Beak of the Week – American Robin

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Family: Turdidae The American Robin is a large gray-brown songbird with warm, brick red underparts, darker head, and broken, white eye ring. Robins are the largest of North American thrushes and they offer a good chance to learn the shape of most thrushes. They have a large, round body, long legs, […]

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Beak of the Week – California Gull

California Gull (Larus californicus) Family: Laridae By Carrie Chapin, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician A California Gull, a rare visitor to southeastern Texas, was recently spotted at the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. Typically a western species, California Gulls breed in the northwest great plains and southcentral Canada. They are commonly found along the pacific coast through […]

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Beak of the Week – American Avocet

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Family: Recurvirostridae By Jon Piasecki, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician Known for its long, upturned bill, the American Avocet is a wading bird that is commonly seen foraging in wetlands, salt ponds, mudflats and occasionally rice fields. This species breeds in parts of the western and midwestern United States as well as […]

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Beak of the Week – Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Family: Strigidae By Wyatt Egelhoff, Houston Audubon Conservation Specialist Perhaps one of the most recognizable owls, this terrestrial species is found throughout many of the open areas of the temperate and tropical Western Hemisphere. As its name suggests, this species spends much of its time in subterranean burrows. In North America, […]

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Beak of the Week – Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) Family: Anatidae By Carrie Chapin, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician The Northern Shoveler is a unique species of dabbling duck found in wetlands across much of the world, including North America, Central America, Europe, parts of Africa, and Asia. Northern Shovelers breed in Alaska, Canada, the northern U.S., and Russia. During the […]

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Beak of the Week – Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) Family: Accipitridae By Jon Piasecki, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician Northern Harriers are commonly seen gliding low over grassland and marsh habitats throughout most of North America. This species is known to be a year-round resident in parts of the midwestern and western United States. They expand their range to Alaska, Canada, […]

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Beak of the Week – Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) Family: Mimidae By Carrie Chapin, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician The songs and calls of the brown thrasher are some of the most delightful and confusing sounds to be heard in forests and hedgerows. The brown thrasher is a medium-sized, rusty-brown-backed songbird with black streaks on the breast and flanks, a black […]

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Beak of the Week – Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Family: Alceninidae Belted Kingfishers can often be seen foraging along water bodies throughout North America. They are resident in the the continental United States, expanding their range into Canada in the summer to breed. They are also known to winter in Mexico and Central America, where they overlap with the more […]

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Beak of the Week – Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus) Family: Parulidae Pine Warblers are yellowish birds with olive backs, whitish bellies, and two prominent white wingbars on gray wings. Adult males are the brightest; females and immatures are more subdued and can even appear gray-brown. No bird is more aptly named: it nests exclusively in pine trees, spends much of […]

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Beak of the Week – Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) Family: Picidae The Red-bellied Woodpecker’s name is a bit misleading as the red patch on its lower abdomen is difficult to see in the field. This sleek, medium-sized woodpecker has a black-and-white barred back, red nape, and white patches speckled with black on its rump and tail feathers. The red nape […]

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