Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rusty Blackbird. Lead Kills Birds. Fishing Tackle Kills, Too. d-CON Fight. Natural Pesticides Help Bees and Birds. Last V-2s. Khrushchev.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird by Mike Parr

“The Rusty Blackbird is a medium-sized blackbird with a slender, slightly decurved bill, matte black plumage (in males), and pale yellow eye. They are North America’s most northern-nesting blackbird, and a characteristic breeding species of boreal forests. In winter, they gather in small flocks, sometimes mixing with Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and European Starlings. “Rusties” have a distinctive winter plumage, set off by red-brown feather edges.

This bird is one of North America’s most rapidly declining species. Its population has plunged an estimated 85 percent or more over the past 40 years, and scientists are not sure as to the exact cause.

Destruction and degradation of wetlands appear to be the chief threat to the Rusty Blackbird, both on its boreal breeding grounds and across its wintering range.

Conservation measures needed to help this species recover include further study of the bird’s ecology and natural history; finding specific causes for its disappearance; and continued monitoring of its populations. The International Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group, formed in 2005, continues work to better understand this species’ steep decline.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Photo: Mike Parr; Range Map, NatureServe


 Needless lead poisoning of wildlife

images[9] “We’ve effectively used federal toxics laws to remove lead from water pipes, gasoline, paint, cooking utensils and even wheel weights, and now it’s time to get the lead out of hunting ammunition for the benefit of our wildlife,” said Kim Crumbo with Grand Canyon Wildlands. “The use of nonlead ammunition for hunting waterfowl the past two decades has saved millions of birds from lead poisoning, and Arizona’s forests and wildlife stand to gain the same benefits from requiring lead-free ammunition for big game hunting.”


Eagle dying of lead poisoning.

“Because lead is so dangerous to people and wildlife, even at very low levels, it is imperative that we take this important step to transition ammunition to less toxic alternatives and remove lead from the food chain,” said Sandy Bahr with the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “The Forest Service should require nonlead ammunition for hunting on public land as an important step in limiting lead exposure for condors and other wildlife.”More at:

 Removing Lead from Wildlife and Wildlands

“Giving free copper bullets to big game begins the process of trying to eliminate bullet-related lead poisoning of the region's carnivores, raptors and, potentially, hunters and their families.”


Non-lead alternatives for fishing tackle

Non-toxic fishing tackle“Non-lead fishing tackle is not a novelty product. Ask for it at retailers and shops, and visit these tackle web sites. MPCA maintains this directory of companies offering lead-free tackle—weights of all shapes and sizes that are made without toxic lead.”

Manufacturers and products directory at:


Maker of d-CON rat poison fights EPA ban

imagesCA89J3DX“The manufacturer of d-CON, a widely sold and popular brand of rat poison, is taking the rare step of challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to prohibit the over-the-counter sale of one of the nastiest and most effective of the poisons sold to consumers.

Most of the 30 manufactures that make such products agreed to the ban, but Reckitt Benckiser Inc., the maker of the 12 separate d-CON products targeted by the EPA, challenged the agency’s decision March 6. The company asked for an administrative hearing to overturn the EPA decision. It’s the first time in 20 years that a company has defied an EPA pesticide ban, and it took the agency and many consumer groups by surprise.

“The impact of these rodenticides on wildlife is staggering,” Greg Loarie, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, said in a statement. “Study after study has documented anticoagulant rodenticides in more than three-quarters of necropsied raptors, wildcats and canines. The measures put in place by EPA to protect wildlife do not go nearly far enough, and yet Reckitt is refusing to accept even those baby steps in the right direction.”  More at:




BirdNote Weekly Preview: Hummingbirds, Cranes, and Kestrels ...     Upcoming Shows

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, SUNDAY Thirsty Hummingbirds by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW

Red-bellied Woodpecker, MONDAY Young Birders Hone their Skills by Chris Peterson LISTEN NOW

Sandhill Cranes, TUESDAY Cranes Bring  Economic Benefit To the Platte by Todd Peterson LISTEN NOW

American Kestrel, WEDNESDAY The American Kestrel Partnership by Todd Peterson LISTEN NOW

Great Blue Herons, THURSDAY Heron Nest— Start with One Stick by Chris Peterson LISTEN NOW

Budgerigar, FRIDAY Birds Talk, People Squawk by John Kessler LISTEN NOW ►

Great Tit, SATURDAY Urban Birds Change Their Tune by Dennis Paulson LISTEN NOW


Simple actions can save honey bees

Eliminating pesticides from your garden makes flowers safe for honey bees:

“Instead of using pesticides, use natural pest eaters such as spiders and ladybugs, picking off pests by hand and natural pesticides made from plants.”  More at:


On This Day:

Germans launch last of their V-2s, Mar 27, 1945:

“On this day, in a last-ditch effort to deploy their remaining V-2 missiles against the Allies, the Germans launch their long-range rockets from their only remaining launch site, in the Netherlands. Almost 200 civilians in England and Belgium were added to the V-2 casualty toll.

