For “Winged Wednesday”:
This large, long-legged shorebird is most notable for its extremely long, down-curved bill, adapted for foraging for earthworms, crabs, and other deep-burrowing prey. Although classified as shorebirds, Long-billed Curlews are more commonly found on prairie habitats.
The principal threat to this species is loss of habitat; grasslands are increasingly being taken over for agriculture, developments, and recreational use. Non-native, invasive plants such as yellow starthistle can make habitat unsuitable for curlew nesting as well.
The Long-billed Curlew’s declining numbers in the Great Plains and disappearing breeding and wintering habitat make it a high-priority species for conservation throughout its range.
ABC is involved with several projects aimed at delivering full life-cycle conservation of the Long-billed Curlew. Work with Mexian NGO ProNatura and other partners to protect critical wintering areas is ongoing, and other projects aim to enhance habitat across the curlew’s breeding range.
Listen to a two-minute broadcast about this bird!
Photo: Alan Wilson; Range Map, NatureServe
Birds Use Butts In Nests to Deter Parasites
“Urban birds are incorporating cigarette butts into their nests for bug-killing action and for insulation, a new study finds.
The discovery, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, helps to explain why so many avian nests include cigarette butts in their construction.
Isabel López-Rull of the Instituto de Ecología, UNAM, and colleagues came to the determination after studying the effect cigarette butts have on parasites. In short, if you're a parasite, you don't want to be anywhere near a cig butt.” More at: http://news.discovery.com/animals/birds-are-building-nests-out-of-cigarette-butts-to-ward-off-parasites-121204.html
Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on New Jersey’s Birds
Black skimmers by Jack Rogers
“As New Jersey was very literally in the eye of the storm, Hurricane Sandy’s impact upon the state was profound. Storm surge transformed many of our barrier islands and coastal marshes; pruning winds reconfigured forest tracts.
We all recognize the tragedy of the human costs of the storm, but some people have wondered how New Jersey’s birds and wildlife have been impacted by Sandy. What species were most affected? What are the long-term effects of coastal erosion or natural food stock reduction?
The good news is that there is little evidence the storm had a serious, direct impact on breeding or wintering bird populations. Late October, when Sandy struck, falls right between that time when summer residents migrate and most winter residents arrive.
But it is almost certain that the flooding tides caused mortality among rodent populations, thus reducing the prey base for wintering birds of prey. New Jersey’s Atlantic and Delaware Bay marshes rank among the planet’s greatest winter raptor strongholds. This year, many rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, and short- and long-eared owls will be forced to move on and find less affected areas to meet their food needs.” More at: http://blog.nwf.org/2012/12/hurricane-sandy-impact-on-new-jersey-birds/
Bold eagle: Bird of prey swoops to swipe cranes' food... but gets into a flap after they chase it away. Eagle was scared off by a group of determined red crowned cranes.
There's nothing worse than having unexpected guests arrive when you haven't got any food in - so perhaps it's no surprise this eagle got a cool reception when it gate-crashed this gathering of cranes.
The bird of prey didn't have a prayer if it thought it could steal some of the food the cranes had managed to scavenge in the snow. Normally used to being the predator, the eagle clearly didn't like having the tables turned, and flew away to safety.
Where eagle dares: The birds clash in mid-air as the crane defends its food
Feathered friends... and enemies: Outnumbered three to one, the eagle is soon forced to flee the scene
Sorry - must fly! Having done its best to ruin the cranes' meal, the eagle makes its getaway... but not without crashing into one of its rivals
Bird brain: The eagle didn't give up straight away and made several attempts to steal food from the cranes before taking the hint
Watch the birdie: The battle is over and the eagle flies away, defeated
BirdNote Weekly Preview: Grouse, and the Christmas Bird Count ...
young CBC participant
On This Day:
Marconi sends first Atlantic wireless transmission, Dec 12, 1901:
“Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi succeeds in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less. The message--simply the Morse-code signal for the letter "s"--traveled more than 2,000 miles from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada.
Born in Bologna, Italy, in 1874 to an Italian father and an Irish mother, Marconi studied physics and became interested in the transmission of radio waves after learning of the experiments of the German physicist Heinrich Hertz. He began his own experiments in Bologna beginning in 1894 and soon succeeded in sending a radio signal over a distance of 1.5 miles. Receiving little encouragement for his experiments in Italy, he went to England in 1896. He formed a wireless telegraph company and soon was sending transmissions from distances farther than 10 miles. In 1899, he succeeded in sending a transmission across the English Channel. That year, he also equipped two U.S. ships to report to New York newspapers on the progress of the America's Cup yacht race. That successful endeavor aroused widespread interest in Marconi and his wireless company.
Marconi's greatest achievement came on December 12, 1901, when he received a message sent from England at St. John's, Newfoundland. The transatlantic transmission won him worldwide fame.
Ironically, detractors of the project were correct when they declared that radio waves would not follow the curvature of the earth, as Marconi believed. In fact, Marconi's transatlantic radio signal had been headed into space when it was reflected off the ionosphere and bounced back down toward Canada. Much remained to be learned about the laws of the radio wave and the role of the atmosphere in radio transmissions, and Marconi would continue to play a leading role in radio discoveries and innovations during the next three decades.
In 1909, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics with the German radio innovator Ferdinand Braun. After successfully sending radio transmissions from points as far away as England and Australia, Marconi turned his energy to experimenting with shorter, more powerful radio waves. He died in 1937, and on the day of his funeral all British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stations were silent for two minutes in tribute to his contributions to the development of radio.”
The Internet cable guy was supposed to arrive between 10 and noon, but you know how that goes. Ray and I moved everything off the shelves on the last wall to be painted in my bedroom. When that was done, he painted his way into my bathroom. Some of it had been done another time, so he didn’t have to paint much in there. It’s all the same cream color paint throughout the house, but the paint the contractors used had yellowed, so that’s what we are repainting. But this time we are not using the brand that they did. In fact, I don’t even think they make it anymore.
It was cold first thing this morning, and even on the enclosed porch it was only 40 deg. But it warmed up when the sun came around, so Prime and Prissy played out there, away from the wet paint.
An email arrived that said I have to remove my RVport, as it is on the property line to my guest house, before this house can be appraised, so that’s high up on the List of Things To Do. Jay is busy getting as drunk as he can before the end of the world on the 21st, so I have found someone else to help, as Ray and I don’t get on roofs.
The cable man was an hour and a half late, but that was OK, I knew that would happen. He found a bad connection out on the pole, and then tested my upload and download speeds on the desktop and laptop. They were up to par, even though they are 35’ feet apart, and not on WiFi. But I did find a place in the 35’ long Cat5 Ethernet cord, that runs from the old computer area to the new one, where the casing doesn’t look good. So I have ordered a Cat6. The cable man said that he would run a cable to the new computer area from my attic, but as I am selling the house, it’s not worth the expense. For someone who doesn’t know all the techie terms, I am getting better day by day.