Below is a link I found to pictures of 60 or so birds photographed at various times at the Mass. Audubon Sanctuary on Marblehead Neck in Marblehead, MA. This is an important area for migrating birds. Good for identifying some warblers, finches, and flycatchers.
The best link I could find on how many birds in the world - I found multiple sources basically quoting other sources which give anywhere from 100 billion to 400 billion. From arbotopia.com, which has to do with Boston's Emerald Necks, the parks in and right near Boston.
Some time ago I got a question from a six year old about birds. It’s the kind of question that many people might wonder about, but only a six year old would ask it. “How many birds are there in the whole wide world?”, Harry, who lives in Somerville, MA, asked. I took a crack at it and this is the result (full disclosure: Harry shares a lot of my DNA).
You have asked a hard question and I will give it a try, but it is a LONG answer. The hardest question is the biggest—how many birds in the whole world? We are not even sure how many different kinds of birds there are in the world. The answer to that is about 10 thousand. Several of these kinds, or species, are numbered over 3 billion in the world. Probably the most common, if you don’t count chickens that we raise for eggs and food, is the House Sparrow.
There are lots of kinds of birds that are very common, including some sea birds that spend their whole lives flying around the ocean except when they are having babies on some tiny island. That makes them very hard to count correctly. All together the total number of wild birds in the world is somewhere between 100 billion and 400 billion! The fact that there is such a big difference in those numbers shows how hard it is to count them all.
While googling this question, several questions came up which are related to the number of birds questions: What is the total biomass of the earth, and what fractions are the various components?
According to the Wikipedia article called "Biomass Ecology", link below
humans make up something less than 1/1,000 of the world's Biomass.
There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water. In all, it has been estimated that there are about five million trillion trillion, or 5 × 1030 (5 nonillion) bacteria on Earth with a total biomass equaling that of plants. Some researchers believe that the total biomass of bacteria exceeds that of all plants and animals. Global biomass
Estimates for the global biomass of species and higher level groups are not always consistent across the literature. Apart from bacteria, the total global biomass has been estimated at about 560 billion tonnes C. Most of this biomass is found on land, with only 5 to 10 billion tonnes C found in the oceans. On land, there is about 1,000 times more plant biomass (phytomass) than animal biomass (zoomass). About 18% of this plant biomass is eaten by the land animals. However, in the ocean, the animal biomass is nearly 30 times larger than the plant biomass. Most ocean plant biomass is eaten by the ocean animals.
Humans comprise about 100 million tonnes of the Earth's dry biomass,domesticated animals about 700 million tonnes, and crops about 2 billion tonnes. The most successful animal species, in terms of biomass, may well be Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, with a fresh biomass approaching 500 million tonnes, although domestic cattle may also reach these immense figures. However, as a group, the small aquatic crustaceans called copepods may form the largest animal biomass on earth. A 2009 paper in Science estimates, for the first time, the total world fish biomass as somewhere between 0.8 and 2.0 billion tonnes. It has been estimated that about 1% of the global biomass is due to phytoplankton, and a staggering 25% is due to fungi.
Urban areas cover only 2.7% of the world surface (Center for International Earth Science Information Network 2004) and have been inhabited by the majority of the human population since 2008 (United Nations 2008). Likewise, they are the most domesticated landscapes on earth (Kareiva et al. 2007). The process of urbanization, as this domestication is usually called, generally leads to an environment that is favorable for humans. However, it can lead simultaneously to a host of environmental problems, including the loss of biodiversity (Grimm et al. 2008).
In examining the general role and extent of the impact that urbanization has on biodiversity, no general answer can be found. On a gradient of intensifying urbanization, i.e., the rural-to-urban gradient, the number of species of different taxonomic groups has been shown to peak at different levels. Breeding bird diversity has been found to decrease (Clergeau et al. 1998, 2006, Marzluff 2001) and to be lowest in urban centers (Blair 1999, Tratalos et al. 2007a). However, urban structures can provide a wide and heterogeneous range of habitats, depending on the intensity of urbanization (DeGraaf et al. 1991). They often encapsulate remnants of natural or semi-natural ecosystems that are lost elsewhere (Haase 2003, Crane and Kinzig 2005, Millard 2008). The effect on biodiversity also depends on where urbanization occurs. Savard et al. (2000) summarize the effect of urban land conversion on a given landscape as a function of its original composition: Urbanization is most likely to decrease biodiversity when the original landscape is diverse.
Urbanization is not a purely physical process that affects biodiversity. Many authors argue that socioeconomic patterns such as urban structure, population density, neighborhood image, or household income should be taken into account when studying urban ecosystems (Grove and Burch 1997, Dow 2000, Alberti et al. 2003). There is recent evidence that biodiversity mirrors socioeconomic patterns of income, age of development, and ethnicity within North American cities. Findings for Vancouver, Canada, demonstrate that the number of native bird species increases in relation to an increasing socioeconomic status that was measured by mean family income and number of people holding a university degree (Melles 2005). Similar patterns were found by Hope et al. (2003) and Kinzig et al. (2005), who identified substantial neighborhood differences in species richness according to the given income status in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. In both cities, neighborhoods with higher social status often have higher species diversity than neighborhoods with lower social status.
excerpt The star compass
The sun compass plays a role in homing and may be used by birds that migrate during the day. Many songbird species, however, migrate at night. For many years scientist suspected that birds use the stars for navigation. In 1957 Franz and Eleanor Saur collected data from a series of experiments in which birds were placed inside an enclosed planetary dome. The Saurs were able to demonstrate that birds do use the stars for migration but not, as it turns out, in the way they thought. The common belief at the conclusion of the Saur experiments was that birds have a genetically coded map of the stars. In 1967 Cornell scientist Stephen Emlen used Indigo Buntings to prove that the actual story was a little different.
