the four subspecies of the Yellow-rumped Warbler! This week is the western Audubon’s form with a bright yellow throat and no white eyebrow. Yellow-rumped Warblers winter farther north than other warblers: they have the ability to digest the waxy coatings on berries, so they have more access to food than do other warblers! I’m running a poll on Twitter at the moment to see which of the three forms of the Yellow-rumped Warbler I showcase next week: the eastern Myrtle, the Mexican Black-fronted, or the Guatemalan Goldman’s Yellow-rumped Warbler. Here’s the poll!
Which form of the Yellow-rumped Warbler do YOU want to see #BirdGlamour compared to the Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler? Answer in the poll!
— Lisa Buckley, PhD 🦃🐾🐾 (@Lisavipes) June 28, 2019
June 7, 2019 – Ruby-throated Hummingbird
If you love red and orange flowers and sugary drinks, Ruby-throated Hummingbird Bird Glamour is for you! Tiny cup nests of grass, fibers, and spiderwebs are built on horizontal branches 3 – 6 meters off the ground. Regularly clean your hummingbird feeders to prevent toxic mold growth! For more information on keeping your hummingbird feeders clean and your visiting hummingbirds healthy, please visit Audubon Society’s FAQs on hummingbird feeders!
May 31, 2019 – White-winged Scoter
White-winged Scoters bring Bird Glamour with white wing patches and dramatic white eyeliner while wintering on the coasts and breeding in Canada and Alaska. Lake ecosystems are damaged by zebra mussels, but White-winged Scoters on the Great Lakes find these invasive mollusks tasty! For more information on zebra mussels and their ecological impact on the Great Lakes, please visit the Nature Conservancy Canada website!
May 10, 2019 – Mallard Bird Glamour Video
My latest Bird Glamour video is available on YouTube on the life history of the Mallard!
May 3, 2019 – Violet-green Swallow
Are you a fan of reusing and recycling? Violet-green Swallow Bird Glamour is a look for you! These iridescent green and purple swallows are secondary cavity nesters in their breeding grounds from Alaska to Mexico. They reuse nest holes of other species and may evict current occupants!
April 25, 2019 – Surf Scoter
Black, white, and orange Surf Scoter Bird Glamour is a perfect pairing for your next mollusk meal! Surf Scoters winter on Pacific and Atlantic coasts (vulnerable to pollution) and breed in the Arctic. Females guard scoter chicks that aren’t their own on crowded breeding lakes!
April 19, 2019 – Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbirds bring us fierce Bird Glamour! These rusty-red and iridescent green hummingbirds migrate 6200+ km from Mexico to breed in northern California up to southern Alaska! Rufous Hummingbirds are very territorial and will defend their feeders from larger animals!
April 12, 2019 – Bald Eagle
This Bald Eagle Bird Glamour highlights how regulations can help endangered species! Populations of the fishing and scavenging birds were in decline until Bald Eagles were listed as endangered in 1967 (Bald Eagles were threatened by hunting) and DDT was banned in 1972 in the US. Conservation works!
April 5, 2019 – Rock Dove, a.k.a. Pigeon
Coo! Coo! If you’re looking for direction, use Rock Dove (Pigeon) Bird Glamour! Rock Doves are excellent navigators, using magnetic fields and the Sun to return to their home roosts. Rock Doves have lived alongside humans for over 5000 years, based on Mesopotamian and Egyptian texts!
March 29, 2019 – Mallard
Does my Mallard Bird Glamour make you want to feed me bread in the park? Please don’t! Ducks and other wild birds become malnourished and sick if they eat bread (it’s like bird junk food). Bread also fouls (fowls?) up their water! Here is a link to duck-friendly foods that have been taste-tested by ducks and other waterfowl and will not cause malnutrition or disease from the Canal River Trust: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-wildlife/keeping-our-ducks-healthy/six-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-feed-ducks
March 22, 2019 – American Robin
Celebrate the first week of Spring with American Robin Bird Glamour! Thought to be a sign of Spring, these thrushes hang out in their breeding ranges in the United States and parts of southern Canada all year – we don’t see them because they spend a lot of the winter roosting in trees!
