Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Short-tailed Albatross. Robin’s Nest. Birds and Coffee Beans. 100 Parrots Saved & Parrot Care. Hermit Thrush Songs. "Seagulls"? Bushtits. First Indy. Kentucky River. Bugs and Birds.

For “Winged Wednesday”:

Short-tailed Albatross

Short-tailed Albatross, USFWS

“The Short-tailed is a medium-sized albatross, with a wingspan of seven to eight feet. The adult has a white head and body and a golden crown and nape. The large pink bill is distinctive.

Once abundant and widespread in the northern Pacific, the Short-tailed Albatross was nearly driven to extinction by Japanese plume hunters in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The species had declined to about ten pairs by 1953, but has rebounded due to conservation efforts, including protection of its main breeding areas on Torishima.

The species is listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as Endangered, and remains vulnerable because Torishima is an active volcano; an eruption could have a devastating impact, as could the introduction of predators, especially rats. To guard against such disasters, conservationists have translocated birds from Torishima to Mukojima Island, also in Japan, to establish a second nesting colony there.

Bycatch mitigation measures have also helped reduce the threat to these and other albatrosses posed by longline fisheries.

Most recently, a pair of Short-tails has begun breeding on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and several individuals have been sighted at other islands in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, providing hope that a colony will one day establish itself there. Read more about this in ABC's recent press release!


Robins - 4 Eggs and 4 Weeks (Shown in 3+ minutes!)

“A robin built a nest in a hanging basket on our porch and laid 4 eggs. That kept mom and dad busy for the next four weeks. Here's what happened.”


Wake up save the birds. By Birds & Beans

“Once again Birds & Beans® has brought in all the coffee harvest from Gaia Estate in the Pacific coastal tropical forest region of Carazo in Nicaragua. Farmers Jefferson Shriver and Maria Gabriela Narvaez Quesada have turned Gaia into a wonderful and sustainable farm expanding community employment, growing great coffee and caring for the environment. Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman went to Gaia in 2011 and recorded over 100 bird species and 2,500 individual birds at Gaia.”

Smithsonian's seal

Why does Bird Friendly Certified Matter?

A constantly increasing majority of the coffee Americans drink is grown on Latin American sun coffee farms, eco-deserts. These farms are built by destroying what was beautiful tropical habitat. These tropical forests were home to many species of birds and plants and, in particular, the winter refuge for over 100 of our North Americans migratory bird species. Beautiful birds including Scarlet Tanager, Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and the Wood Thrush. When these birds migrate south during our winter they are increasingly finding survival difficult because of sun-coffee farms. Populations are dropping – one spring they might not come back. This is why the only coffee we should drink should be shade grown, organic coffee with the Bird Friendly® certification on the bag.
The Smithsonian began rigorously inspecting shade farms in Latin America twenty years ago to ensure they met with scientific standards that would allow our migratory bird species to thrive. We should all be drinking and talking about Smithsonian certified Bird Friendly® coffee.”

“Order a bag or two today and tell us how you like it. We will roast your order within 7 days of sending it to you and hope you fall in love with Birds & Beans®. If you are not 100% satisfied we will refund your full cost including shipping and handling, just call us and tell us you want your money back.” From:


Parrot’s Flight to Freedom

“The HSUS Animal Rescue Team along with The Humane Society of Greater Dayton helped rescue more than 100 parrots and other birds from deplorable conditions in Moraine, Ohio.”

1. Help these birds and rescue efforts like this one

2. Support your local bird rescue or shelter »

3. If you have a pet bird, treat 'em right »

“If you already share your home with a feathered friend, it's important to fly the extra mile to give him or her the best life possible with you. Provide the biggest cage you can afford. Offer regular access to stimulating toys and fresh fruits and vegetables. Provide as much out-of-cage time as you can manage. Learn everything you can about your parrot's specific behavior and needs (your local parrot rescue may offer behavior and feeding workshops). And schedule regular check-ups with an avian veterinarian. All parrots are highly intelligent and social, so treat them as a member of the family, and watch their hearts soar. More on pet bird care »

4. Never buy a bird »

“Did you know there are countless homeless parrots (big and small) in animal shelters and rescue groups across the country? Because of their beauty and intelligence, parrots have been overbred, and many wind up in homes with caretakers who didn't know what they were getting into. Through no fault of their own, the birds usually end up suffering in the end. What this means is that if you really want a bird, you can be fairly certain there's a bird out there who really wants you.

