Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Keep Hummers Fed. Feds. Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Least Tern. Einstein. Cargo Trailer 'Rigged For Silent Running'.


Winged Wednesday again:

Question of the Week, Hummers.

Q. "I have been told that I should stop feeding hummingbirds in the fall so that they can begin their southern migration. Is this correct?"

A. "That's a myth. A number of factors trigger the urge for birds to migrate, but the most significant one is day length. As days grow shorter in late summer, hummingbirds get restless and start to head south, taking advantage of abundant natural food, and feeders where available, to fuel their flight. A few individuals, especially Rufous Hummingbirds and a few other Western species, wander east rather than south; causes for this have not been entirely teased out, but it's not feeders that cause them to wander, and if a feeding station is closed down, chances are that a vagrant hummingbird will wander toward worse rather than better conditions.

We encourage people to keep hummingbird feeders full for several weeks after the last hummer leaves just in case a straggler shows up in need of additional energy before completing the long journey south.

One of our own staff discovered an adult female Rufous Hummingbird at her feeder in northern Minnesota on November 16, 2004; that bird remained for over two weeks, surviving a blizzard and temperatures that dropped to just 6 degrees Fahrenheit, before leaving at mid-morning on December 3. That day temperatures climbed to a relatively warm 25 degrees; the bird's chances of survival without the feeder she stopped at were significantly lower."




Latest Federal Guidelines Fail to Make Wind Power Bird-Smart, Break Federal Laws, and Rely on Unlikely Voluntary Compliance.

Golden Eagle, FWS

Golden Eagle, USFWS

(Washington, D.C., September 20, 2011)

"The Department of the Interior (DOI) has released a revised, third version of its voluntary wind development siting and operational guidelines that fails to ensure that bird deaths at wind farms are minimized, says American Bird Conservancy, the nation’s leading bird conservation organization.

Furthermore, the public has been given only ten days to comment. The final opportunity for the public to discuss these guidelines with DOI will be at a federal advisory committee meeting today and tomorrow.

“ABC is very much pro wind energy. America has the potential to create a truly green energy source that does not unduly harm birds, but the Department of the Interior is squandering the opportunity to be ‘smart from the start’,” said Kelly Fuller, Wind Campaign Coordinator for American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation’s leading bird conservation organization.

“The latest draft of the wind guidelines is not only voluntary, making industry compliance unlikely, but also offers assurances that wind companies won’t be prosecuted for illegally killing federally protected birds such as Bald and Golden Eagles. These guidelines set a dangerous precedent for other energy industries to seek the same freedom to break America’s wildlife protection laws without repercussions,” said Fuller." More at:



Male rose-breasted grosbeak by Michelle Wisniewski


An adult male rose-breasted grosbeak in breeding plumage feeds on gumbo-limbo fruit in Florida.

Photo by Michelle Wisniewski.



"Glancing out the window at my feeder last weekend, I noticed something unusual: a streaky, buff-breasted, brown bird that was larger—and had a much bigger bill—than the dozen or so house sparrows that surrounded it. What the bird most reminded me of was a rose-breasted grosbeak, but the colors were all wrong (for either a male or female).  So was the location. Though I’ve seen a handful of these lovely birds in my life, it’s been only in New England or the Blue Ridge Mountains, not particularly close to my Washington, DC, backyard.

A quick look at The Sibley Guide to Birds I pulled from my bookshelf solved the mystery. It turned out that my baffling backyard visitor looked just like Sibley’s detailed drawing of a “1st winter male” rose-breasted grosbeak.  These birds—which spend summer north or west of Washington, DC, and winter far to the south—do indeed pass through my area during spring and fall migration." 

More at:


Least Tern


Least Tern by Luke Seitz

"The Least Tern is the smallest tern in the Americas. In breeding plumage, it sports a black cap ending at a white forehead, and a short, white eye stripe. Its bill is yellow with a black tip.

For successful breeding, the Least Tern requires open, undisturbed beaches, coastal flats, islands, or river sandbars.  Unfortunately, these habitats are also prime areas for human recreation, residential development, and alteration by water diversion, which interfere with successful nesting in many areas.

ABC has worked with diverse partners, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve Least Tern habitat and monitoring. ABC organized the first ever range-wide population survey of the Interior Least Te rn, and has helped develop habitat management recommendations for coastal and riverine populations including sandbar creation and restoration, which can be an effective tool to increase least tern nesting. Learn more about how ABC’s work on the Least Tern."

Support ABC's efforts to preserve this and other waterbirds!



free birdsong downloads



In case you haven't seen Einstein in a while:






The night before, it was quite chilly during the early hours, even though the day had turned quite warm and sunny in the afternoon.  It was the first night without the AC running for a long time.  I even put a light weight throw at the bottom of the bed, in case I had to pull it up over the sheet.  Then yesterday, it was another chilly morning which turned into a lovely sunny day.  I hope it keeps this up for a while, but with a little rain, please.


Misty and I went to get Jay as we needed to get the cargo-stealth-travel trailer "Rigged For Silent Running".  That's how I describe getting an RV ready to roll.  Jim the welder/mechanic is going to pick it up today to weld the bumper back on.


Bed-mattress We took the dinette table out for safe keeping.  Then took the removable part of the plywood bed out, as we need to put some Formica around the edges, then it will look better when the cargo door is open.  It is removable so that a motor cycle or cargo can be hauled in the trailer.  We bungeed the mattress up against the wall, and I swept the floor free of sawdust and pine needles that had blown in while we were working on it.


The jack stands are now out from under it.  The 6 cement blocks at the front door had to be moved, so Jim won't hit them when he swings the trailer into the street.  Then 2 of the other 6 cement blocks that we have been using for steps at the back door had to be moved, as Jim will have to back it up a smidgeon to get the wheel chocks out of the way.  It didn't have any RV steps when I got it, and I haven't bought any yet.


We secured all the wires underneath, anchored the conduit to the frame, and marked the power tongue jack wire, as we don't leave it hooked up to the battery.  Some kid might walk by and start playing with the buttons!

As we had a little time left, Jay installed one more of the interior lights, and we found out that it's matching mate doesn't work.  That is a shame, as we had intended them to be across from each other.  So I might have to buy another pair.


The weather was great, so all in all a pretty good day.


Sandra said...

Is this just a hobby or do you make money on these trailers that you renovate and update? You seem to spend an awful lot of time on them and I'm sure they're lovely when you're done. Just wondered...

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi Sandra, thank you for your comment.

I suppose it is a little of each. I can't stand to see an abused animal or RV, so I try to rehabilitate it!

The difference is that I have to feed and care for the foster animals out of my own pocket, sometimes for years, and get no monetary reward. I just have the satisfaction of saving a little life.

I do sell the RVs for more than I paid for them, but with all the hours that we put in, I don't think I make a profit. There again, it is great to see a cute RV resurrected out of the abuse of others.

Happy Trails, Penny.

Dizzy-Dick said...

There are better rewards for time and effort than just monetary.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thanks for that comment, Dick.

I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Penny, TX