Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kittlitz's Murrelet. Owls, Scrub-Jays, and Black Rails... Clapper Rails. Short-eared Owl. Oldest Wild Bird. Visit ‘Freedom’. Snowy Owl. Ecological Traps? U.S. Slaves Go To Africa. Anastasia. Queen Elizabeth II.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Kittlitz's Murrelet

Kittlitz's Murrelet by G.A. Sanger, USGS

“This small, mottled seabird (9.5 inches long and 8 ounces) is one of the rarest and least-known murrelets. The Kittlitz’s Murrelet is unique because of its intimate association with glaciers, which has earned it the nickname, “Glacier Murrelet.”

The effects of climate change are hitting this species especially hard. Rapidly rising temperatures are causing glaciers to melt and recede, and changes in ocean ecosystems are reducing the availability of the fish it eats. Kittlitz’s Murrelets are also affected by human disturbance from activities such as cruise-ship tours, which may cause it to abandon feeding areas, and entanglement in commercial gillnets.

The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill had a catastrophic effect on this species, destroying as much as 10 percent of its world population, with the populations in Prince William Sound decreasing by 84 percent. Similar declines elsewhere suggest the bird may disappear within a few decades. It is under review for listing under the Endangered Species Act.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Photo: G.A. Sanger, USGS; Range Map, NatureServe



Owls, Scrub-Jays, and Black Rails ...

Upcoming Shows

San Diego Bay

SUNDAY San Diego Bay in Winter by Dennis Paulson LISTEN NOW

Boreal Owl

MONDAY On Owls and Field Biology Featuring Denver Holt, Owl Biologist LISTEN NOW

Mountain Plover

TUESDAY Ecosystem Engineers On America's Serengeti by Gordon Orians LISTEN NOW

Florida Scrub-Jay

WEDNESDAY Florida Scrub-Jay by Dennis Paulson LISTEN NOW

Great Blue Heron

THURSDAY Regal Great Blue Heron by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW

Black Rail

FRIDAY Conserving Wetlands For Black Rails by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW

Blue-winged Teal

SATURDAY Birders and Hunters by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW


Chasing Clapper Rails


“Camera in hand, BirdNote photo contributor Ingrid Taylar
followed researchers in San Francisco Bay tagging California Clapper Rails.   Read more and see the photos.”


A Short-eared Owl Ejects a Pellet

 Gregg Thompson

“Photographer Gregg Thompson catches a Short-eared Owl as it coughs up a pellet.

Short-eared Owls eat mostly small rodents, like voles and mice, but can also consume small birds. Pellets are the undigested remnants of the owl's meal: mainly fur, bones, and sometimes feathers.

According to Cornell's Birds of North America, Short-eared Owls need to eat about 1-2 voles a day and cast a pellet about 10 hours after each meal.”


America's Great Outdoors shared U.S. Department of the Interior's photo.


“A Laysan albatross known as “Wisdom” – believed to be the oldest wild bird in the World at least 62 years old – has hatched a chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge for the sixth consecutive year. Early Sunday morning, February 3, 2013, the chick was observed pecking its way into the world by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Pete Leary, who said the chick appears healthy. Wisdom was first banded in 1956, when she was incubating an egg in the same area of the refuge. She was at least five years old at the time.”


A Visit with Freedom - A rainy day in Arlington


“Jeff Guidry gives us a quick glimpse of Freedom, the female eagle that nearly died from two broken wings, and recovered to become part of a remarkable story.”


 Snowy Owl Acceptance  

“After a couple weeks of handling , we are almost buds ! In the wild , Snowy owls are primarily loners , so making friends is not high on the priority list - they are amongst the hardest to train. I have made up little games that help with biting and that death grip he puts on your hands and fingers. Later on I will use a glove , but right now we are just focusing on being friends.”


Nonnative Plants: Ecological Traps?

“…As my knowledge grew, I stopped planting new exotic species altogether, particularly once I registered my property as an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat ® site. That prized white mulberry, though, I left in peace. After all, the tree did not appear to be invasive, and many of the birds that were feasting on its berries were migratory species. I was surely helping these birds by providing an abundant and nutritious food during their long, arduous journeys north.