So, do your research, and never buy a bird from a pet store or online. Find a reputable avian rescue group in your area »”  

5. Fly right »    From:


Songs and Calls - They're Not the Same

A whole vocabulary for listening to birds!

Listen to it at:

“To our ear, the haunting song of this Hermit Thrush is musical, even ethereal. To another Hermit Thrush, the song signals that a male is laying claim to a territory and seeking a mate. These thrushes, like other songbirds, broadcast a variety of calls. Call notes can signal many things – alarm at a predator or aggression toward a rival. Or they may simply maintain contact between members of a pair or flock. So the next time you hear a bird sing or call, listen carefully. You may be introduced to a whole new vocabulary.
What birds are singing and calling around your home?”


Gulls or "Seagulls"?

Sometimes they are. Sometimes they're not.

“Gulls seem so much a part of the sea that we often just call them "seagulls," a colloquial title for these graceful, ubiquitous creatures. Twenty-two species breed in North America. The Pacific coast is home to the aptly named Western Gulls. The familiar Ring-billed Gull nests all across the northern states and Canadian provinces. Herring Gulls breed along the Great Lakes and Northeast waterways, while these Laughing Gulls nest all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.”


Bushtits  What bird comes in packs of 30?

“Weighing about as much as four paperclips, Bushtits are smaller than many hummingbirds. And they take full advantage of their diminutive size. While larger insect-eaters forage on the upper surfaces of leaves and twigs, Bushtits hang beneath them, plucking all the tiny insects and spiders hiding out of sight of other birds. They pair off to build a foot-long, pendulous sack of a nest. (This male Bushtit is working on a nest.) In fall and winter, Bushtits go about in flocks of 30 or more, one bird following after another. Where they live in Western suburbia, a flock of Bushtits can do a great job of ridding a garden of harmful aphids and scale insects. Shun the pesticides and let these guys do the work!”


On This Day:

First Indianapolis 500 is run, May 30, 1911:

“On May 30, 1911, the inaugural Indianapolis 500 is run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. The 200-lap, two-and-a-half mile race has since become a Memorial Day weekend tradition. With the exception of a break in 1917 and 1918 for World War  and from 1942 to 1945 for World War I, it has been run every year since, and is now the largest sporting event in the world, attended by about 270,000 spectators annually.

When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was designed, the track was meant to have a crushed rock and tar surface. That surface was abandoned after only a few races in 1909, due to fatal results caused by unevenness. The rock and tar was replaced by over 3 million street-paving bricks that were filled in with sand and then mortar for strength. The track has since been referred to as "the brickyard," although subsequent resurfacing has covered all but about three feet of the bricks.

At the first Indy 500 in 1911, 40 cars met the qualifications to race. Track founder Carl Fisher felt the large number could lead to danger, so he decided to lead the first lap around the track at about 40 or 45 miles per hour, before pulling off to the side. The "pace car" has since become standard practice at all auto races.

In the 30th mile of the race, 80,000 spectators watched as a driver from Chicago lost a front wheel, which caused his car to turn over on the track. Both the driver and his mechanic, who rode in the front seat with him, were thrown from the car. The mechanic landed against a fence and was killed instantly, while the driver escaped with a broken arm. The race continued, and the crowd watched nervously as accidents piled up, knowing another fatality could take place at any moment. None did, and Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon, was declared the winner with a time of 06:41:08. Harroun was the only driver in the race who didn’t ride with a mechanic.    Instead, he employed a rear-view mirror, his own invention, to keep an eye on the other cars on the track.


Waters of Kentucky River peak, May 30, 1927:

“On this day in 1927, the Kentucky River peaks during a massive flood that kills 89 people and leaves thousands homeless. Torrential rains caused this unprecedented flood.

