Wednesday, October 24, 2012

American Golden-Plover. Provide Food. Fishing Line Litter. Protected Species Endangered. Birds Need Help. Feed Them Right. BirdNote. Baby Bird Diapers. Condors and Lead. Western Union. First Barrel Ride. George Washington Bridge.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

American Golden-Plover

American Golden-Plover by Middleton Evans

“The American Golden-Plover is a medium-sized to large shorebird with a short neck, large rounded head, and stubby-looking bill. Adults are spotted gold-and-black on the crown, back, and wings. Their faces and necks are black with a white border; they also have black breasts. This bird was once considered the same species as the very similar Pacific Golden-Plover, but the two were split in 1993.

This species makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any shorebird, flying at least 6,000 miles each way between wintering and breeding areas. It follows a circular route; offshore from the East Coast of North America nonstop to South America in the fall, returning through the middle of North America to its Arctic breeding grounds in the spring.

By the early 20th Century, excessive market and sport hunting had taken a devastating toll on this bird. Its population rebounded after most hunting was stopped, but has never regained its original abundance. Hunting still occurs in some Caribbean countries, and habitat loss due to agriculture, ranching, pollution, and development on the wintering grounds and along migratory routes continue to be a threat.

Although not considered threatened, the American Golden-Plover would still benefit from habitat preservation, additional research, international shorebird educational programs, and regulation enforcement aimed at stopping uncontrolled Caribbean hunting.

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

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Listen to a two-minute broadcast about this bird!

Photo: Middleton Evans; Range Map, NatureServe


Provide Food for Wildlife

“Everyone needs to eat! Planting native plants or hanging feeders in safe places are two easy ways to make your habitat the latest and greatest five-star restaurant for wildlife of all shapes and sizes.

Native forbs, shrubs and trees provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive.

Natives are well adapted to survive in a particular geographic area according to the climate, soils, rainfall and availability of pollinators and seed dispersers. And because they are indigenous to a specific region, native plants usually require little maintenance and are welcomed by wildlife, serving an important role in the local ecosystem.

In times when natural food sources are not as available, it is important to also provide bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, squirrel feeders and butterfly feeders to add to the native food sources for resident and migrating wildlife.”  More at:


Volunteers clean up fishing line litter that can kill birds

Leah Palmer and Dylan Quinn, students from Sarasota High School, pick fishing line out of mangrove islands Saturday in Roberts Bay for the Sarasota Bay Watch's Annual Fishing Line Cleanup Day.

Staff photo / Shannon McFarland

“The isolated mangrove islands in Roberts Bay are normally left alone, free from people and other animals that would disturb the host of nesting seabirds.

But in the fall, between nesting seasons, the Sarasota Bay Watch and other volunteers venture along the edge of the mangroves, searching for a nearly invisible threat to the birds — fishing line.

Equipped with gloves, scissors, trash bags and long PVC pipes with hooks at the end, the volunteers split up into groups to hunt for the deadly lines that can tangle the birds in trees and kill them.  Lee Fox, the founder of Save Our Seabirds, says that hundreds of birds are killed every year. She took a rescued pelican to show volunteers what to do if they found a live entangled bird.

About 70 people helped hunt for the fishing line, including volunteers from the Sarasota Audubon Society and a high school marine biology class.  They split into groups to clean up 23 areas, focusing on the trees and rookeries.

Kayakers checked the mangrove tunnels. Power boats traveled to remote rookeries. One larger boat ferried a group of students to several small islands, where they walked through waist-deep water along the edges of the mangroves looking for fishing line, which takes 600 years to naturally decompose in the ocean, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Ocean Conservancy.

“We really want fishermen to be more careful,” said Ann Paul, a member of the Sarasota Audubon Society, as she waded in Roberts Bay.”  From:


Protected Species May be Killed by Proposed Prairie Dog Control, Environmental Groups Charge.

Burrowing Owl by Alan Wilson

Burrowing Owl by Alan Wilson

Defenders of Wildlife, American Bird Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Audubon of Kansas have urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject an application by Scimetrics to use the rodenticide Kaput-D for the control of black-tailed prairie dogs in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.  The groups say that because Kaput-D, which contains the anticoagulant diphacinone that causes poisoned animals to bleed to death, is not selective in the animals it impacts, it has a high probability of killing non-target wildlife, including species protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In their letter, the three groups say that “EPA should also consider the impacts of an increasingly poisoned landscape on future black-footed ferret recovery efforts. Elimination of more prairie dogs and their burrows from the landscape due to poisoning will undoubtedly diminish the future success of ferret recovery by reducing the number of suitable sites for reintroduction and restoration.” More at:


First Conservation Assessment of All American Birds Shows More Than a Third Need Help.

