In Case a Visitor Asks December Sightings
Orange-crowned Warbler at the south lake(December 1).Painted Bunting near the feeder by the BuntingHouse (December 5).Common Grackle, aberrant coloration on tailfeathers, near Bunting House (December 18).
Why do Anhingas spread their wings?
The structure of Anhinga feathersdecreases buoyancy and facilitates un-derwater pursuit of fish. Hence, theirplumage is not water-repellent likeducks, but “wettable.”It was once suggested that the func-tions of the spread-wing posture wasto dry the wings after wetting. Biolo-gists thought that deficient productionof oils from the preen gland requiredthe wings to be dried.We now know that the degree of waterproofing of their feathers is pri-marily due to the microscopic structureof the feathers, and not to being oiled.Some birds do use a spread-wingposture for wing drying. Not Anhingas.
…and the answer is NOT that they need to dry them off
Anhingas have unusually lowmetabolic rates and unusually high ratesof heat loss from their bodies. Whetherwet or dry, they exhibit spread-wingpostures mostly under conditions of bright sunlight and cool ambient tem-peratures, and they characteristicallyorient themselves with their backs tothe sun.Thus, it appears that Anhingasadopt a spread-wing posture primarilyfor thermoregulation – to absorb solarenergy to supplement their low meta-bolic heat production and to partly off-set their inordinately high rate of heatloss due to convection and (when wet)evaporation from their plumage.
Reference: The Birder’s Handbook, pp. 25-27
Christmas Bird Count
In spite of rain and overcast skies,41 volunteers were in the field for the107
Christmas Bird Count on Satur-day, December 16.Volunteers met in the Corkscrewparking lot between 6:15 and 7:30
where they divided into small groups.Most of the groups completed theircounts by 5:00
.The territories counted in the Cork-screw Circle stretched from the Sanc-tuary property (including the fish farm,central marsh and washout trail), northand east to Lake Trafford andImmokalee, south to 18th Avenue andwest almost to Twin Eagles.A grand total of 27,907 birds wascounted during the day. The most of-ten seen bird was the American Robinwith a total of 7,137 individuals, fol-lowed by Tree Swallows (5,320), Com-mon Grackles (2,229), Yellow-rumpedWarblers (1,767), and Mourning Doves(1,727).Numbers for eighteen species wereall-time highs in the 26 years of theCorkscrew Circle Christmas BirdCounts.
Corkscrew Area Count sets records for 18 species, tallies almost 28,000 birds
Record highs for individual speciesincluded Green-winged Teal, Wild Tur-key, Northern Harrier, Red-shoulderedHawk, Least Sandpiper, Eurasian Col-lared Dove, Mourning Dove, Rock Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, East-ern Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue-headed Vireo, Blue Jay, Gray Catbird,Northern Mockingbird, Summer Tana-ger, and American Robin.Less common birds observed in-cluded Bufflehead, Peregrine Falcon,Scrub Jay, Wood Thrush, Sora, andSolitary Sandpiper.