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Saturday, February 29, 2020

February 29, 2020

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, Fellsmere

I am a Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Sadly, I'm an endangered species
Mostly due to habitat loss -
I require old growth trees that have red-heart diseases.

If you would like to help save the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, please consider joining the Citizens for the St Sebastian Preserve.

Sources: NatureServe Explorer - Dryobates borealis

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 28, 2020

February 28, 2020

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Yellow-throated Warbler
I can be found in the crowns of palms
Looking for insects that I like to eat
Such as spiders, with which I've no qualms.

Sources: Audubon Guide to North American Birds - Yellow-throated Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 27, 2020

February 27, 2020

Location: Rails to Trails, Fellsmere

I am a Rosy Maple Moth
I'm yellow and pink and I look furry.
In Florida I lay 3 broods of eggs
If I was all white, I'd live in Missouri.

Sources: BioKids Critter Catalog - Rosy Maple Moth

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February 26, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I'm known as a King Vulture
I live in the lowland tropics
To impress my mate, I wheeze and I snort
Which she, for some reason, finds erotic.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Sarcoramphus papa, King Vulture 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

February 25, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I'm known as a Barred Owl
My feathers are mottled and my eyes are black.
I spend my days sleeping and at night I work -
Unlike a lumberjack.

Sources: Cornel Lab All About Birds - Barred Owl

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 24, 2020

February 24, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, wild

I am a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
My chin is white, not red like my chap's.
I like to eat berries, bugs and fruits,
My belly's not yellow, but I like to suck sap

Sources: Guide to North American Birds - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 23, 2020

February 23, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am a Crested Caracara
My feathers are brown and the color of pearls.
While I'm reclining to get some mites off my wings
You can draw me like one of your French girls

Sources: Feather mites may help clean birds' plumage, study shows

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 22, 2020

February 22, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am an American Bald Eagle
I wear a while ballet skirt
But if I'm hungry, fish, mammals and birds
Can be in for a world of hurt.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - American Bald Eagle

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 21, 2020

February 21, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am a Chilean Flamingo
I stand on one leg to conserve my body heat
I have comb-like structures that line my jaws
To filter my food when I eat.

Sources: Animal Diversity Web - Phoenicopterus chilensis 

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 20, 2020

February 20, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am a Southern Cassowary
I'm known as a rainforest gardener
I spread the seeds of the rainforest trees
And I have dagger-like claws that do not need a sharpener!

Sources: Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science - Southern Cassowary

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

February 19, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am a Spotted Whistling Duck
So named for the spots on my sides
I live in the East Indies and New Guinea
And make a whistling sound when I fly.

Sources: Monaco Nature Encyclopedia - Dendrocygna guttata

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I'm known as a Masked Lapwing
In Australia I'm a common backyard bird
I am mostly white with some black and brown
And yellow face wattles that border on absurd.

Sources: Birds in Backyards - Masked Lapwing

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 17, 2020

February 17, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, Captive

I am a Victoria Crowned Pigeon,
I am native to New Guinea
I like to eat figs and seeds and bugs
To keep from getting too skinny.

Sources: National Aviary - Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 16, 2020

February 16, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am known as a Black Swan,
I'm from Austrailia, mate!
I fly long distance, usually at night
And eat vegetarian when out on a date.

Sources: Austrailian Musuem - Black Swan

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 15, 2020

February 15, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo, Captive

I am a Red-legged Seriema
I have eyelash-like feathers around my eyes
I catch and eat prey like a raptor
And can run faster than I can fly.

Sources: Cornell Lab Neotropical Birds - Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 14, 2020

February 14, 2020


Location: Brevard Zoo, captive

I am a Southern Ground Hornbill
I'm the largest Hornbill species on earth
I spend most of my time on the ground, but can fly
Despite my considerable girth.

Sources: South African National Biodiversity Institute - Southern Ground Hornbill

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 13, 2020

February 13, 2020

Location: Brevard Zoo (captive)

I am known as a Marabou Stork
In Florida, you'll only find me in zoos
I am a scavenger akin to a Turkey Vulture
Like them, my legs are covered in poo.

Sources: Siyabona Africa - Marabou Stork

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

February 12, 2020

Location: Rails to Trails, Fellsmere, I-95 footbridge

This used to be a Carpenterworm Moth
But this isn't a case for CSI
Although insect eggs can determine time of death,
This moth was carrying the eggs when she died.

Sources:
Washington State University Extension - Carpenterworm Moth Insect Pest Management in Hybrid Poplars Series

(Do not click if you are squeamish) Forensic Entomology or the Use of Insects in Death Investigations

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

February 11, 2020

Location: Rails to Trails, Fellsmere, I-95 footbridge

I'm known as a Streaked Sphinx moth,
You can ID me by my indented inner wing
Because my larvae love Brazilian Pepper
My numbers in Florida may be on the upswing.

