Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sprague's Pipit. Sage Grouse. Keep Hummer Feeders. Bird and Butterfly Migrants. School is For the Birds. Windows Kill. War Revenue Act. "Unity Day".

For “Winged Wednesday”:

Sprague's Pipit

Sprague's Pipit by Greg Lavaty

“The Sprague’s Pipit is a bird of cryptic appearance and secretive habits, but on its breeding grounds, the male puts on a prolonged, vocal flight display – one of the longest of any bird, lasting for 30 minutes to three hours at a time. The male circles hundreds of feet above the prairie during this lengthy display, singing its lovely, cascading song; often it’s the only reliable way to find this bird in the vast landscapes it inhabits.

Formerly more widespread and numerous during early settlement, the pipit has declined dramatically as suitable native prairie has disappeared due to overgrazing, cultivation, and the introduction and invasion of non-native plants.

Conservation of the Sprague’s Pipit depends on the protection, maintenance, and restoration of native mixed grass prairie in suitably large expanses, and the control of non-native plants and incursion by woody vegetation. Prescribed fire is used to control woody vegetation both on the breeding and U.S. wintering grounds, and moderate to heavy seasonal grazing, at least in the mixed-grass portion of its range, may be beneficial to the bird. ABC and partners are also working to protect grasslands in the species’ Mexican winter range.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Photo: Greg Lavaty; Range Map, NatureServe


Sage Grouse Strut their Stuff

The strutting grouse sound like coffee percolators. This is one of the larger leks;

(CBS News) “I'll be honest: I had absolutely no clue what a Sage Grouse was before today. I even made sure to include the word "birds" in the headline for those like myself who had never come across this species. And as strange and foreign as they were to me going into the video, their "strutting" behavior and appearance only add fuel to the bizarre fire. You'll see what I mean.” More at:


Fall hummingbird migration by SeEtta (South Central) on September 24, 2012

“Hummingbird migration to points south is well underway for most hummers in the U.S. and Canada (except those hummers that are permanent residents in some coastal and very southern areas of the U.S.). Since many parts of the United States have experienced severe drought problems this summer, hummers hoping to stop over in those places may find that there are no blossoms to provide nectar for them or small insects to meet their needs for protein.


If you have heard that you should take down your hummingbird feeder so you don’t delay the hummer’s migration, that is incorrect.  This is what the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says about that: “That’s actually a myth. A number of factors trigger the urge for birds to migrate, but the most significant one is day length. When the days get shorter, the hummingbirds will move on, regardless of whether there are still filled feeders available for them.”

Since flowers like the trumpet vine are no longer blooming in many areas, keeping hummingbird feeders out with fresh sugar water in them can be very important in providing sustenance to a hungry hummer. The Cornell Lab states, “We do, however, encourage people to keep their hummingbird feeders full for several weeks after they have seen the last hummer just in case there are stragglers in need of additional energy before they complete their long journey south.”

In addition to keeping hummingbird feeders out and filled with fresh sugar water to help migrating hummers, please keep some water out for other migrating birds that are also facing the impacts of drought. To be of most help to hummers, both those migrating and those staying around, the National Audubon Society has a lot of helpful suggestions on ‘Healthy Hummingbird Habitats.’ –this will be helpful to other birds as well as butterflies and bees too.

This is a Rufous Hummingbird in my photos, a species that used to be considered a western bird. However, recent documentation shows that not only do they visit eastern parts of the U.S. (and a little into Canada) during the winter but they are found in locations in such very eastern areas as Florida during the fall.” From:


Fall Gardening Tip of the Week: Cultivate late-blooming flowers for migrating birds and butterflies.

Wildflowers for Weary Migrants

Help make life easier for migrating butterflies and hummingbirds by cultivating fall-blooming plants that provide food and places to rest

Butterfly perching on sunflower“AFTER LABOR DAY, certainly by late September, most people in this country are ready to remove the “in the garden” sign from their front door and button up their flowerbeds for the season. Not so fast! Hummingbirds and a variety of butterflies fly south from their breeding grounds in northern latitudes until as late in the year as December. You can make life easier for these migrants by providing a place for them to rest and to refuel with nectar from native wildflowers.

The epic journeys of 3-inch-long ruby-throated hummingbirds, which summer as far north as eastern Canada and spend the winter as far south as Panama, begin in mid-July and can last until late November.  Meanwhile, the fall migration of the monarch butterfly also is underway. More at:


When School is For the Birds

At an NWF-certified schoolyard in North Carolina, nest boxes and webcams help bluebirds while inspiring their student caretakers

Bluebird in nest box

“AT A TIME WHEN parents and teachers are trying to get kids to watch less TV, it may seem surprising that adults affiliated with Penny Road Elementary School don’t mind if students spend valuable class time glued to the tube—as long as the set stays tuned to Channel 10.

Broadcasting 24 hours a day between early spring and the start of summer break, Channel 10 streams live video captured by a camera tucked into an eastern bluebird house at the school. The nest cam is part of a larger bluebird project at Penny Road, a certified unit of NWF’s Schoolyard Habitats® program in Cary, North Carolina.”  More at:


Create Cover for Wildlife.  Best Ways to Attract Backyard Wildlife

Wildlife require places to

“Wildlife need places to hide to feel safe from people, predators, and inclement weather. Native vegetation is a perfect cover for terrestrial wildlife. Shrubs, thickets and brush piles provide great hiding places within their bushy leaves and thorns.

