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Monday, May 4, 2015

Mistle thrush

The mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) is a bird common to much of Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is a year-round resident in much of its range, but northern and eastern populations migrate south for the winter, often in small flocks. It is a large thrush with pale grey-brown upperparts, a greyish-white chin and throat, and black spots on its pale yellow and off-white underparts. The sexes are similar in plumage, and its three subspecies show only minimal differences. The male has a loud, far-carrying song which is delivered even in wet and windy weather, earning the bird the old name of "stormcock".
Found in open woods, parks, hedges and cultivated land, the mistle thrush feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates, seeds and berries. Its preferred fruits including those of the mistletoe, holly and yew. Mistletoe is favoured where it is available, and this is reflected in the thrush's English and scientific names; the plant, a parasitic species, benefits from its seeds being excreted by the thrush onto branches where they can germinate. In winter, a mistle thrush will vigorously defend mistletoe clumps or a holly tree as a food reserve for when times are hard.
The open cup nest is built against a trunk or in a forked branch, and is fearlessly defended against potential predators, sometimes including humans or cats. The clutch, typically of three to five eggs, is incubated for 12–15 days, mainly by the female. The chicks fledge about 14–16 days after hatching. There are normally two broods. There was a large range expansion in the 18th and early 19th centuries, although there has been a small decline in recent decades, perhaps due to changes in agricultural practices. Given its high numbers and very large range, this thrush is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being of least concern.

Ring ouzel

The ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus) is a European member of the thrush family Turdidae. It is the mountain equivalent of the closely related common blackbird, and breeds in gullies, rocky areas or scree slopes.

Tawny Owl

The tawny owl or brown owl (Strix aluco) is a stocky, medium-sized owl commonly found in woodlands across much of Eurasia. Its underparts are pale with dark streaks, and the upperparts are either brown or grey. Several of the eleven recognised subspecieshave both variants. The nest is typically in a tree hole where it can protect its eggs and young against potential predators. This owl isnon-migratory and highly territorial. Many young birds starve if they cannot find a vacant territory once parental care ceases.
This nocturnal bird of prey hunts mainly rodents, usually by dropping from a perch to seize its prey, which it swallows whole; in more urban areas its diet includes a higher proportion of birds. Vision and hearing adaptations and silent flight aid its night hunting. The tawny owl is capable of catching smaller owls, but is itself vulnerable to the eagle owl or Northern goshawk.
Although many people believe this owl has exceptional night vision, its retina is no more sensitive than a human's. Rather, it is its asymmetrically placed ears that are key to its hunting because they give the tawny owl excellent directional hearing. Its nocturnal habits and eerie, easily imitated call, have led to a mythical association of the tawny owl with bad luck and death.

Dunnock

The dunnock (Prunella modularis) is a small passerine, or perching bird, found throughout temperate Europe and into Asia. It is by far the most widespread member of the accentor family, which otherwise consists of mountain species. Other common names of the dunnock include the hedge accentorhedge sparrow, or hedge warbler. The name "dunnock" comes from the Ancient British*dunnākos, meaning "little brown one."

Spotted nutcracker

The spotted nutcrackerEurasian nutcracker, or just nutcracker, (Nucifraga caryocatactes) is a passerine bird slightly larger than the Eurasian jay. It has a much larger bill and a slimmer looking head without any crest. The feathering over its body is predominantly a chocolate brown with distinct white spots and streaks. The wings and upper tail are virtually black with a greenish-blue gloss. It is one of three species of nutcracker. The large-spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga multipunctata), was formerly considered a subspecies. The other,Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), occurs in western North America.

White-throated dipper

The white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), also known as the European dipper or just dipper, is an aquatic passerinebird found in EuropeMiddle EastCentral Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The species is divided into several subspecies, based primarily on colour differences, particularly of the pectoral band. The white-throated dipper is Norway's national bird

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