Sources: Sphingidae of the United States of America - Protabulyx strigilis  (Linnaeus, 1771)

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 10, 2020

February 10, 2020

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a female Pileated Woodpecker,
You know cause my mustache is black, not red.
My wings are white on the underside
And I've a big red crest on my head.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Pileated Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 9, 2020

February 9, 2020

Location: Location

I am a Disonycha admirabila,
I'm one of more than 30 types of Flea Beetles
Me, and hundreds of other bugs were found
When searching cotton for the larvae of Boll Weevils.

Sources: Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine - Insects and spiders found in Spanish moss, gin trash, and woods trash, and on wild cotton

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 8, 2020

February 8, 2020

Location: St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

I am a Red-cockaded Woodpecker,
I have a ladder back and a small, pointy beak
You will probably never see my red cockade,
But you can't miss my bright white cheeks.

(Funny story here: This picture was taken on the South Brevard Christmas Bird Count. We got to the SSRPSP at 4:30 a.m., and, armed with headlamps and waterproof boots, me and my partner in crime Kate, headed off into the woods in search of the RCW. It would be a life bird for her - we had scouted for a it a few days before the count but didn't find it. Although we didn't find the RCW, we did find that almost all of the 1.5 miles out to his tree was under about 8 inches of water.  

So, off we went into the dark woods. Being girls we chatted and yacked while walking. And walking. And walking. Eventually we came to a fence across the path that we hadn't seen on our previous trip... at which point I checked my Fitbit and realized that despite my new head lamp, we had overshot the woodpecker's tree by about 1/2 mile.  So, we trudged back through the water, and by the time we got to his tree, he had already left for the day. Dejected, we trudged all the way back to the visitor's center to regroup.

So then, after much needed coffee and a snack, we joined up with the rest of our team, got in the car, and drove down to the power lines. I walked about 10 feet from the car and this RCW flew down, said Hi, and begged me to take his picture. Which was nice and all, but it would have been WAY nicer if we hadn't spent 3 hours trudging through water pre-dawn. 

Ok, but the story doesn't end there. Oh no. So, just last week, David and I were leading a tour. The client wanted to know where the RCWs were. We walked about a mile and a half, and no sign of the RCW, despite seeing lots of appropriate trees. We figured we couldn't let the client go away without seeing anything cool, so we decided to take him out and show him a manatee. As we are driving down the road, David stops the car on the road and says, "Oh there's the RCW." We get out, and sure enough, right on the side of the road is an RCW, posing and saying hi. 

So, I have a theory that the RCWs are working in cahoots with my trainer. I think she told them that they should hide until I have gotten my Fitbit steps in for the day, then reward me with a sighting after. Which makes me wonder what I would have to do to see an Ivory-billed Woodpecker!)

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Friday, February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020

Location: Location

I am a male Red-winged Blackbird,
Notice my bright Sargent bars
My mate doesn't look very much like me
She's striped brown like an old cigar.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-winged Blackbird

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Thursday, February 6, 2020

February 6, 2020


Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

I am a Red-bellied Woodpecker
In a rare pose where you can see my red belly
It's actually pink like cotton candy
Not red like raspberry jelly.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Red-bellied Woodpecker

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

February 5, 2020



Location: Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area

I am a Savannah Sparrow,
There's yellow above my eye, a bit darker than brie cheese
Natal philopatry is a contributing factor
To the number of Savannah Sparrow sub species

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Savannah Sparrow

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

February 4, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Preserve, Cocoa Beach

I am an Orange-crowned Warbler
Thought you only see my crown if I'm upset
My beak's pointy and thin, and I have short wings,
And I like sap from where woodpeckers peck.

Sources: Cornell Lab All About Birds - Orange-crowned Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Monday, February 3, 2020

February 3, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Preserve, Cocoa Beach

I am a Yellow-rumped Warbler,
The branch is strategically placed -
But you can still ID me by my broken eye-ring
And the white on my throat and my dark face.

Sources: Cornell Lab - All About Birds - Yellow-rumped Warbler

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Sunday, February 2, 2020

February 2, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Preserve, Cocoa Beach

I am a female Northern Cardinal,
I am not red like my husband and brothers
But if I have brighter underwing coverts
It could indicate that I'm a great mother.

Sources: Birds of North America - Northern Cardinal
Plumage brightness as an indicator of parental care in northern cardinals

Unrelated to Cardinals, but crazy cool info: A friend turned me on to this article about the Biodiversity Heritage Library online.. I've started checking out their Flickr site which is amazing. My favorite find so far is the The natural history of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands v.1 London :Printed for B. White,1771. It's interesting seeing birds I kind of recognize but with different (sometimes, in my humble opinion, better) names.

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

Location: Maritime Hammock Preserve, Cocoa Beach

I am a male Northern Cardinal,
I'm known as a passerine
That's a fancy way of saying I'm a songbird
With specially adapted perching feet.

Sources: Birds of North America - Northern Cardinal

Photo and text © 2020 Dee Fairbanks Simpson