March 15, 2019 – Loggerhead Shrike and Northern Shrike
These songbirds have predatory Bird Glamour! Loggerhead Shrikes (left) are found more to the south in North America while the Northern Shrike (right) has a more northern range. Also known as butcher birds, shrikes are known for spearing their prey of invertebrates, lizards, mammals, and birds on thorns and spines. The glam eyeliner isn’t just a fashion statement: it acts as a glare reducer while hunting!
March 8, 2019 – Spotted Towhee
Hop hop hop! Spotted Towhee hops to it with a striking black and orange Bird Glamour with white spots! Spotted Towhee is a large sparrow that is similar to the Eastern Towhee. This isn’t surprising: the two species were once considered one species (Rufous-sided Towhee) but were really distinct populations once separated by Ice Age glaciers. Now their ranges overlap in the Great Plains.
March 1, 2019 – Canada Goose
Canada Goose Bird Glamour: eleven subspecies, all glamorous! The eleven subspecies of Canada Goose can be divided into two genetic categories: the larger Great Plains geese (seven subspecies) and the smaller tundra-breeding geese (four subspecies). They are very similar in color! We may become annoyed at Canada Geese “invading” our lawns, parks, golf courses, and airports, but short-cropped fields with access to water are chosen by Canada Geese because it’s easier to protect goslings from predators if you can see them coming!
February 23, 2019 – Belted Kingfisher
Behold the blue and rust-orange Bird Glamour of female Belted Kingfishers! Males lack the rust orange vest. These aerial diving birds fish along river & creek banks where they dig nesting burrows up to 2 meters long! Kingfishers regurgitate pellets of undigested bones, scales, and shells!
February 2, 2019 – Black Oystercatcher Video
The newest Bird Glamour video is posted! Black Oystercatchers are marine shorebirds that are found on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Baja California. There are thought to be only 11,000 Black Oystercatchers in the global population!
February 1, 2019 – Harris’s Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow combines a pink bill with a striking black bib for more Zonotrichia #BirdGlamour! This is the fourth species in our Zonotrichia series! Older male sparrows have larger black bibs! Harris’s Sparrows breed in tundra when it’s still cold and there are fewer tasty insects. To make a full meal, laying females will eat around 675 crowberries a day!
January 25, 2019 – White-tailed Ptarmigan
This teeny grouse is big on Bird Glamour! Winter plumage of the White-tailed Ptarmigan is snowy white with a hint of an orange eyebrow! These floofy-footed tundra and alpine-dwelling grouse like cool weather, and are year-round residents of the alpine of western Canada, Alaska, and some areas in the United States. They take it easy in the winter to conserve energy…but will poop an average of 49 times a night!
January 20, 2019 – Fiordland Crested Penguin for Penguin Awareness Day!
Happy Penguin Awareness Day from Bird Glamour! Are you aware of the Fiordland Crested Penguin, also known as Tawaki? Not all penguins live on the continent of Antarctica (and none live in the Arctic, so you’ll never see polar bears and penguins hanging out together in the wild). Tawaki are endemic (found there and nowhere else) to New Zealand’s south-west coast. Tawaki are listed as Vulnerable. The 3000 remaining breeding pairs are threatened by introduced predators (dogs, stoats, cats, etc.) and climate change.
My goal for 2019 is to create a Bird Glamour look for each of the bird-themed awareness days. There’s International Vulture Awareness Day (the first Saturday each September, which also coincides with National Hummingbird Day)! There’s International Owl Awareness Day on August 4! There’s also World Migratory Bird Day on May 11! I’ll be making a list on my blog, Birds in Mud, of all of the bird days. Stay tuned!
Bird Glamour 2018
December 14, 2018 – Spruce Grouse
Pass the conifer needles, eh? Spruce Grouse bring neutral shades with a splash of red to Canadian Bird Glamour (and in conifer forests of the northern US!) Spruce Grouse love conifer needles, but in the winter need to eat a lot of them to keep energized. In order to pack in all of those needles, the gizzard (that’s the muscular organ in the digestive tract of birds that acts like our teeth do) of the Spruce Grouse will grow 75% during winter!
