Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Golden-plumed Parakeet. Brick Bird House. Glazing Treatments. Kid’s Garden. Cardinals. White-headed Woodpecker. Zebra Finches. BirdNote Weekly Preview. Kon-Tiki. Desert Shield.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Golden-plumed Parakeet

Golden-plumed Parakeets by Fundacion ProAves

“A distinctive, long-tailed parrot of high elevations in the Andes, the Golden-plumed Parakeet is the only member of its genus.

Golden-plumed Parakeets populations face a slew of man-made threats. Much of their home range has been cleared for agriculture, logging, and mining. In Colombia, over 90 percent of montane forests have been felled, and in Peru, road construction cuts through the center of prime habitat.

In Ecuador, wax palms—an important nesting tree and food source for this parakeet—are cut to provide leaves for church services. Cattle also eat tender wax palms seedlings, so palms are frequently not replaced at the rate at which they are harvested. These parakeets are also trapped for pets and killed as pests.

ABC’s South American partner, the Jocotoco Foundation, is working to help save Golden-plumed Parakeets by reducing the unsustainable harvesting of wax palms and by installing nest boxes on its reserves. Jocotoco’s Tapichalaca Reserve is a great place to see this bird, as well as the endangered Jocotoco Antpitta and the vulnerable Bearded Guan, Rufous-capped Thornbill, and Masked Saltator.

Another of ABC’s partners, Fundación ProAves, has developed a Threatened Parrots Program and supports the Golden-plumed Parakeet through its Artificial Nest Initiative, which is showing great success with this and several other threatened parrot species.”

See the Golden-plumed Parakeet in action:




Photo by Fundación ProAves; Range Map by NatureServe.  Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!'t click the link? Copy and paste this URL:


A Brick That Lets Threatened Birds Build Nests Directly Into Walls

The Bird Brick is a fire-clamped cavity brick that can be built into walls and buildings to provide a sustainable nesting site for sparrows. Image: Aaron Dunkerton

“Birds build nests in the oddest of places. “You often find them nesting under loose tiles or in old broken vents in the side of buildings,” says Aaron Dunkerton, an England-based designer. But as buildings are patched up to improve insulation and green space disappears due to urbanization, sparrows are losing a sizable chunk of their nesting options. Over the last three decades, the U.K. house sparrow population has decreased around 70 percent, and the bird has found itself on the growing list of endangered species. Dunkerton, a student at Kingston University in England, aimed to solve the problem with the Bird Brick, a fire-clamped cavity brick that could be built into walls and buildings to provide a sustainable nesting site for the birds.”  More at:


Making your home a no-fly zone: Architects, cities try new ways to help birds avoid buildings

Bird flies into window before flying awayOAKLAND, Calif. — “Birds and buildings can be a fatal combination. The American Bird Conservancy cites studies estimating that hundreds of millions of birds die each year as a result of colliding with walls and windows.

The new Visitors Center at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens was designed with birds in mind. The special, striped pattern incorporated into the glass looks elegant, but also provides a signal to birds that a barrier exists.

A big issue is glass. Just as many a human has taken a nasty smack walking into a clear glass door, birds often come to grief when confronted with transparent picture windows or glass-sided buildings. Unlike humans, birds don’t pick up on architectural cues; they don’t see a window This undated publicity photo provided by American Bird Conservancy shows a bird-friendly design at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo that uses a variety of different materials in addition to glass, including panels depicting plants that are the sources of different drugs, in Ontario, Canada.frame and realize it implies a window.

Glazing treatments, such as making glass opaque or using etching to make it more noticeable, can deter collisions. And research is being conducted into the efficacy of glass patterned with vertical or horizontal lines.”   More at:


“Taking steps to keep birds safe is more than just kindness.  Birds have an ecological impact dispersing seeds and eating harmful insects.  People should care about birds, because we need birds."



Create a garden that provides wildlife with food, water and shelter and a place to raise young.

“Here are a few tips to "get growing" with kids today!

  1. Pick the right spot. Let your kids help choose your garden's location. Choose a small plot of land—no wider than a yardstick—that can be easily managed—or even window boxes or containers.
  2. Choose fast growers. Children are typically eager to see the results of their labor, so sow fast-germinating seeds or introduce transplants that are quick to flower or fruit. Include kids in selecting plants so they can feel ownership.
  3. Find their niche. If digging and planting isn't their thing, let children paint a pot for a toad home, create a brush pile for shelter for small mammals or help construct a bat house.
  4. Visit the garden with your kids every day. Ensure you don't miss seeing its rewards: flowers opening, butterflies sipping nectar, ladybugs eating aphids.

Gardening for wildlife is entertainment that will last all summer—and even all year—long. Creating and maintaining a wildlife-friendly garden is a fun way to get kids outdoors, spend quality time together and learn cooperation, patience and see the fruits of their labors.

Not only will the kids in your life benefit from your garden, wildlife will too!

Imagine how excited your kids will be to see a hummingbird visit a flower planted by them, or visit a sapling that grows to a strong tree frequented by songbirds over the years.”  Don't wait til summer is over—certify your balcony, yard or garden today!        From:


What's wrong with these cardinals?

