Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wood Thrush. Stop Feeding Waterfowl. Gum. Condors With Transmitters. Dwindling Food. Peregrine Falcon Chicks. Kalamazoo Ospreys. Deadly Avian Predator. Baby Owl. Common Potoo. Meriwether Lewis. Miranda Rights. Sadie and Candy.

For “Winged Wednesday”:

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush by Greg Homel

“The Wood Thrush’s haunting, flutelike song is a familiar summer sound throughout eastern forests. This large, spot-breasted thrush feeds on the forest floor, mainly on invertebrates and fruit from shrubs.

Wood Thrush population surveys from 1966 to 2009 show a continent-wide decline of almost 2% per year, suggesting an overall population decrease of some 50% in that period.

The destruction and fragmentation of forests are major factors in this decline. Although Wood Thrushes will nest in suburban areas, they have reduced breeding success in these smaller forest patches due to cowbird parasitism and nest predation from species such as jays, crows, raccoons, and domestic cats.

The loss of lowland tropical forests has reduced wintering habitat as well, although bird-friendly shade-grown coffee has been shown to provide some habitat for wintering Wood Thrushes.

Studies show that acid rain due to coal-burning power plants affects Wood Thrush breeding success by reducing soil calcium needed by their prey. Energy conservation, better use of renewable energy sources, and adoption of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology will help reduce acid rain, benefiting the Wood Thrush and other biodiversity.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

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Listen to a two-minute broadcast about warblers!

Photo: Greg Homel; Range Map, NatureServe


Stop Feeding Waterfowl

“Some people enjoy feeding waterfowl. They visit lakes, ponds, and town parks to toss bread, corn, popcorn, or table scraps to the ducks and geese that congregate in these places. Some people say that it makes them feel good to help the ducks ... that it brings the ducks closer for their kids to see ... that it's an escape from the daily grind.

Is it good to feed waterfowl?

No, artificial feeding is actually harmful to waterfowl.

Artificial feeding of waterfowl can cause:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Increased hybridization
  • Water pollution
  • Delayed migration
  • Concentrations at unnatural sites
  • Overcrowding
  • Spread of disease
  • Costly management efforts
  • Unnatural behavior
  • Cumulative effects
  • Devaluation of the species 

“If everyone stops feeding waterfowl, the waterfowl won't disappear. Families can still visit sites to enjoy viewing ducks and geese. A child can still be encouraged to learn more about waterfowl and their natural habits. And some zoos offer feeding of captive waterfowl.

Clearly, you do not need to feed waterfowl in order to enjoy them. In fact, it should be apparent now that the best thing you can do for the overall benefit of waterfowl is to stop artificial feeding.

Read on to explore this issue and decide for yourself whether you want to continue feeding waterfowl.”    Complete article at:



Technology Aims To Protect Endangered Birds

SAN DIEGO -- “A local research group could hold the key to figuring out how to stop windmills from killing so many birds.

For the last few years, Mike Wallace – a researcher affiliated with the San Diego Zoo – has been releasing condors outfitted by GPS transmitters in Mexico.  "The endangered nature of the condor… it makes it imperative we do everything we can to make sure a collision doesn't occur," said Wallace.

Wallace's research group, The Institute For Conservation Research, is tracking 27 of the 200 condors outside captivity with transmitters. However, the tracking can have a lag time of hours and even days.  Enter some new technology which is capable of tracking almost real-time. The GSM transmitter contains GPS technology and can also talk to cell towers. It can track the position, altitude and speed of the bird.

Researchers are now designing a mapping system that could be used by windmill operators to stop turbines once the birds are near.  The transmitter system could become an alternative for radar systems, which can cost millions of dollars and are used by few windmill owners.  If a turbine kills a condor, operators could face criminal charges and lawsuits.

"We're hoping this system can be a lot more cost-effective," said Wallace.

Wallace said the cost for his system would be in the tens of thousands of dollars. He believes the transmitters could also be used by windmill owners to watch for other dwindling species, including whooping cranes and golden eagles and the hidden cost of green energy.

