Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Buff-fronted Owl. AR Oil Spill. BirdTape. Dugway Disaster. Tyson Redevelopment. Petaluma. Baby Owls Rescued. Bushtit. Howler Monkeys and Cactus Wrens ... Library of Congress. Hostage Disaster. My Porch.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

 Buff-fronted Owl

Buff-fronted Owl by Fundacion Jocotoco

“The Buff-fronted Owl was a surprise visitor to the Urraca Lodge at the Jorupe Reserve in Ecuador this February, when it dove through a dining room window in pursuit of insects. This visit marked the first record of the rarely seen owl within the Jorupe Reserve, run by our partner Fundación Jocotoco and supported by ABC. Park guards were able to safely return the owl to the outdoors – after snapping the above photo.

This striking little owl is the only member of its genus (Aegolius) to occur in South America. It is widespread but uncommon throughout its range, which is separated by the enormous expanse of the Amazon basin.

Relatively little is known about the species, but like many small owls, it lays its eggs in tree cavities and preys on rodents and other small mammals, birds, and insects. Its voice is a quavering trill.

Nearly 190 bird species have been found in Jorupe, including almost all the dry forest endemics of Ecuador’s Tumbesian region. Birders wishing to book a trip to this unique reserve should visit the Conservation Birding website.”  Support ABC's efforts to conserve native birds and their habitats!

Photo by Fundación Jocotoco; Range Map by NatureServe


Update on Wildlife Oiled in Arkansas Tar Sands Spill

Oiled duck from Mayflower Ark. oil spill. Photo by Lauren Ray.

“Just got this update on the Exxon Mobil Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill.  On Monday, I spoke again with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) for an update and they shared the following information with me. The main body of Lake Conway has NOT been impacted, only the adjacent cove/wetland. AGFC estimates approximately 15 acres has been impacted.

AGFC stated that Exxon acknowledged that they didn’t think there would be as much impact on wildlife and were thus not prepared to deal with the wildlife recovery until Tuesday April 2nd. A wildlife recovery center has been set up and the wildlife impact numbers are below (these are of course only the numbers of wildlife actually recovered – as we know from previous spills, most wildlife victims may never be found).  The public recovered numerous ducks the first few days and the HAWK Center took the majority of those.  Tuesday (2nd) they were all transported to the official recovery center to be treated.

Here’s a list of (this is not a comprehensive list but the total of 139 is current as of April 8th). 139 Total individual wildlife recovered

  • 139 wildlife recovered
  • 37 dead on arrival (23 birds, 5 turtles, 1 muskrat)
  • 46 water moccasins euthanized on site due to safety concerns
  • 2 raccoons
  • 1 beaver
  • 1 skunk
  • 2 armadillos
  • 22 total wildlife cleaned

The first release of recovered animals took place on Monday. Ten turtles and two raccoons were released at the nearby Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area.

How far down the size scale is the tar sands spill hitting? A Mayflower beekeeper had to move her hive after finding several dead bees covered in tar sands oil.”  From: 


Large panes of glass are deadly to birds

image “Startling and sad: ABC staff found this American Woodcock around the corner from our DC office. Evidently, it died in a collision with a bank's large picture window. Even more unfortunate, it's not the first time we've found another dead woodcock in this same spot.

Large panes of glass are deadly to birds, and in this case, artificial greenery just inside the window makes it an even bigger threat. We're hoping to convince the bank to use our BirdTape to prevent future collisions. It's a great solution for home use, too, and now – as birds are arriving from migration and beginning the busy nesting season – is the perfect time to put it up!


Thousands of birds stranded, killed at Dugway after being fooled by storm

SALT LAKE CITY — “Several thousand birds are struggling for survival Monday after they accidentally landed at Dugway Proving Grounds where they were unable to take off again.

As many as 5,000 eared grebes, a kind of migratory water fowl also known as black-necked grebes, were apparently fooled by the late snow and cold April weather and landed at an area they mistook for water at Dugway Proving Ground, according to spokesperson Paula Thomas.

As many as a third were killed on impact when they mistook the wet, hard asphalt for water. Many others have injured wings or broken legs.”  More and video at:


Massive Redevelopment Effort in Virginia's Tyson May Set National Environmental Benchmark

Tysons tower rendering by R2L Architects, PLLC"“This effort has the potential to become a national model that can be effective in many development scenarios. We hope that by encouraging developers to consider and ultimately implement bird-friendly designs, we can reduce the rate of increase of collision threats that already cause up to a billion bird deaths in the U.S. each year,” said Dr. Christine Sheppard, Bird Collisions Campaign Manager for ABC.

