For ”Winged Wednesday”:
“At first glance, the Sage Sparrow might seem rather ordinary, but look closer, and you’ll find a species with distinctive behaviors and conservation needs.
Unlike some sparrows that can use a variety of habitats, the Sage Sparrow must have open sagebrush habitat to breed successfully; it breeds in these areas over 90 percent of the time. A mixture of bare ground and plants also appears to be an important component for breeding success.
The Sage Sparrow is often seen running with its longish tail cocked; when perched, it wags its tail up and down like a phoebe. The bird spends much of its time on the ground foraging for insects and seeds.
Although populations appear stable across most of its range, the clearing of sagebrush for grazing has had a significant negative effect on the Sage Sparrow. Fire suppression, which leads to a build-up of brush and invasive weeds such as cheatgrass, also degrades suitable habitat.
Five subspecies of Sage Sparrow are currently recognized. The three non-migratory subspecies found in coastal California and Baja California were once considered a separate species and are again being considered for a potential split by the American Ornithologist’s Union (AOU).
The Californian subspecies belli is listed by the state as a Species of Special Concern, and the subspecies clementeae of the California Channel Islands is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened.
You can help the Sage Sparrow by joining our Spring 2013 Fundraising Challenge. We urgently need your support to conserve sagebrush and other critical bird habitats!”
Simple ways to prevent bird strikes on windows
“Recently, I was sitting in a meeting at a conference center that had two walls of windows. I heard a “thunk” against one of the windows, and I immediately knew what caused it. I got up to see if the victim survived. Sitting on the windowsill was a dazed little bird. I felt bad, knowing that the building we were located in was the visitor center of a nature reserve, but there were no bird collision avoidance measures taken.
In fact, bird collisions with windows are all too common. It is very difficult to estimate how many birds are killed, and how many more injured, from windows. Some come flying full speed into glass, thinking they can fly unimpeded to a location beyond it; others attack their own reflection over and over until they cause enough brain damage to themselves to be fatal. The numbers of dead birds is impossible to accurately estimate–from hundreds of millions to a billion birds every year in North America alone. Some birds are able to recover fully and fly away. Some birds die instantly on impact. There are an unknown number that start to recover, fly away and end up dying from their injuries in another location.
At home, you may not need to pay for materials or take drastic measures. There are some simple steps you can take. If you have bird feeders out, move them closer to the window. Studies have shown that having feeders within 2 to 3 feet of the window will reduce collisions. If you do not have feeders, try picking up a suction cup feeder and attaching it to the window; not only will you protect birds, but you will feed and attract them.
You can close curtains, partially close mini-blinds, or hang up pictures or decals on your windows to warn birds as well. If a window has a lot of green plants next to it, that could attract birds as well; consider moving them back just a bit.
Come to the DNR office and pick up a coloring sheet of a kestrel. Your kids or grandkids can color it, cut it out and tape it to the window. The birds will not see this as a real predator, but as an object they cannot fly through.
Take a few minutes to consider what minor changes you can make to reduce or eliminate bird collisions at your home or office. Even minor changes you make can make a big difference to the birds.” More at: http://www.starjournalnow.com/outdoors/208693321.html
“I had birds great and small hitting my picture window so I stapled a big piece of blueberry bush netting over it. Not another fatality or rehab situation. When I installed a big window in the chicken house, I tipped it forward an inch at the top so it reflected the ground instead of sky. Not a fatality there, either. Much better. All new construction in homes should use this simple window installation adjustment to eliminate this hazard to our avian friends.”
Quigley Moves to Prevent Millions of Bird Deaths
“America’s bird population has a very real and direct impact on our economy. Americans spend about $36 billion in pursuit of birding activities. These activities generate about $4.4 billion in federal tax revenues, nearly $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, roughly 670,000 jobs, and provide $28 billion in employment income.” More at: http://quigley.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=799:quigley-moves-to-prevent-millions-of-bird-deaths&catid=23:2013-press-releases&Itemid=84
Pipes staking mine claims kill birds
Conservationists are now replacing PVC with solid posts
ELKO, Nev. — “Wildlife officials and conservationists in Nevada say they're making progress knocking down the white plastic pipes that miners traditionally have used to stake their claims, because such markers can become death traps for hundreds of thousands of small birds that get stuck inside.
Small cavity-nesting birds mistake the openings for an ideal home, but once inside are doomed by the smooth sides of the pipe with a narrow diameter that keeps them from climbing or flying out.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates there are more than 3.4 million of the white polyvinyl chloride pipes sticking out of the ground across the West — more than 1 million in Nevada alone in a 2011 survey.” More at: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765630375/Pipes-staking-mine-claims-kill-birds.html
“Join ABC in the fight to help birds get home this spring. Here are two simple steps you can take to help ensure a future for birds across the Americas.
Step 1: Support protection of the top 10 habitats
More than five billion migratory birds are returning to their nesting grounds in North America. What will they find? Intact and healthy habitats, or lost breeding grounds?
One-third of bird species in the United States are declining as their habitats are lost or degraded to the point of being unproductive. Help us turn the tide in our top 10 bird habitats, from the Native Forests of Hawai’i to the Eastern Deciduous Forests.
