Peacocks of Florida

Peacocks of Florida

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The male peacock is more colorful than female peahens.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

We use the word peacock to refer to the entire species, but the correct name for the pheasant is peafowl. Peafowl are native to India, Southeast Asia and Central Africa — not the U.S., although there is a large, growing population in Florida. All it takes is for a few birds to escape captivity, and they will quickly breed and multiply.
Peacocks are the colorful male peafowl. They have iridescent blue and green tail feathers, with blue, green, red and gold “eye” markings that drag behind them as they walk in a colorful “train.” The tail is arched into a large, round fan during a mating ritual or courtship display. Females are called peahens, and they’re typically muted brown or green.

Parts of Florida with a Peacock Problem

  • Residents in many parts of Florida have been complaining about the growing peacock population for years. Neighborhoods from Cape Canaveral down to Miami have been overrun. Florida’s west coast, including many towns along the Gulf of Mexico, are among the areas that are most populated with the birds. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has reported receiving dozens of calls from angry residents about peacocks across the state.
    Many towns along the Florida coastline are home to peacocks.
    Many towns along the Florida coastline are home to peacocks.

Issues Peacocks Cause

  • Most Florida residents with wild peacocks around their home complain about them walking around their front yards, invading their backyards and even walking on their roof. The birds are noisy, and squawk loudly — even in the middle of the night. They knock out patio screens, their feathers clog air conditioning units, they will walk into homes if doors are left open. They also scratch cars and have even attacked dogs. Their droppings are found everywhere, such as in pools, and can make children sick.
    Peacocks are beautiful, but can wreak havoc in a neighorhood.
    Peacocks are beautiful, but can wreak havoc in a neighorhood.

A Growing Issue, Hard to Control

  • Peacocks are not endangered, but they’re protected by Florida authorities, who say that Florida is the bird’s habitat. Some communities control populations by moving the birds, and others have tried a contraceptive pill. These solutions haven’t been perfect, however, because populations can multiply again so quickly.

    One example is Longbeach Village in Longboat Key. The town has reduced its population of 150 birds down to 12 every year since 2008, but these efforts have proven useless because the number of birds quickly grows again. A couple in Redlands, Florida reported having 130 birds around their home in 2009. They were working with a local non-profit conservation group, Vanishing Species, to relocate the birds. The couple says that when they purchased the house 18 years earlier, there were just two peacocks.

Advocates for Peacocks

  • Many residents whose homes are overrun with the birds are angry that not enough is being done to address their issues, but others are fighting for the birds’ rights. Dennis Fett, who runs the Peacock Information Center website, says that peacocks like being around people and may even crave human company, which he told Fox News in August 2008.

    Many people say they don’t mind the birds because they’re a beautiful tourist attraction that prospective homebuyers love to see in a neighborhood. Some believe they even help to make a neighborhood safer for children because they slow traffic when they’re walking around. Others argue that they protect houses from being robbed, because their squawk is better than a burglar alarm and will quickly scare anyone away.

    Peacock advocates say they enjoy being around people.
    Peacock advocates say they enjoy being around people.

Birds of Florida

Birds of Florida

Bird Galleries – 1 2 3 4 5

On this pageFlorida Sandhill Crane, Green Heron, Great Blue Heron,
Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Yellow Crowned Night-Heron,
Roseate Spoonbill, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, White Ibis

Florida is home to over 500 species of birds that are either year-round residents, over-winter here or use Florida as a migratory rest stop, in fact with more bird species than any other state east of the Mississippi River, Florida is among the top bird watching destinations in the world.

The Great Florida Birding Trail, a project of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was completed in 2006 and consists of four main sections – the Panhandle, East, West, and South sections, offers birding enthusiasts a highway-connected string of individual birding sites throughout Florida.

Click any image for a larger version

Florida Sandhill Crane –
Grus canadensis pratensis

Sandhill Crane in Florida

A pair of Sandhill cranes tending their nest

Florida Sandhill Cranes are a large bird with a body length just over 3 feet and a wingspan of 6 feet, adult color is predominately grey but is often stained rusty brown from preening with a bill muddy from feeding in iron rich soils, red forecrown, white cheeks, relatively short black, straight bill and long, black legs.

The Florida sub-species is a year-round resident, there is also a migratory group of Canadian Sandhill that over-winters here.

Habitat – Freshwater marshes, pastures, open woodland, they are frequent visitors on golf courses.