December 7, 2018 – New Video: Wood Duck Makeup Tutorial
This week’s Bird Glamour is the newest video on the Wood Duck! This makeup tutorial is accompanied by fun Wood Duck facts. Watch it here!
November 30, 2018 – White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrows add a splash of yellow to Zonotrichia #BirdGlamour! White-throated Sparrow songs sound like Oh-Sweet-Canada-da-dadada (or Old Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody!) Did you know there are two song versions: one that pitches up at the end and one that pitches down? Both songs can be heard in the same area! Compare with the other two featured Zonotrichia species, the White-crowned Sparrow and the Golden-crowned Sparrow below!
November 23, 2018 – White-crowned Sparrow
Next in our Zonotrichia sparrow series is the White-crowned Sparrow! White-crowned Sparrow does old Hollywood Bird Glamour with striking black and white stripes. This makes the adults very easy to identify. Males learn songs from the surrounding community as nestlings rather than directly from their father. Since they breed close to where they grew up, communities form song dialects!
November 16, 2018 – Golden-crowned Sparrow
Our first sparrow in the Zonotrichia sparrow series is the Golden-crowned Sparrow! Golden-crowned Sparrow does Bird Glamour with a bold black eye stripe and a bright yellow forehead! This is one of five species of Zonotrichia in North America. We know little about this sparrow’s breeding habits because it heads for tundra and scrubs of British Columbia and Alaska in the summer! Their melancholic song was characterized by Gold Rush miners as sounding like a mournful “No gold here.” Gold Rush miners would have shared territory with these dapper sparrows!
November 9, 2018 – Mandarin Duck
The Mandarin Ducks of Vancouver and New York ruffled a few feathers, for better or for worse! Likely escaped domestic birds, Mandarin Ducks call eastern China, southeast Russia, and Japan home (there are also feral populations, introduced in the 1900s, in western Europe). People rushed to see this vibrantly-colored duck! Although some birders consider this sighting “artificial,” the Mandarin Duck provides outreach opportunities to educate people on wildlife harassment, not feeding bread to ducks, and why releasing exotic species into the environment is not a good idea!
Read more on my thoughts about the Mandarin Duck here! lisagbuckley.com/2018/11/09/its-ok-to-like-the-mandarin-duck/
October 31, 2018 – Happy Hallowe’en Bird Glamour – Barn Owl
My latest Bird Glamour episode is posted on YouTube! Discover Barn Owl-based eco-friendly rodent control and Barn Owl mythology while you learn how to transform yourself into a Barn Owl for Hallowe’en!
HOO is in your barn? It’s not a ghost, but a Barn Owl showing you its ghostly Bird Glamour for Hallowe’en! Barn Owls are active at night are often found roosting in old buildings. Ditch those rodenticides in Barn Owl territory: a family of Barn Owls can eat up to 3000 rodents!
October 26 and October 21, 2018
American Three-toed Woodpecker versus Black-backed Woodpecker
American Three-toed Woodpeckers (top) and Black-backed Woodpeckers (bottom) have a lot in common. The males have yellow markings instead of red, they both can be found (if uncommon) in northern conifer forests, they both like dead, burnt, or flooded trees, and they both have three long toes instead of the four long toes that other North American Woodpeckers have. American Three-toed Woodpeckers differ from Black-backed Woodpeckers in that they have a lot more white on their face and down their back, whereas the Black-backed Woodpecker lives up to its name!
October 6, 2018 – Wood Duck
Ready to take a big leap? Use Wood Duck Bird Glamour for inspiration! These bright beautiful ducks are cavity nesters. Wood Duck chicks jump out of their nests, falling 15 m (50 ft) and being A-OK (it must be a scary leap)! Wood Ducks have strong claws that help them perch in trees.
September 28, 2018 – Green Kingfisher
Be inspired by Green Kingfisher Bird Glamour: dive headfirst into the water (for fish)! Breeding in the southern US, Central, and South America, Green Kingfishers excavate nest burrows directly in dirt banks using their beaks and feet. All that digging will dull their large black beaks!
