Category Archives: Video

Gallinule War!

It’s been hot. High-in-the-mid-90s-F-every-day hot. The humidity has been hovering at about 100% at dawn, so it feels just a wee bit oppressive. Maybe the heat wave was behind the aggressive behavior I saw among a few Common Gallinules at Gemini Springs last week? An overcast sky really kept the air saturated. It was sticky and uncomfortable. And everybody was kung-fu fighting, basically.

One pair was already going at it when a second pair started to mix it up. You can see the bird in the center of the photo spewing forth a murderous war cry. A millisecond later – BATTLE!

Gallinule War!

Gallinule War!

Scuffles were sometimes initiated by aggressive wing-waving and sunken body position.

Gallinule War!

Gallinule War!

After the flapping, the big guns came out – those crazy gallinule feet.

Gallinule War!

Gallinule War!

Gallinule War!

You can see posturing, grabbing, flapping and finally what I would call sailboating in this video, which was taken after all of the above photos were snapped.

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Posted in Behavior, Funny, Gemini Springs, Video | Leave a comment

Clutzy egret loses lunch

It’s cold here in central Florida! Relatively speaking. We should hit record low temperatures in the area tonight, when the thermometer dips below 40F. Brr!

Snowy Egret

On a chilly walk at Gemini Springs this morning, I watched a Snowy Egret working on a fish. The bird already had lunch in its beak when I first saw it, but it let the fish slip away. I slowed down the initial chase at the end of the clip — you can see the fish make its escape!

I watched the egret a bit longer but lunch was not recaptured before I had to move on.

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Posted in Behavior, Funny, Gemini Springs, Video | Leave a comment

Meme Monday: Harlem Shake

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

In February 2013, the music track “Harlem Shake” by artist Baauer spawned a series of funny, short dance videos. The typical Harlem Shake clip is usually about a half minute long. The standard video format is to begin with a single person dancing to the song, surrounded by others who are ignoring the dancing person. This is followed by a rough cut to lots of people dancing to the song, often wearing funny or strange costumes and brandishing odd props. An early parody video went viral in the first week of February, earning over 7 million hits on YouTube in a week’s time. By the middle of February, there were about 12K Harlem Shake videos posted on YouTube.

With this level of virality, of course there are Harlem Shake clips featuring birds. There are a good number of videos featuring parrots. Many bird clips don’t follow the standard format — a single bird is shown dancing, as in this clip featuring a Black-crowned Night-Heron, or the venue changes completely from one scene to the next, as in this European Starling murmuration video (which is pretty funny, anyway). Another clip, called Harlem shake (duck edition) uses this original video set to the music. I had seen the original clip before so I knew what was going to happen but it still made me giggle — especially since I knew the birds would all end up alright (and upright!).

I thought the following Harlem Shake video was just about the only bird-type one worth sharing here. The timing is pretty good in this clip, which begins with a single pigeon feasting on some seed. As the bass is about to drop, more pigeons arrive and a feeding frenzy takes the place of crazy dancing. The video runs too long as the meme goes, but if you watch to the end you’ll see how fast a flock of pigeons can devout a big pile of seed. Impressive!

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Posted in Funny, Internet Meme, Pigeons!, Video | Leave a comment

Meme Monday: Hitler Reacts

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

Der Untergang (US: Downfall) is a 2004 German film about the last days of Adolf Hitler’s life. The success of the film reached meme proportions in August 2006 with the release of the first parody “Hitler Reacts” clip. Since then, one particularly heated scene from De Untergang has been used countless times to parody Hitler reacting to everything from the U.S. mortgage crisis to Usain Bolt breaking the 100 meter dash world record. And now, Hitler Reacts to Missing Hoary Repoll in Colorado:


Hoary Redpolls are typically found much further north; the recent Colorado sighting is the state’s first.

UPDATE September 18, 2013

Here is a brilliant version of the meme uploaded in September, 2013: Hitler gets 700.

UPDATE January 25, 2014

Wren ID problems make the Führer angry in Hitler Reacts to a Stub-tailed Wren in Boulder:

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Posted in Funny, Internet Meme, Video | Leave a comment

Too Full To Fly

Because vultures are never sure where their next meal is coming from, they are known to gorge themselves — sometimes, so much so that they become too heavy to fly. I’ve never witnessed this myself, but a lucky tourist visiting the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center in South Africa captured some interesting footage of a vulture in trouble. The bird appears to play dead in order to avoid being attacked by a pack of wild dogs. Once the dogs move off, the vulture works to unload some of its extra weight so it can finally fly away from the dogs.


Video posted by HESCCheetahCentre

Have you ever witnessed something like this? Hat tip to K. Wolfram for sharing the video on Facebook.

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Posted in Africa, Aside, Behavior, Video | Leave a comment

Give beach-nesting birds a chance

The Dutch branch of BirdLife International, Vogelbescherming, came up with this great animated clip that shows the stresses and dangers beach-nesting species face. The original Dutch animation was recently translated into English:

Not everyone understands the gravity of the many stresses facing birds who nest on the beach. Share this video – spreading knowledge will help our feathered friends.

If you leave near beach habitat, you may be able to help even more. There are bird stewards monitoring nests at Ft. De Soto Park in Florida, volunteers are monitoring Piping Plover nests in Michigan and Connecticut, and monitors check habitat for both sea turtle and shorebird nesting on Anna Maria Island, Florida. Search online for “nest monitoring” or “bird stewards” in your area and you may find there are volunteer projects you can join to can help birds that nest locally.

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Posted in Aside, Citizen Science, Conservation, Video | Leave a comment

Meme Monday: Sh*t Birders Say

If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” [Merriam Webster]. An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.

Sh*t Girls Say debuted as a short video series in December 2011. The clips of guys dressed up as girls saying extremely stereotypical (and sometimes offensive) things were very popular. Ever since this meme started spawning parodies, I was hoping someone would make a Birder version. But first, there was a Sh*t Birds Say.

And finally, this was posted on YouTube yesterday. Yay! “You brought a Crossley’s?!”


Hat tip to Laura Erickson and Birdchick

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Posted in Internet Meme, Video | Leave a comment
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