If natural options aren't available for you, consider constructing a birdhouse specifically for the types of birds you would like to attract to your habitat.  Providing these places of cover not only helps wildlife, it can also help your overall garden if you "branch out" to attract other helpful pollinators, such as bats or bees.


wildlife to have a place

Ponds provide cover for aquatic wildlife, such as fish and amphibians. A "toad abode" can be constructed to provide shelter for amphibians on land. Even dead trees work, as they are home to lots of different animals, including some that use tree cavities and branches for nesting and perching.” More at:


Windows kill 22M birds in Canada yearly, says U of A survey

Study says poorly placed bird feeders lead to more collisions with windows. Study says poorly placed bird feeders lead to more collisions with windows.(Canadian Press)

“Each year 22 million birds die from colliding with residential windows across the country, concludes a University of Alberta survey.  The study, published in the journal Wildlife Research, also suggests bird feeders and large bird-friendly trees compound the problem.

“In many cases people who go out of their way to help birds by putting up feeders and bird friendly plants are unwittingly contributing to the problem,” said researcher Erin Bayne.  The research showed collisions were not random, with the highest collision and mortality rates at rural residences with bird feeders followed by rural residences without feeders.

In the city, yards with feeders claimed the most bird lives as well, especially in older neighbourhoods where there were older and larger trees.”  More at:


On This Day:

War Revenue Act passed in U.S.,Oct 3, 1917: 

“On October 3, 1917, six months after the United States declared war on Germany and began its participation in the First World War, the U.S. Congress passes the War Revenue Act, increasing income taxes to unprecedented levels in order to raise more money for the war effort.

The 13th Amendment, which gave Congress the power to levy an income tax, became part of the Constitution in 1913; in October of that year, a new income tax law introduced a graduated tax system, with rates starting at 1 percent and rising to 7 percent for taxpayers with income above $500,000. Though less than 1 percent of the population paid income tax at the time, the amendment marked an important shift, as before most citizens had carried on their economic affairs without government knowledge. In an attempt to assuage fears of excessive government intervention into private financial affairs, Congress added a clause in 1916 requiring that all information from tax returns be kept confidential.

By then, however, preparation for and entry into World War I had greatly increased the government’s need for revenue. Congress responded to this need by passing an initial Revenue Act in 1916, raising the lowest tax rate from 1 percent to 2 percent; those with incomes above $1.5 million were taxed at 15 percent. The act also imposed new taxes on estates and excess business profits.

By 1917, largely due to the new income tax rate, the annual federal budget was almost equal to the total budget for all the years between 1791 and 1916. Still more was required, however, and in October 1917 Congress passed the War Revenue Act, lowering the number of exemptions and greatly increasing tax rates. Under the 1917 act, a taxpayer with an income of only $40,000 was subject to a 16 percent tax rate, while one who earned $1.5 million faced a rate of 67 percent. While only five percent of the U.S. population was required to pay taxes, U.S. tax revenue increased from $809 million in 1917 to a whopping $3.6 billion the following year. By the time World War I ended in 1918, income tax revenue had funded a full one-third of the cost of the war effort.”


East and West Germany reunite after 45 years, Oct 3, 1990:

“Less than one year after the destruction of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany come together on what is known as "Unity Day." Since 1945, when Soviet forces occupied eastern Germany, and the United States and other Allied forces occupied the western half of the nation at the close of World War II, divided Germany had come to serve as one of the most enduring symbols of the Cold War. Some of the most dramatic episodes of the Cold War took place there. The Berlin Blockade (June 1948--May 1949), during which the Soviet Union blocked all ground travel into West Berlin, and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 were perhaps the most famous.

With the gradual waning of Soviet power in the late 1980s, the Communist Party in East Germany began to lose its grip on power. Tens of thousands of East Germans began to flee the nation, and by late 1989 the Berlin Wall started to come down. Shortly thereafter, talks between East and West German officials, joined by officials from the United States, Great Britain, France, and the USSR, began to explore the possibility of reunification. Two months following reunification, all-German elections took place and Helmut Kohl became the first chancellor of the reunified Germany. Although this action came more than a year before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, for many observers the reunification of Germany effectively marked the end of the Cold War.”



Ray helped me get the workshop sink’s draining-board cabinet re-loaded with all it’s cleaning contents.  It was easier if I just sat on a stool and he handed me all the different bins, baskets and items, so I could put them where they belong. Now, I could get to my washer and dryer, so I did some laundry.

It was time to get the bird feeder ready for Winter, so Ray got it down so that I could give it a really good clean, and Ray put it back up and filled it for me.  I have to get a stool to fill it!

A very sheepish Jay came by to get his ATV that we had parked in the carport when the cops picked him up for PI. (Public Intoxication)  Good thing they didn’t see him on it, or he would have had another DUI.  He told his mother that he was scared to drink, but we will see how long that lasts.

Then we did some things for Misty.  When I let her out into the fenced yard, sometimes I don’t go with her, and leave the door closed, but not latched.   Then when she comes back she pushes the door open and it had made marks on it, so we installed one of those brass plates on the door.

We used to have some blue indoor-outdoor carpet on the wide top part of the front porch deck, but it got old and ratty, so we removed it.  It did stop dirt from tracking in. This confused blind Misty, and she couldn’t tell where the top step ended, and had been reluctant to go down the steps.  So we put some more carpet on the top step, and that made her day.


Gypsy said...

I usually keep my hummingbird feeder out all year long, but strangely I haven't noticed any birds the past 2 weeks. I know there are those that remain in Sacramento throughout the year. Also, I think I will go out today and buy a bird bath for the other birds that may be migrating by and need some water, although I'm less than a mile from the American River.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Glad you put that carpet back on the top step. Being blind is bad enough without changes to your world. Misty surely said "thank you".