September 21, 2018 – Spix’s Macaw
Bird Glamour is feeling blue that Spix’s Macaw is likely extinct in the wild due to illegal wild bird trade and habitat loss. 83 captive birds are involved in an international breeding program to reintroduce these charismatic blue parrots to the wild in Brazil. For more information on Spix’s Macaw conservation work, follow the link here to the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots.
September 14, 2018 – Green Heron Video
My latest Bird Glamour video on the life history of the Green Heron!
September 7, 2018 – Common Nighthawk
PEENT! PEENT! Common Nighthawk says while giving us Bird Glamour tips for hunting flying insects at dawn and dusk. These intricately dappled brown birds with white crescent wing patches look like tree bark during the day. Males dive through the air to make loud BOOMing noises for mates.
August 31, 2018 – Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch uses bold black & white eye stripes with blue-grey & rusty orange for Bird Glamour feeder visits! You’ll see Red-breasted Nuthatch at nut, suet and seed feeders in winter. In the summer, these cavity nesters line nest entrances with sticky sap to deter predators!
August 24, 2018 – Great Horned Owl
What meal pairs well with Great Horned Owl Bird Glamour? Almost anything! Great Horned Owls have the most diverse diet (which matches their diverse habitat) of North American raptors, and are even known to eat hawks! Nests in old hawk and corvid nests, as well as platforms and ledges in urban areas!
August 17, 2018 – Northern Pintail
Northern Pintail Bird Glamour is perfect for Early Birds and Night Owls alike! Blue and black bills are paired with white and dark chocolate colors, which are perfect for April tundra nesting or nighttime migration! Populations are still strong but Northern Pintails are sensitive to wetland habitat loss.
August 10, 2018 – Green Heron
Add Bird Glamour to your next fishing trip! This small heron winters in the southern US and Mexico and breeds in the eastern US as far north as southern Canada. Green Heron wears a handsome chestnut and iridescent blue-green plumage while luring fish with grass, twigs, and insects! What a catch!
August 3, 2018 – Mourning Dove Video
Check out the third episode of Bird Glamour on YouTube to learn more about Mourning Dove feeding habits and the impacts of lead on their populations!
July 27, July 13, July 6 – Comparing the Connecticut Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, and Mourning Warbler
Mourning Warblers lack the distinct eye-rings seen in similar-looking Connecticut and MacGillivray’s Warblers. Breeding in eastern North America, but coming as far west as Alberta, Mourning Warblers will perform the broken wing display to distract predators away from their nests!
Look into my eyes: Connecticut Warbler gives us Bird Glamour tips for warbler ID! All Connecticut Warblers have full white eye-rings: similar-looking Mourning and MacGillivray’s warblers don’t! This boreal nester prefers eastern Canada and US tamarack and spruce bogs!
MacGillivray’s Warbler (top) gives us Bird Glamour for breeding (and hunting beetles and other insects!) in the Pacific region and the Rocky Mountains! A “broken” white eyering paired with a dark mask distinguishes this look from the similar-looking Connecticut (bottom) and Mourning warblers!
July 20, 2018 – Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow celebrates variety in Bird Glamour! Song Sparrows are found in most of North America, but look different based on geography. Coastal birds are darker because of more melanosomes in feathers, which might give feathers strength against mites and decay in humid climates!
June 29, 2018 – Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler gives us Bird Glamour in royal blue and black! This New World warbler nests in hardwood forests (like maples) of eastern North America, but are climate change-threatened: Audubon’s models show that summer ranges will shift 100% with a 78% decrease by 2080!
June 22, 2018 – Tree Swallow Video
Tree Swallow has Bird Glamour evening wear! Iridescent blue-black with crisp white is an elegant colour combo for taking over Mountain Bluebird nesting boxes and eating flying insects! Check for cavity-nesting Tree Swallows near fields, ponds, and nest boxes! Check out the video!
June 15, 2018 – Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglets are small in size, but royal in Bird Glamour! Ruby-crowned Kinglets nest in spruce-fir forests across Canada and the western US! Sporting a partial white eye ring and stealthy red crown, kinglet nests contain up to 12 eggs. Egg clutches are small, but large clutches can weigh as much as the female!
