Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Found Baby Bird? Palkachupa Cotingas. Eagle. Gorgeted Wood-Quail. Appalachia. Parenthood.. Tsunami Losses. Cargo Trailer.

"Winged Wednesday" again!

Baby Birds & Eggs

"The very best thing to do when you find a baby bird on the ground is to do nothing. Leave it alone. The parents are probably nearby and are feeding it
Quite often young birds will leave the nest before they can fly. This is normal. These birds often end up on the ground. The baby bird can still move around and it can let its parents know where it is.
In fact, many birds are capable of walking and staying close to their mother almost from the moment they hatch. These species are called "precocial." They hatch with their eyes open and are down-covered. Quail, grouse, ducks, gulls, terns and shorebirds are precocial.

The opposite of precocial is altricial. These birds hatch in a helpless condition and depend on their parents. Robins, cardinals, bluebirds and most songbirds are altricial. These are the birds we usually discover on the ground.

If it is extremely obvious that a bird has fallen from a nest and is far too young to survive, you may place it back into the nest. If the nest blew down, place what is left of the nest and the babies in a small berry basket and hang it near the original nest. The parents may return to feed the young.

Handling a baby bird will not cause the parents to abandon it. Almost all birds have a very poor sense of smell. But raccoons, foxes and other predators have a very good sense of smell. You may be leaving a trail directly to the nest for these hungry animals.

We know you want to take the baby birds inside, put them in a warm box, feed them milk and bread with an eye-dropper and watch them grow up. Mother nature and the U.S. Government don't want you to do this. It is illegal (really!). Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are authorized to handle wild birds
If an entire nest blows down, you could try to put it back where it was. Beyond that, let nature take its course. You might also want to read about the life expectancy of birds.

Most songbirds will lay an egg a day. They sit on their eggs for 12-14 days. The baby birds are able to leave the nest about 14 days later and can fly a few days after that.

Robin eggs are a solid pale bluish-green. This is the most common egg you will find in your yard. The book shown below has many color photos of bird eggs. We highly recommend it."

Nests, Eggs and Nestlings
Nests, Eggs and Nestlings
of North American Birds

Did You Know:
The largest bird egg is the Ostrich of Africa (1600 grams and 6.8 inches by 5.4 inches). The smallest is the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba (.2 grams).


New Bird Species for Bolivia

Palkachupa Contingas by Benjamin Skolnik
Palkachupa Cotingas by Benjamin Skolnik

"A bird recently rediscovered in Bolivia after an absence of almost 100 years is a distinct species according to a recently published article in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology
The Palkachupa Cotinga was rediscovered in 2000 by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) partner Asociación Armonía. It was initially thought to be a subspecies of the Swallow-tailed Cotinga, which is found in Brazil, but with further study, it became clear the Palkachupa Cotinga deserved full species status.

The Palkachupa Cotinga is a small, brightly colored bird with vivid yellow, white, and black feathers; the males have a long forked tail. It is distinguished from its more common Brazilian cousin by tail length; plumage, eye and foot color; habitat; and vocalizations. The cotinga forages by flycatching in the forest canopy and eating fruits. It prefers to nest in trees along forest edges and even in isolated trees among savannah-type habitat. Its nests have also been found on barren, rocky ridge tops, which may indicate a lack of adequate nesting trees.

The Palkachupa Cotinga is endemic to Bolivia, and is likely to be classed as Critically Endangered due to its small population (600-800 individuals) and restricted geographic range. The special forest the species requires has been devastated over the last 100 years, leaving the species struggling for survival on the remaining forest fragments. The population stronghold is based around the small village of Atén, in western Bolivia just outside Madidi National Park, where Armonía has been conducting a conservation project for the last three years. They have established a 59-acre reserve and are working within the local community to raise awareness of the bird’s plight.

“We truly hope this publication will result in more attention to this unique species, as well as additional resources towards its protection and improved understanding of its ecology,” said Bennett Hennessey, Executive Director of Armonía and the author of the forthcoming publication.

Habitat for this newly named species continues to be reduced by cattle ranching and agriculture. Future conservation actions will include reforestation and outreach campaigns, reserve expansion through land acquisition, community-driven tourism, and species monitoring. "

Eagle owl at 1000 frames per second, flying towards a camera:

Gorgeted Wood-Quail

Gorgeted Wood-Quail, ProAves

"The Gorgeted Wood-Quail is a small, ground-dwelling bird with distinctive black-and-white throat-bands.  It forages on the forest floor for fruit, seeds and arthropods. Its loud, rollicking song is typically heard during early morning.

The historic range of this wood-quail has been heavily degraded and fragmented by logging and land clearing for agriculture and pasture. Hunting has also contributed to the bird’s decline.

The same forests that shelter the Gorgeted Wood-Quail are also prime habitat for wintering Cerulean Warblers – another species in decline, and the only migrant songbird with a winter range restricted to South America.

