Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A different kind of bird of prey show

Los Angeles Fashion Week (Oct. 12-19) apparently included a Bird of Prey show on Oct. 18. I'm having trouble seeing an obvious link between that phrase and the type of clothing worn by the models. Your thoughts? (c:

I'm curious about the choice of a female Belted Kingfisher on this Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week page.

Aahh, further investigation indicates that Bird of Prey is the name of the designers. I'd like to know about that choice of company name but can't find an official website. Anyone have better luck?

Autumn Weekend: Monday

Although the festivities officially ended on Sunday, some of us remained in Cape May on Monday morning. I was lured to the hawkwatch platform (the green circle) at Cape May Point State Park to see the sunrise. (As always, click on an image to see a larger version.)

Despite the cold (yes, I am a weather wuss), I loved being there and seeing the sky come alive as the sun slowly rose behind the clouds to the east. The 90 minutes at the platform with fun birders -- and, of course, neat birds like Northern Harriers and low-flying Cooper's Hawks -- kept me happy through the morning/afternoon/evening of travel west to Orange County.

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Autumn Weekend: Sunday

The morning's long-awaited, dry, sunny weather meant that everyone explored outdoors, making for a very quiet convention hall. In turn, the lower traffic flow through the entrance and exit doors meant more time to chat with WildBird readers and contributors, birders and colleagues. I really enjoy that aspect of Autumn Weekend -- the chance to gab about birds and anything under the sun with fun, friendly folks.

The Bird Show ended at 3 p.m., and my simple booth allowed for a quick wrap-up to another delightful event. A nap in the hotel room felt delicious.

One of my favorite parts of the day: seeing the sky ablaze after the sun set.

Birdchick and I enjoyed another filling, tasty meal with colleagues at Gecko's. Paul Lehman recommends the Navajo fry bread, and I heartily recommend the grilled veggie burrito with peanut mole (it's big enough for two meals).

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Autumn Weekend: Saturday

Facing another rainy morning, Birdchick and I walked to Uncle Bill's Pancake House for a tasty start to the day. The waitresses brightened the atmosphere with their fun costumes -- a cow, a prom queen, a housewife and other whimsical attire.

The Flock (Susan, Delia, Susan and Laura) also enjoyed breakfast at Uncle Bill's and stopped by our table to gab about Birds & Beer the night before. Birdchick savored her pumpkin pancakes while I indulged in potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce -- mmmm.

While tending a booth in the Cape May Convention Hall, sometimes little things become bigger in importance. Those little things might include the quality of the candy at your booth or that of your neighbors. Yes, our perspective might have been reduced to this when visitors to the convention hall dwindled.

The number of visitors decreased for a very good reason: The sun finally came out. Woo hoo! When the show closed at 5 p.m., I began walking on the promenade to the Grand Hotel for the evening's activities. Isn't this glorious?

The Saturday night program started with a social and a book signing, the first to which I was asked to participate. I contributed an essay ("Think like a migrating bird" on page 75) to Good Birders Don't Wear White (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) and earned a spot at the table between Kevin Karlson and Chuck Hagner. Kevin needed to leave temporarily, so Michael O'Brien, his co-author on The Shorebird Guide (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), signed copies of that photo-filled resource.

Here are left to right: (back row) Pete Dunne, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Bouton, Clay Sutton, Lisa White, Sheri Williamson; (front row) Kevin Karlson, Chuck Hagner, Jessie Barry, me and Louise Zemaitis. I'm happy to note that Pete and Kevin participate on WildBird's advisory board, Jeff B. writes the "Adventures with Austin" column in each issue, Sheri contributes her expertise to the annual hummingbird issue, and Jessie writes reviews for Book Nook in each issue.

After the signing, we adjourned to the evening meal before adorning the stage as a panel presentation. For the evening program, we briefly spoke about our respective topics (mine being our responsibility to prepare for field trips with rest, water and snacks so we can better enjoy the birds and avoid becoming hangry -- hungry and angry).

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Autumn Weekend: Friday

The Bird Show began at noon, with me behind a table of candy and complimentary copies of the May/June issue -- the annual hummingbird overdose. (Many thanks to Adrian Binns for the photo.)

