61 votes
Accepted

Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

This is rather speculative, but draws on a few birding/wildlife books I've read and it's too much for a comment. It also has a little UK bias, but I've visited 4 continents on wildlife trips, and much ...
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  • 22.5k
29 votes
Accepted

Why do robins tilt their head to the side before pulling a worm out of the ground?

You are indeed correct that robins use their eyes individually as they tilt their head from side to side. It's known as monocular vision, and is how they, and many other birds, locate their food, ...
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26 votes

Is color blindness a significant obstacle to bird watching?

My son is red-green colour blind, and he has the superpower that goes with colour blindness: his eyes are much less easily fooled by camouflage. My lay understanding is that colour blind people are ...
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  • 361
24 votes
Accepted

Is color blindness a significant obstacle to bird watching?

Colour is only one of several visual clues for identification. It's useful to a novice who gets a good look (I regard myself as a perpetual novice when it comes to birds), but shape (bill and whole ...
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  • 22.5k
18 votes
Accepted

Why do seagulls circle around at high altitudes?

For the same reason carrion birds circle over fresh kills: They're waiting for an opportunity to swoop in and get some food. All the gulls see is a large gathering of humans, which typically means ...
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  • 53k
17 votes

Does a bird really abandon the nest? Will similar birds re-use it?

Birds do not typically reuse nests, as pests and parasites typically move in and use it as a habitat after the birds are done with it. Those birds who do reuse nests often don't have much success ...
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  • 53k
15 votes

Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

It's also a case of accessibility, birding really doesn't take any special equipment beyond say a pair of binoculars and birds will visit peoples backyards and bird feeders. While mammals can be shy ...
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14 votes
Accepted

What should I feed ravens/crows?

We love crows! I live in America, where there are three main breeds of crow, including American Crows, Fish Crows, and Northwestern Crows. They're a bit different from the Common ravens, and other ...
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14 votes

Do birds eat chillies? Do they feel the chilli heat?

TLDR: Yes they eat them, No they don't feel the heat. The tiny Bird’s Eye Chili originated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, and surrounding countries, but they can now be found all ...
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12 votes
Accepted

How to encourage birds into the garden of a rented house?

Before we did the following we had barely any birds in the garden... We put up one of those stick in the ground multiple feeders which has three hooks with three different feeders on, a table/bowl ...
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  • 15.4k
12 votes
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Did I see an Osprey?

The osprey does seem the most likely option. There are only a handful of breeding pairs in North Wales, but they are in your area so it's credible. The wingspan of a small common buzzard starts at ...
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  • 11.6k
11 votes

Does a bird really abandon the nest? Will similar birds re-use it?

Some species reuse abandoned nests. According to the Bird Nests and Eggs field guide, great horned owls reuse abandoned raptor nests, and elf owls nest in abandoned woodpecker holes. This is far ...
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11 votes
Accepted

What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

The best thing to do would have been not disturb them in the first place, but I do understand the need of this question. So I wouldn't add any advice like "Do not disturb them in the first place". ...
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  • 31.5k
11 votes
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Is there a type of binoculars to view both nature reserves (birds, etc.) at a distance, and airplanes?

You can definitely go for one pair. I've actually been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the optics at almost the bottom end of the market, if you go for something common like 8x20. We've got ...
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  • 22.5k
11 votes
Accepted

How can I tell the difference between an American Crow, and a Common Raven that lives in America?

According to this article, (How to Tell a Raven From a Crow): Ravens often travel in pairs, while crows are seen in larger groups. Also, watch the bird’s tail as it flies overhead. The crow’s tail ...
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11 votes
Accepted

What is this black and white bird with thin brown legs and a multi-colored beak, found in Massachusetts USA in January?

It looks like a Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), which are quite common over here in the UK. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/starling/ Starlings love suet....
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11 votes
Accepted

How do songbirds and small animals know when there's a hawk in the immediate vicinity?

All it takes is one of the birds to notice and give the alarm and then the other birds join in. Even the chipmunks and squirrels will listen to the birds and then pass the message along. Birds' ...
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11 votes

Why is there such a singular place for bird watching?

I'm not a bird-watcher myself, but I have bird-watchers in my family, so I had rich opportunity to observe their conversations on their hobby. Here's a collection of points that I think contribute to ...
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  • 213
10 votes

What should I feed ravens/crows?

The real question is what won't ravens or crows eat. Ravens hang out at the garbage dumps and perch on dumpsters, the easiest way to get them to visit your yard would be to leave garbage spread out ...
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  • 53k
10 votes

What should I feed ravens/crows?

Crows and ravens are opportunistic foragers, meaning they eat carrion, rodents, steal eggs and nestlings, insects, etc. You will likely find them curious and very cautious (more so than typical "bird ...
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  • 996
10 votes

How to encourage birds into the garden of a rented house?

Think like a bird. If I were a bird, I would go were I can feed, breed, and hide from predators. Bird-feeders address only one of those needs, and most of the time birds can find natural food, which ...
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  • 841
10 votes
Accepted

Help identifying black and white "square winged" bird?

Of the three possibles I came up with from your description (wagtail, oystercatcher and lapwing), wagtail was ruled out by its size, and you would have seen an oystercatcher's beak as they are pretty ...
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  • 24.4k
9 votes
Accepted

What type of bird seed attracts the most amount of birds?

This answer may apply to other countries but is pretty cert for the UK. Bird feed sold in the UK (from big chain pet stores, to garden centres, to little corner shops) usually comes with a time of ...
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  • 15.4k
9 votes
Accepted

Why do I never see robins in the woods?

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, American Robins are indeed found in wild places like woodlands, forests, and mountains. Because worms hibernate, the winter robins feed primarily on ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Are crows more interested in identifying individual humans than vice versa, and if so, why?

I suspect this mostly is a result of need, and antipathy. First of all I think your premise that humans can't identify individual animals within a breed or species is false. People who spend ...
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  • 9,608
9 votes

Are crows more interested in identifying individual humans than vice versa, and if so, why?

I support the accepted answer but wanted to add an potentially helpful anecdote. When I joined the Marine Corps as a young man some 20 years ago - the first thing they did was give us a uniform and ...
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  • 339
9 votes

What is the smallest owl in the world, and where can I see one?

The smallest owl in the world is the elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi). It's about the size of a sparrow, and weighs about an ounce and a half, which is just less than the weight of a golf ball! Wingspan:...
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9 votes
Accepted

Why are common grackles standing on our bird feeders with their heads pointed straight up?

Those grackles are engaged in a courting behavior, most frequently called “bill tilt.” It's also been called “head up” or “head up threat.” While establishing pairs for mating, males vie for the ...
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