For "Winged Wednesday":
"The plump, long-billed American Woodcock is a shorebird that prefers damp forest clearings, fields, and hedgerows to coastlines. It is most frequently found at dusk, when the males give elaborate and vocal aerial displays. Otherwise, this bird’s cryptic camouflage makes it extremely difficult to detect.
The woodcock’s long bill has a flexible tip specialized for catching earthworms, their main food. Their large eyes are set high on the sides of their heads, an adaptation that allows the birds to spot potential danger from all directions as they feed.
Breeding Bird and Singing Ground Surveys indicate that woodcock populations have declining at an annual rate of 1% over the last 3 decades. This decline is likely due to changes in land use, including draining bottomland hardwood and swampy areas, and a decrease in the amount of young forests and other early successional habitats that the birds rely upon.
The American Woodcock is one of the few shorebirds still regularly hunted, but annual harvest has no measurable impact on the population. A more significant threat is lead poisoning from spent shot. Since American Woodcock are nocturnal migrants, they are often killed by collisions with communications towers, glass windows, and other man-made structures.
Projects to improve habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler, a WatchList species, also benefit the American Woodcock. The Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture has been working to conserve young forest habitat, and recently announced a new initiative that will have a positive impact on both species." Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!
Dawn Song - Emily Dickinson - Yellow Warbler.
Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock...
As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song. Early in the morning, sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, finches, wrens, blackbirds, and warblers - like this Yellow Warbler - all sing at once." Play MP3 Download MP3 View Transcript
Black-throated Sparrow Sings in the Desert
"The Black-throated Sparrow thrives in the open, arid habitats of the American Southwest. Nature maintains such native landscapes with frequent but relatively cool-burning fires. But decades of fire suppression have altered nature’s pattern, setting the stage for hotter, more destructive fires. Urban development, overgrazing, and invasive plants have further degraded the habitat. National Audubon lists the Black-throated Sparrow among its Top 20 Common Birds in Decline, and recommends a more natural fire regime, prevention of overgrazing, and combating invasive plants and animals. Learn more." Play MP3 Download MP3 View Transcript
"A black-browed albatross and its chick peer at the camera on the coast of Admiralty Sound, in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Black-browed albatrosses are considered endangered, largely due to accidental capture in commercial fishing equipment. WCS conservationist Alejandro Vila was observing their nests during the fledging period, while one of this chick's parents was foraging at sea. He planned to attach a GPS transmitter to the parent when it returned to feed the youngster.
"The curious chick of one month old was very alert," said Vila. "And when I took out my camera, both the chick and its parent were looking right at my lens. I was very lucky!"
Green Birds on St. Patrick's Day
"You'd think that with so much green in nature, many birds would be a'wearin' the green for camouflage. Not just on St. Patrick's Day, but every day. Yet very few of our birds cavort in Irish green. There be some wee exceptions, however — some of the hummingbirds, with their backs of bright green, including this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Learn how to attract hummingbirds to your yard at Hummingbirds.net. Play MP3 Download MP3 View Transcript
Eurasian roller - 'Vomit bird'
'Vomit bird' uses sickening strategy against predators:
"Babies of a bird species called the Eurasian roller vomit a foul-smelling orange liquid as a defense mechanism against predators, biologists have discovered.
Offspring of the bright-blue jackdaw-sized bird -- Latin name Coracias garrulus -- throw up the repugnant fluid when they are frightened in their nests, according to a paper appearing on Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters. Covered in vomit, the nestlings not surprisingly become less attractive as a snack, the team says.
But the smell also alerts parents, returning to the nest, that a threatening incident has happened in their absence, they believe."
Trap, Neuter, Release: Bad for Cats, Disaster for Birds.
"Free-roaming and feral cats also pose a health hazard to humans from the spread of diseases such as rabies and toxoplasmosis. In April 2010, the Volusia County Health Department in Florida issued a rabies alert for 60 days following two unprovoked attacks on humans by feral cats within a month.
Two cats had tested positive for rabies in the area. The CDC states that “Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately.” Even in ‘managed’ colonies all cats cannot always be vaccinated, and infected animals may be even harder to catch in a timely manner before they infect other animals or humans."
The health department said it is important to avoid leaving food outside for pets or wildlife. Feeding wildlife or feral cats draws them closer to human populations and lessens their fear of people, which is especially dangerous when the wild population carries a deadly virus such as rabies. The first alert came after attacks from rabid raccoons. The health department’s theory is the disease could be spreading at feeding areas. People have set up shelters to feed cat colonies, but raccoons will finish off the food and may be spreading rabies to the cats.
