Turkey Vulture courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
tidbits about birds, birders and birding from WildBird's editor
Joe O'Neil of Chelmsford, who was blinded as an infant when cancer attacked his retinas, was taking it all in.
"It's really nice to be able to identify these things by what they sound like and you don't have to see them," he said. "There are a lot of different things to learn here."
The instruction that day went well beyond bird calls, and the volunteers who led the members through the swampy areas were taken back by all that their charges were taking in.
"It's a very humbling experience," said Ellen Kunkel, an Audubon volunteer from Chelmsford. "We're all so used to seeing the world around us. It's interesting to see how someone who doesn't have that sense relates to the world."
Tyler Lopez, 11, said he voted for the Belted Kingfisher.From the mouths of babes...
"It has a cool mohawk and it likes to fish and I like to fish," he said.
Lopez said he thinks it's important to teach students and the community about respecting birds and protecting their habitats.
"If we learn about birds, we won't trash the environment," he said.
Paulson, nominated Tuesday by Bush to succeed John Snow at Treasury, took an early interest in nature. He was raised as a Christian Scientist on an Illinois farm, where he still keeps five acres and has let raccoons have the run of the house. Before college he wanted to become a forest or park ranger. Instead he opted for a business career, getting an MBA from Harvard.Nice to see birding get some mentions in the financial media. Any chance that the presence of a high-profile birder like Paulson could result in more and/or larger donations to more birding and conservation organizations?
He and his wife, Wendy, are both skilled birders. At their house in Illinois, they’ve raised birds, dogs, cats, raccoons, flying squirrels, lizards, snakes, mice, turtles, frogs and a tarantula.
“Environment is my passion,” Paulson told Charlie Rose in a PBS interview in 2004.
At Goldman Sachs, he arranged for a handler with a leather glove to bring in captive-bred birds of prey to show off each year. The handler would come from The Peregrine Fund, another conservation group on which he serves on the board.
Argentine paleontologists have found bird-like footprints 55 million years older than the oldest known bird fossils.More details here and particularly here.
The team discovered dozens of three-toed footprints in rocks older than 212 million years in northwest Argentina. Averaging about 3.5 centimeters wide and similar in length, they look very much like bird footprints made in small shallow ponds along a river. However, the rocks are some 55 million years older than the most ancient known bird skeleton, Archaeopteryx. The big question is what made them.
"With the hatching of the first two wild chicks from the migratory whooping crane reintroduction, another chapter in wildlife history has been made. The journey took six long years of dedication, vision and believing it could happen--as well as the blood, sweat and occasional tears of the many partners that worked on the project. This is truly the start of a new generation of wild things...and a symbol for restoring our wild places," said John Christian, co-chair of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.
Sarah, a witness who spoke on condition that her last name not be used, works in a cubicle overlooking the Devonshire Street rooftop where the sea gulls built their nest as she and her co-workers kept a daily vigil at the window.
She called Guay’s self-defense claim “absolute crap.”
“He deliberately walked over to the nest and began to beat them,” said Sarah. “He was batting at them, swinging and missing quite a bit. When he swung, he completely hit her and she flew. It was not a nice, gentle, get-out-of-the-way swing.”
For six weeks, she said, she and other employees watched as the pair of sea gulls built a nest for their family. Two of their eggs hatched Thursday, and the workers hung out a “congratulations” sign and another urging window washers to be careful of the gull babies.
Guay told the Herald he fended off three birds all day Friday while washing windows. He said he didn’t mean to kill the bird and said he used a broom stick. Sarah said the gulls had swooped down toward the window washers Friday only when they came near their nest. Guay went after them with a three-foot-long pipe, she said.
"While the loss of our chick is tragic, our primary focus for the recovery effort is to raise condors that are the best possible candidates for return to the wild, so whenever possible we try and return chicks to their parents. Our condors have a much better chance of thriving if they've learned how to be a condor by a condor parent rather than a condor puppet," he added.
"This is just part of a growing program, and something that all the condor breeding facilities have had to deal with," lamented St. Michael. "Hopefully we'll have better results next year from this pair."
For the first hour or so it looked like I'd pulled the wrong rein with Little Beach. There was simply no sign of the birds. Apparently they are very curious and are attracted by any loud noise... I decided to do an experiment to see which moden noise a [Lord Howe] woodhen who had spent its entire life on a small South Pacific island would never have heard.
I thought I'd give hip-hop music a try. Sadly, no success with the impromptu rap stylings of MC Doolio. Perhaps another form of music? I tried a bit of James Brown, followed by everything from Monty Python to Kylie, but nothing seemed to work. Apart from Neil Diamond. Not just any part of Neil Diamond, but the bit at the end of the musical intro to "Crunchy Granola Suite" where Neil proclaims "Good Lord!" As soon as I uttered those words (in the style of Neil Diamond, of course) a pair of woodhens came running. They were ridiculously tame birds so every time I hit them with a "Good Lord!" they would respond with up to ten seconds of shrieking.
Now in her seventies, Stella took me out the next morning to meet her favourite pair of Malleefowl. ... At one point the male bird started displaying to the hen. He raised a small crest on his head (I had no idea they even possessed a crest), stuck his head between his legs and made a deep, resonant booming sound. Very impressive. I must remember that move.
Fort Bragg [near Fayetteville] achieved its goal ahead of schedule with the help of many partners involved in the management of the RCW in the North Carolina Sandhills. Recognizing the importance of the region’s unique ecosystems to both military training and to the nation’s endangered species, the North Carolina Sandhills Conservation Partnership (NCSCP) was created to reach common conservation goals.How many birders know that the U.S. Army Environmental Center exists?
The NCSCP consists of federal, state and non-profit organizations including: Fort Bragg, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Environmental Center, The Nature Conservancy, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, the Sandhills Ecological Institute, the Sandhills Area Land Trust and several other regional stakeholders.
Based on an analysis of several preparers' styles, Knox concluded that at least two redpoll skins which Meinertzhagen claimed to have shot in Blois, France, on January 17, 1953, were probably stolen from a series of birds in the Natural History Museum, which had been collected by Richard Bowdler Sharpe decades earlier, in Hanwell, Middlesex, on November 17, 1884. Meinertzhagen had replaced the tags on the birds' feet with new tags, containing false data about where and when they had been collected.