Thanks for going green and choosing to use a smart device for your self-guided tour today! Below you’ll find information about all of the birds that call the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary home. All of the birds inside of our enclosures are non-releasable due to permanent injuries or conditions that won’t allow them to survive on their own in the wild. All of the information below is provided by our partners at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and their All About Birds website.

 

Enclosure 1: Barred Owl

Leopold - Barred Owl

Latin Name: Strix varia
The Barred Owl’s hooting call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps. But this attractive owl, with soulful brown eyes and brown-and-white-striped plumage, can also pass completely unnoticed as it flies noiselessly through the dense canopy or snoozes on a tree limb. Originally a bird of the east, during the twentieth century it spread through the Pacific Northwest and southward into California. Read more…


 

Enclosure 2: Great Horned Owl

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Latin Name: Bubo virginianus
With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics. Read more…


 

Enclosure 3: Red-Shouldered Hawk

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Latin Name: Buteo lineatus
Whether wheeling over a swamp forest or whistling plaintively from a riverine park, a Red-shouldered Hawk is typically a sign of tall woods and water. It’s one of our most distinctively marked common hawks, with barred reddish-peachy underparts and a strongly banded tail. In flight, translucent crescents near the wingtips help to identify the species at a distance. These forest hawks hunt prey ranging from mice to frogs and snakes. Read more…


 

Enclosure 4: Merlin Falcon

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Latin Name: Falco columbarius
Merlins are small, fierce falcons that use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds. They are powerful fliers, but you can tell them from larger falcons by their rapid wingbeats and overall dark tones. Medieval falconers called them “lady hawks,” and noblewomen used them to hunt Sky Larks. Merlin populations have largely recovered from twentieth-century declines, thanks to a ban on the pesticide DDT and their ability to adapt to life around towns and cities. Read more…


 

Enclosure 5: Eastern Sreech-Owl

Ruby - Eastern Screech Owl

Latin Name: Megascops asio
If a mysterious trill catches your attention in the night, bear in mind the spooky sound may come from an owl no bigger than a pint glass. Common east of the Rockies in woods, suburbs, and parks, the Eastern Screech-Owl is found wherever trees are, and they’re even willing to nest in backyard nest boxes. These supremely camouflaged birds hide out in nooks and tree crannies through the day, so train your ears and listen for them at night. Read more…


 

Enclosure 6: Broad-Winged Hawk

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Latin Name: Buteo platypterus
One of the greatest spectacles of migration is a swirling flock of Broad-winged Hawks on their way to South America. Also known as “kettles,” flocks can contain thousands of circling birds that evoke a vast cauldron being stirred with an invisible spoon. A small, stocky raptor with black-and-white bands on the tail, the Broad-winged Hawk is a bird of the forest interior and can be hard to see during the nesting season. Its call is a piercing, two-parted whistle. Read more…


 

Enclosure 7: Short-Tailed Hawk

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Latin Name: Buteo brachyurus
The short-tailed hawk is an American bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes the eagles and Old World vultures. As a member of the genus Buteo, it is not a true hawk and thus also referred to as a “buteo” or (outside North America) “buzzard”. The white-throated hawk (B. albigula) is a close relative and was formerly included in the species B. brachyurus. Read more…


 

Enclosure 8: Great Horned Owl

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Latin Name: Bubo virginianus
Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions. When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey. Read more…


 

Enclosure 9a: American Crow

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Latin Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
American Crows are familiar over much of the continent: large, intelligent, all-black birds with hoarse, cawing voices. They are common sights in treetops, fields, and roadsides, and in habitats ranging from open woods and empty beaches to town centers. They usually feed on the ground and eat almost anything – typically earthworms, insects and other small animals, seeds, and fruit but also garbage, carrion, and chicks they rob from nests. Their flight style is unique, a patient, methodical flapping that is rarely broken up with glides. Read more…


 

Enclosure 9b: Cooper’s Hawk

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Latin Name: Accipiter cooperii
Among the bird world’s most skillful fliers, Cooper’s Hawks are common woodland hawks that tear through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds. You’re most likely to see one prowling above a forest edge or field using just a few stiff wingbeats followed by a glide. With their smaller lookalike, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawks make for famously tricky identifications. Both species are sometimes unwanted guests at bird feeders, looking for an easy meal (but not one of sunflower seeds). Read more…


 

Enclosure 10: Barn Owl

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Latin Name: Tyto alba
Ghostly pale and strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss. Read more…


 