ABC and our Colombian partner Fundación ProAves have protected nearly 500 acres of this threatened forest habitat with the establishment of the Cerulean Warbler Reserve in 2005. The reserve also now boasts a 45-acre shade coffee farm and visitor’s lodge so tourists can witness the spectacular biodiversity of the reserve in comfort. The Reserve buffers the nearly 200,000-acre Yariguíes National Park.

Studies conducted by ProAves in Yariguies have uncovered new populations of the Gorgeted Wood-Quail in the park.  Other endangered and endemic bird species, such as the Chestnut-bellied Hummingbird, Mountain Grackle, and Recurve-billed Bushbird, occur in the reserve and national park; good numbers of wintering neotropical migrants have been noted as well. " Click here for more information on the Gorgeted Wood-Quail.
Visitors and birders are welcome at the Cerulean Reserve!

Conservationists Hope to Turn Abandoned Coal Mining Lands into Bird Havens

Cerulean Warbler. Photo: Barth Schorre
Tree Planting to Restore Forested Habitat for the Cerulean Warbler and Other Declining Bird Species
Cerulean Warbler. Photo: Barth Schorre

"A coalition of groups will contribute to a program that has the potential to dramatically alter the landscape of abandoned and disused coal mines throughout Appalachia for the benefit of some of our fastest declining birds. The project will plant 15,000 seedlings on a plot in Vinton County, Ohio that will serve as a model for future partnership efforts. The project will restore degraded mining lands to provide habitat for Cerulean Warblers and other interior forest birds that have been declining due to the loss and fragmentation of forests in the United States and Canada.

“We are working with partners to identify areas to target reforestation for Ceruleans and other priority forest-dwelling birds,” said Dr. Brian Smith, American Bird Conservancy’s Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture Coordinator. “At the same time we are also identifying reclaimed mine complexes to improve habitat conditions for viable populations of open-land priority species such as Golden-winged Warblers and American Woodcock.”"
More at:

And more about the Reforesting the Appalachian Project:


B i r d c o n s e r v a t i o n • FA L L 2011

"Several cell phones hang precariously from tree limbs in the
small parking area outside the
Jorupe Reserve in southern Ecuador,
making a sort of avant-garde tropical
Christmas tree.

It is early on a March morning, and Fundación Jocotoco’s Director of Reserves, Javier Robayo, Executive Director, Zoltan Waliczky, and I are heading out to see some of the many dry-forest specialist bird species such as the Grey-breasted Flycatcher and Grey-cheeked Parakeet.

One phone rings and a forest guard comes running down the path. He answers the call on his tiptoes in an effort not to dislodge the phone from the only place one can apparently get a signal, comically leaving it hanging from the branch throughout the conversation. His call is about a massive effort to plant 227,000 native trees on old cattle pasture at four reserves owned by ABC partner Fundación Jocotoco. These pastures could provide excellent bird habitat if properly restored.

The trees that line the parking lot and road that shade us from the intense tropical sun were planted in a previous reforestation campaign just two years ago. At over 15 feet, I find their exceptional size hard to believe given the slow growth rates of trees in North America. The forest guard boasts that these trees grew so quickly due to his constant watering.

We see other trees that are smaller and were apparently harder to access with water buckets. Jocotoco has become one of the leading institutions in Latin America when it comes to reforestation of native vegetation. In just a few years, they have planted an outstanding 650,000 trees. If one were ever unconvinced of the merits of planting trees, Ecuador is certainly the place to visit.

In addition, lands outside the reserves are reforested to create greater habitat connectivity. For instance, the Cerulean Warbler, a bright blue migrant from the United States, benefits from a conservation corridor project linking private properties between three ProAves reserves in the Serranía de los Yaraguíes.   Landowners are encouraged to maintain forest plots and plant shade trees on coffee and cacao farms in exchange for training and other incentives, such as the installation of irrigation systems.

At a recent workshop held by ABC in Peru, ProAves staff exclaimed how the mega-diverse country of Colombia is well-known to host a disproportionate amount of the world’s bird species, many of which are threatened.

Fortunately, migrant and resident birds alike are finding sanctuary in Colombian forests thanks to the encouraging reforestation efforts of ABC partner, Fundación ProAves.  At nearly all of their 18 reserves, ProAves employs forest guards and local residents to establish and maintain tree nurseries.   An
incredible 80 species of native trees are transplanted within degraded properties acquired by ProAves and incorporated into existing private reserves. This adds vital habitat for dozens of highly threatened species, including the magnificent Dusky Starfrontlet hummingbird and they were excited to scale up their efforts and become more efficient at producing plants after they witnessed the local Peruvian workers speedily
transplant seedlings.

We can only be thrilled at this force for positive change in Colombia, where so much land is being lost to urban growth and development."

Part 1 of "Parenthood"

"All 9,000 species of birds have the same approach to motherhood: every one lays eggs.
No bird gives birth to live young. Birds quickly form and lay an egg covered in a protective shell that is then incubated outside the body.
Birds developed much great mobility than a mammal, but at the cost of being unable to carry its growing offspring about in its body.

