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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Boreal birds could visit us again

Red-breasted Nuthatch

A few years ago, north Texas was treated to an influx of Red-breasted Nuthatches. It happens every few years. These were from the vast evergreen forests of Canada and the northern U.S. known as the Boreal Forest, a huge forest that's home to over 300 species of birds, including Nuthatches. You can usually identify them climbing headfirst down tree trunks, probing the bark for bugs.


Nobody knows precisely why some species fly to more southern areas for the winter; and why Nuthatches sometimes winter here, versus (for instance) Arkansas.  But be prepared for more visits from several “boreal” species this coming fall.


Can you breathe and sing at the same time?
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Birds can.  Birds sing through a branched organ called a “syrinx”. Each branch can be controlled independently. So birds can produce two different sounds at the same time. Birds also have a specialized breathing system. They can inhale and exhale (perhaps through the syrinx) since they can manipulate air sacs and lungs independently.



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