“Birds rarely learn from a collision experience since it is most likely fatal. Most of us have had the jarring experience of accidentally walking into a closed patio door or storefront entrance. Imagine if we did that at 20-40 miles per hour,” Sheppard said.”  More at:


 Bird deaths down at Petaluma highway project

imagesCANM4ID0  “Wildlife advocates say Caltrans' effort to fix anti-bird netting on the Petaluma Bridge construction site has reduced the deaths of federally protected cliff swallows, but it has not stopped them entirely.

Advocates complained last week that the netting, intended to keep the migratory birds from nesting near the repair work, was instead entangling the birds or trapping them in tight spaces where they could not get out. More at:

Homeowners, tree crew rescue owl family in Lisle

Two baby owls sit in their new nest in a pine tree in Lisle on Tuesday. Curt and Kate Petersen, whose yard is home to the pine, helped rescue the birds and replace their nest with something more sturdy.Two baby owls sit in their new nest in a pine tree in Lisle.

“Perhaps the young great horned owl could have flown had it already grown its flight feathers. Instead, the roughly month-old owlet tumbled 40 to 50 feet, cushioned only by a pine tree's plentiful branches, onto the northeast corner of Curt and Kate Petersen's yard in Lisle.  And so the mission began: Not only would the Petersens, Zrout and his employees save the fallen owlet, but they would also build a sturdier home for the entire owl family.

In the meantime, the fallen baby was given shelter — a cardboard box propped up against a space heater — in the Petersens' garage. From the tip of a wooden barbecue skewer, Kate Petersen fed it chicken livers left over from Sunday dinner.  More at:


One-month-old great horned owl rescued in Jackson women's backyard; reunited with parents

12538392-large[1] JACKSON, MI– “Sue Behncke took her daughter’s dog out for a run in her backyard on Friday night when she spotted a small creature hopping around in the trees.   Behncke made a series of  phone calls which eventually led her to Louise Sagaert from Wildside Rehabilitation in Eaton Rapids. Sagaert told her to catch it.

“I didn’t know what it was, and then she told me to go outside and get it,” said Behncke.  After securing the animal in a small box, she realized it was an owl unable to fly. Within an hour, Behncke met Sagaert in a nearby parking lot, expecting hand the owl off.

“I think Sue was pretty surprised when I said we’re gonna put it back,” joked Sagaert as she cradled the great horned owl in Behncke’s backyard on Saturday, April 6.  It turns out that the owl was 1 month old and had just left her parent’s nest. She was in perfect health, but not old enough to fly and hunt for herself.  Sagaert said it's best for the animal to reunite with its parents rather than being raised in captivity. Though they would have a surrogate mother for the owl, they run the risk of the owl forgetting that she’s a bird and never being able to live outside of their care.

But the reunification process is a waiting game. You can’t leave the owl near the nest until you are sure that the parents are still around to care for it.  It took three hours of waiting in Behncke’s backyard for them to spot the parents. About 9 pm Saturday, they released the owl.” Pictures and more at: 


Like an Owl, An Amazing Fact:

“Barn owls are excellent hunters, with large eyes that are especially keen under low light. The wise-appearing, forward-facing eyes, which account for five percent of their body weight, offer a wide range of binocular vision. In fact, they’re not even eyeballs, but rather elongated tubes like short telescopes held in place by bony structures in the skull. For this reason, an owl cannot “roll” or move its eyes, but only look straight ahead! However, it more than compensates for this with the ability to turn its head around and almost upside-down.

When a typical bird flies, air rushes over the surface of the wing, creating turbulence, which makes a whooshing or flapping noise. But barn owls are absolutely silent when they fly. A velvety layer on the feather surface muffles sound. In addition, the leading edges of the wing feathers have a fine comb that deadens the sound of the wing beats. The silent flight prevents prey from hearing its approach and aids the owl’s hearing, which is extremely acute.