This flood had a serious long-term impact on the communities of the region: 12,000 people were left homeless and men were out of work for months as the mines in which most worked had to be shut down. As with most floods, it was the flooding of small streams rather than a major river that caused the most deaths. Major rivers that flood can cause serious property and agricultural damage, but do not usually cause deaths because it takes more time for them to flood, usually providing ample warning to people nearby. Smaller rivers and creeks tend to flood suddenly when inundated by local storm bursts; the sudden waves of water that kill people usually come out of these smaller rivers.

Floods are the deadliest weather phenomenon in the United States, causing about 140 deaths annually.”



Prime-on-porchJay called to say that he had found the last of the kittens from the litter that we had trapped.  But it was very thin and had a broken leg.  Misty and I rushed down there to get him and the kitten.  Such a shame, it was feral ‘tortie’. (Tortoiseshell color like my Prime pictured) It was so weak that it couldn’t put up a fight. I wish we could have caught it sooner before it got in such bad shape. Even Jay was sorry for the poor little thing.  We came back here and Animal Control picked it up. I made sure they put it in a cage with a soft blankie. So, one more kitten won’t be suffering or making 400,000 cats in the next 10 years.

Bugs and Birds:

First, the mosquitoes.   Last year we didn’t have to worry about skeeters or fruit flies because of the drought, but they have come back with a vengeance this year. Jay got on a ladder and changed the bulbs in the outside lights to yellow bug lights.  Even Misty has got used to me not going out with her at dusk, as the skeeters would cross the county to come get a piece of me. They must know that I am allergic to them. There are spray cans of Repel at each door and in each vehicle, but I hate to slather that DEET on me.

Then the fruit flies.   I don’t know how they get in here, but I have outfoxed them.  I get an empty cat food can, put a tiny bit of canned cat food, banana or other fruit in it. Cover it with plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band. Then I punch a few holes in the plastic with an ice pick.  So I have my own “Fruit Fly Motel”, they check in, but can’t check out. As soon as I have enough trapped, I put that in the trash and start again.

Then the birds.   There are some mockingbirds defending what they think is their territory.  When they pay the Property Taxes, insurance and POA here, then they can think that.  The last couple of days when I have been in the back yard with Misty re-planting some of my aloe vera, these birds kept on squawking and swooping at me.  Prime, watching from the screen porch, had a lot of fun watching them guard my shed.  While Jay and I were working on the cargo trailer, they would dive bomb down and actually peck him.  If we needed anything out of the shed, I had to get it.  They did not want Jay around yesterday.


Sandra said...

There is an electronic mosquito repellent out. Gordon just purchased one, don't think he's used it yet but it might be a thought for you. I think it was $11 and the refill lasts for 11 hrs. Probably a lot cheaper down there.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have been over twenty miles out to sea in a small private fishing boat, opened my lunch sack and sterted to eat a bannana. Yep, you guessed it, it only took a couple of minutes for fruit flies to show up. Where the heck did they come from?

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

THERMOCELL - I tell ya, there is no other way to go on skeeter invasions. This sounds like a commercial, but it's not. It's my own experience. We were skepical at first. Read my blog post here:

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi Sandra, DD, and Karen, thank you for your comments.

I have heard about the Thermocells, but when I just go out with Misty for 5 minutes in the back yard, it would be time consuming to light it when she is in a hurry.

My bug zapper bulb went out, and that works great at night time. I heard that if I spritz myself with the original yellow Listerine that will work too. I will buy these items when I am out today.

DD, I think the fruit flies hide their tiny larvae in the banana skins. I know I am not supposed to, but I keep my bananas in a produce bag in the crisper drawer. They stay fresher and it is too cold for the larvae to hatch. One reason I always wash a banana before I eat it! Then get rid of the peel down the disposal.

If camping, I seal it in a zipper sandwich bag. That is also a good place to hide any names and addresses off mail, when you don't have a shredder with you. Or put the pieces of paper in your dog's poopy bag.

When I can, I skin the bananas and freeze them in zipper bags. They can be eaten dipped in chocolate, or made into smoothies.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny