Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Resplendent Quetzal. Wind Farms & Reserve Pits Kill. Ban on Five Snakes. BirdNote. The Day After Christmas. Truman.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendant Quetzal by Larry Thompson

“The Resplendent Quetzal, considered one of the world’s most beautiful birds, sports shimmering plumage of brilliant metallic blues, greens, and reds. Males also have a crest of bristly golden-green feathers. During mating season, male quetzals grow elongated upper tail coverts which form a “tail” or train of feathers up to three feet long and play an important part in the bird’s swooping flight display.

This spectacular member of the trogon family was considered sacred by the Mayans and the Aztecs, symbolizing freedom and wealth. In both cultures, Quetzalcoatl, the “plumed serpent” god who helped create the Earth, was likely inspired by this bird.  Their feathers were used as money; even today, the currency of Guatemala is known as the quetzal.

Quetzals eat insects, small frogs, lizards, and fruit. They particularly favor a miniature avocado variety, which the birds swallow whole before regurgitating the pits, helping to disperse these trees. They nest in rotted trees or stumps about 30 feet above the ground, sometimes using old woodpecker holes.

The Resplendent Quetzal is threatened mainly by widespread deforestation throughout its range for subsistence agriculture, and hunting for food and trade.” Photo: Larry Thompson; Range Map, NatureServe

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!


Feds look other way as wind farms kill birds -- but haul oil and gas firms to court


Wind turbines in Vermont. (AP)

“Lights left on during a foggy night last year at a West Virginia wind farm are thought to be behind the grizzly deaths of nearly 500 songbirds.  It was the third time it happened -- and each time, the federal government looked the other way.

Fast forward to last week. Following the deaths of a dozen migratory birds in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska several years back, a Denver-based oil company was fined $22,500. The company was also ordered to make an additional $7,500 payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.   The disconnect demonstrates what critics call a blatant double standard that has to change. While the federal government aggressively pursues oil and gas companies for wildlife deaths, it often gives wind producers a pass.

Proponents say going soft on the wind industry allows it to compete. But environmentalists say, in this instance, it’s unacceptable.   “The playing field is not leveled,” American Bird Conservancy spokesman Bill Johns told, recalling the West Virginia incident. “If there had been a serious consequence the first time, there wouldn’t have been a second time and a third time. All they do now is go, ‘Whoops, my bad’ and it’s forgiven.”

The most recent mass bird kill in West Virginia didn’t involve collisions with wind turbines at the sprawling 61-tower complex but instead resulted from a combination of exhaustion and collisions with the substation as the Connecticut warblers, yellow-billed cuckoos and Virginia rails got trapped in the light’s glare and circled in mass confusion before dying.”  More at:


Energy Company Pleads Guilty in Bird Deaths

Oil derrick by Billy Hathorn, Wikimedia Commons

Oil derrick by Billy Hathorn, Wikimedia Commons

“A Denver-based oil and gas company has been fined $22,500 in connection with the deaths of birds at the company’s drilling facilities in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. The fine was imposed after SM Energy Company pled guilty to three misdemeanor violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.”  More at:


Bird Conservation Group Urges Ban on Five Snakes

Boa constrictor, Wikimedia Commons

Boa constrictor, Wikimedia Commons

(Washington, D.C.) “One of the country’s leading conservation groups wants Congress to ban imports of reticulated pythons, green anacondas, boa constrictors, and two other constrictor snakes that pose a major threat to native wildlife. In a letter sent the U.S. House Resource Committee, American Bird Conservancy says these snakes should be added to the list of “injurious wildlife” regulated by the Lacey Act, one of America’s oldest conservation statutes designed to protect wildlife from illegal trade. The change would make importing or transporting these snakes over state lines a federal offence.

The fast-breeding and long-lived constrictor snakes have already done tremendous ecological damage in the state of Florida, where people who originally bought the snakes as pets have released them into the wild. The Burmese python, for example, is now estimated to have a breeding population in Florida in the tens of thousands. In a recent study, scientists collected more than 300 Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park and found that birds, from the five-inch-long House Wren to the four-foot-long Great Blue Heron, accounted for 25 percent of the python’s diet in the Everglades.”   More at:



A Carol of Birds, and A Morning in Oaxaca ...a radio program about birds, 
the environment, and more.