“Northern Cardinals (and Blue Jays, too) sometimes go bald around this time of year. BirdNote's Ellen Blackstone explains why >>

_______ Woodpecker

“Don't all woodpeckers peck on wood to find food?   Nope, some species don't, including this White-headed Woodpecker. Learn more about this fascinating species >> "


Singing New Songs

An Amazing Fact: “Zebra finches are teaching scientists about how humans learn to sing. Like human babies, new finches start out babbling. Through trial and error they eventually learn the rhythms and syllables of their parents’ vocalizations. Almost all animals make sounds instinctively. A cat raised by a dog will still meow. A deaf dog will still bark. But some animals must learn to sing.

Some animals must learn their vocalizations. These include bats, whales, and three types of birds (parrots, hummingbirds, and songbirds). Zebra finches songs are easy to study because they are short and simple and do not change. When a zebra finch is hatched, it has about 4 to 12 weeks during a “sensitive” period in which to learn “Dad’s” song (only the males sing). It listens to the song and then babbles. After awhile it begins to piece together parts of the song correctly but still has errors. Eventually, it will sing the song perfectly and will never change its tune.

But if a zebra finch is raised by a bird from a different species (cross fostering), it will learn a new song, though it will have an “accent” similar to its own species. There is some genetic influence, but experience shapes the wiring of the brain. The finch can learn to sing a new song. Of course, the younger you are, the easier it is for your brain to re-wire itself.

Our heavenly Father has songs to teach us. Our personal experiences with God provide a rich new repertoire of music that we can use to praise the Lord. David writes, “Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King” (Psalm 149:1, 2).”



BirdNote Weekly Preview: One Square Inch of Silence?


Upcoming Shows

The Hoh Rainforest. SUNDAY One Square Inch of Silence featuring Gordon Hempton, LISTEN NOW

American Goldfinch. MONDAY August Molt by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW

Steller's Jay. TUESDAY Fake Marbled Murrelet Eggs Cause Jays to Vomit by Ellen Blackstone  LISTEN NOW ►

Eurasian Tree Sparrows. WEDNESDAY Nesting and Roosting by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW

THURSDAY Deep-diving Emperor Penguins --featuring Jessica Meir by Eileen Bolinsky LISTEN NOW

Bonaparte's Gull. FRIDAY The Bonaparte's Gull Chorus-line by Chris Peterson  LISTEN NOW ►

Betty, New Caledonian Crow. SATURDAY A Crow that Makes Tools by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN


On This Day:

Wood raft makes 4,300-mile voyage, Aug 7, 1947:

“On this day in 1947, Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized the Polynesian islands by drifting on ocean currents.

images[8] Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot Kon-Tiki on April 28, 1947. The Kon-Tiki, named for a mythical white chieftain, was made of indigenous materials and designed to resemble rafts of early South American Indians. While crossing the Pacific, the sailors encountered storms, sharks and whales, before finally washing ashore at Raroia. Heyerdahl, born in Larvik, Norway, on October 6, 1914, believed that Polynesia's earliest inhabitants had come from South America, a theory that conflicted with popular scholarly opinion that the original settlers arrived from Asia.

Heyerdahl made his first expedition to Polynesia in 1937. He and his first wife lived primitively on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands for a year and studied plant and animal life. The experience led him to believe that humans had first come to the islands aboard primitive vessels drifting on ocean currents from the east.

In 1977, he sailed the Indian Ocean in a primitive reed ship built in Iraq to learn how prehistoric civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Egypt might have connected.

While Heyerdahl's work was never embraced by most scholars, he remained a popular public figure and was voted "Norwegian of the Century" in his homeland. He died at age 87 on April 18, 2002, in Italy. The raft from his famous 1947 expedition is housed at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.”


Bush orders Operation Desert Shield, Aug 7, 1990:

“On this day in 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush orders the organization of Operation Desert Shield in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2. The order prepared American troops to become part of an international coalition in the war against Iraq that would be launched as Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. 

imagesCA1G0C3V U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf led "Operation Desert Storm," which began with a massive bombing of Hussein's armies in Iraq and Kuwait.

Following an intense bombing of Baghdad, U.S.-led coalition ground forces marched into Kuwait and across the Iraq border. Regular Iraqi troops surrendered in droves, leaving only Hussein's hard-line Republican Guard to defend the capital, which they were unsuccessful in doing. After pushing Hussein's forces out of Kuwait, Schwarzkopf called a ceasefire on February 28; he accepted the surrender of Iraqi generals on March 3.”



Ray couldn’t come over here right away, he had a problem with his ignition switch and went to a locksmith to get it sorted out.  So I used that time to finish grooming Misty.  She is such a joy to groom, she just stands still and lets me scissor her pattern.

When Ray returned he said it was a problem with the cable that tells the ignition switch whether the car is in neutral or not, and it needs a new cable. 

We unhooked the second horizontal propane tank from my house, as I have someone coming to look at them.  My brother couldn’t ship his truck camper back to England without getting the tanks certified ‘empty’, so he bought new tanks and gave the full ones to me.  It is only used for my gas cooktop, so that propane has lasted a long time, in fact ever since my brother and sister-in-law left in Oct 2010, and one tank still has some propane in it.  Ray hooked up a regular upright tank that I had already had filled, so now I am cooking with gas again.

Buy the way, when you swap out tanks at a rack outside a store, you don’t get as much propane as if you get it filled at a propane place, and it usually costs less, too. 

We cleaned the two horizontal tanks, as they were dusty, and I hope they both get sold today.

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