Acorn the baby penguin. Courtesy of Chester Zoo
Will and Kate: Already Parents (to a Baby Penguin)
"If you're still looking for the perfect gift for the happy couple—we're talking the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, of course—you got beat to the punch. By a penguin.
The Chester Zoo gave the future King and Queen of England the chance to adopt a penguin as a wedding gift. While the cuddly—when talking small animals, cuddly always seems fitting, even for a bird—Humboldt baby penguin named Acorn won't be moving into the Windsor estate, the zoo is picking up some press by having Will and Kate as one of the sponsors of its 50-bird exhibit.
The zoo held an online vote as to which of the 400 different species the royal pair should sponsor. The penguins ran away with over 20% of the vote, easily outpacing Rothschild giraffes and African painted dogs. Acorn was the first of a batch of penguins to hatch in the week leading up to the wedding.
In an obvious move for even more publicity, a spokesperson for the zoo says, “hopefully the happy couple will come and see little Acorn playing in his pool very soon.”
As you consider your entire wedding gift needs this spring and summer, don't forget: A penguin is a gift that keeps on giving."
Kirtland's Warbler, picture by Ron Austing
Report Finds Public Lands Essential for Hundreds of Species Tuesday, May 03, 2011 9:45:00 AM
"A coalition of groups coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and including American Bird Conservancy (ABC), today released the 2011 State of the Birds Report, which finds that public lands provide essential habitat for the survival of hundreds of bird species. More than 300 of the 800 bird species inhabiting the United States have at least 50% of their distribution on public lands and waters.
“State of the Birds 2011 reveals the benefits of conserving public lands and the importance of how these lands are managed. The Administration now has multiple opportunities to conserve bird populations by promoting bird-smart land management policies and prioritizing spending,” said Steve Holmer, Senior Policy Advisor for American Bird Conservancy. “Protecting birds and their habitats also protects recreational opportunities, clean water supplies, and many fundamental ecosystem services such as pest control and crop pollination that people often take for granted.”
"Formerly one of the most abundant breeding warblers in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, numbers of this sky-blue warbler fell sharply during the 20th Century due to habitat loss and fragmentation on both its breeding and wintering grounds. Its population has declined by more than 70% since the 1960s.
The Appalachian Mountains are a breeding stronghold for the Ceruleanâ€“ an area unfortunately most impacted by mountaintop removal coal mining, which destroys this birdâ€™s preferred habitat of mature, multi-layered deciduous forest. Habitat loss on its wintering grounds is has also being acceleratedbeen impacted by agriculture and the conversion of habitat-rich shade coffee plantations to sun coffee devoid of large trees.
ABC has worked with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative to reforest former mine lands and with international partner Fundacion ProAves to protect wintering habitat, creating the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in Colombia. ABC is also protecting crucial wintering habitat through land acquisition, conservation easements, reforestation, and promotion of shade coffee and cacao in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. And ABC is working to reduce the impacts of towers, building glass, pesticides, feral cats, and wind turbines on species such as the Cerulean Warbler and other migratory songbirds."
Photo: Cerulean Warbler by Greg Lavaty; Range Map: ABC
Birders on Cruise to Chile Hit Jackpot, Likely Discover New Bird Species
Storm Petrel picture by Peter Harrison
(May 2, 2011) "Many cruises provide memories of good times, good food and, of course, good drinks, but for two birders from Portland, Oregon, a February 2009 trip appears headed towards an outcome that is memorable in quite a different way.
Based on two years of follow-up research, scientists have concluded that the birds Jeff Gilligan, Gerard Lillie, and four Irish friends saw from the deck of their cruise ship off the coast of Chile are likely members of a new species of storm-petrel. The men, who are all serious birders, spotted what they thought were Wilson’s Storm-Petrels. On closer inspection, however, they noticed several features not consistent with that species, such as bellies that were too white and distinctive whitish wing bars.
After taking pictures and comparing them with various birding books and online reference materials, it began to look increasingly like they had found an unknown species. Upon returning home, they consulted with different experts and kept coming up with the same feedback, a new species may have been discovered."
As the motor home had been moved out of the RVport, it was time to clean up that whole area. Jay and I moved some things around, put some items up in the store room attic, raked and blew the whole area. It was a very dusty job.
The pine trees have been dropping their little "worms" all over the place, and Misty likes to roll in them in the back yard, come back in, and shake them off on the carpet if I don't brush her first. Being a old Girl Guide, I am prepared and keep a brush at the door.
The burn pile has had to be separated into different piles, as it would be too fierce to let the whole thing burn at once. We will be so glad to get some rain, and have the burn ban lifted. One neighbor had a $150 water bill trying to keep his grass very green. I am being frugal, and just keeping mine alive.
We raked up the pine needles in the front, and the walkway going into the back yard, but we didn't get to the back yard.
We will have to tackle that today.