Sandhill Cranes feed on seeds, tubers, insects and their larvae, snakes, frogs and the occasional small mammal.

Sandhills nest in grassy areas within marshes, building a nest of vegetation up above the surrounding water level, laying 1-3 eggs with both parents building the nest and caring for the chicks.

Green Heron – Butorides virescens

A Green Heron crouches in its typical striking position just above the water. A Green Heron catches a big tadpole.

The Green Heron, also called the Green-backed Heron is a year-round resident of Florida found in fresh and saltwater marshes, ponds, lakes and rivers where it stalks its prey by wading or standing motionless on a branch, log or other structure close to the waters surface.

Green Herons are unique in that they will often drop insects, bits of twigs and other small objects onto the waters surface to attract small fish which it then catches with a lightning fast thrust of its beak.

The adult Green Heron has a body length of 19 inches with a wingspan up to 26 inches.

Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias

A Great Blue Heron looks for fish at the rivers edge A white morph of the Great Blue Heron, note the band on its leg. Picture of a Great Blue Heron on its nest.

With a wingspan that can be up to six & a half feet across and a body length up to 54 inches long, the Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America.

Feeding on fish, aquatic invertebrates and the occasional small mammal, they are most often seen stalking prey in the shallows of freshwater rivers, lakes & marshes.

The Great White Heron is a color morph or variation of the Great Blue Heron that was once thought to be a completely different specie.

Similar in appearance to the White Egret, Great White Herons are most easily distinguished as having light colored legs whereas the Great Egret’s legs are black.

Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea

A juvenile little Blue heron on the hunt in a Florida marsh.

The Little Blue Heron has a body length of 27-30 inches with a wingspan of 40 inches.

Usually seen hunting in the shallow waters of inland waterways, lakes, ponds and marshes, catching fish, amphibians & crustaceans.

The Little Blue Heron will also hunt in grassy meadows for insects and amphibians.

Immature Little blues have all white plumage, as the birds mature they have a mottled or pied appearance, showing both blue and white coloration. Adult are blue and in breeding have reddish-buff colored necks and delicate plumes on their heads with a black tipped, blue bill.

Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor

A wading Tri-colored Heron

The Tricolored Heron (formerly called the Louisiana Heron) is similar in appearance to the Little Blue Heron.

Tricolored Herons are slate grey with a white stripe running down the neck and white underside, as well as white plumes on the head during breeding season, neck may also be rust colored.

Measuring about 26 inches long, the Tricolored Heron has a wingspan of 36 inches and can be found in marshes, ponds and the shallow waters of rivers where they hunt fish, insects and other small prey.

Yellow Crowned Night-Heron
Nyctanassa violacea

Yellow crowned Night Heron, Nyctanassa violacea Juvenile Yellow Crowned Night-Heron

Adult (left), Juvenile (right)

Although it’s name implies otherwise this bird is also quite active during daylight hours. The Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron has an average body length of 24 inches with a wingspan of 44 inches.

Adults are slate grey, have a black head, white crown and cheek stripe, reddish eyes and yellow legs. Breeding adults have a yellow fore-crown with white plumes from nape and orange legs.

Juveniles are grayish brown with amber eyes, white spotting and streaks above, gradually acquiring adult characteristics over a two year period.

The Yellow Crowned Night-Heron hunts crustaceans, insects, & invertebrates in Mangroves, fresh and salt water swamps and marshes, mainly near the coast.

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax

A Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

Relatively short and stocky when compared to other Herons, the Black-crowned Night Heron is the most widespread of all Herons, populating all continents except Australia and Antarctica, they are year-round residents within Florida.

Adults are about 25 inches tall with grey wings, white to grey underside, black back and crown. Eyes are red and the legs are yellow-green, except during breeding season when they turn pink. As the name implies, this Heron feeds primarily from dusk to dawn, in doing so it avoids direct competition with other Herons in the same area, which feed during the day.

Roseate Spoonbill – Ajaia ajaja

A Roseate Spoonbill caught a fish for dinner! Roseate Spoonbill in a Florida marsh.

Juvenile Roseate Spoonbills have a white beak, an adults beak is grey. Adults have a bald head with a greenish tinge that turns a buffy golden hue during the breeding phase.

The Roseate Spoonbill with its pink color is sometimes mistaken for the Flamingo, as both birds have a diet which includes the small crustaceans that give their feathers the pink color.

The Spoonbill has a more “stocky” build with much shorter legs, another characteristic that sets them apart from the Flamingo is the difference in their bills.

