Saturday, November 15, 2014


Photos by Marty Horowitz 11/4/2014

These two birds look similar at first glance (to me, anyway). Both are females, so that's something! But let's take a look at their beaks. Click on the photos for a closer look.
The top bird's beak is all-purpose; good for berries, insects, and good enough for an occasional seed, if need be. The beak on the bottom, though, is specialized for seeds. Note the shape, shortness, sturdiness. That stout triangle can crack seeds like a nutcracker cracks nuts.
The top bird is a female Phainopepla. And they love mistletoe berries (mainly carbohydrates). And they eat insects, too, for protein. Yummers.
The bird on the bottom is a female Pyrrholoxia. Like Northern Cardinals (who are in the same genus), Pyrrholoxias are mainly seed eaters.
Now you know!

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