Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dusky Starfrontlet. Owl Adopts Eagle Egg. Murmuration of Starlings. Sphinx Moth. Why Bats Don’t Get Sick. Birds and Bees. Galileo. Huckleberry Finn. Ash Wednesday.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Dusky Starfrontlet

Dusky Starfrontlet by Fundacion ProAves

“The male Dusky Starfrontlet is a very dark hummingbird with a green-gold sheen, bright metallic blue throat spot, and glittering forehead. For a long time, this species was known only from a few specimens in museums; it was rediscovered by ABC partner Fundación ProAves in 2004.

The Dusky Starfrontlet has a very restricted range, which is largely unprotected and suffering from ongoing deforestation as settlers continue moving into the area. These lands also contain rich deposits of gold, zinc, and copper, which have attracted mining companies -- another serious threat to this already fragile habitat.

In 2005, ABC and ProAves created the Colibrí del Sol Reserve to protect habitat for the Dusky Starfrontlet. The reserve now covers 11,322 acres of páramo and montane cloud forest. ABC and ProAves are working to acquire additional habitat, and are seeking agreements with local municipalities and parks to further enlarge protected areas. Reforestation of degraded habitat is ongoing.”  Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!     Photo: ProAves; Range Map, ABC


Watch Live: Great Horned Owl Adopts Abandoned Egg In Oklahoma Eagle Nest

“Bird watchers around the world are being treated to an unusual sight in an eagle nest in eastern Oklahoma.

First, a great horned owl began incubating an abandoned bald eagle egg in a nest that has a camera installed on it.

Then, on Thursday, February 7, 2013, the owl laid its own egg in the nest.”

“After laying 2 eggs the resident eagles abandoned this nest when an intruder eagle disturbed the nesting process. One eagle egg broke and the remaining egg is non- viable. Taking advantage of the empty nest, a great horned owl "adopted" the abandoned eagle egg on Feb 3rd. She laid her 1st egg next to the eagle egg on Feb 7th. Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.

The nest is located near Vian, Oklahoma in the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.

The nest is located near Vian, The great horned owl has begun incubating an abandoned bald eagle egg in the nest.Oklahoma in the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.

The great horned owl has begun incubating an abandoned bald eagle egg in the nest.” More at:


Western Bluebird Reintroduction –Second Year Successes

“This year marked the first time in at least 40 years that a Western Bluebird that fledged on San Juan Island is known to have returned there to breed. The bird successfully paired and nested, providing an encouraging early indication of potential long-term success. The first translocation of Western Bluebird pairs with nestlings was also accomplished. Two pairs were taken from their breeding site 100 miles away at Fort Lewis Military Installation in Olympia, Washington, and placed in an aviary on San Juan for ten days while their young fledged. The adults and eight fledglings were subsequently released successfully.”

“American Bird Conservation ( and a coalition of partners are working to reintroduce Western Bluebirds to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. The project is off to a great start with nesting pairs returning to the island.”  More at:


Bird 'Ballet' Captured by Filmmaker

“Sometimes, if you're in the right place at the right time, you can capture something magical. Filmmaker Neels Castillon was shooting a television commercial at sunset when a murmuration of thousands of starlings showed up to perform their "ballet" in the sky. With cameras at hand, Castillon was able to film the awe-inspiring display. "It was amazing," said Castillon of the experience. "We just forgot our job and started this little piece of poetry." As stunning as it is to watch a film of the murmuration swooping, diving and undulating hypnotically en masse, we're sure it is completely mind-blowing to witness in person. But for most of us, this video will have to do.”

A bird ballet | Music Video from Neels CASTILLON on Vimeo


Four Birds That Love Winter

These four species thrive in conditions that send other birds south

Bohemian Waxwing

“Do you feel bad when your favorite birds fly south for the winter? Maybe it’s time to get to know some species that thrive in our North American winters—so much so they actually fly here from points farther north.”

More at:



imageBirdNote Weekly Preview: Swans, Storks, and Cranes ...

Upcoming Shows:



Mute Swan

SUNDAY Swan Song by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW


Common Raven

MONDAY Raven's Love Song by Ellen Blackstone LISTEN NOW


White Stork

TUESDAY Storks and Babies by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW


Anna's Hummingbird

WEDNESDAY Anna's Hummingbirds Winter in the North by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW

Red-crowned Crane

THURSDAY Red-crowned Cranes Dance in Hokkaido
by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW


Northern Cardinal

FRIDAY Annual Great Backyard Bird Count by Ellen Blackstone LISTEN NOW


American Kestrel

SATURDAY American Kestrel by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW


Now, on to some other winged critters:

Howard Cheek photographed this white-lined sphinx moth in his Kempner, Texas, certified habitat.

Howard Cheek photographed this white-lined sphinx moth in his Kempner, Texas, certified habitat.