June 8, 2018 – One Year Glamour-versary, Bird Glamour on YouTube, and American Dipper!
In honor of my One Year Glamour-versary, I started a YouTube channel for Bird Glamour! The videos will be a combination of Bird Glamour tutorial and cool facts about the featured bird. Videos will be uploaded once every two weeks to start.
Visit Bird Glamour on YouTube!
This week’s bird is the American Dipper!
American Dippers are a bird from western North America that frequent cold mountain streams. They are considered an indicator species for the health of a stream, which refers to the level of pollutants and physical alterations to the habitat. Dippers get their name from their characteristic “dipping” motion – bobbing along the edge of streams. Dippers are songbirds (despite their aquatic habitat) that actually dive right into the cold water, looking for invertebrate larvae and fish eggs for food.
June 01, 2018 – Varied Bunting
Varied Bunting adds a splash of summer Bird Glamour to brushy woodlands and clearings of Mexico! Thorny brush may make this cardinal species seem hard to find, but with boldly blended purple, red, and blue, Varied Bunting is not shy! This bird needs more study! There is very little published about the life history of the Varied Bunting, including the life of the Varied Bunting in its home areas in Mexico.
May 25, 2018 – Red-eyed Vireo
Every birder has a group of birds that they feel they have to “relearn” every spring. Vireos are that group for me. To celebrate refamiliarizing myself with vireo songs, I Glamoured the Red-eyed Vireo!
Red-eyed Vireo is summer Bird Glamour ready! Contrasting eye stripes & red eyes are perfect for foraging insects off leaves & flowers in forest canopies (North America in summer, Amazon Basin in winter). Red-eyed Vireos love caterpillars, which make up 50% of their summer diet!
May 18, 2018 – Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant has Bird Glamour underwater fishing tips! Heavy bones and less preen oil makes for good diving, but remember to air-dry your feathers! Black feathers contrast yellow-orange face skin for the breeding season. Plastics and other garbage found in the ocean are often used in nest building…along with the bodies of dead birds!
May 11, 2018 – Ruddy Duck
Ruddy Duck uses black and white Bird Glamour to court females during mating season! A bright blue bill is used in the Bubbling Display: males fluff up two feathery horns while they beat their large bills against their chests, making the water bubble. Males finish off their display with a loud burping noise!
May 4, 2018 – Northern Flicker
Northern Flickers team up to give me and my friend Nadine some Bird Glamour tips for home carpentry! There are two types of Northern Flicker: eastern Yellow-shafted Flicker has a black mustache and yellow feather shafts while the western Red-shafted Flicker has a red mustache and red-shafted feathers! There are also hybrids of the two subspecies!
April 27, 2018 – King Eider
King Eider has royal Bird Glamour tips for tundra nesting! Sensitive to climate change, King Eider pairs pastel green and grey with a vibrant yellow-orange bill while diving down to 25 m for marine invertebrates. A bold black and white eyeliner help to identify the male King Eider from other species of eider.
April 20, 2018 – Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren has Bird Glamour tips for your next musical number! Pacific Wren wants to sing about how it’s not a subspecies of the similar-looking Winter Wren! In 2008, genetic & song differences showed that Pacific Wren is indeed a separate species! Check out this paper that separates the two species!
To hear a Pacific Wren song, click here.
To hear a Winter Wren song, click here.
April 13, 2018 – Osprey
Osprey is here to offer Bird Glamour tips for an almost exclusively fish diet! Osprey are as particular about their habitat as they are about their black & white fashion: osprey need elevated nesting areas within 20 km of shallow, fish-filled waters!
April 6, 2018 – Herring Gull
Herring Gull gives Bird Glamour tips for looking good while looking for food! A species of Low Concern (populations decreased 3.5% per year from 1966-2015) Herring Gull uses no-nonsense white and grey, with a dab of red on the bill, for feasting on invertebrates and taking opportunities to scavenge!
March 23, 2018 – Harlequin Duck
Harlequin Ducks (aka Squeakers!) give Bird Glamour tips for wintering on rocky sea coasts and breeding along chilly fast-moving streams in northern US, Canada, and the Arctic! Keeping warm and afloat is hard work, so add colorful whimsy to warm air-trapping feathers!
March 16, 2018 – The Urban Interface’s Swainson’s Hawk “Pandora”
Meet our Bird Glamour model Pandora, Swainson’s Hawk Ambassador for The Urban Interface @TUIWildlife! Swainson’s Hawks do long-distance migrations from summer breeding grounds in North America to winter homes in Argentina! Learn more about (and support!) the Ambassadors here: http://www.theurbaninterface.com/animals/
March 9, 2018 – Costa’s Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird is giving us a splash of summer Bird Glamour! Costa’s Hummingbird recommends putting your face out there! Even if shy (they like a separate feeder), flair out your iridescent purple face feathers for displays on the southwest coast of North America!
Here is a video showing the mating display of the male Costa’s Hummingbird!
March 2, 2018 – Willow Ptarmigan
In honor of the fresh snow, Willow Ptarmigan will give us this week’s Bird Glamour tips! Roaming tundras since the Ice Age, it is Willow Ptarmigan fashion to keep your red plumage all year – especially if you’re a British Willow Ptarmigan – while molting to your white winter plumage elsewhere else around the world!
February 23, 2018 – Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting has Bird Glamour tips for high Arctic breeding! A tundra nesting bird in steep decline, male Snow Buntings don’t molt into breeding plumage: males rub their brown feather tips on snow until they are worn away, revealing white and black feathers underneath! Don’t try that type of makeup remover or exfoliator at home!
February 16, 2018 – Horned Lark
Horned Lark has Bird Glamour tips for visiting open fields and high elevations! An Arctic breeding bird in decline, Horned Larks vary the amount of yellow around a bold black under-eye mask. Little black “horns” can be tricky to see! Horned Larks pave the area around their nests with pebbles!
February 9, 2018 – Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker has Bird Glamour tips for visiting feeders in eastern North America: be fierce with red and white, and keep ’em guessing with your name since your red is on your head, not your belly! Look for Red-bellied Woodpecker during the Great Backyard Bird Count on February 16-19!
January 26, 2018 – Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeak has Bird Glamour tips for visiting winter feeders! Use that heavy bill to crush and crunch larger feeder while rocking a heavy yellow eyebrow! Evening Grosbeak are irruptive so you might not see these large finches every year!
January 19, 2018 – Snowy Owl
This week’s Bird Glamour is the Snowy Owl! Snowy Owl recommends black eyeliner surrounded by snowy white for daytime hunting (yup, a diurnal owl!) Some years Snowy Owls stay in summer Arctic and northern breeding grounds, but other years travels south, like this year!
Bird Glamour 2017
December 29, 2017 – Common Redpoll
Here is the last Bird Glamour of 2017! Common Redpoll is a stylish and cold-hardy winter bird. Use red accents with a brown and cream base for looking fab while surviving -50 C temperatures in nighttime snow tunnels and breeding in lands around the Arctic Ocean!
December 25, 2017 – Northern Cardinal
A Bird Glamour Happy Holiday Special! Northern Cardinal recommends a vibrant red with black eyeliner for singing in backyards and quiet neighborhoods. Both males and females sing complex songs!
December 22, 2017 – Boreal Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee has important Bird Glamour tips for visiting my feeders! This mostly Canadian chickadee uses browns and greys, instead of the classic Black-capped Chickadee black and white, for the perfect seed-caching look in boreal forests.
December 15, 2017 – Pine Grosbeak
Here are some Bird Glamour tips from Pine Grosbeak! “Layering pinks (for males) and oranges (females and young) over grey is the perfect look for finches nipping off conifer buds and eating seeds at feeders!”
December 8, 2017 – Great Blue Heron
I asked Great Blue Heron for Bird Glamour tips! North America’s largest heron with great night vision (high percentage of rod-like photoreceptors) recommends shades of blue-grey for wading for fish in both fresh & saltwater environments.
December 1, 2017 – Varied Thrush
I asked Varied Thrush for Bird Glamour tips while foraging for insects in forests. “It can’t be any forest: old growth/mature forests larger than ~40 acres in Pacific Northwest are our scene. Orange with black stripes never goes out of style!”
November 24, 2017 – Wild Turkey
Gobble gobble! Since our US friends have turkey on their minds, Bird Glamour celebrates Wild Turkey! Our largest North American game bird, turkeys have a fossil record in the US back to the Pliocene!
November 17, 2017 – Steller’s Jay
I shared this Bird Glamour while I was tweeting on @realscientists during the week of November 12, 2017. I asked my friend Steller’s Jay for Bird Glamour tips on what colors to wear for visiting feeders & caching nuts. Steller’s Jay says “This handsome blue you see isn’t really a pigment: it’s all light refraction!”
November 10, 2017 – Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow has Bird Glamour tips for walking – not hopping – in fields: be bold! Now wintering in Mexico, Lark Sparrows have an elaborate courtship display and will reuse thrasher & mockingbird nests! Request by @kuchtam
November 3, 2017 – Ae’o (Hawaiian Black-necked Stilt)
October 31, 2017 – Halloween Special: Harpy Eagle and Bearded Vulture
|The Harpy Eagle.|
|The Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture, getting ready to crack open some tasty bones!|
The Harpy Eagle is a neotropical raptor known for eating sloths and monkeys! Harpy Eagles are a lovely smoky grey color and also come with a resplendent crest of feathers. For Halloween, I decided to take the Bird Glamour up a notch and add a feathered crest. Rich joined in on the Halloween fun and went as the Bearded Vulture, a bird of prey (not really a true vulture!) from Asia and Africa that is so hardcore it breaks and eats bones.
October 22, 2017 – The Cockatiel and the Barred Owl
My friend Nadine got in on some Bird Glamour action to stage a play for you called “The Cockatiel and the Barred Owl,” a tale that reminds us our exotic feathery friends, such as cockatiels, are really better off indoors or in nice aviaries.
October 27, 2017 – Bohemian Waxwing Video Tutorial with Audubon Society
I worked with the Audubon Society to develop my first-ever Bird Glamour video tutorial! You may see more of these in the future!
October 6, 2017 – Bohemian Waxwing
Bohemian Waxwings, and the closely related species Cedar Waxwings, start flocking up in the fall and visiting berry bushes! You’ll hear their high-pitched trilling in the tops of fruit trees. Unfortunately, fruit that has been hit with frost can ferment, creating alcohol that the waxwings consume. This can lead to their deaths, either through intoxication-related accidents or alcohol poisoning. Be sure to clean frost-hit fall fruit off of your trees!
September 29, 2017 – Secretary Bird
Stomp! Stomp! Secretary birds are a long-legged bird of prey native to sub-Saharan Africa. They spend a lot of time hunting on foot…and using their feet to capture their prey with a viciously quick and powerful stomp! Read more about the snake-stomping Secretary bird here.
September 16, 2017 – South Korea: Black-faced Spoonbill and Long-eared Owl
My friend Suijin (ichnology graduate student) joined me in some Bird Glamour! She is a Long-eared Owl. I went as the Black-faced Spoonbill (a bird that is, unfortunately, facing dwindling numbers). Spoonbills have a specialized bill that sweeps the sediment of a shallow lake or river to stir up fish and other tasty treats, leaving crescent-shaped marks. In South Korea, there is an Early Cretaceous bird track type called Ignotornis gajinensis that preserves spoonbill-like crescent scour marks! It is likely that this bird trackmaker had a bill like that of a modern-day spoonbill! Here is a link to the paper: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10420940.2012.660414
September 8, 2017 – Black-browed Albatross
A fitting Bird Glamour before our flight to South Korea! Albatross are a fascinating, but endangered, group of birds known for their amazing long-distance flight. Learn more about albatross here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-amazing-albatrosses-162515529/
September 2, 2017 – Vulture Awareness Day: Hooded Vulture and Lammergeier
Vultures do not get the love they deserve. Important scavengers, vultures are threatened by poisoning (unintentional and deliberate) as well as ignorance.