With the gray damp weather outside the Cape May Convention Hall, I didn't mind spending most of the afternoon indoors. Plus, I've enjoyed the same spot -- near the entrance and exit -- for a few years and like chatting with familiar neighbors: The Bird House of Cape May on my left and Tom Ahern and his wife, Barbara, on my right. See what we avoided while tending our booths inside the hall?

While inside, I got to catch up with colleagues and to greet bloggers in town for the birding bloggers conference. Woo hoo!

On the way to Jackson Mountain Cafe for dinner and Birds & Beers, Birdchick and I stopped in Atlantic Book Shops on Washington Street Mall to look for her newly released book. One copy remained in the humor section!

Then things got silly at the cafe.

We enjoyed the wit and laughter of so many interesting folks that evening: Laura of Somewhere in New Jersey, Susan of Susan Gets Native, Delia of Beginning to Bird, Susan of Lake Life, John of Born Again Bird Watcher, Mike of 10,000 Birds, Jeff of Jeff Gyr's Birding Blog, Liz of Blue Lizard Birding Blog, Sheri of Birders on the Border, Patrick of The Hawk Owl's Nest, Beth of Easy Eco-Living, Taryn and Lisa of Houghton Mifflin, Bill Stewart who shared positive news about birders buying land for Red Knots (that's what it takes -- doing it ourselves), Jim Rapp of Delmarva Low Impact Tourism Experiences... and probably other individuals who're beyond my recall at the moment.

Sheri, Mike, Sharon and I practically closed the place. We had such a good time gabbing about birds and other topics that we were the last customers in the cafe. We should do it again soon.

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Autumn Weekend: Thursday

The day began, literally, on a plane traveling from Denver to Philadelphia, preceded by an 8 p.m. flight from Orange County to Denver. Red-eye flights seem like the only logical way to reach the East Coast without wasting an entire day inside tin cans.

Reaching Philly at 5:30 a.m., I navigated through the usual number sequence -- 95, 76, 42, 55, 47, 9, 109 -- to reach the southernmost city in New Jersey. The rental car pulled into the birding mecca about two hours after it left the City of Brotherly Love.

View Larger Map

Uncle Bill's Pancake House lured me to it with the siren song of buttermilk pancakes, bacon and eggs. Love that place. The filling food and warm service provided a nice finish to the overnight travel.

After checking into the usual spot, Avondale by the Sea, I encountered two optics colleagues, one of whom invited me to visit the Meadows (aka The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge) on Sunset Boulevard -- that pink area. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Honestly, it felt so good to be outside -- despite the wind, rain and cold temperature -- that I didn't pay much attention to the birds. I noted Canada Geese, sparrows (which largely remain Little Brown Jobs for me) and Mallards.

When Clay and I reached the dunes, my brain recognized Great Black-backed Gulls on the sand. Mostly, I reveled in being in one of my favorite spots: Cape May.

We also visited the Second Avenue jetty, and Clay spotted a Black-throated Blue Warbler as it flew to shore from the ocean. When we got closer looks through our bins, the bird appeared to be catching its breath while sitting on the sand near the fence. What incredible plumage!

Birdchick appeared in mid-afternoon, and we stocked the hotel room's mini-fridge with snacks and pampered ourselves at Hale Nails before enjoying a fabulous meal at Freda's Cafe. (Like many restaurants in the city, Freda's is BYOB, so visit Collier's beforehand.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Win prizes by answering questions!

In each issue of WildBird, we pose a question in the Lister's Forum and Birder's Back Yard departments. Readers who provide timely responses might see their replies in a future issue, and they might be named Forum Birder or Backyard Birder.

In the November/December issue, the six Forum Birders and six Backyard Birders become eligible for the Birder of the Year title and prizes. WildBird readers vote to award the title and prizes.

This year's Forum Birders and Backyard Birders became eligible for Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion and The Shorebird Guide, donated by Houghton Mifflin, as well as a Swarovski squall jacket. The 2007 Birder of the Year will receive a Swarovski 8x32 EL and a guided trip to Costa Rica, courtesy of Swarovski Optik North America.

If you'd like to become eligible for the 2008 Birder of the Year, then answer one or two questions in the November/December issue! You might be named Forum Birder or Backyard Birder and receive different books from Houghton Mifflin and other excellent prizes.