Enclosure 11: Turkey Vulture

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Latin Name: Cathartes aura
If you’ve gone looking for raptors on a clear day, your heart has probably leaped at the sight of a large, soaring bird in the distance– perhaps an eagle or osprey. But if it’s soaring with its wings raised in a V and making wobbly circles, it’s likely a Turkey Vulture. These birds ride thermals in the sky and use their keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They are a consummate scavenger, cleaning up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time, and never mussing a feather on their bald heads. Read more…


 

Enclosure 12: Brown Pelican, Double-Crested Cormorant, White Ibis

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Latin Name: Pelecanus occidentalis
The Brown Pelican is a comically elegant bird with an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body. Squadrons glide above the surf along southern and western coasts, rising and falling in a graceful echo of the waves. They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up. They are fairly common today—an excellent example of a species’ recovery from pesticide pollution that once placed them at the brink of extinction. Read more…


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Latin Name: Phalacrocorax auritus 
The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish. Read more…


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Latin Name: Eudocimus albus
A wading bird of the deep South, the striking White Ibis is frequently seen on lawns looking for large insects as well as probing for prey along the shoreline. Read more…


 

Enclosure 13: Willet, Green Heron, Royal Tern, Laughing Gull, Cattle Egret, Black-Necked Stilt

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Latin Name: Tringa semipalmata
Piercing calls and distinctive wing markings make the otherwise subdued Willet one of our most conspicuous large shorebirds. Whether in mottled brown breeding plumage or gray winter colors, Willets in flight reveal a bold white and black stripe running the length of each wing. These long-legged, straight-billed shorebirds feed along beaches, mudflats, and rocky shores. Willets are common on most of our coastline—learn to recognize them and they’ll make a useful stepping-stone to identifying other shorebirds. Read more…


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Latin Name: Butorides virescens
From a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait. Read more…


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Latin Name: Thalasseus maximus
A large, orange-billed tern, the Royal Tern is found only along ocean beaches. Read more…


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Latin Name: Leucophaeus atricilla
Swirling over beaches with strident calls and a distinctive, crisp black head, Laughing Gulls provide sights and sounds evocative of summer on the East Coast. You’ll run across this handsome gull in large numbers at beaches, docks, and parking lots, where they wait for handouts or fill the air with their raucous calls. Laughing Gulls are summer visitors to the Northeast and year-round sights on the coasts of the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico. Read more…


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Latin Name: Bubulcus ibis
The short, thick-necked Cattle Egret spends most of its time in fields rather than streams. It forages at the feet of grazing cattle, head bobbing with each step, or rides on their backs to pick at ticks. This stocky white heron has yellow plumes on its head and neck during breeding season. Originally from Africa, it found its way to North America in 1953 and quickly spread across the continent. Elsewhere in the world, it forages alongside camels, ostriches, rhinos, and tortoises—as well as farmers’ tractors. Read more…


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Latin Name: Himantopus mexicanus
A striking black-and-white bird with very long, thin red legs, the Black-necked Stilt is found along the edges of shallow water in open country. Read more…


 

Enclosure 14: Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot

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Latin Name: Amazona auropalliata
Deforestation is reducing the number of these parrots in the wild together with illegal removal of young for the pet trade. This parrot readily mimics sounds, and in captivity this includes human speech, which is probably the reason it is popular in aviculture. Like all parrots, however, mimic abilities vary greatly between individuals. Read more…


 

Enclosure 15: Currently Vacant

 

Enclosure 16: Songbirds

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Latin Name: Cyanocitta cristata
This common, large songbird is familiar to many people, with its perky crest; blue, white, and black plumage; and noisy calls. Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period. Read more…


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Latin Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird. They’re a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning. Read more…


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Latin Name: Melanerpes carolinus
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are pale, medium-sized woodpeckers common in forests of the East. Their strikingly barred backs and gleaming red caps make them an unforgettable sight – just resist the temptation to call them Red-headed Woodpeckers, a somewhat rarer species that’s mostly black on the back with big white wing patches. Learn the Red-bellied’s rolling call and you’ll notice these birds everywhere. Read more…


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Latin Name: Zenaida macroura
A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. Read more…


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Latin Name: Streptopelia decaocto
With a flash of white tail feathers and a flurry of dark-tipped wings, the Eurasian Collared-Dove settles onto phone wires and fence posts to give its rhythmic three-parted coo. This chunky relative of the Mourning Dove gets its name from the black half-collar at the nape of the neck. A few Eurasian Collared-Doves were introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s. They made their way to Florida by the 1980s and then rapidly colonized most of North America. Read more…


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Latin Name: Patagioenas leucocephala
A resident of islands and coastlines in the Caribbean, the White-crowned Pigeon reaches the northern limits of its range in south Florida. It feeds almost entirely on fruits of hardwood trees. Read more…