Unlike, say, a dog carrying a litter of puppies.
The large size of a egg makes it difficult for the female to retain more than a single one egg at a time - carrying eggs would make flying harder and require more energy. (Bird eggs vary in size from the tiny 0.2 gramme eggs of hummingbirds to the enormous 9 kilogram eggs of the extinct elephant bird.)

Just as an aircraft cannot fly if it is overweight, all female birds must dispense with the fertile egg as soon as it is formed. And because the egg is such a protein-rich high-nuitrition prize to all sorts of predators, birds must find a secure place to hatch their eggs.

Although birds' eggs appear to be fragile, they are in fact extremely robust. The oval shape applies the same rules of engineering as an arched bridge; the convex surface can withstand considerable pressure without breaking. This is essential if the egg is not to crack under the weight of the sitting bird. It takes 26 pounds of pressure to break a swan's egg and 120 pounds to smash the egg of an ostrich. "
More at:

Seabird Losses on Midway Far Exceed Early Estimates

"In addition to the tragic loss of human life, the March tsunami in Japan took a heavy toll on albatrosses and
other seabirds nesting on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Water swept over most of Eastern Island, while flooding was restricted to more coastal areas on the larger Sand Island, which has coastal bluffs and more elevation inland.

Chicks were swept from their nests and buried in mud and debris. The adults fared better, but many were
soaked and battered, making it impossible for them to swim or fly. At least 110,000 Laysan and Black-footed Albatross chicks (about 22 percent of the year’s productivity) and more than 2,000 adult albatrosses were lost.

Other species also sustained heavy losses. The Bonin Petrel, a smaller burrow-nesting bird, lost nearly all of its young on Eastern Island, where most nests were flooded. It is hoped that many adults were at sea when the wave hit, but a full assessment of the impact on the populations will be possible only over the years to come.

Wisdom, a 60-year-old Laysan Albatross and the world’s oldest known wild bird, was raising a chick this year with her mate, and was the first endangered Short-tailed Albatross to have a chick hatch on U.S. soil. The Short-tailed Albatross chick was swept about 40 yards away, but a biologist found it the next day and returned it to its nest. Some good news came on March 21, when biologists confirmed that Wisdom had returned to her nest. By mid-April, the male Short-tailed Albatross had also been seen feeding its chick. In June, wildlife refuge biologists at Midway banded the five-month-old Short-tailed Albatross chick to track its movements after it fledges.

ABC’s work to protect seabirds, particularly albatrosses, from mortality threats is more important than ever in the face of this catastrophe, including efforts to eradicate invasive species in Hawai'i, eliminate bycatch and intentional take of albatrosses in Ecuador and Peru, and ensure that the United States signs on to the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels" (ACAP).

image A Bonin Petrel mired in its burrow by debris deposited by the powerful tsunami that struck Midway. This bird was lucky – many petrels were buried alive and perished. Pete Leary, March 2011, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Misty and I went to pick up Jay, and he brought little Maddie , the Yorkie, with him.  I quickly clipped some of the hair off her face and rear, while he loaded up the 6" foam for the cargo trailer's dinette cushions in the Puddle Jumper.  We took Maddie back home, and dropped the cushions off at the upholstery lady's home in this subdivision.  She said she should have them ready in a week, as she has other things to finish first.

Now that someone else is doing the cushions, Jay and I put away the great big 7'x4' sewing table that had been gracing my living room for the last few weeks. 

Then it was all hands on deck as Ray, Jay and I buzzed around trying to do some of the seemingly never-ending nit-picking jobs done on the cargo trailer.

Repaired-top Ray put the second coat of paint on the last shelf, and he also painted the plywood top that Jay and I made for the water meter can.  Actually, it isn't a water meter under there, it is an RV dump that my late DH and I installed many years ago, before the house was built.  Now, there are two more RV dumps here, one on each side of the house at the 2 30 amp full hook up sites. One is under the RVport, where my MH is parked.  The other is beside the workshop.

Door-stop-prop Ray and I installed the door stop on the trailer and back door, so now the tail light lens can stay in place.  It is the kind where a metal plunger goes into a rubber socket, and I know from experience that a big gust of wind wouldn't hold the door open.  If that heavy cargo door was to hit someone, it could do some damage.   As this made the T-style door holder not reach, Jay made an oak spacer, so that it can be used, too.

Jay took the 4" thick cushions that I got from Sam, up to my attic, and brought down my 'kick-ass 220 heater' as Jay calls it.  The forecasters say we are going to have a cold spell.

Jay and I installed the new front door lock, so now we can go in and out of the trailer at the front, and not have to go through the rear cargo door to unlock the front door.

Jay also installed the last of the inside lights under the shelves, and they all work.  I was busy cleaning up the lights and lenses.

The weather was lovely, but had that humid feeling where you just knew it was going to rain…but it didn't, for one more day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

That door bumper looks a little small compared to that big ole door. It looks like it is just a latch to keep the door open. How does it work as a bumper? What am I not seeing?

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi Dick, thank you for your comment.
This is what it looks like:

I hope you can copy and paste it.

There is a rigid metal plunger on the trailer, that goes into a rubber socket on the door, so the door can't swing back on the tail light.
Happy Tails and Trails, Penny