Backyard Inquiry: How many species visit your water features during winter?

Forum Focus: What is your favorite birding destination?

Please reply to each question in a separate e-mail, not in one message. The subject line should specify "water" or "destination." Your 250-word response needs to reach us before Nov. 1 and include your full name and address.

Good luck!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Birds sleep like humans

In today's New York Times, an article by Carl Zimmer discusses the similarities in sleep patterns between birds and humans. For instance, birds experience slow-wave sleep, which scientists in Germany studied.

Niels Rattenborg of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany tested this hypothesis by depriving pigeons of some slow-wave sleep. “We kept pigeons from taking their daytime naps,” he said. “All we did was tap their cage or move the cage floor or give them things to play with for eight hours before we turned the lights off.”

After the lights went dark, the pigeons had slow waves 27 percent stronger than on undisturbed nights. “What we found was that they actually showed response very much like that observed in mammals,” Dr. Rattenborg said. “There’s something in common in being a bird and being a mammal that results in sleeping this way.”
Dr. Rattenborg also learned that birds can keep one side of their brains awake while the other side sleeps. Amazing!


President Bush talks about migratory birds

In case you missed it, our president visited the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Md., over the weekend, and he talked about plans to improve stopover habitat for migratory birds in national wildlife refuges and national parks. He highlighted the success of cooperative conservation efforts that involve citizens, private groups and government officials.

President Bush also said:
There's something else we can do. I asked Congress to provide tax incentive to reward landowners who donate conservation easements. Conservation easements are a good way to ensure the long-term preservation of habitat. They allow people to give up the right to develop parts of their land and then count the value of that right as a charitable contribution.
He mentioned the Conservation Reserve Program, an element of the farm bill currently being rewritten in Congress.

He closed his speech by saying
Our efforts to restore habitats are strengthening bird populations. Since 2004, the Department of Interior has improved the status of five migratory bird species, and the Department is helping ensure that more than 62 percent of our nation's migratory bird species are healthy and at sustainable levels. But that's not good enough -- 62 percent is good, but we can do better. And so I've asked the Secretary to -- Secretary Kempthorne to focus on the status of five more species over the next five years. And to achieve this goal we need good data. I mean, we just don't want to be guessing about bird populations, we want to measure. And so I've asked the Secretary to produce a State of the Birds Report by 2009. This report will chart our progress, it'll identify species that need additional protections, and help us bring more of America's bird species into a healthy and sustainable status.

And Mr. Secretary, I appreciate your commitment. I appreciate the fact that you understand America's greatness is not measured by material wealth alone; it's measured by how we manage and care for all that we have been given. We're people united by our belief that we must be good stewards of our environment. The cooperative conservation policies that we have put in place show our commitment to protecting America's migratory birds, conserving the habitat they depend on and ensuring that generations of Americans will enjoy the beauty of birds for decades to come.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

SoCal wildfires

One of the many blazes around Southern California is about 15 miles from the WildBird office building. Since it started Sunday afternoon, the Santiago Canyon fire created a light-brown haze that covers part of the sky; I still can see pale blue sky while looking east through the window in my office.

The winds seem to have calmed a bit here. The trees aren't waving as frantically as before.

When the fire started yesterday, the winds quickly carried the smoke south and west toward the ocean. The brown cloud made the rising moon look orange-red, and dusk came early. It was surreal. At one point, I saw lightning through my apartment's south-facing window, and then the power went out briefly.

I'm not terribly familiar with the area that burned but think a fair amount of it is undeveloped hills and wonder how much the fire will affect the birds and wildlife. My condolences go out to people who lost irreplaceable items.

Local coverage appears here, with a photo gallery of yesterday's events.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Build a bird!

New York Zoos and Aquarium gives anyone the chance to Build Your Wild Self, and the animalian options include multiple bird choices.

What will your wild bird self look like?

I'm sporting luna moth antennae, a Rhinocerous Hornbill beak, a Magellanic Penguin torso, Chilean Flamingo wings and a male Peacock's tail.

