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Birds! They are found in every nook and corner of the world. You could be watching them at the zoo or the back of your window. There are more than 10,000 species of birds. They can be found on every continent, in a hot desert climate, or even in the frigid Antarctic. They are found in different shapes and sizes – from the Hummingbird being the size of a bee at 5cm to the Ostrich, which spans 2.75 meters.
Birds are warm-blooded creatures that originate from vertebrates (they have backbones) with their taxonomic classification Aves. Interestingly the bones are hollow and make their bones very light and help them to fly quickly. All birds have wings, beautiful and colorful feathers, two legs, a bill or beak, and lay eggs. Birds are social in nature, and they travel in a flock, just like the English proverb says, ‘Birds of a feather, flock together.’ While birds generally fly but not all of them. There are a lot of weird bird facts that you will read below.
Types of Birds
The US is home to more than 1100 diverse varieties of bird species. Here are some of the most popular bird types in North America with their cool bird facts.
1. Ruby Throated Humming Bird
This species of bird is found towards the east of the Mississippi River. The males have a brilliant red throat and hence the name. They eagerly come to the yards and garden with nectar-bearing flowers.
2. Baltimore Oriole
These boldly colored orange and blackbirds are beautiful and commonly found in eastern North America. The Oriole enjoys the fame of being the state bird of Maryland and gets a place as mascots for teams and schools.
3. Downy Woodpecker
It is one of the smallest backyard birds of North America and is even found in Asia. The males are identified by the beautiful red spot on their napes, while the females are black and white. They feed on fruits, nuts, and seeds.
4. Northern Cardinal
These songbirds enjoy the glory of being the state birds of seven states of the US. The females have a pink plumage with softer fawns, while the males have bright red plumage with a perky crest. These songbirds are welcome around the year.
5. American Goldfinch
These are melodic and beautiful songbirds, also known as the wild canary. The male species can be easily identified with their brilliantly bright yellow plumage with black marks, while the females are paler in color.
6. American Robin
This bird enjoys the glory of being the state bird of Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Michigan. They chirp a lot at dawn and are popularly found on the lawns throughout the year feeding on worms. They have gray upper parts and orange-red breasts.
7. Black-capped Chickadee
They can be easily identified by their black cap, buffy flanks, and gray upper parts. They feed on black oil sunflower seeds. The southern regions have their identical twins, known as the Carolina chickadee.
8. Blue Jay
They are delightful to look at with their colorful plumage. Interestingly, they mimic hawk calls and scare other birds to shoo them away from food. They can store nuts for winters.
9. Mourning Dove
It is the softest, gentlest, and most beloved bird type of North America. Their cooing is easily recognizable by the birders. They clean up all the spilled seeds on the ground when they visit their feeders.
10. Eastern Bluebirds
It is the most sought-after garden guest amongst the North American bluebird species. Birders can easily attract them and are backyard favorites due to their rich blue color and social characteristics.
Other Interesting Bird Facts for Children
While these were some interesting birds, now have a look at some interesting and probably unknown facts about birds:
- Hummingbirds weigh incredibly less. An average hummingbird weighs about 4 grams, while the smallest bee hummingbird weighs just 1.6 grams. They flap their wings 12000 times in a minute.
- Pet birds like doves, lovebirds, and parakeets love companionship and enjoy living in pairs.
- Birds communicate with each other by singing, dancing, and feather displays.
- The lungs of a bird are more complicated and efficient than that of a human.
- Owls turn their heads 360 degrees around to see as they cannot swivel their heads like others.
- 20% of bird species migrate every year for long distances.
- Ducks can sleep with one eye open when they are in groups to protect and guard themselves.
- Pigeons, crows, and ravens are the smartest and most intelligent birds that humans can think of.
- Pigeons have been used to carry messages for thousands of years and were also used to send and receive messages during the World Wars.
- Chickens can make up to 200 distinct sounds when they are communicating.
- The longest feathers ever seen on a bird is that of a chicken in Japan. The tail feather measured about 34.7 feet long.
- Californian condors are often mistaken as small airplanes due to their wide wingspan of up to 9.5 feet.
- An African gray parrot is the most talkative bird globally and can say more than 800 words. Regular parrots can speak about 50 words only.
- An Ostrich lays the most giant egg in the world, weighing about 3 pounds.
- Flamingos stay with their mates for 50 years or more.
- The hammer time of a woodpecker is about 20 times in a second.
- Penguins are the fastest birds to swim, with a speed of 22mph, and can stay underwater for upto 18 minutes. They swim four times faster than humans and are the only bird to walk upright.
- An American woodcock is the slowest flying bird with a speed of 5mph.
- A flamingo can eat with its head upside down only.
- While flying, a bird’s heartbeat beats up to 1000 beats per minute and 400 beats per minute when resting.
- An albatross can sleep even when it is flying at a speed of 25 mph.
- Cassowary bird can kill its enemy with just one kick and is considered the most dangerous bird on the planet.
- Budgies are the only bird species that are contagious to catching each other’s yawning.
- Kiwis are known as Honorary mammals as their feathers feel like hair, have heavy bones filled with marrows, and have nostrils on the tip of their nose, instead of the beaks like other birds.
- A group of owls is known as a ‘parliament,’ while larks in a group called a ‘peep,’ a bunch of geese is known as ‘gaggle,’ and ravens in a group are called a ‘murder.’
Bird species are threatened with extinction in today’s day and age than ever before. Two-thirds of birds, particularly in North America, are at the risk of extinction due to climate change. The birds are an integral part of our nature and ecosystem as they help in pollination. It is increasingly essential to conserve birds and save them from extinction for a better planet and ecosystem. So, explore these tidbits of bird information with your children and raise them into budding nature enthusiasts who preserve nature.