Upcoming Shows


Carol of the Birds

featuring Nancy Rumbel




Crescent-chested Warbler

Morning in Oaxaca
by Bob Sundstrom



Dona Nobis Pacem
performed Nancy Rumbel




The Wren Boys

Myth of the Wren
by Ellen Blackstone



Hybrid Hermit / Townsend's Warbler

Aggressive Warblers
And Climate Change
by Todd Peterson



American Avocets

The Avocets of Bolivar Flats
by Dennis Paulson




The Majestic Gyrfalcon
by Bob Sundstrom


The Day After Christmas

“You may look forward to Christmas but what happens afterwards? Are you truly fulfilled and is the world a better place?”

Transcript at: 



On This Day:

Truman dies, Dec 26, 1972:

“On this day in 1972, former President Harry S. Truman dies in Independence, Missouri.

Then-President Richard Nixon called Truman a man of "forthrightness and integrity" who had a deep respect for the office he held and for the people he served, and who "supported and wisely counseled each of his successors."

Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, in 1884. The son of a farmer, he could not afford to go to college, so he too worked as a farmer before joining the army in 1916 to fight in World War I. After the war, Truman opened a haberdashery in Kansas City. When that business went bankrupt in 1922, he entered Missouri politics. Truman went on to serve in the U.S. Senate from 1934 until he was chosen as Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth vice president in 1945; it was during his Senate terms that he became known for his honesty and integrity.

Upon FDR's death on April 12, 1945, Truman became the 33rd president of the United States, assuming the role of commander in chief of a country still embroiled in World War II. With victory in Europe was imminent, Truman agonized over whether to use nuclear weapons to force Japan to surrender. Just four months into his tenure, Truman authorized the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945. He and his military advisors argued that using the bombs ultimately saved American and Japanese lives, since it appeared that the Japanese would fiercely resist any conventional attempt by the Allies to invade Japan and end the war. The use of the new weapon, dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August, succeeded in forcing Japan's surrender, but also killed, injured and sickened thousands of Japanese and ushered in the Cold War.

Although harshly criticized by some for his decision to use the devastating weapon, Truman also displayed integrity and humanitarian virtues throughout his political career. In 1941, Truman drove 10,000 miles across the country in his Dodge to investigate potential war profiteering in defense plants on the eve of World War II.  As president, Truman pushed through the Marshall Plan, which provided desperately needed reconstruction aid to European nations devastated by the war and on the verge of widespread famine. He also supported the establishment of a permanent Israeli state.

Truman served as president for two terms from 1945 to 1953, when he and his wife Bess happily retired to Independence, Missouri, where he referred to himself jokingly as "Mr. Citizen." He was hospitalized on December 4, 1972, with lung congestion, heart irregularity, kidney blockages and failure of the digestive system. He died on December 26. A very subdued and private funeral, fitting for the down-to-earth Truman, was held in Independence according to his and his family's wishes.”



Claudia and Jay’s little dog, Maddie the Yorkie, came to stay with me for the day.  She is just a little bit bigger than my foster kitten, Prissy.  At first, I was dubious about letting little Miss Priss loose to play with Maddie, but I shouldn’t have worried, they didn’t want anything to do with each other!  Maddie mostly curled up in my lap or slept on a cushy bathroom rug.  The wind had become very strong and it was flapping the clear vinyl inserts on the screen porch.  That amused Miss Priss for hours. 

Because of the high winds, every time I took the dogs out into the back yard, I had to pick up fallen twigs and branches so that Misty wouldn’t walk into them.  The winds also made the power go out a couple of times.

I spent a lot of time looking at different websites about the reasoning that Jesus was born during Sukkot, (The Feast of the Tabernacles), which all makes sense, when you see the timeline starting with Zachariah and Elisabeth, John The Baptist's parents.

I was also watching HGTV about the people looking for houses in far away states and lands.  They even had one show about a couple deciding which RV to buy for touring the US for two years.  There isn’t much to watch on TV these days. The murder-solving shows don’t interest me any more, and the Christmas movies never did.

When I unloaded the dishwasher and put away Bobbiecat’s Bavarian china bowl, which Prime inherited when Bobbiecat died, it brought home to me that it was the end of an era.  I don’t have a cat anymore after all these years.  Prissy doesn’t count, as she will be adopted soon.  Prime’s new Mom emailed again saying how happy they are with Prime.

When I took Maddie home, Misty and I went for our walk down there. The wind was still very strong, and Misty’s long ears were blowing all over.  It didn’t take her long to do what she had to do, and she was glad to get back in the car.  The lake has come up to it’s old level, and the water looked cold and rough.  I wouldn’t want to be out on it yesterday.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Sounds like you and your company and the cats all had a good day.