The Spoonbill has a much longer bill that ends with the “spoon” shape, the Flamingo has a short black bill that curves downward.

Spoonbills (much like the Flamingo) feed by sweeping their bill back and forth, probing the shallow waters of marshes, rivers and other bodies of water.

Touch sensitive receptors in their bills allow them to feel their prey in cloudy or muddy water, when something touches these receptors the bill snaps shut, this adaptation also allows them to feed in the darkness of night.

Snowy Egret – Egretta thula

Snowy Egret preening A Snowy Egret shows its plumage.

Snowy Egrets can be found in marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes, rivers and tidal flats.

Snowy Egrets were hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s for their breeding plumes, which were used to decorate ladies hats. The specie rebounded quickly after being protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

The Snowy Egret has a 36 inch wingspan, stands about 2 feet tall and is of slender build, has snow white plumage with a black bill, black legs and yellow feet and lores.

During breeding season this Egret develops long, delicate plumes on their head, neck and back. The yellow parts get a reddish tint during courtship also. Snowy Egrets feed on shrimp, fish, crabs, crayfish, insects, snakes, and small amphibians, such as small frogs.

Great Egret – Ardea alba

Great Egret - Ardea alba Great egret trying to swallow a large frog.

The Great Egret is a large, all white, wading bird common in South Florida. Body length to 39 inches, with a 55 inch wingspan.

One of several white members of the Ardeidae (Heron) family present in Florida the Great Egret is distinguished from the white morph of the Great Blue Heron by having black legs and feet, the Snowy Egret has a black bill and yellow feet and the Reddish Egret, (white morph) which has a black tipped bill and smaller stature. Breeding individuals have long plumes on their backs.

Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis

Cattle Egret -  Bubulcus ibis

The Cattle Egret averages 17-21 inches in length with a wingspan just over three feet. Often observed feeding in open pastures & fields away from water. Follows grazing animals and tractors, feeding on disturbed insects.

Distinguished from the Great Egret & White Heron by its much smaller size, from immature Little blue Herons by having an orange bill.

White Ibis – Eudocimus albus

A flock of White Ibis feeding White Ibis - Eudocimus albus wading in a Florida swamp.

White Ibis are often seen foraging in the wild for crustaceans & frogs, probing mudflats with their long, red, downcurved bill. Alternately, a frequent visitor to golf courses and cultivated lawns, usually in groups.

Adults are all white except for black wingtips, immature birds are a muddy brown with a white belly. The White Ibis has a body length to 26 inches, long legs and bill are red, flies with neck extended.

National Geographic Field Guides to Florida Birds

Great Florida Birding Trail: East Section Guide

The Secret to Happiness: 10 Specific Behaviors

The Secret To Happiness: 10 Specific Behaviors

People take for granted remarkable things going on in life. It is easy to complain. We focus on the negative. Everything is amazing and nobody is happy. Our happiness can easily be achieved without the brilliant advances in the world. Happy people take control of their lives and emotions. Bad stuff happens to everyone. Life is about how you proactively respond to it. The following ten behaviors if applied will change your life and you will be an incredibly happy person.

  1. Let go of need for specific outcomes.
  2. Define your own success and happiness, don’t compare or compete with others.
  3. Commit 100% to the things that make you happy. Mahatama Gandhi says, “happiness is when what you do, what you think and what you say are in harmony.”
  4. Be grateful for what you already have. ( Love, health, family, friends, work, joys of nature, and personal pursuits.)
  5. Benefits of Gratitude
  1. Physical- stronger immune systems, less aches and pains, lower blood pressure, exercise more and take better care of your health, sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.
  2. Psychological- higher levels of positive emotion, more alert, alive and awake, more joy and pleasure, more optimism and happiness.
  3. Social- more helpful, generous, compassionate, more forgiving, more outgoing, feel less lonely and isolated.
  1. Keep a gratitude journal.
  2. Remember the hard and challenging things you have gone through.
  3. Ask yourself what have I received from? what have I given to? What troubles and difficulties have I caused?
  4. Learn prayers of gratitude.
  5. Come to your senses.
  6. Use visual reminders (people.)
  7. Make a personal vow to practice gratitude.
  8. Watch your language.
  9. Go through the motions, smiling, say thank you, write letters of gratitude.
  10. Think outside the box. Look for new situations and things to be grateful for.5. Say I love you more often7. Don’t wait for tomorrow for what you can do today.9. Put the important before the urgent. eg. Exercise, reading good books, setting goals, writing in journal, spend time with those you love. Happy people live in the present. They don’t miss moments that matter most. They are incredibly grateful for all they have. They focus their lives on the important and essential. They forgo the many good opportunities in order to focus on the few best ones.
  11. Conclusion:
  12. 10. Forgo the good to pursue the best.
  13. 8. Do something every day that terrifies you. Challenge helps you grow.
  14. 6. Have hobbies directed towards your dream. eg. Exercise, reading, writing, journaling, deep and meaningful conversations and being in nature.