One Bay Area wind farm kills about 67 golden eagles every year. Across the nation, an estimated 450,000 birds are killed every year by wind turbines.” From:


Dwindling food supply has waterfowl on the move

“There is an old saying among wildlife biologists that "food is the engine that drives the train." In other words, if there isn't sufficient food in an area an animal will head to a new area rather than starve to death.

This certainly applies to many of the waterfowl at Clear Lake. For example, two years ago more than 1,000 white pelicans made there home at Clear Lake. This year that number is fewer than 25. The same applies to the western grebes. At one time the lake played host to up to 60,000 and now there are fewer than 1,000.

Gulls, cormorants and other fish-eating birds are also way down in numbers. The reason for the decline is the lack of small baitfish. A good example is the pelican, which requires approximately four pounds of fish a day to sustain itself. If sufficient food isn't available the birds move to other bodies of water.

Thousands of birds pass through all the lakes every year. The birds will stay if there is sufficient food or move on if there isn't. Indian Valley Reservoir is a good example. Historically that lake only held a dozen or so western grebes. However, a year ago the threadfin shad showed up in large numbers, probably put into the lake by fishermen. As the shad numbers grew the grebes arrived by the hundreds to feast on the small baitfish. A side benefit of the shad is that the crappie are biting like crazy because they are also feeding on the shad.

Very few shad have shown up at Clear Lake in recent years, plus the silverside minnow population has been down considerably. The result is that the bird population is way down. The grebes are a good example. Last year a number of grebes built nests but abandoned their eggs, likely because there was little food. The grebes abandoned their nests because they couldn't feed their young after they hatched.

According to biologists that monitored the grebes, only 10 young were observed on the entire lake. It's the old story of Mother Nature saying that if there isn't enough food for the young the birds won't reproduce.” More at:


Peregrine Falcon Banding 2012

“Meet the seven new Peregrine Falcon chicks that hatched this year at three MTA bridges.”


Kalamazoo ospreys get safe new roost thanks to enterprising filmmaker

The breeding raptors are seen as a sign of hope for the recovery of the polluted Kalamazoo River.


“An unusual new sight greets Michigan drivers who are stopped at the intersection of Kings Highway and the I-94 Business Loop in Kalamazoo. A few hundred feet from the highways, inside a fenced-off landfill, stands a large wooden pole held up by four wooden legs, each of which ends in a cairn of stabilizing rocks. Sitting on top of the pole is a platform, and on that platform sits a nest. And in that nest are two of the region's most popular ospreys and their brand-new eggs.

The birds used to live across the river, where they nested on top of a utility pole on an unused property owned by paper manufacturer Georgia-Pacific (GP). But a new nature trail is being built along the Kalamazoo River right along that property. Local wildlife filmmaker Matt Clysdale, who had been photographing the birds for an upcoming documentary, realized that this could lead to trouble for the raptors.

"This trail was going to go directly underneath their nest," says Clysdale. He consulted with an osprey expert who told him that the human traffic would probably put a great deal of stress on the birds and maybe even cause them to abandon their nest.”

More at:


Deadly Avian Predator Confirmed on Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi

Mongoose, wikimedia

Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus); Wikimedia Commons

(Washington, D.C., June 7, 2012) “A deadly predator of birds – a mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) – has been captured on the Hawaiian Island of Kauaʻi, confirming the worst fears of local wildlife officials. Previously, Kauaʻi and Lanaʻi were believed to be the only two Hawaiian Islands free of non-native mongooses that prey on native birds. Mongoose predation has been a major factor in bird population declines in the archipelago, which has been dubbed “the bird extinction capital of the world.”

Mongooses were first released on several islands in Hawaiʻi in the late 1800s as part of an unsuccessful attempt to control rat populations in the sugar cane fields.  While mongooses did kill some rats, they are largely diurnal while rats are more nocturnal, and hence the mongooses turned to other sources of food for their survival, in particular, birds.

“Mongooses eat ground-nesting bird eggs as well as chicks. Their prior absence on Kauaʻi was a major reason why populations of the state bird, the Nēnē, have been able to do so well there,” said Dr. George Wallace, Vice-President for Oceans and Islands for American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “Without question, the confirmation of mongoose on Kauaʻi is very bad news for several remaining endangered bird species on the island.” More at:


Baby owl was worth saving 

This baby owl looked frightened and alone as cars zipped by. From what we learned, local police and fire personnel responding to wildlife calls have fewer options because Game & Fish units no longer respond after hours.