The first launches as part of an offensive occurred on September 6, 1944, when two missiles were fired at Paris. On September 8, two more were fired at England, which would be followed by over 1,100 more during the next six months. On March 27, 1945, taking advantage of their one remaining V-2 launch site, near The Hague, the Germans fired their V-2s for the last time. At 7 a.m., London awoke to a blast-one of the bombs had landed on a block of flats at Valance Road, killing 134 people. Twenty-seven Belgian civilians were killed in Antwerp when another of the rockets landed there. And that afternoon, one more V-2 landed in Kent, England, causing the very last British civilian casualty of the war.

By the end of the war, more than 2,700 Brits had died because of the rocket attacks, as well as another 4,483 deaths in Belgium. After the war, both the United States and the Soviet Union captured samples of the rockets for reproduction. Having proved so extraordinarily deadly during the war, the V-2 became the precursor of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) of the postwar era.”


Khrushchev becomes Soviet premier, Mar 27, 1958:

“On March 27, 1958, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev replaces Nicolay Bulganin as Soviet premier, becoming the first leader since Joseph Stalin to simultaneously hold the USSR's two top offices.

In 1960, Khrushchev walked out of a long-awaited four-powers summit over the U-2 affair, and in 1961 he authorized construction of the Berlin Wall as a drastic solution to the East German question. Then, in October 1962, the United States and the USSR came close to nuclear war over the USSR's placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba. After 13 tense days, the Cuban Missile Crisis came to an end when Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the offensive weapons in exchange for a secret U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba.

The humiliating resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, an agricultural crisis at home, and the deterioration of Soviet-Chinese relations over Khrushchev's moderate policies all led to growing opposition to Khrushchev in the party ranks. On October 14, 1964, Leonid Brezhnev, Khrushchev's protégé and deputy, organized a successful coup against him, and Khrushchev abruptly stepped down as first secretary and premier. He retired to obscurity outside Moscow and lived there until his death in 1971.”



Ray came over and we hung the pictures back on the living room wall.  Another precaution we had taken when we were hammering and prying out the nails on the garage wall behind them, when tacking down the 220v. wires. (We re-installed the panel with screws).  Then we got out the socket and open-end wrenches to take the mudguards off my utility trailer, so that we could remove the rails.  The buyer just wanted the trailer with the floor.  When the rails were off, I swept the pine needles off the trailer, so they could see that the stake pockets weren’t even rusty. They aired up the tires, and were very happy with their purchase.

In the afternoon, I took Terry, the ‘new ‘old cat, back to the other town to the vet’s office where I had got him, as he still has the sneezles.  A different vet saw him this time, and prescribed an antibiotic.  I know I am allergic to Terry, and as un-neutered males shed more allergens than neutered males or female cats, I really wanted to exchange him.  Orange male cats have a different genetic make-up than other colors.  His neuter surgery isn’t slated until the 11th. of April, and I don’t know how long I can keep this up, and I will probably still be more allergic to him than I would a female.  I haven’t had a grown male cat in the house for 15 years since I had my beloved all white one, “Honky”, and I wasn’t allergic to him. They had a sweet little old light beige female cat there who was very scared that had been an owner turn in, and I was very tempted to bring her home with me, but I knew that I have to do first things first, and take care of Terry. 

So I brought him home, and put him in the Grooming Room, which was defeating the object of having a pet cat who can live in the house and sleep on my bed.  Terry was really determined to be back in the house and was pulling violently at the door with his paws, so I let him out of the Grooming Room.  He slept on my bed, and I was up coughing most of the night. 

Also, we have a skittish blonde cat hanging around here that was dumped when it’s owner's moved.  It comes to the outside of my porch and asks to be fed, but runs away until after I have put the food out, and returns later.  I don’t know if it is a boy or girl, but it has a small head and feminine features.  Often it is better that a cat chooses you, rather than the other way around.

This is going to be an RV-Dreams mini-rally, as Arlene, Trix and I are going up to Huntsville (TX) to see Lynette and Mac today.

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