fiery billed aracari

The fierybilled aracari’s beak is super sharp to slice open fruit.

Tailored to the Task

How do birds survive in so many different places? Birds have evolved in different ways. Ostriches in Africa can be 2.7 meters (nine feet) tall. In Cuba, a bee hummingbird can fit in the palm of your hand. And there is still room to spare.

Some birds are full of color, like the painted bunting in Texas. Others come in various shades of brown.

superb parrot

The superb parrot’s tiny beak helps it nibble on flowers.

Delightfully Diverse

Birds behave in different ways, too. Some are very social. Others are not. Flamingos gather in flocks of millions. Parakeets build entire parakeet cities in trees out of sticks. Dippers can walk underwater. A wandering albatross may glide alone 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) in a single journey. 

I’ve met friendly birds, like the New Zealand fantail that followed me down a trail. I’ve met mean ones, too. In Chile, a caracara tried to knock my head off for staring at it too long. A rushbird can live its whole life in one place. A cerulean warbler may migrate from New Jersey to Peru.



superb fairywren

In 1918, the U. S. Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to protect birds. It’s one of the oldest wildlife protection laws. In the hundred years since this law passed, millions of birds have been protected.