Primary Birds Impacted
- Millions of common songbirds, such as the Cardinal, Blue Jay, and House Wren and long-distance migrants such as Indigo Bunting, Blue and Yellow Warbler.
- Rare and endangered species, such as the Piping Plover, Florida Scrub-Jay, and California Least Tern
- Birds that nest or feed on the ground, such as the California Quail "
"Each year free-roaming and feral cats kill hundreds of million of birds in the United States One controversial solution to deal with the feral cat problem is trap, neuter and release. However, evidence is growing that this method is not eliminating the cat colonies or the predation of birds and other wildlife. There are other problems created by feral cats as well including threats to human health, and public nuisance issues."
“Up to 500 million birds or more are killed by outdoor cats in the United States. We need to get serious about halting the damage that cats are causing to birds and other wildlife species,” Schroeder said."
On This Day:
Carter announces Olympic boycott, Mar 21, 1980:
"President Jimmy Carter informs a group of U.S. athletes that, in response to the December 1979 Soviet incursion into Afghanistan, the United States will boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. It marked the first and only time that the United States has boycotted the Olympics.
After the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan in December 1979 to prop up an unstable pro-Soviet government, the United States reacted quickly and sharply. It suspended arms negotiations with the Soviets, condemned the Russian action in the United Nations, and threatened to boycott the Olympics to be held in Moscow in 1980. When the Soviets refused to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, President Carter finalized his decision to boycott the games. On March 21, 1980, he met with approximately 150 U.S. athletes and coaches to explain his decision. He told the crowd, "I understand how you feel," and recognized their intense disappointment. However, Carter defended his action, stating, "What we are doing is preserving the principles and the quality of the Olympics, not destroying it." Many of the athletes were devastated by the news. As one stated, "As citizens, it is an easy decision to make—support the president. As athletes, it is a difficult decision." Others declared that the president was politicizing the Olympics. Most of the athletes only reluctantly supported Carter's decision.
The U.S. decision to boycott the 1980 Olympic games had no impact on Soviet policy in Afghanistan (Russian troops did not withdraw until nearly a decade later), but it did tarnish the prestige of the games in Moscow. It was not the first time that Cold War diplomacy insinuated itself into international sports. The Soviet Union had refused to play Chile in World Cup soccer in 1973 because of the overthrow and death of Chile's leftist president earlier that year. Even the playing field was not immune from Cold War tensions. In retaliation for Carter's action, the Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.
The first of my little boarders, Muffie, arrived at 6.30am, as a storm was imminent, and by the time Maddie arrived, the deluge was in full force. Their folks, and Jay, were going to a casino for the day. Muffie's Dad said that she had kept him up all night scratching, and he was going get her an allergy shot. Knowing how bad those shots are, I did some investigating. She didn't scratch at my place until about 25 minutes after her breakfast, the canned food he brought for her. I looked at the label and it said "with lamb and rice", but the main ingredient was chicken by-products. http://petshops.about.com/od/petfood/g/By-Products-In-Pet-Foods.htm. Every time my Misty has accidentally eaten 'by-products' she throws up and and has the runs. For Muffie's dinner I fed her some canned real lamb and rice dog food, and she didn't scratch. It seems that some people would rather pay a vet bill than feed their pet appropriately.
Maddie wouldn't stop barking at my foster cat, Prime, so a perturbed Prime had to spend the day in the grooming room. Ray came over to help me spring clean the Middle Room, so she had to listen to the shop vac. Then Maddie saw Bobbiecat and started barking at her, so old Bobcat felt trapped on her bed up by my bathroom window. A baby gate fixed that.
The Middle Room and Grooming room are just separated by a Dutch door, so some of the time she was locked up in a wire kennel cage, as we didn't want her to run back into the house as we went back and forth. I had sold three of my big wire kennel cages, and it was time to move the counter-height freezer and fridge to clean the Middle Room. Then we took my range top apart to clean it and the vent-a-hood.
Even during the hard rain some birds were busy emptying my feeder, so I rushed out and refilled it. It made me realize how I would like to move my computer area to where I could watch that feeder.
Ray and I had wanted to work on the cargo trailer, but the rain stopped that yesterday.
P.S. Muffie's Dad just called me and said that she didn't scratch at all last night, so he is off to Petsmart to buy her some Nature's Recipe. It's very good, not the best, but it is better than the Pedigree that he was feeding her.