UPDATE (1/8): We've narrowed down the entries to these three. Now it's up to you to choose the winning caption!
Every week we post a funny animal photo that’s begging for a caption. Join in the fun and add your suggestion in the Comments section below. You’ve got til 11:59 pm (Eastern time) on Sunday. On Monday we’ll choose our three favorite captions and list them under the image.
Check out our top choices from our most recent contest and all previous weeks. And see more fantastic bird, other wildlife, and nature photos on Audubon magazine's Flickr group, and share your own pictures there.
Welcome back and happy 2013! Hope the holidays were relaxing and fun. Now it’s back to Bird Madness…
Finally, you’ve seen the images our judges picked as the official winners of the 2012 Audubon Magazine Photo Awards. But the people’s choice pick is still up for grabs. Help us decide the last of the Feathered Four finalists now! Which do you like better?
Photos: Linda Hoopes (L), Patrick Dennen!--/end tags-->
Pictorial Encyclopedia of Shakespearean Birds, by Missy Dunaway.
What, is the jay more precious than the lark,
Because his feathers are more beautiful?
So asks Petruchio in a rhetorical musing from William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (Act IV, Scene III), suggesting that appearance isn’t everything (“’tis the mind that makes the body rich,” he says). The metaphor is just one of many references the Bard makes to birds in his repertoire.!--/end tags-->
Common Loons washed ashore in October 2012 along a seven-mile stretch of Lake Michigan beach near Gulliver, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Damon McCormick/Common Coast Research & Conservation.
In late September, the body of a 21-year-old male common loon washed up on a Lake Michigan shore. A band around its leg revealed a rich history: The bird was the last of a group of 13 loons marked between 1991-1993 in Michigan’s Antrim County, in the Lower Peninsula. It had logged some 42,500 miles and fledged 16 chicks over the course of 12 years. Other than a broken beak tip, the lifeless bird appeared to have been healthy enough, weighing a solid 10.2 pounds, according to a necropsy report.!--/end tags-->
We know holiday time gets busy, with family gatherings and tasty meals. With that in mind, we’ve decided to try something new: Today’s post includes Egret Eight rounds #2 and #3 together so you can vote for both in one fell swoop.
By the way, the awesome roadrunner with a mouth full of insects moves on to the Feathered Four finals.
The voting for rounds 2 and 3 will remain open for a week starting today. Round 2 pits hummingbird against kestrel. Round 3, it’s a cattle egret versus a cardinal. Watch for the final Egret Eight round Thursday, Jan 3. (We’re taking a short break over the holidays.)
Photos (clockwise from top L): Ben Knoot, Fi Rust, Bernard Friel, Troy Lim!--/end tags-->
Pine grosbeak, by Nick Saunders.
My story—harrowingly—begins far back in time. Ada and I had driven to New York’s Adirondack Park for a quiet Christmas week, isolated in the snowscape from urban hubbub, looking forward to snowshoeing and some winter birding. On a winding road, we spotted a flock of eight or ten birds then unfamiliar to us, pecking at the gravel spread by a road crew on the recently plowed surface. I checked my Peterson Guide and confirmed that the birds were pine grosbeaks, occasional invaders from remote, underpopulated regions in Canada and “life birds” for both of us. We settled in to study them through our binoculars.!--/end tags-->
Artwork: Mark Hobson
Seabirds befouled with black ooze are potent symbols of the havoc oil spills can wreak on marine and coastal ecosystems, but the ebony plumage of the bird in Mark Hobson’s “Pelagic Cormorants: Diving for Gobies” is entirely natural. Nevertheless, viewed in the context of the Art for an Oil-free Coast exhibit now touring British Columbia, the painting’s message is unequivocal: wildlife and petroleum products don’t mix.!--/end tags-->
A Northern mockingbird at the Christmas Bird Count in Central Park. (Photo by Debra Kriensky)
On Sunday I went to Central Park for my first Christmas Bird Count (this year marks the 113th year of Audubon’s nationwide survey). It was a dark morning with pinpricks of rain, and birders spread out around the park into seven sectors, ready to look among bare branches for signs of life and to listen for characteristic calls.!--/end tags-->