Painted Bunting by Owen Deutsch

Painted Bunting: the eastern subspecies is considered to be At-Risk but historically has received relatively little conservation attention. Photo by Owen Deutsch.

“A new study on the conservation status of American birds completed by American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the first-ever published to include the full range of bird diversity in all 50 U.S. states and dependent territories. The study finds that more than one third of these birds are in need of conservation attention. More details, including a complete bird list with conservation rankings, can be found at

While the conservation status of bird species has been widely researched in the past, the new study is the first national assessment to also rank the status of subspecies: regional forms of species that differ in appearance, and sometimes in habitat choice and migration patterns.

Some examples of birds that are of particular concern are subspecies such as the eastern Bewick’s Wren, the California population of the Black Rail, the eastern Painted Bunting, and the Gulf Coast population of the Snowy Plover; and full species such as the Bicknell’s Thrush, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. These are also birds that exemplify the range of threats that birds face today, ranging from habitat loss to climate change.”  More at:


Feed Them Right.

“Many animals love foods that are bad for them. This parrot only eats sunflower seeds (because he loves them). This unbalanced diet has made him very sick.

Make sure you feed your pets what they need to be healthy, not what they want to eat.”


Duckling Bread


Ducklings do not get the proper nutrition from eating bread.

“It is so hard to resist ducks begging for attention, and it would seem that providing food for ducks would make them healthy and happy, but it doesn't. So many true animal lovers grew up with great memories of feeding bread to ducks at parks. We would never have dreamed it would be bad for them. But it is.

When wild ducks are fed human food (especially bread or crackers) their organs become engorged and fatty, which can cause them to suffer from heart disease, liver problems and other health complications. Bread also has very few nutrients, and can get compacted in a bird's crop. Many rehabilitators see "bread-impacted crop" in sick and distressed park ducks.

Waterfowl at artificial feeding sites are often found to suffer from poor nutrition.  In a natural setting they will seek out a variety of nutritious foods such as aquatic plants, natural grains, and invertebrates.  Bread is very low in protein, contains additives that wildfowl aren't built to cope with, and it's a very poor substitute for natural foods. Ducklings fed bread miss out in vital nutrients during their critical first few weeks, causing splay leg, angel wing, slipped tendons and other growing defects.”  More at: and


White Bread

10 Unhealthy Foods You Think are Healthy

#8: This is pasta, but shaped like bread. You probably already knew this, but there are still people left in the world that think that all kinds of bread are good for them. White bread is not, trust me!

“I love food. I do also love unhealthy food, unfortunately, and in an attempt to help myself and others with trying to eat healthier, I made this list to make people aware that what you might think of as healthy, might just be quite the opposite.  Read more at:



What's New at BirdNote.


Big-eared Bat

Bats - Fear or Appreciation?
by Chris Peterson



Red-tailed Hawk

A Good Birding Teacher
featuring Dick Ashford



Open the Door
featuring the work
of Barry Lopez





Pacific Wren

What the Pacific Wren Hears
by Todd Peterson



Red-shouldered Hawk

Cape May in October
by Bob Sundstrom



Pileated "Applepecker"

Pileated Applepeckers
by Chris Peterson



Northern Shoveler

Northern Shovelers Pinwheeling
by Bob Sundstrom


Baby Birds Get Their Diapers Changed

“Watch as mom and dad "change the diapers" of their chicks. Get a rare glimpse inside the nest of the endangered Black-capped Vireo. Texas Parks and Wildlife Television cameras got a rare glimpse of these birds as they cared for newly hatched chicks at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge near Austin.”     Learn more about what these birds are doing at  More on Black-capped Vireos at


New Study Says Lead Ammunition Thwarting Condor Recovery Efforts

California Condor, USFWS

California Condor, USFWS

“A new study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that California Condors are continually exposed to harmful levels of lead, that the principal source of the lead is spent ammunition, and that it is preventing the full recovery of the condor population.

The scientists reported their findings in a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). First author Myra Finkelstein, a research toxicologist at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), said the study shows that without a solution to the problem of lead poisoning, the condor population can only be sustained through intensive and costly ongoing management efforts.

"We will never have a self-sustaining wild condor population if we don't solve this problem," she said. "Currently, California Condors are tagged and monitored, trapped twice a year for blood tests, and when necessary treated for lead poisoning in veterinary hospitals, and they still die from lead poisoning on a regular basis."”     More at:


On This Day:

Western Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line, Oct 24, 1861:

“On this day in 1861, workers of the Western Union Telegraph Company link the eastern and western telegraph networks of the nation at Salt Lake City, Utah, completing a transcontinental line that for the first time allows instantaneous communication between Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Stephen J. Field, chief justice of California, sent the first transcontinental telegram to President Abraham Lincoln, predicting that the new communication link would help ensure the loyalty of the western states to the Union during the Civil War.

