Following up on the last post about owls. Here is a fun and interesting look at beaks of different birds. The all important way they hunt and eat. Although many are from the Eastern US, look for our Northwestern species: Great Horned owl, American robin, merlin, Cooper’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, screech owl (eastern here but probably similar to ours), grackle (close to crow or raven), American coot, Swainson’s thrush, Grosbeak may be similar to our black headed grosbeak?
Great stuff!!

David George Haskell

Last week my Ornithology class started their bird anatomy studies with dissections of road- or window-killed birds. The project will continue, as in years past, with cleaning of bones and reconstruction of the skeleton, ending with an articulated specimen.

I took the following photographs of beaks before the class started. Can you identify the bird from the beak? Answers with some additional information are listed below. Hovering your mouse over the images will reveal the name (take care when dangling rodents next to birds of prey) or click on any of the images to see a slideshow with answers included.


  1. The insect killer. Carolina Wren. Long beak with a downward curve. Great for probing insects out of tangles of vegetation.
  2. Worm slayer. American Robin. “with a start, a bounce, a stab/Overtake the instant and drag out some writhing thing” Also fond of fruit. Hughes didn’t…

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