Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ivory Gull. Millerbird. Bird Count. Brad Storey. IBAs. Feeding Frenzy. Shopping.

For "Winged Wednesday":

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull by Luke Seitz

"A petite, all-white gull, the Ivory Gull is found only in high Arctic regions. It feeds mainly on fish and invertebrates, but like other gulls is highly opportunistic, scavenging carrion from polar bear kills, offal from whales, walruses and seals, and garbage from human settlements.

Although the Ivory Gull favors remote locations, it is not immune to human-generated threats. Studies in Canada showed a 70% decline in its breeding population between 1987 and 2005. Climate change continues to degrade the pack ice that comprises an important part of its wintering habitat. Drilling and mining operations, oil spills, and illegal hunting also pose significant threats.  Toxic pollutants accumulate in Ivory Gulls when they feed on contaminated prey - analyses of their eggs have found high levels of mercury, which may affect the species’ productivity.

An article published on eBird last year noted an increasing number of vagrant Ivory Gulls, which may hint at increasing environmental problems in their wintering areas.

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

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Listen to a two-minute broadcast on this bird! "

Photo: Luke Seitz; Range Map, NatureServe




Millerbird by R. Kohley

"The Millerbird is a small, brown and buff, Old World warbler that, until recently, was only found in the vegetated portions of rocky, 156-acre Nihoa Island in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Due to its extremely limited range and small, vulnerable population, this species is listed as Endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Another Millerbird subspecies once occurred on Laysan Island, some 650 miles away, but it became extinct between 1916-1923 due to the introduction of European rabbits, which destroyed the vegetation there. However, the eradication of the rabbits has allowed the habitat on Laysan to regenerate.

The Millerbird is extremely vulnerable on Nihoa. The accidental introduction of mammalian predators, non-native species, or a catastrophic weather event could quickly bring about its extinction. Therefore, a key recovery goal for the species has been to re-establish a second, “insurance” population on Laysan.

In September 2011, after years of research and preparation, a joint expedition of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ABC, and other partners moved 24 Millerbirds from Nihoa to Laysan. The birds are thriving, with several pairs establishing territories, building nests, and even laying eggs. Scientists will remain on Laysan for the next year to monitor the birds.  A decision on whether to translocate more Millerbirds will depend on the overwinter survival and breeding success of these 24 birds.  See the full press release for more about the Millerbird translocation.

Check out our blog for regular updates about the progress
of the Millerbird project!

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Listen to a two-minute broadcast on this bird! "

Photo: Millerbird by R. Kohley; Range Map, ABC




A Millerbird nest on Laysan.

Photo by Cameron Rutt





A Millerbird carrying nest material (a seabird feather) on Laysan. Photo by Robby Kohley





Christmas Bird Count -- going on now

The Christmas Bird Count runs from Dec.14 to Jan. 5 each year. Join a CBC circle near you. Read More


January-February 2012


"This shot of an adult black-crowned night-heron is one of thousands of amazing images submitted to the 2011 Audubon photo awards."

Visit audubonmagazine




Brad Storey's Walk Across

Brad Storey Journeys Across America to support the Important Bird Areas Program!

Brad Storey Journeys Across

"Brad Storey, a devoted bird watcher and Audubon supporter, has spent a lifetime inspiring friends and family to learn about birds and the threats they face due to habitat loss from climate change and development. He and his dog Xena are now helping to raise money for Audubon's Important Bird Areas Program.

Brad Storey and his dog, Xena,

Brad and Xena have already started their journey across America, stopping at Audubon Centers and Important Bird Areas along the way.Follow their progress on Brad's Facebook Fanpage: Bird Man Walking or visit his blog. Join them for any part of the walk and enjoy the birds along the way.
If you can't walk with Brad and Xena but would like to support their effort with a donation to the Important Bird Areas Program, click here. "


The Important Bird Areas Program (IBA)

"Video produced by BirdLife International ("

"The Important Bird Areas Program recognizes that coupled with global warming, habitat loss and fragmentation are the most serious threats facing populations of birds across America and around the world. By working to identify and implement conservation strategies at Important Bird Areas, we hope to minimize the effects that habitat loss and degradation have on birds and other biodiversity. "






It was quite a day!  I was supposed to groom Mikey, but Jay called and said it was imperative that we went shopping in Conroe yesterday instead of today, as we had to pick up a child.  Also, Jay gets 'thrift-shop-withdrawal'.  Actually, that would work out better for me, as I had boarders coming today, and I don't leave boarders for very long.   Also, I was supposed to go Spring, TX to pick up a very narrow computer desk that had been used in an RV.

Just as I was going to drive down to Mikey's 'Dad', Sam, to tell him, he came banging on my door to tell me that Mikey would have to wait until today.  So that was good. 

Sam has had a stroke, so he can't see to use a phone, or read a note, and he is difficult to understand, unless you know him, and his gestures.

As everything was falling into place, Misty and I drove down there to get Jay.  But we had another passenger, Jay's new girlfriend. On the way back here, Girlfriend said the words OMG several times before we changed into my van.  Jay took her to one side and asked her not to say it.  We do have a third commandment!

We stopped at the local Kroger's so Jay could get some money out of the bank, but he didn't buy any groceries.  Then we went to Walmart, as I had some things to return.  Surprisingly enough there was no line at the return desk. They wandered off in the store and came back with a loose cover for Jay's new couch, a plain cream color.  Jay paid for that, and some other things, but no groceries.

Jay had shut his fridge down when he was trying to get rid of his non paying renter, so it was empty. He has been fed by his mother for months and months. She doesn't mind that, as he does help her.

Girlfriend said she was redecorating Jay's house so that it didn't look so much like a 'man cave', so I told her that he was planning to make his bedroom into a 'man cave', too, with a 32" Flat TV. Jay can't stand to live with anyone, so I hope she isn't planning that.

A stop at BigLots to buy a loose cover for his recliner, also plain cream color. They could have bought some groceries there.

We stopped at HEB's bank, so I could make a deposit, but they didn't buy any groceries.

On to Angelic Thrift Shop so Jay could buy the cables, and a router he needed for his computer.  That took all of five minutes, but we were there for ages, as Girlfriend was engrossed in going through the clothes racks.  Then we had to wait for ages while she tried them all on. After making her selections, Jay was expected to pay for it all, so he did. 

The same thing happened at three other thrift shops.  She bought several pairs of shoes, plus clothes for herself and her son.   Jay was getting perturbed by now, and I was getting distressed as we were taking so long, as I had to start work on my computer at 2.00PM.    Then we drove way off into the piney woods of south Conroe to pick up Girlfriend's little boy.  We didn't stop at any food stores on the way back.

Claudia, Jay's Mom, called me later and said that Jay had expected to raid her fridge, freezer and larder. She is tired of feeding his 'Kling-Ons', said "No", and stuck to her guns.

The lady with the computer desk had left a message that she would be in Conroe late afternoon, and she would bring the desk with her. I was already worn out, worried about it getting dark, but I went back and picked it up later in the day.

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