Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager. Wedge-tailed Shearwater. Eastern Bluebird. Bird Friendly Buildings. Sage-Grouse. Columbia.

For "Winged Wednesday":

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager

Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager by Dan Lebbin

"The Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager is a noisy forest denizen of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and adjacent Golfo Dulce lowlands. Its strident voice is often compared to the sound of tearing paper. This bird can be found in pairs or small family groups, sometimes accompanying mixed-species flocks. It feeds mostly on insects, but will occasionally eat fruit as well.

Unfortunately, loss of forest habitat to logging, agriculture, gold mining, colonization, and road construction has cut the Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager’s range nearly in half since 1960. The bird has become increasingly scarce in remaining fragmented habitat outside of protected areas such as Corcovado National Park. As a result, the Osa Peninsula is recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as being critical for the protection of this species.

In 2008, ABC helped Osa Conservation (OC) purchase and protect nearly 2,000 acres of habitat for the Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager at OC’s Cerro Osa Reserve. In 2011, ABC, the state of Wisconsin, and the Southern Wings Program – a partnership of U.S. state agencies – helped OC obtain an additional 1,300 acres of habitat.

Click here to learn more about this bird!

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!"

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Another of ABC's News Highlights of 2011

First U.S. Predator-Proof Fence Delivers on Promises - Important Seabird Species in Hawaii Producing Chicks in Record Numbers.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater by George Wallace

Wedge-tailed Shearwater by George Wallace

"The first predator proof fence in the United States is producing dramatic results that may eventually lead to a resurgence in decimated seabird populations in Hawai’i. The Wedge-tailed Shearwater, which nests in the remote coastal dunes on the now-fenced KaŹ»ena Point at the northwestern tip of O’ahu, has produced the highest number of chicks since the annual survey began in 1994.

“This is extraordinary news. It has been only eight months since the predator-proof fence was installed and already, we are seeing results. This year’s chick count of 1775 is a 14% percent increase over the previous high count in 2007 and the highest number ever recorded at the point. So far, the fence has done a great job of preventing bird predation by rats, cats, mongoose, dogs, and even mice,” said Dr. George Wallace, Vice President for Oceans and Islands at American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the leading bird conservation group in the United States…"  More at: http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/111209.html

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Denise Gibbs —Small-scale Successes

 
imageEastern Bluebird.

“We established and maintain a meadow on our land for birds and butterflies,” explains Denise. “We selected native grasses that would produce seed for birds and act as hosts for the caterpillars of several butterfly species. The meadow contains native herbaceous perennials that are also good butterfly nectar and host plants, as well as bird seed sources. We mow the meadow in late February/early March each year and re-seed the native grasses periodically.
We have also provided bird feeders in both the front and back yard. These contain Nyjer seed (thistle), black oil sunflower, millet, peanuts, and suet.
Our water sources include a small pond and several bird baths.

Denise’s personal philosophy on maintaining wildlife habitat echoes the landscape-level restoration and preservation goals of ABC and its partners. “My conscience will notallow me to purchase and plant any species that is not beneficial to wildlife,” she says. “I often seekout native plants that have the dual role of providing for both birds and butterflies. We are also gradually ridding our yard of non-natives and replacing with natives that produce fruits and berries for birds.” "

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Bird-Friendly Building Guide Now Available!

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"This 58-page publication focuses on both the causes of
bird-glass collisions and potential solutions, with comprehensive information on the biological science behind
the issue, legislative approaches to reducing collisions, new construction ideas, options for retrofitting of old buildings, and landscaping and lighting considerations.
To download a PDF version visit: http://www.abcbirds.
org/newsandreports/BirdFriendlyBuildingDesign.pdf

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The Bird That Won the West, The Sage-Grouse.

Sage Grouse.jpg

Traditional Shoshone dancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The fascinating Greater Sage-Grouse courtship ritual is imitated in dances by Plains Indian nations such as the Sioux, Cheyenne, Blackfoot and Shoshone.Sage grouse have been declining dramatically since the 1960s as a result of habitat fragmentation and degradation, resulting from fences, roads, oil and gas development, over-grazing, prescribed fire, spraying of herbicides and farming."

A male sage grouse struts on a

"With over forty years in local, regional and international conservation, Rutledge has led the National Audubon Society's efforts in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain west for the last seven years. Fostering research on African wild dogs, guiding ecotours to many corners of the globe and managing major zoos, Rutledge reflects on the Sagebrush Initiative as his most rewarding achievement."

"Brian Rutledge is dedicated to protecting Greater Sage-grouse and the sagebrush ecosystem that is part of our country's great natural heritage. In his role as a member of Governors' Freudenthal draft and initiate the Sage-grouse Core Area Program, directing state agencies in the Cowboy State to conserve key breeding areas for this dwindling species. "

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On This Day:

Columbia mission ends in disaster, Feb 1, 2003:

"On this day in 2003, the space shuttle Columbia breaks up while entering the atmosphere over Texas, killing all seven crew members on board.

The Columbia's 28th space mission, designated STS-107, was originally scheduled to launch on January 11, 2001, but was delayed numerous times for a variety of reasons over nearly two years. Columbia finally launched on January 16, 2003, with a crew of seven. Eighty seconds into the launch, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the shuttle's propellant tank and hit the edge of the shuttle's left wing.

Cameras focused on the launch sequence revealed the foam collision but engineers could not pinpoint the location and extent of the damage. Although similar incidents had occurred on three prior shuttle launches without causing critical damage, some engineers at the space agency believed that the damage to the wing could cause a catastrophic failure. Their concerns were not addressed in the two weeks that Columbia spent in orbit because NASA management believed that even if major damage had been caused, there was little that could be done to remedy the situation.

Columbia reentered the earth's atmosphere on the morning of February 1. It wasn't until 10 minutes later, at 8:53 a.m.--as the shuttle was 231,000 feet above the California coastline traveling at 23 times the speed of sound--that the first indications of trouble began. Because the heat-resistant tiles covering the left wing's leading edge had been damaged or were missing, wind and heat entered the wing and blew it apart.

The first debris began falling to the ground in west Texas near Lubbock at 8:58 a.m. One minute later, the last communication from the crew was heard, and at 9 a.m. the shuttle disintegrated over southeast Texas, near Dallas. Residents in the area heard a loud boom and saw streaks of smoke in the sky. Debris and the remains of the crew were found in more than 2,000 locations across East Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Making the tragedy even worse, two pilots aboard a search helicopter were killed in a crash while looking for debris. Strangely, worms that the crew had used in a study that were stored in a canister aboard the Columbia did survive.

In August 2003, an investigation board issued a report that revealed that it in fact would have been possible either for the Columbia crew to repair the damage to the wing or for the crew to be rescued from the shuttle. The Columbia could have stayed in orbit until February 15 and the already planned launch of the shuttle Atlantis could have been moved up as early as February 10, leaving a short window for repairing the wing or getting the crew off of the Columbia.

In the aftermath of the Columbia disaster, the space shuttle program was grounded until July 16, 2005, when the space shuttle Discovery was put into orbit."

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Yesterday:

Jay and I took my big kennel cages out of the grooming room closet, unfolded them and set them up for pictures, as someone has shown interest in buying them.   Now, they have the pictures, so we will see what happens.

Then we set up one more yard sale table in the RV port. Displayed a lot of junk stuff on it, and covered it up with a tarp until the two-day sale starts on Thursday.

It started out rainy, and then turned into a nice sunny 'window-and-doors open' day.

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