Strangely, its ear openings are at slightly different levels on its head and are set at different angles—one high up near the owl’s forehead and the other lower, about level with the bird’s nostrils. The lopsided placement helps these hunters precisely pinpoint prey. The ears are also surrounded by feathers that can be opened up to catch the faint sounds of small prey or closed down to protect against loud sounds. They are covered by a flexible ruff made up of short, densely webbed feathers that frames the face, turning it into a parabolic dish-like reflector for sound. This gives the owl very sensitive and directional hearing, with which it can locate small prey even in total darkness.
The Bible teaches us that the eyes of God can see us wherever we are—and His ears can even hear our thoughts. David writes, “Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy” (Psalms 86:1). God can hear our faintest cries for help, even in the dark.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. - Psalms 86:6”


Female Bushtit

“Weighing as much as four paperclips, the Bushtit is among the smallest songbirds in the world. Gregg Thompson caught this female Bushtit waving its wings. And how do we know it's a female?

The pale eye of this Bushtit tells us it's an adult female (males and females younger than four weeks have dark eyes).

They pair off to nest in spring but spend a majority of the year in large flocks of 30+ birds. Their light weight (as little as four paper clips) allows them to hang underneath foliage to glean insects that other birds can't access.”  Learn more about these fascinating birds in this BirdNote show.



Howler Monkeys and Cactus Wrens ...

Upcoming Shows

American Robin SUNDAY First Songster of the Day by Chris Peterson LISTEN NOW

MONDAY Celebrate the Earth by Chris Peterson and featuring the recordings of Gordon Hempton LISTEN NOW

Virginia Rail TUESDAY A Virginia Rail On Michigan Avenue
featuring Annette Prince, Director CBCM LISTEN NOW

Willowbrook Wildlife Rehab Center WEDNESDAY Bird Rehabilitation at Willowbrook Center featuring Jason Smith,
volunteer at Willowbrook Wildlife Rehab Center

Howler Monkey THURSDAY Waking to Howler Monkeys featuring Roger Melendez, Costa Rican bird guide and naturalist LISTEN NOW

Wild Turkey FRIDAY Turkey Calling - Real or Unreal by Ellen Blackstone LISTEN NOW ►

Cactus Wren SATURDAY Cactus Wren Nest Orientation by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW


On This Day:

Library of Congress established, Apr 24, 1800:

“President John Adams approves legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress," thus establishing the Library of Congress. The first books, ordered from London, arrived in 1801 and were stored in the U.S. Capitol, the library's first home. The first library catalog, dated April 1802, listed 964 volumes and nine maps. Twelve years later, the British army invaded the city of Washington and burned the Capitol, including the then 3,000-volume Library of Congress.

Former president Thomas Jefferson, who advocated the expansion of the library during his two terms in office, responded to the loss by selling his personal library, the largest and finest in the country, to Congress to "recommence" the library. The purchase of Jefferson's 6,487 volumes was approved in the next year, and a professional librarian, George Watterston, was hired to replace the House clerks in the administration of the library. In 1851, a second major fire at the library destroyed about two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes, including two-thirds of the Thomas Jefferson library. Congress responded quickly and generously to the disaster, and within a few years a majority of the lost books were replaced.

After the Civil War, the collection was greatly expanded, and by the 20th century the Library of Congress had become the de facto national library of the United States and one of the largest in the world. Today, the collection, housed in three enormous buildings in Washington, contains more than 17 million books, as well as millions of maps, manuscripts, photographs, films, audio and video recordings, prints, and drawings.”


Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster, Apr 24, 1980:

“On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

On November 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation and agreed to release non-U.S. captives and female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the U.S. government. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months.

President Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and the April 1980 hostage attempt ended in disaster. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan, and soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations began between the United States and Iran. On the day of Reagan's inauguration, January 20, 1981, the United States freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, and the 52 hostages were released after 444 days. The next day, Jimmy Carter flew to West Germany to greet the Americans on their way home.”



Ray came over, and he spread fertilizer over all the grass while Misty and I went to pick up Jay. 

Taking-down-soffit Then we all went back to work making a cantilevered extension to my front porch.  Since the pergola was removed, the afternoon sun shines in the living room, and rain blows into the screen porch, so we are remedying that.  This time, Jacking-RVport-post-out-of-wayJay took all the gutters, fascia boards, and soffit down, to expose the roof rafters.  Now we can add on to them properly.

When the RVport was taken down, we left the posts in the ground, as we wanted to save them full length for another use, instead of cutting them off.  The front one needed to be removed as it was in the way of the extension to the roof.  Here we are, jacking it out of the ground, then a shorter one was put in it’s place.  I have to keep that fence for Misty, as it leads to my back yard.

The weather was great, and we felt like we had accomplished something yesterday.

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