Cedar waxwing feeding on white mulberry

A cedar waxwing feasts on white mulberry in a Michigan backyard. Photo by John E. Heintz, Jr.

But recently, after working with Virginia writer John Carey on a story just published in the magazine, I’m no longer so sure about that decision. In the article, “Ecological Traps,” Carey describes research conducted by Ohio State University ecologist Amanda Rodewald on the potential effects on northern cardinals of feeding and nesting in nonnative Asian honeysuckle.

The researchers’ surprising—and alarming—discovery was that cardinals nesting in Asian honeysuckle reared 20 percent fewer young than did birds nesting in native plants. The reason? Increased predation by raccoons, crows, hawks and other animals on cardinal nests in the exotic plants.”   Complete article at:


On This Day:

Freed U.S. slaves depart on journey to Africa, Feb 6, 1820:

“The first organized immigration of freed slaves to Africa from the United States departs New York harbor on a journey to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa. The immigration was largely the work of the American Colonization Society, a U.S. organization founded in 1816 by Robert Finley to return freed American slaves to Africa. However, the expedition was also partially funded by the U.S. Congress, which in 1819 had appropriated $100,000 to be used in returning displaced Africans, illegally brought to the United States after the abolishment of the slave trade in 1808, to Africa.

The program was modeled after British's efforts to resettle freed slaves in Africa following England's abolishment of the slave trade in 1772. In 1787, the British government settled 300 former slaves and 70 white prostitutes on the Sierra Leone peninsula in West Africa. Within two years, most members of this settlement had died from disease or warfare with the local Temne people. However, in 1792, a second attempt was made when 1,100 freed slaves, mostly individuals who had supported Britain during the American Revolution and were unhappy with their postwar resettlement in Canada, established Freetown under the leadership of British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.

During the next few decades, thousands of freed slaves came from Canada, the West Indies, and other parts of West Africa to the Sierra Leone Colony, and in 1820 the first freed slaves from the United States arrived at Sierra Leone. In 1821, the American Colonization Society founded the colony of Liberia south of Sierra Leone as a homeland for freed U.S. slaves outside of British jurisdiction.

Most Americans of African descent were not enthusiastic to abandon their homes in the United States for the West African coast. The American Colonization Society also came under attack from American abolitionists, who charged that the removal of freed slaves from the United States strengthened the institution of slavery. However, between 1822 and the American Civil War, some 15,000 African Americans settled in Liberia, which was granted independence by the United States in 1847 under pressure from Great Britain. Liberia was granted official U.S. diplomatic recognition in 1862. It was the first independent democratic republic in African history.”


Anastasia arrives in the United States, Feb 6, 1928:

“On February 6, 1928, a woman calling herself Anastasia Tschaikovsky and claiming to be the youngest daughter of the murdered czar of Russia arrives in New York City. She held a press conference on the liner Berengaria, explaining she was here to have her jaw reset. It was broken, she alleged, by a Bolshevik soldier during her narrow escape from the execution of her entire family at Ekaterinburg, Russia, in July 1918. Tschaikovsky was welcomed to New York by Gleb Botkin, the son of the Romanov family doctor who was executed along with his patients in 1918. Botkin called her "Your Highness" and claimed that she was without a doubt the Grand Duchess Anastasia with whom he had played as a child….”     This is very long, so the rest is here:


Elizabeth becomes queen, Feb 6, 1952:

“On this day in 1952, after a long illness, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king's two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was in Kenya at the time of her father's death; she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, at age 27.”



Jay called to say that he had to work for the roofing company, so Ray and I worked in the garage.

To make it easier for the electrician’s to remove and replace the breaker box in the garage, we took everything off the shelves, removed the three shelf units that were mounted in that area, then the plywood wall panel, exposing all the wiring going to that breaker box.  By making it easy for them, I am hoping it won’t take so long, and the bill will be lower.

In the afternoon, when the cats were running around the house, somehow I lost my Internet connection.  I don’t know what they did, but fortunately I had another Ethernet cord, and that fixed it. 

Miss Priss, even as small as she is, tries to dominate Arlo who is twice her size.  He is gradually coming out of his shell, and wants me to pet him all the time…or maybe he is asking me to lock up the brat-cat, as she was ‘dogging’ his footsteps, and wouldn’t leave him alone all day.

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