Cheeky ad for environmental causes

1% For the Planet encourages businesses to donate 1 percent of their sales to environmental efforts, which includes species and habitat conservation. From the Massachusetts-based alliance's website:

One Percent for the Planet is an alliance of companies that recognize the true cost of doing business and donate 1% of their sales to environmental organizations worldwide. Through our corporate giving, grants and philanthropy, we encourage responsible business and corporate responsibility. Our environmental alliance is designed to help our members become sustainable businesses and our environmental group database aids our membership to make choices with their corporate grants to environmental organizations.
As always, click on the image to see a larger version.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Possible Four Seasons hotel endangers national bird

On the Caribbean island of Grenada, a resort development is putting the Grenada Dove at risk. Less than 100 doves remain, according to American Bird Conservancy.

On Hog Island, bulldozers have cleared half of the land.

For more information, read the ABC comment letter sent to the developer, Capital 88. Four Seasons contact information appears here.

Photo courtesy of ABC.

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Schwarzenegger focuses on plastic that affects seabirds

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed AB 258, a bill that requires manufacturers to keep "nurdles" from spilling into waterways. Written by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian of Burbank, the bill deals with BB-sized plastic pellets used to make all plastic and often released during the making, packaging and transporting of plastics.

Seabirds often eat the pellets, which block the birds' intestines and make it difficult for them to absorb nutrients. Some birds die of starvation as a result.

Project FeederWatch on Martha Stewart

Birds are a good thing.

Project FeederWatch's David Bonter recently appeared on The Martha Stewart Show. A video clip doesn't appear to be available yet, but posted two articles: Project FeederWatch with David Bonter and Types of Bird Feed with David Bonter.

Congratulations to Cornell Lab of Ornithology on the project's 21st year and on the widespread publicity garnered on Stewart's show!


National Geographic Kids Group

Children ages 8 to 14 have an environmentally oriented site of their own now. The National Geographic Kids Group, members can read and comment on blog posts about National Geographic Digital Media programs, watch videos, look at photos, play games, print science experiments and listen to music. Frequent updates will animals, insects, plant life, geography, culture and music. Created by and National Geographic Digital Media, the site aims to become a safe, parent-approved destination for children and teenagers interested in nature and the environment.

If you know minors who try out the site, please let me know what you think.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Schwarzenegger signs anti-lead bill

California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently signed the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act (Assembly Bill 821), which mandates nontoxic ammunition for hunting big game in California Condor habitat. The anti-lead legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, is meant to reduce lead poisoning of the endangered birds.

From the Monterey Herald:

"We very much appreciate that Gov. Schwarzenegger chose to do what's right for the California condor by signing this bill into law," said Dr. Michael Fry, the American Bird Conservancy's director of conservation advocacy.

"Governor Schwarzenegger is very pro-hunting and pro-gun rights. His signing this bill is a confirmation that this law is not anti-gun," Fry said, "it is an anti-lead measure."
To learn more about condor recovery efforts, click here.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Northern Pintails nab 2008 Federal Duck Stamp

Joe Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., won the 75th Anniversary Federal Duck Stamp Contest with his acrylic painting of two Northern Pintails. Judges chose Hautman's painting from 247 entries, and the pintails will appear on the 2008-2009 Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp -- aka Duck Stamp -- which will go on sale in late June 2008.

Hautman previously won the contest in 1992 and 2002. His brothers also won the competition multiple times. Hautman and his family were at the ceremony on Sanibel Island, Fla., when Secretary of the Interior Dick Kempthorne announced the winning entry.

Harold Roe of Sylvania, Ohio, won second place with his acrylic painting of a Green-winged Teal (top left). Scot Storm of Freeport, Minn., placed third with his acrylic of two Mallards (bottom left).
Stamp sales fund the purchase of wetlands and grasslands for national wildlife, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says it generates about $25 million every year.

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp - commonly known as the Duck Stamp - but conservationists, stamp collectors and others also purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the purchase of acres of wetlands for inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System.

To date, Duck Stamp funds have been used to acquire habitat at hundreds of refuges, in nearly every state in our nation. There are 548 national wildlife refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S. territories. A current Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge open to the public. Refuges offer unparalleled recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.

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Endangered Hawaiian birds might receive ESA protection

The Akekee and the Akikiki might benefit from the Endangered Species Act if a recent petition filed by American Bird Conservancy and Dr. Eric VanderWerf receives approval from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The two endemic species live only on Kauai.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Win prizes by answering questions!