Dr. Emlen also used a closed planetarium for his tests. He started by collecting young birds and then hand raising them in a lab. His research included the following:
A. One group of birds was raised in a windowless room and was never exposed to a point source of light.
B. A second group also never saw the sun but was exposed on alternate nights to a simulated night sky in the planetarium, with normal rotation around the North Star.
C. A third group was also raised in a windowless room, but on alternate nights was exposed to a simulated night sky in the planetarium. In this case, the sky was manipulated to rotate about a different start, Betelgeuse.
When the fall migration period started, the birds were released into a special cage inside the planetarium.
Group A was placed in the planetarium under a normal fixed sky. The birds oriented themselves in random directions, showing no ability to recognize a southerly migration direction.
Group B was placed in the planetarium with a normal rotation around the North Star. The birds oriented themselves away from the North Star, in the appropriate southern direction for migration.
Group C was also placed into the planetarium. They had been raised with Betelgeuse as the central point of rotation. When exposed to a normal sky these birds oriented themselves away from Betelgeuse.
This research indicates that young birds do not learn star patterns themselves but learn a north-south orientation from a rotational star pattern.
Interesting about 5 minute you tube video about the September Hawk migration from Canada (The maritimes and Quebec) down to the tropics. Video from Connecticut. They fly through where I am, on the MA coast also, although depending on the weather/winds/front locations they go anywhere from Plum Island near the MA/NH border out towards central MA (for example Waschusett Mt.)
another you tube video: Raptor Migration of Broad Winged Hawks in Costa Rica
Audubon link about 10 places to see hawk migration
From You Tube - Annual Snow Goose Migration from Point Au Roche at Beekman State Park in New York, on Lake Champlain. 3 miles across the Lake east southeast, as seen at the very beginning, is what was my grandparents cottage and my great-grandparents farm where my mother was born (North Hero, VT)
Last edited by lakechampainer; 07 Sep 15 at 12:23..
Dinosaurs are arguably the most evolved creatures in earth's history and our little feathered friends are living proof.
There is an odd idea that many people have that humans are the most evolved creatures on earth. Humans are the most intelligent creatures but how evolved a species is more closely correlates with how many millions of years of adaptation is represented by it's current form. Human more closely resemble a transitional state than a final physical adaptation when culture is ignored.
Birds are fascinating creature in may ways but what amazes me the most in how much intelligence they cram into a tiny brain.
I did some bird watching in my younger days and always thought I would specialize in crows but never progressed very far down that path. Crows in my area are very wary of humans and getting near them almost impossible.
My declining eyesight greatly diminishes the pleasure of bird watching now.
In December 2004, the hawks' nest and the anti-pigeon spikes that had long anchored it were removed by the board of the co-op. The removal caused an international outcry and a series of impassioned protests organized by New York City Audubon Society and the Central Park birding community. Mary Tyler Moore, a resident of the building, also participated in the protests. On December 14, 2004, the building, various city agencies, and the Audubon Society came to an agreement to replace the spikes and to install a new "cradle" for the nest. On the same day, Lincoln Karim, one of the leading protesters, was arrested for allegedly harassing the family of Richard Cohen, including his wife, CNN news anchor Paula Zahn. These charges were subsequently dismissed. By December 28, 2004, the scaffolding had been removed and the hawks started bringing twigs to the nest site.
However, eggs laid by Lola in March 2005 did not hatch, and in fact Pale Male and Lola did not hatch any new eyasses since the disturbance of their original nest. A panel of experts assembled by the Audubon Society reviewed the photos taken of the interior of the nest on January 4, 2008, and recommended the removal of stainless steel spikes seen protruding through the bowl of the nest. The spikes impede the rolling of the eggs by the female during incubation. The Audubon Society obtained the support and approvals of municipal agencies and property owners to have the 92 spikes removed from the cradle supporting the nest.
Although news reports in early summer 2006 suggested that Pale Male and Lola had given up on their Fifth Avenue nest in favor of a location on the Beresford apartments across the park on Central Park West, this was not the case. The hawks regularly perched on the Beresford and may have roosted there at night, but they continued to return to the Fifth Avenue location during nesting season.
Living in a different part of the world I have an embarrassment of riches. Regularly seen within a mile of my house
Bearded Tits (no not the leader of the labour party)
Ring Necked Doves
Robins (real ones not American birds so named by homesick migrants)
Barn Owls (more heard than seen)
Ring Necked Parakeets (descendants of escaped pets that have gone feral and are spreading through Britain)
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)