The obstacles to building the line over the sparsely populated and isolated western plains and mountains were huge. Wire and glass insulators had to be shipped by sea to San Francisco and carried eastward by horse-drawn wagons over the Sierra Nevada. Supplying the thousands of telegraph poles needed was an equally daunting challenge in the largely treeless Plains country, and these too had to be shipped from the western mountains. Indians also proved a problem. In the summer of 1861, a party of Sioux warriors cut part of the line that had been completed and took a long section of wire for making bracelets. Later, however, some of the Sioux wearing the telegraph-wire bracelets became sick, and a Sioux medicine man convinced them that the great spirit of the "talking wire" had avenged its desecration. Thereafter, the Sioux left the line alone, and the Western Union was able to connect the East and West Coasts of the nation much earlier than anyone had expected and a full eight years before the transcontinental railroad would be completed.”


First barrel ride down Niagara Falls, Oct 24, 1901:

“On this day in 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Knocked violently from side to side by the rapids and then propelled over the edge of Horseshoe Falls, Taylor reached the shore alive, if a bit battered, around 20 minutes after her journey began. After a brief flurry of photo-ops and speaking engagements, Taylor's fame cooled, and she was unable to make the fortune for which she had hoped. She did, however, inspire a number of copy-cat daredevils. Between 1901 and 1995, 15 people went over the falls; 10 of them survived. Among those who died were Jesse Sharp, who took the plunge in a kayak in 1990, and Robert Overcracker, who used a jet ski in 1995. No matter the method, going over Niagara Falls is illegal, and survivors face charges and stiff fines on either side of the border.”


George Washington Bridge is dedicated, Oct 24, 1931:

“On this day in 1931, eight months ahead of schedule, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. The 4,760-foot–long suspension bridge, the longest in the world at the time, connected Fort Lee, New Jersey with Washington Heights in New York City. "This will be a highly successful enterprise," FDR told the assembled crowd at the ceremony. "The great prosperity of the Holland Tunnel and the financial success of other bridges recently opened in this region have proven that not even the hardest times can lessen the tremendous volume of trade and traffic in the greatest of port districts."

Workers built the six-lane George Washington Bridge in sections. They carried the pieces to the construction site by rail, then hauled them into the river by boat, then hoisted them into place by crane. Though the bridge was gigantic, engineer Othmar Amman had found a way to make it look light and airy: in place of vertical trusses, he used horizontal plate girders in the roadway to keep the bridge steady. Amman used such strong steel that these plate girders could be relatively thin and as a result, the bridge deck was only 12 feet deep. From a distance, it looked as flimsy as a magic carpet. Meanwhile, thanks to Amman's sophisticated suspension system, that magic carpet seemed to be floating: The bridge hung from cables made of steel wires--107,000 miles and 28,100 tons of steel wires, to be exact--that were much more delicate-looking than anything anyone had ever seen.

The bridge opened to traffic on October 25, 1931. One year later, it had carried 5 million cars from New York to New Jersey and back again. In 1946, engineers added two lanes to the bridge. In 1958, city officials decided to increase its capacity by 75 percent by adding a six-lane lower level. This deck (the New York Times called it "a masterpiece of traffic engineering," while other, more waggish observers referred to it as the "Martha Washington") opened in August 1962.

Today, the George Washington Bridge is one of the world's busiest bridges. In 2008, it carried some 105,894,000 vehicles.”



I spent a lot of time on the computer as people are replying to my ads. Maybe, money is getting looser, or people are window shopping because they are frustrated with the economy.  Either way, the emails still need to be answered.  I hope it is the former.

I also had to do some paperwork about getting my house appraised.  If I am going to sell it, I need to know what it is worth.  I also need to know, as I think my insurance company has been overcharging me for 10 years.

The little kitten, Prissy, doesn’t start crying when she wakes up now.  She likes to sit and watch what is going on around her for a while.  But as soon as she sees me, it is “Where’s my bottle!”  I think mixing some cereal and canned food with her kitten milk is making her more content each day. 



Levonne said...

Love that bird shot. Don't you? What a conservationist you are with your blog! Great job!

May I share with you what's been keeping me from reading and commenting on blogs lately?

"This Restless Life: a study of Central Coast California parks through photography, interpretive collage and stories" is a book project of which I'm in the midst. If you have the time and the inclination, would you take a look at my short video at to learn more about the project? If you like the project, would you share it with your network of friends and family? Thank you sincerely. (I have a link to the video at the top of my blog page too.)

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you Levonne.

I appreciate what you are doing with your writings, photography, and your fulltime RVing lifestyle. I wish you well with your project.
Happy Trails, Penny