Conformity = Death?

“He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”
Albert Einstein
Image © RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, new York

Today’s Bird – Black Vulture

Coragyps atratus ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: CATHARTIDAE

With sooty black plumage, a bare black head, and neat white stars under the wingtips, Black Vultures are almost dapper. Whereas Turkey Vultures are lanky birds with teetering flight, Black Vultures are compact birds with broad wings, short tails, and powerful wingbeats. The two species often associate: the Black Vulture makes up for its poor sense of smell by following Turkey Vultures to carcasses. Highly social birds with fierce family loyalty, Black Vultures share food with relatives, feeding young for months after they’ve fledged.

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Today’s Bird – Canada Goose

Branta canadensis ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

A familiar and widespread goose with a black head and neck, white chinstrap, light tan to cream breast and brown back. Has increased in urban and suburban areas in recent years; just a decade or two after people intentionally introduced or reintroduced “giant” Canada Geese to various areas, they are often considered pests.

(Source: All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

(Image by RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY)

Today’s Bird – Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: ACCIPITRIDAE

The Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that. These regal birds aren’t really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings. Look for them soaring in solitude, chasing other birds for their food, or gathering by the hundreds in winter. Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, Bald Eagles have flourished under protection.

(Source: All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Today’s Bird – Wild Turkey

Meleagris gallopavo ORDER: GALLIFORMES FAMILY: PHASIANIDAE

Most North American kids learn turkey identification early, by tracing outlines of their hands to make Thanksgiving cards. These big, spectacular birds are an increasingly common sight the rest of the year, too, as flocks stride around woods and clearings like miniature dinosaurs. Courting males puff themselves into feathery balls and fill the air with exuberant gobbling. The Wild Turkey’s popularity at the table led to a drastic decline in numbers, but they have recovered and now occur in every state except Alaska.

(Source: All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Eliot

Today’s Bird – Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis ORDER: PELECANIFORMES FAMILY: ARDEIDAE

The short, thick-necked Cattle Egret spends most of its time in fields rather than streams. It forages at the feet of grazing cattle, head bobbing with each step, or rides on their backs to pick at ticks. This stocky white heron has yellow plumes on its head and neck during breeding season. Originally from Africa, it found its way to North America in 1953 and quickly spread across the continent. Elsewhere in the world, it forages alongside camels, ostriches, rhinos, and tortoises—as well as farmers’ tractors.

(Photo in Kenya by Lisa Ware for RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY)

Eliot

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Today’s Bird – Gulls

© RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY
© RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY

Larus argentatus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

Spiraling above a fishing boat or squabbling at a dock or parking lot, Herring Gulls are the quintessential gray-and-white, pink-legged “seagulls.” They’re the most familiar gulls of the North Atlantic and can be found across much of coastal North America in winter. A variety of plumages worn in their first four years can make identification tricky—so begin by learning to recognize their beefy size and shape.

There also appears to be a Greater Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)in this shot.

(Source: All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

– Eliot