In each issue of WildBird, we pose a question in the Lister's Forum and Birder's Back Yard departments. Readers who provide timely responses might see their replies in a future issue, and they might be named Forum Birder or Backyard Birder.

In the November/December issue, the six Forum Birders and six Backyard Birders become eligible for the Birder of the Year title and prizes. WildBird readers vote to award the title and prizes.

This year's Forum Birders and Backyard Birders became eligible for Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion and The Shorebird Guide, donated by Houghton Mifflin, as well as a Swarovski squall jacket. The 2007 Birder of the Year will receive a Swarovski 8x32 EL and a guided trip to Costa Rica, courtesy of Swarovski Optik North America.

If you'd like to become eligible for the 2008 Birder of the Year, then answer one or two questions in the November/December issue! You might be named Forum Birder or Backyard Birder and receive different books from Houghton Mifflin and other excellent prizes.

Backyard Inquiry: How many species visit your water features during winter?

Forum Focus: What is your favorite birding destination?

Please reply to each question in a separate e-mail, not in one message. The subject line should specify "water" or "destination." Your 250-word response needs to reach us before Nov. 1 and include your full name and address.

Good luck!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall migrations

In addition to this month's Autumn Weekend in Cape May N.J., I get to attend the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in Harlingen, Texas, next month. Have you been to south Texas? I really enjoy visits to the region... well, except for the chigger bites. Those I could do without. Thank goodness for Chiggerex.

You can read about previous visits via these links:
2005: Nov. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
2006: April 8, 9, 10, 11, 27, 28, 29, 30; Nov. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

I digiscoped that Aplomado Falcon during the early-April Birder of the Year trip with Leigh Johnson.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Doubt about outdoor cats' impact on wild birds

A recent article in the Telluride Daily Planet expressed concern about the validity of studies that blame outdoor cats for bird predation. The column written by the Second Chance Humane Society said:

These days, there are studies on the Web that can support pretty much any position on any issue. Beware, though. These studies often lack validity and fail to rely on scientific method. A prime example, in our opinion, is the “Wisconsin Study”, a study by John S. Coleman and Stanley A. Temple, that argues that free-roaming cats pose a serious threat to bird populations. Of this 1992 study the authors later admitted that it was simply “guesswork” and did not rely actual data.

Despite the fact that the study was never published — thus sparing it from peer review or validation — it continues to form the basis of further work on the same issue. It also continues to be used by some conservation groups. In fact, SCHS received an e-mail from Steve Holmer, director of public relations for the American Bird Conservancy, in response to last week’s pet column. In his e-mail, Holmer cites Coleman and Temple’s work. His group proposes the banning and elimination of free-roaming cat colonies “through humane capture by animal care and control facilities.”
Conservation groups also use other studies, such as these two cited by Golden Gate Audubon Society and this published study conducted in Michigan.

The column also said:

We at SCHS believe that humans — and their lifestyles — are probably the worst culprits when it comes to decreases in bird populations. Second Chance proposes forming an allegiance with bird advocates like the American Bird Conservancy and working together toward the serious factors that are diminishing bird populations to a greater degree than cats do. And, with regard to whatever impact free-roaming cats might have on the bird populations, how about if bird advocates were to work with feral cat advocate groups toward humanely controlling the population of feral cats through a structured spay/neuter program? This would be, in our opinion, far more effective, and humane, than trying to eliminate these cats altogether.

SCHS also suggests that bird groups work with cat owners that allow their cats outside to make efforts to protect birds.

Second Chance encourages anyone looking to blame cats for declines in bird populations to look carefully at the research, and to consider that other elements besides outdoor cats might be more responsible.
What do you think of the validity of those suggestions?


Sunday, October 07, 2007

National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 7-13

As part of the annual celebration of these protected outdoor areas throughout the states, consider taking a child to a national wildlife refuge soon or during this week's activities. The NWR system includes 548 refuges, and a refuge typically exists within an hour's drive of a metropolitan area.

During this year's week-long celebration, many individuals and organizations are highlighting the 10-year anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act. Despite many improvements, many refuges remain in peril, according to Defenders of Wildlife. It issued the fourth annual Refuges at Risk report that named 10 refuges in need of funding that allows habitat protection and acquisition, educational programs and removal of invasive species.


