Fun Facts About North American Birds

Stan Tekiela, author of Bird Trivia: Funny, Strange, and Incredible Facts about North American Birds, shares with us some more funny, strange, and incredible facts about birds of North America.

Birds are amazing creatures that have captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere. From their outrageous shapes and colors to their unique behaviors, birds are endlessly interesting.

North American birds have many incredible attributes to marvel at and admire. Learning about them makes for a fulfilling journey. Better yet, set up a feeding station in your yard to attract birds so you can see them in action every day. 

Fighting Its Own Reflection 
Some male birds, such as male Northern Cardinals, are known to fight their own reflections in a window, vehicle mirror, or chrome hubcap. It is believed that these males see the reflection as a competing bird and attack it in an attempt to drive it off. Often this aggressive behavior continues for a couple of days, but sometimes it goes on for months at a time! 

Using Tools Some gulls will carry clams or oysters high above the ground and drop them onto rocks to break open the shells. Crows use twigs to fish insects out of cracks and crevices. 

Fearless Snake Hunting
The roadrunner uses a bizarre method to hunt venomous snakes. It will fluff its feathers, spread its wings, and taunt the snake to strike! The bird tries to keep far enough away so that when the snake strikes, it may only graze the feathers, missing the skin. A roadrunner will make a snake strike three or four times to wear it down or continue to taunt until the striking stops. At that point, the roadrunner uses its large bill as a weapon and strikes the snake’s head a couple of times. Afterward, it picks up the snake and whips it around until it is dead. 

North American Birds

Mixing Up Some Eggs 
Some birds not only lay eggs in their own nests, but they also lay some in the nests of other females in their species. Hooded Mergansers, Wood Ducks, and Common Goldeneyes will even lay some of their eggs in the nests of other species! This behavior, known as egg dumping, can result in Wood Ducks incubating Hooded Merganser eggs and Hooded Mergansers incubating Common Goldeneye eggs. 

North American Birds

Wing Singing 
The male American Woodcock, also known as the Timberdoodle, performs a sky dance for females in spring and serenades them without using his voice. He has several modified primary flight feathers that are unusually narrow and stiff. In his aerial courtship display, the male rapidly flutters his wings. When air vibrates over the feathers, it produces a twittering noise, like a unique mating song.

North American Birds

If you enjoyed this bird trivia, check out Stan Tekiela’s latest book, Bird Trivia: Funny, Strange, and Incredible Facts about North American Birds.

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Find more posts about wildlife here:
Indigo Bunting—A Familiar Summer Visitor
The Nesting Behaviors of Sandhill Cranes
Big Birds, Baby Birds, Birds Everywhere
Stan Tekiela observes Marsh Wrens 
The Magical, Mystical World of Sandhill Cranes

Liliane Opsomer
  • Annie Long

    That picture of the baby cardinals begging for food–so comical if you are not the parent! I saw a pileated woodpecker this morning! And a pair of Baltimore Orioles doing their spring dance, so colorful. Did you know I’m a bird watcher and lover? The viewing is much better high up here on the mountainside at our new house. I’ve seen the pileateds a few times, there’s a dominant pair who lives here. I hear their calls and drumming more often that I catch a sight, but they are truly magnificent!

    March 12, 2020 at 3:06 pm

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