Ishq in Paris

IshqinParis EiffelTower PZIshkq in Paris delayed due to Director’s health issues: Preity Zinta

April 30, 2013

Bollywood actress Preity Zinta’s production

“Ishkq in Paris” is finally releasing May 24. She says the film’s release was delayed because of director Prem Raj’s health.

She said that besides this, there was nothing else that caused a delay in the release of the movie, which was earlier to release in 2012.

“Prem was very sick. He had to go for a surgery. I decided not to release the film without him. He is not just my director, but also a good friend,” Preity said at a press conference here Tuesday.

“In life, sometimes you don’t make commercial decisions, but make human decisions,” she added.

Preity admitted the delay affected her financially.

“But I could afford it,” she said. “I don’t believe that business should be done ruthlessly.”

Reacting to rumours that the film didn’t have buyers, Preity said: “I will be producing again. I want to do bigger and better things. I hear these rumours from one ear and remove them from the other. I can only hit back by making sure that I do good work.”

“Ishkq In Paris” is getting a solo release, and Preity couldn’t be happier.

“Every producer wants a solo release. You have to plan all this as a producer,” she said, adding that she has big plans to promote the film well.

However, she isn’t sure if superstar Salman Khan, who is a part of a song in the film, will be involved in the publicity.

“We will do city tours and innovative things. Salman is in the film, but is not the main character. It is unfair to let people think this,” she said.

The film also stars Rhehan Malliek and Isabelle Adjani.

 

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Cranberry Drano Juice

cranberry-w540If you’ve ever watched Top Chef, you may have wondered how show host Padma Lakshmi avoids gaining a ton of weight while constantly eating the rich food contestants whip up each season. Now she’s revealing her secret.

In her new memoir, Love, Loss, and What We Ate, Lakshmi cites a drink combination she made up, dubbed “Cranberry Drano,” which she says she drinks two or three times a day on set to “keep the pipes clean.” The recipe includes unsweetened cranberry juice, green tea brewed with honey, fiber powder, a vitamin C packet, and water.

“When I’m working on Top Chef, often I’m consuming thousands of calories a day,” she tells People. “I’m doing this every day, for weeks on end. And so, you feel just drunk and full of food.”

Lakshmi calls the drink “revolting” but says “it is very useful for me.”

3 Healthy Snack Foods

3 Healthy Snack Foods to Keep at All Times

NuttyLady

By Susan Yara January 18, 2016

Tip: A handful of trail mix does the trick.

TrailMix

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Good news for snackers: It turns out, you don’t have to worry about fighting the munchies if you’ve started a new diet or made a resolution to eat healthier in 2016. Instead, it’s possible to eat snacks that are good for you and satisfy your need to eat.

Before we get to the snacks, though, it’s important to first get a handle on your eating schedule. JJ Virgin, nutrition expert and author of The Sugar Impact Diet, says, “To stabilize blood sugar, as well as reduce hunger and cravings, you’ll want to follow meal timing rules: Breakfast within an hour of waking, then eat every four to six hours, and stop eating about three hours before bed. That will minimize your need for snacking, and you might discover that between-meal—hunger—was actually thirst, boredom, or stress masquerading as hunger.”

If a little switch in schedule doesn’t stop your cravings, Yuri Elkaim, a holistic nutritionist and author of The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, says to keep in mind that the most satisfying snacks are higher in protein and fiber because they keep you going longer.

Here are three healthy snacks you should always have handy:

Protein Bars Elkaim’s go-to snack is homemade protein bars because you can control what goes into them. If those ingredients are healthy, you can have more than one each day. If you prefer to buy them, he says, “Protein bars should ideally have less than five grams of sugar and as much protein as can feasibly fit in the bar. Normally, more than 10 grams of protein is great, while calories should be around 150 for a 45-gram bar.” Squirrel