Saturday, April 23, 2011

Answer to Wordless Wednesday

What do Tufted Titmice and Slaty-tailed Trogons have in common? They are both "secondary cavity nesters," i.e. they nest in cavities made by woodpeckers or otherwise naturally created, e.g. when a branch breaks and leaves a hole. Both can also excavate cavities in punky material. The agitated titmouse pair pictured below were photographed in Belleplain last weekend, the trogon was in Mayflower - Bocavina National Park in Belize on March 17, 2011.

You could learn about titmouse nesting habits and a whole lot more in
The Birder's Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds, one of what I consider the most essential bird references around. I've been reading up on trogons and other species seen on my March trip to Belize, and have been longing for a similar handy reference for that country.

One thing that the trogons do that titmice do not is nest in termitaries - perhaps if there were termitaries (termite nests) in titmouse range, they would use them? One of these days I'll get around to doing a post on the four Belize trogon species. Among the insights from that trip is that while I can identify birds okay, way too often I don't know a damn thing about them. E.g., did you know trogons have serrated tomia (the cutting edege of the bill)? I looked at the photo below, of a Slaty-tailed Trogon panting, and thought, what the hek is that all about? Maybe for eating tough fruit or excavating cavities?

A Great-crested Flycatcher wheep!'d delightfully in the yard when I got home from work last night, my FOY. Tomorrow will be the weekly expedition to Belleplain, perhaps more GCFL await, with maybe Hooded Warbler in the understory?

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