Friday, October 05, 2007

I and the Bird #59

Cozy up to your computer with a tasty beverage, and prepare for a plethora of posts and pictures that celebrate birds! Summer at Naturalist Notebook hosted this week's carnival, so hie thee hence.

The next carnival will appear on Oct. 18, hosted by David at Search & Serendipity. Submissions should reach him by Tuesday, Oct. 16.

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Hazards to wild birds

In the Oct. 1 print edition of High Country News, an article (subscription only) included a sidebar called Avian Hazards. It estimated the number of birds killed annually in the United States, based on data from U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and American Ornithologists' Union.

Buildings: 550,000,000
Power lines: 130,000,000
Cats: 100,000,000
Automobiles: 80,000,000
Pesticides: 67,000,000
Wind turbines: 28,500
Airplanes: 25,000

Look at the number of casualties caused by cats. Wow. If that figure concerns you, consider sharing information from the American Bird Conservancy's Cats Indoors program with neighbors, friends and relatives.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Winery raises almost $20K for threatened hummingbird

Clos LaChance Winery recently announced that it donated nearly $20,000 to The Hummingbird Society, based on proceeds from the winery's first "Threatened Species" Hummingbird Series wine. The funds will go toward saving the Juan Fernandez Firecrown from extinction.

The Juan Fernandez Firecrown wine consisted of a red Bordeaux blend from the winery's San Martin Estate Vineyards in San Martin, Calif. The bird for which its named lives only on Chile's Robinson Crusoe Island. The proceeds raised by the wine sales will go to researcher Erin Hagen's work in 2008 with the local government to create a conservation plan on the island.

This fall, the winery will release another "Threatened Species" Hummingbird Species wine, named after the Honduran Emerald. Proceeds will be donated again to The Hummingbird Society.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Concerned about climate change?

Then change a light bulb.

Today is Energy Star Change a Light Day. For the eighth year, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy encourage residents to replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulbs.

ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs:
* use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
* save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.
* produce about 75 percent less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.
* are available in different sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture, for indoors and outdoors.
Most of the bulbs in my one-bedroom apartment are CFLs, having replaced incandescents during California's rolling blackouts in 2001. My electrical bill shrank and continues to total about $10 a month, and none of the CFLs have burned out. I'm a believer in that technology. Have you tried it?


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Autumn Weekend

If you're going to Cape May, N.J., for the late-October event, you might find this site helpful: Bird Cape May. Don't forget that the registration deadline is Oct. 15.

As a bird blogger, you might qualify for a discount. Check with BirdChick.

If you visit The Bird Show at the convention center, please stop by the WildBird booth, where you can pick up some candy and find me (hopefully not eating tooo much of the candy).

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Monday, October 01, 2007

High Island in Texas needs help after hurricane

Houston Audubon Society seeks volunteers and funds to restore the sanctuaries affected by Hurricane Humberto on Sept. 13.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Houston Audubon conserved the woods for the birds, but also made it possible for people to enjoy birds by building nature trails, many accessible to people with disabilities. Accordingly, people crowd into High Island sanctuaries by the hundreds every weekend during spring migration. They come from around the country and all over the world — Canada, Europe and Japan — to see the phenomenon of songbird migration.

But the songbirds come to the woodlots for survival.

"The sanctuaries are vital to the survival of native and migratory birds," said Gina Donovan, executive director of Houston Audubon. "Millions of migratory birds are dependent upon the natural areas for rest stops during migration."
Click on the link to see the chapter's requests for help. Thank you.

Non-native birds good for Hawaii?


After years of fighting the threats posed by foreign species on the Hawaiian islands, conservationists have discovered that invasive birds may now be the only hope left for the survival of some native plants.

Hawaii is one of the most invaded places in the world, in terms of foreign species. More than 4,600 plant and 140 bird species have been introduced by human activity, with at least 58 types of bird establishing permanent breeding populations there. Most land birds in Hawaii are now exotic.

Biologists Jeff Foster at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Scott Robinson at the University of Florida, Gainesville, took a look at seed dispersal in Hawaiian forests — both those with native plants, and those composed of exotic species that had been planted in the 1960s for the timber industry.
In the article, one researcher says exotic birds might be helping with habitat restoration. Click the first link for details.