More at:


Bats reveal clues to viral immunity


“Bats can harbour some of the world's most deadly viruses without ever getting sick and researchers in Singapore are trying to find out how they do it. By investigating the creatures' genetic structure, the scientists hope to eventually find the key for humans to fight infectious diseases. Elly Park reports.”  More at:


Early Snowmelt Confuses Birds and Bees

scenic view of Rocky Mountain National Park

Early snowmelt in Colorado's Rocky Mountains (national park shown here) has cued flowers to bloom early, meaning honeybees and hummingbirds miss feeding opportunities.
CREDIT: Don Becker, USGS

SAN FRANCISCO — “Early snowmelt in Colorado's Rocky Mountains has cued flowers to bloom early, causing honeybees and hummingbirds to miss feeding opportunities, new research suggests. The animals arrive at their usual feeding times, but are now too late.   The findings, presented Dec. 3 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), suggest that climate change can disrupt a cascade of animal species in the mountains. 

"The timing of winter's end is changing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains," said David Inouye, a researcher at the University of Maryland. "These mismatches in the arrival dates of migratory hummingbirds and the blooming of the flowers where they typically visit are leading to a situation where hummingbirds come after the foods have begun to flower."”  More at:


What are Ash Wednesday and Lent? Does the Bible tell us to celebrate these days?

After Mardi Gras comes Ash Wednesday and 40 days of Lent. Did the early New Testament Church observe these days?

Answer: “The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or Lent, and the early New Testament Church did not observe these days. Here is how the BBC Religion page describes Ash Wednesday and Lent:  Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent for Western Christian churches. It's a day of penitence to clean the soul before the Lent fast.  Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some other churches hold special services at which worshippers are marked with ashes as a symbol of death and sorrow for sin…

Some have suggested that Lent may be connected to earlier, pagan holidays. In Ezekiel 8:14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
See All..., the prophet in vision saw women weeping for the pagan god Tammuz. "It has been suggested by some scholars that the practice of 'weeping for Tammuz' was the actual origin of Lent, the Roman Catholic 40-day period of abstinence prior to Easter (starting after Mardi Gras, 'Fat Tuesday,' on Ash Wednesday). Consider that the name Easter itself is derived from Ishtar, the ancient Babylonian fertility goddess and Tammuz's mother".

The Bible does teach the importance of fasting and self-examination, but it does not teach a 40-day period called Lent or an Ash Wednesday of putting ashes on the forehead. These customs appear to have pagan origins…”  More at:


On This Day:

Galileo in Rome for Inquisition, Feb 13, 1633:

“On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.

Galileo, the son of a musician, was born February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. He entered the University of Pisa planning to study medicine, but shifted his focus to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became a professor at Pisa for several years, during which time he demonstrated that the speed of a falling object is not proportional to its weight, as Aristotle had believed. According to some reports, Galileo conducted his research by dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From 1592 to 1630, Galileo was a math professor at the University of Padua, where he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar mountains and craters, the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Jupiter. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610, Galileo gained acclaim and was appointed court mathematician at Florence.

Galileo's research led him to become an advocate of the work of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1573). However, the Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition, a judicial system established by the papacy in 1542 to regulate church doctrine. This included the banning of books that conflicted with church teachings. The Roman Inquisition had its roots in the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, the purpose of which was to seek out and prosecute heretics, considered enemies of the state.

Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.”


Long-lost Twain manuscript authenticated, Feb 13, 1991:

“On this day, Sotheby's announced the discovery of a long-lost manuscript of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

The manuscript was the first half of Twain's original version, heavily corrected in his own handwriting, which had been missing for more than a century. The manuscript surfaced when a 62-year-old Los Angeles librarian finally got around to sorting through some old papers in six trunks sent to her when an aunt from upstate New York died.

Twain, it turned out, had sent the second half of the manuscript to the librarian's grandfather, James Gluck, who had solicited it for the Buffalo and Erie Library in Buffalo, New York, where Twain had once lived. At the time, Twain was unable to find the entire manuscript, and it was presumed lost for more than 100 years. However, it turned out that Twain did eventually find the manuscript and send it to Gluck.

A custody war over the manuscript ensued, with the sisters, the library, and the Mark Twain Papers Projects in Berkeley, California, squabbling over rights to the papers. Ultimately, the three parties struck a deal: The library would hold the rights to the physical papers, but all three parties would share in the publication rights. Because the novel contained previously unpublished material, and showed Twain's edits, interest in publishing the manuscript was high, and in 1995 Random House won the rights to publish the book for an undisclosed price.”



Misty and I had our walk around Jay’s area when we went to get him.

When we returned here, Jay took the cover off the old breaker box, which is still installed, and showed me where he had put two screws a couple of years ago.  I haven’t had any flickering lights since then.  He didn’t think that was a good thing to do, so that’s why he said I needed a new breaker box.  I took pictures and wanted to show them to Jim down the street, but he wasn’t home.  There is no sense in putting back all the shelf units and their contents, until I know that I don’t have to replace the breaker box.  But all those shelves are in the way, so I hope we get that sorted out soon.

Then we cut up the 42’ metal gutter that was on the RVport, and put it in a big bin in the van to go to the metal recycling.   We did a bit more re-organizing in the storeroom, and put mini-blinds up in the windows.  Now that the back wall of the RVport is no longer there, those ‘blinded’ windows look a lot better from the road.

Miss Priss looked for Arlo for a while, and then went back to playing with her toys.  The weather was nice in the afternoon, so she was on the screen porch watching the birds at the feeder.  Once the sun went down it was a lot cooler, and it’s going to stay that way today.

No comments: