Saturday, March 30, 2013

What is the state bird? (AL-GA)

     Do you know what your official state bird is? (I say 'official' because some states also have a state 'game' bird). I will include a game bird with the states which have one for those curious. Here is the beginning of a list:


  • Alabama - In 1927 they chose the Northern Flicker or, Colaptes auratus. It is a large brownish woodpecker; a brown back and dark bars and spots; whitish or buff below with black spots and a black crescent on its breast. Plus a white rump in flight. They chose the "Yellow-shafted" - it is called that because it has a red patch on its nape but mainly because it has yellow wing linings - since they use the state name 'Yellowhammer'. The Yellow-shafted Flicker covers the eastern range of the US. This state also has a game bird which is the Wild Turkey or, Meleagris gallopavo. Female smaller, lacks spurs, usually lacks "beard".
  • Alaska - In 1955 they chose the Willow Ptarmigan or, Lagopus lagopus. The bird is of arctic and subarctic regions of the New and Old Worlds. In summer, female is mottled and barred with brown but has white wings. While molting shows a variety of checkered patterns. It is also referred to as the 'Red Grouse'.
  • Arizona - In 1973 they chose the Cactus Wren or, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus. It is called the Cactus Wren, of course, because it lives in thorny desert plants, such as the giant saguaro cactus. 
  • Arkansas - In 1929 they chose a slender, long-tailed gray bird with white patches on wings and tail. The Northern Mockingbird or, Mimus polyglottos. This bird can mimic, or imitate, practically any sound that it hears. It is not the only 'mimic' but after hearing a few others and hearing this one year round in more than one state, it sounds the best to me, but I have not heard them all.
  • California - In 1931 California officially selected the California Quail or, Callipepla californica. Female is less boldly marked than the male. The C. Quail is also known as the 'valley quail'
  • Colorado - In 1931 this state they selected the Lark Bunting or, Calamospiza melanocorys.  Female/immature, and in winter the male streaked sandy buff above, white below; white eye line, faint "mustache" stripe; white wing patch; rounded, white-tipped tail feathers.
  • Connecticut - In 1943 Connecticut chose the American Robin as their bird or, Turdus migratorius. Everyone - as far as I know - is familiar with the American Robin. If you know this bird then you know its colors, but here they are in the female and young: Head and tail dull gray in females. Young birds are spotted below.  
  • Delaware - In 1939 this state picked the Blue Hen Chicken as their state bird - Gallus gallus. This is a domestic bird so there is no place for it in Audubon's Birds of America, basically this lists wild birds of North America. The Blue Hen Chicken has been used as a motif in numerous political campaigns and publications. On a farm, half of the chicks are blue while the other half were black, or black & white.
  • Florida - Here we have another state that chose the Northern Mockingbird as its state bird. In 1927 Florida picked the Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos. It is a gray bird with white patches on wings and tail.
  • Georgia - In 1928 the Brown Thrasher was chosen as the state bird for GA - Toxostoma rufum. This was selected by school children of Georgia. That was the selection. It was not officially declared until April 6, 1935 by Governor Eugene Talmadge.                                                  GA also has a game bird. It is another quail but this one is the 'Bobwhite Quail' (Northern Bobwhite) or, Colinus virginianus. This was chosen in 1970. Face patterned in buff and white in females. Usually seen in groups called coveys. 

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