“I am grateful for local police and fire personnel in Prescott Valley who placed value on a small life earlier this month.
At about 7:30 p.m. the evening of May 15 my wife and I took the Glassford Hill exit off Highway 89A and were alarmed when we almost struck what looked like a stone garden statue placed in the middle of the road.
We made a U-turn to investigate and as we came around two golden eyes and a slowly pivoting head on the statue followed us throughout the maneuver. The statue turned out to be a live baby owl that had fallen from its nest in the overpass.
It was large for an owlet, but still had the downy covering of a hatchling. It clearly could not yet fly and it seemed frightened and alone. We later learned the reason for its unusual size was because it was a Great Horned Owl.
Cars and trucks were zipping past the owlet and we feared it would be struck at any moment. We parked the car and did our best to shoo it to the side of the road where it would be a little safer.” Rest of rescue at:


Common Potoo. Talk about camouflage! 

“The Common Potoo is a nocturnal bird of Central and South America, known for its camouflage plumage and upright perching. This is a Potoo, a very well camouflaged type of nightjar that comes in three species: Great, Northern and Common.”

“These rarely-seen-but-often-heard nocturnal birds belong to the family Nyctibiidae, which only occurs in the New World tropics. The Common Potoo and Northern Potoo are virtually identical, while the Great is much larger. During the day, these birds’ cryptic plumage and signature stretched-out pose makes them difficult to distinguish from the broken-branch stubs and posts on which they typically roost, their mottled feathers blending in perfectly with their woody perch.

At night, when they are active hunters and open their huge eyes, they can be mistaken for owls. They sally out in the dark to catch large flying insects – and in the case of the Great Potoo even small bats – with their large gaping mouths open wide. The Great’s eerie deep roaring GWAAAAAA while perched, and the higher pitched and more emphatic GWOK emitted in flight, are described as otherworldly.

Constantly while I was in Costa Rica, I believed every post and branch would end in a camouflaged Potoo – I really tried.”

Here is a nice little intro to the Potoo by David Attenborough, again in Brazil.



On This Day:

Meriwether Lewis reaches the Great Falls, Jun 13, 1805:

“Having hurried ahead of the main body of the expedition, Meriwether Lewis and four men arrive at the Great Falls of the Missouri River, confirming that the explorers are headed in the right direction.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had set out on their expedition to the Pacific the previous year. They spent the winter of 1804 with the Mandan Indians in present-day North Dakota. The Hidatsa Indians, who lived nearby, had traveled far to the West, and they proved an important source of information for Lewis and Clark. The Hidatsa told Lewis and Clark they would come to a large impassable waterfall in the Missouri when they neared the Rocky Mountains, but they assured the captains that portage around the falls was less than half a mile.

Armed with this valuable information, Lewis and Clark resumed their journey up the Missouri accompanied by a party of 33 in April. The expedition made good time, and by early June, the explorers were nearing the Rocky Mountains. On June 3, however, they came to a fork at which two equally large rivers converged. "Which of these rivers was the Missouri?" Lewis asked in his journal. Since the river coming in from the north most resembled the Missouri in its muddy turbulence, most of the men believed it must be the Missouri. Lewis, however, reasoned that the water from the Missouri would have traveled only a short distance from the mountains and, therefore, would be clear and fast-running like the south fork.

The decision was critical. If the explorers chose the wrong river, they would not be able to find the Shoshone Indians from whom they planned to obtain horses for the portage over the Rockies. Although all of their men disagreed, Lewis and Clark concluded they should proceed up the south fork. To err on the side of caution, however, the captains decided that Lewis and a party of four would speed ahead on foot. If Lewis did not soon encounter the big waterfall the Hidatsa had told them of, the party would return and the expedition would backtrack to the other river.

On this day in 1805, four days after forging ahead of the main body of the expedition, Lewis was overjoyed to hear "the agreeable sound of a fall of water." Soon after he "saw the spray arise above the plain like a column of smoke.... [It] began to make a roaring too tremendous to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri." By noon, Lewis had reached the falls, where he stared in awe at "a sublimely grand specticle [sic]... the grandest sight I had ever held."