Your gift today will provide twice as much funding for habitat projects happening right now, thanks to a generous dollar-for-dollar match up to $100,000 offered by renowned author Jon Franzen and investment banker Bob Wilson. The match is good only through July 31, so please act now!” More at: http://www.abcbirds.org/membership/spring_appeal13.html
An Amazing Fact: “Roosters do not always crow at the crack of dawn. Some will crow any time during the day. A rooster crows to protect his hens and ward off enemies, and they are very territorial. Since they are active during the day, they are most rambunctious in the morning when their testosterone level is highest.
“Cock-a-doodle-doo” is the phrase we often think of when a rooster jumps up on a fence post at the crack of dawn to welcome the new day. But lots of other things can set off a rooster to crow, such as a train passing by or a car starting. A cockerel (another name for rooster) is also very protective of his hens and will be quick to fight off any intruders.
Crowing roosters can sometimes be such a bother to neighbors that people look for ways to quiet their “fowl” talk. Locking him up at night, sealing off the cracks in the henhouse that let light in, or using blackout curtains are a few ways to fool him into holding back the crowing. Caponizing (neutering) a rooster will also sometimes help.
There is a familiar story in the Bible about a rooster crowing. Peter was told by Jesus in the upper room that he would deny Christ three times. Peter vehemently rebuked Jesus, saying, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny you!” (Mark 14:31). But it happened in the courtyard of the high priest—Peter denied Christ. “A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ And when he thought about it, he wept” (Mark 14:72).
How sensitive are we to God’s call to our hearts when we sin or deny Christ? How tuned in are we to the Holy Spirit’s whisper? Would we hear the Lord wooing us if we heard a rooster crow?”
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
- John 10:4
BirdNote Weekly Preview: Hummingbirds, Buntings, and Sapsuckers ...
by Bob Sundstrom
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Audubon and The Ruby-throat
by Frances Wood
And our water-winged friends, the fish:
Giant Goldfish One of Several Trespassers in Lake Tahoe
“Researchers checking for invasive fish species in Lake Tahoe have discovered not only goldfish, but gargantuan goldfish as well.
Goldfish and other warm-water fish in the lake present a problem because these invasive species threaten Tahoe’s ecosystem.
Goldfish and other similar invaders are dumped into the lake by aquarium owners. Other invasive species wind up there as the result of aquaculture, live seafood and bait, and fishing and recreational boats.
If you’re an aquarium owner, you should never dump fish in lakes. Instead, call the store where you bought the fish or your state department of fish and wildlife. Boaters should remove all aquatic plants and animals from vessels.” Complete article at: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/05/22/lake-tahoe-ecosystem.aspx
On This Day:
Wisconsin enters the Union, May 29, 1848:
“Following approval of statehood by the territory's citizens, Wisconsin enters the Union as the 30th state.
In the first decades of the 19th century, settlers began arriving via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to exploit Wisconsin's agricultural potential, and in 1832 the Black Hawk War ended Native American resistance to white settlement. In 1836, after several decades of governance as part of other territories, Wisconsin was made a separate entity, with Madison, located midway between Milwaukee and the western centers of population, marked as the territorial capital. By 1840, population in Wisconsin had risen above 130,000, but the people voted against statehood four times, fearing the higher taxes that would come with a stronger central government. Finally, in 1848, Wisconsin citizens, envious of the prosperity that federal programs brought to neighboring Midwestern states, voted to approve statehood. Wisconsin entered the Union the next May.
John F. Kennedy is born, May 29, 1917:
“One of America's best-loved presidents, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is born into a politically and socially prominent family in Brookline, Massachusetts, on this day in 1917. He was the first American president to be born in the 20th century.”
Jews in Paris are forced to sew a yellow star on their coats, May 29, 1942:
“On this day in 1942, on the advice of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler orders all Jews in occupied Paris to wear an identifying yellow star on the left side of their coats.
Joseph Goebbels had made the persecution, and ultimately the extermination, of Jews a personal priority from the earliest days of the war, often recording in his diary such statements as: "They are no longer people but beasts," and "[T]he Jews... are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is pretty barbaric and is not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews."
But Goebbels was not the first to suggest this particular form of isolation. "The yellow star may make some Catholics shudder," wrote a French newspaper at the time. "It renews the most strictly Catholic tradition." Intermittently, throughout the history of the papal states, that territory in central Italy controlled by the pope, Jews were often confined to ghettoes and forced to wear either yellow hats or yellow stars.”
Misty and I went to get Jay, and had our walk down there. Jay and little Maddie, the Yorkie, joined us.
We can’t do much to my front porch roof extension yet as the parking space next to it, that was under the torn-down RVport, really needs to be re-surfaced with asphalt or something. Anything we build might get in the way of the machinery. So we prepared the area instead. Jay took down the temporary fiberglass sheets which were rain proofing the latticed side of the storeroom attic when the RVport was torn down, and replaced it with some of the used grey-clear polycarbonate roofing. As that can also be used as siding, it will let in more light up there. Then we will add a lean-to storage area to the lower part, after the ground is re-surfaced. Jay is going to re-use the fiberglass on his mother’s shed. This fiberglass had been skylights on the RVport. Nothing goes to waste around here.
When the three-sided RVport was there, we had just covered the ground with big pieces of used carpet. It worked fine for years as a non-muddy surface and we could blow it to keep it clean. But now that will be re-surfaced, so it all had to come up while it was dry, and before it rained again. Ray cut it up into strips and put it on the burn pile, but it was too windy to burn it yesterday.