Monday, April 15, 2013

What is the state bird? (HI-MA)

     This is a continuation of the state bird list.

  • Hawaii - Hawaiian Goose (Nēnē), was chosen in the year of 1957 - Branta sandvicensis. This bird has long been struggling against extinction. It was probably selected as the state bird by someone(s) who wanted to help it. This has been going on since the 1940's. Rescue efforts were in the process in 1957 when it was selected. To help it, it needs water. It is similar to the Canada Goose except that on this goose only the face, cap and hindneck are black; and Nene have buff colored cheeks. The front and sides of neck seem to have black and white stripes. Males and females have identical plumage. Also, the black feet are not webbed as with other geese. 
  • Idaho - In 1931 Idaho selected the pretty sky blue Mountain Bluebird as its state bird, Sialia currucoides. It is basically in the Rocky Mountain region and it nests in either old woodpecker holes or occasionally man-made structures. They eat mostly insects, some fruits and a only a few creeper seeds and cedar berries. The male is a pure sky blue above, a paler blue below, with a white abdomen; the females are similar but duller and grayer.
  • Illinois - 1928, the year that the Northern Cardinal (male is red), Cardinalis cardinalis, was chosen by school children as their state bird. I think that we know why. After all, the male is a bright red, including the crest on its head, plus a red bill; it has a black "mask" on its face. Female is a light brown with a red bill and some red on its crest, wings and tail. It was made official by the General Assembly in 1929.
  • Indiana - In 1933 the General Assembly also adopted the Northern Cardinal (male is red) as their state bird. They remain in Indiana year-round. 
  • Iowa - 'Eastern Goldfinch', better known as American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis, was approved by the Iowa House of Representatives in 1933.
  • Kansas - In 1925 the Kansas Audubon Society held a ballot for the school children to vote for the bird that they wanted to select as their state bird. Out of four candidates - Western Meadowlark,  Bobwhite Quail, No. Cardinal and Am. Robin - Kansas Legislature approved Western Meadowlark, Stumella neglecta, as official state bird in 1937. 
  • Kentucky - Another one goes to the Northern Cardinal (male is red), Cardinalis cardinalis. It was either in 1926 or 1942 but I believe that it was in 1926. 
  • Louisiana - The Brown Pelican, or Pelecanus occidentalis, became Louisiana's official bird in 1966. The pelican is a very large, stocky bird with a dark brown body and a long flat bill. Head is whitish in adults with dark brown on hindneck during breeding season. Young birds have dark brown heads and whitish bellies. It is also featured on their flag and state seal and one of Louisiana's nicknames is "The Pelican State." This bird has been a symbol of Louisiana since the European settlers.
  • Maine - William D. Hall, of Castine,-- wrote a letter to the Legislature in 1927, recommending that the Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapilla, become the state bird of Maine. It has a black cap and throat, white cheeks, gray back, dull white underparts. Wing feathers narrowly and indistinctly edged with white. (I never lived in Maine but the chickadee is one of my favorite two birds.)
  • Maryland - The Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula, - actually the eastern version of the Northern Oriole - was adopted by the Maryland General Assembly in 1947. Special provisions were made for the bird's protection. Eastern male has a black head, back, wings and tail; orange breast, rump and shoulder patch. Eastern female is olive-brown with dull yellow-orange underparts; 2 dull-white wing bars.
  • Massachusetts - A second selection for the Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapilla. It was adopted as the official state bird by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1941.                                         This same state also has a game bird. The Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, which was eaten at the first Thanksgiving, was designated the state game bird of the Commonwealth on December 23, 1991. 

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