Lewis and Clark had been correct—the south fork was the Missouri River. The mysterious northern fork was actually the Marias River. Had the explorers followed the Marias, they would have traveled up into the northern Rockies where a convenient pass led across the mountains into the Columbia River drainage. However, Lewis and Clark would not have found the Shoshone Indians nor obtained the horses. Without horses, the crossing might well have failed.

Three days after finding the falls, Lewis rejoined Clark and told him the good news. However, the captains' elation did not last long. They soon discovered that the portage around the Great Falls was not the easy half-mile jaunt reported by the Hidatsa, but rather a punishing 18-mile trek over rough terrain covered with spiky cactus. The Great Portage, as it was later called, would take the men nearly a month to complete. By mid-July, however, the expedition was again moving ahead. A month later, Lewis and Clark found the Shoshone Indians, who handed over the horses that were so critical to the subsequent success of their mission.”


The Miranda rights are established, Jun 13, 1966:

“On this day in 1966, the Supreme Court hands down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. Now considered standard police procedure, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you," has been heard so many times in television and film dramas that it has become almost cliche.

The roots of the Miranda decision go back to March 2, 1963, when an 18-year-old Phoenix woman told police that she had been abducted, driven to the desert and raped. Detectives questioning her story gave her a polygraph test, but the results were inconclusive. However, tracking the license plate number of a car that resembled that of her attacker's brought police to Ernesto Miranda, who had a prior record as a peeping tom. Although the victim did not identify Miranda in a line-up, he was brought into police custody and interrogated. What happened next is disputed, but officers left the interrogation with a confession that Miranda later recanted, unaware that he didn't have to say anything at all.

The confession was extremely brief and differed in certain respects from the victim's account of the crime. However, Miranda's appointed defense attorney (who was paid a grand total of $100) didn't call any witnesses at the ensuing trial, and Miranda was convicted. While Miranda was in Arizona state prison, the American Civil Liberties Union took up his appeal, claiming that the confession was false and coerced.

The Supreme Court overturned his conviction, but Miranda was retried and convicted in October 1966 anyway, despite the relative lack of evidence against him. Remaining in prison until 1972, Ernesto Miranda was later stabbed to death in the men's room of a bar after a poker game in January 1976.

As a result of the case against Miranda, each and every person must now be informed of his or her rights when arrested.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, so he and I could go to the bank and complete our different transactions.   Jay finished his paperwork, and my U.S SS check is now transferred over to that bank.  But the lady at the bank had trouble getting through on the phone to the offices in England about my British Pension.  She didn’t know how to dial the country code and all that.   So I’ll probably do that here at home, as I know how to do it, and I can call England for 2.5 cents a minute, with my prepaid  Sure is cheaper than using any other long distance service, that I have found. It takes me months to use up $10 worth! ( I guess I am only wordy when typing!!)

A quick stop at Krogers and Dollar General in our little town, and I took Jay home.

Sadies-cage-2Kenya arrived about 1.30 with the 2 cats that I will be boarding for 8 days.  It took about an hour to get all their stuff unloaded, sorted out, and the 4x4x4 ft. cage assembled.  The sky was getting darker and darker as Kenya and I were unloading the cat’s things.  Kenya said that Sadie, the diabetic one, has to stay in this big cage, so that she can’t eat anything not on her diet.

Weird cat, she has to have 2 boxes. An automatic Littermate, for peeing, and a regular covered one for pooping! It would be nicer if it were the other way around. Then she has to have two water bowls, one has a recirculating pump on it, right front corner, and the other a regular one. She also has a bed in the left corner and a kitty condo in the front.  So all these items take up a lot of her real estate. Spoiled??

Candy We locked Candy up for a while so she could get used to the grooming room, and even when I opened the door, she didn’t want to venture out and look around. 

I took Misty outside, so that she could do what she had to do before it rained, but the wind was gusting so badly that she just turned tail and headed back to the door.   Then the rains came.  It poured down for nearly an hour.      Oh! Super! We needed that rain, but it isn’t supposed to rain anymore today.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Most of our pets live better than a lot of people throughout the world.