The Hooded Vulture is a Red-List species. Learn more here.
|Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus).|
The Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture, is actually not in the vulture group: it’s a fancy-pants bird of prey that has adapted to the high-altitude mountains of Asia and Africa. It is famous for not only decorating its white plumage with red and orange mud but also for breaking and eating bone!
September 1, 2017 – Western Tanager
A common sight during the summer, the insect-hunting Western Tanager is a little different from other birds that have bright red in their plumage. Western Tanagers use rhodoxanthin, rather than carotenoids, to produce their bright orange-red colors.
August 25, 2017 – Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Auction: Anchiornis
In honor of the SVP conference, I had to do a fossil-themed Bird Glamour. I put it to a vote, and Anchiornis huxleyi won by a fair margin. You can see why: this feathered dinosaur made a big splash in the news when paleontologists figured out the original feather colors from preserved melanosomes! Here’s a write-up on the study, showing how we know the feathers were black, rusty-red, and white.
August 18, 2017 – Yellow Warbler
“Sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet!” Yellow Warblers are a common sight among the tops of deciduous trees and tips of branches during the summer, foraging tiny insects. While mostly yellow, the males have rusty red stripes on their breast.
August 11, 2017 – Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
During our trip to Turkmenistan to help assess an application for a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I saw so many birds that left an impression on me. One of my favorites was the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. My photography skills were just passable enough to take a picture of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater catching a flying insect on the wing.
|It’s grainy and taken from a moving train, but I love this picture.|
August 4, 2017 – Great Grey Owl for International Owl Awareness Day
July 28, 2017 – Barn Swallow
This week’s #BirdGlamour tips come from the busy Barn Swallow! These frequent barn inhabitants hunt insects on the wing and recommend a simple yet striking dark blue and rusty orange for hunting out high-protein nibbles. #sciart #scicomm
July 21, 2017 – Sora
July 18, 2017 – American Kestrel
Recent #BirdGlamour tips come from our friend American Kestrel! This itty-bitty falcon isn’t afraid to frame their eyes with bold geometric black patterns when hovering over their prey…and neither should you!
July 7, 2017 – Killdeer
Ow, ow, I hurt my wing…or did I? Surprise! I picked up some acting lessons while getting #BirdGlamour tips from our friend Killdeer! This plover is famous for its broken wing display, which they use to lure predators away from babies! Killdeer recommends lining red eyes with black, white, and buff. Perfect for attending and performing in Shakespeare In The Park.
July 3, 2017 – Atlantic Puffin for World Seabird Day
The Atlantic Puffin is one of many seabirds that, on #WorldSeabirdDay, wish we humans would stop throwing so much plastic waste into the oceans.
June 30, 2017 – Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird, the city of Vancouver’s Official Bird, is known for striking deep pink hues contrasting with vibrant greens. Anna’s Hummingbird recommends this look for a day of sipping sugary drinks at your local flowers and feeders. Be sure to keep your hummingbird feeders clean: dirty hummingbird feeders are dangerous to our flying jewels!
June 23, 2017 – Blue Jay
A familiar guest at our feeders, Blue Jays are a bright and cheeky member of the corvid family (crows, ravens, magpies, and jays.) Blue Jay recommends various shades of blue for visiting your local seed and nut feeders!
June 17 – Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlarks have been present during every one of our field expeditions into the prairie provinces, waking us at the crack of dawn with their boisterous, melodious voices. Western Meadowlarks recommend balancing neutral browns with a vibrant yellow for early morning choir performances.
June 16 – Gray Jay
While hoped to be Canada’s National Bird – but now it seems like that won’t happen – the Grey Jay is an important part of First Nations traditional stories and artwork (read more here,) and a beloved visitor to campgrounds and hiking trails…or anywhere where people are going to bring snacks into the woods! Grey Jay recommends smoky grey with a dark grey eyeliner, partnered with white highlights. I wore this Bird Glamour look to the welcome reception for the British Columbia Field Ornithologists’ meeting in Tumbler Ridge.
June 9, 2017 – Short-eared Owl
My first Bird Glamour! Short-eared Owls recommend a dramatic smoky eye (it helps if you have yellow eyes, but that’s something owls do best) with pale beige highlights.