Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Violet-crowned Hummingbird. Butterfly Decline. Milkweeds And Monarchs. Moths Need Love, Too. Beekeeping 'Doomed'. Don’t Forget Native Bees. Birds of Lake Wobegon. "I Have a Dream." Mahalia Jackson. Charles and Diana Divorce. Roof’s On!


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird by Greg Lavaty

“The only North American hummingbird without a colorful gorget, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird is still a handsome and sought-after species, easily distinguished from all other North American hummingbirds by its pure white underparts, iridescent bluish-violet crown, and red bill with black tip.

In the United States, this hummingbird is partially migratory, withdrawing into Mexico each winter.

Although the Violet-crowned Hummingbird is not considered threatened across it’s range in Mexico, it’s U.S. population is vulnerable to human disturbance and habitat loss due to overgrazing and drought.

images[7] One of the few places in the United States where this hummingbird can regularly be seen is Paton's Birder Haven in southwestern Arizona, established in 1974 by Wally and Marion Paton at their home. Now that the couple has passed on, the property is for sale by the family and faces an uncertain future. ABC is working with Tucson Audubon and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours to purchase the property and maintain it for visiting birders.”  

Find out more and make a contribution to help save Paton's Birder Haven!    Photo: Greg Homel, Natural Elements Productions; Range Map by NatureServe


Butterfly decline signals trouble in environment

The male Schaus swallowtail butterfly is an endangered species. (Dr. Thomas C. Emmel/ University of Florida )




    “Butterflies are the essence of cool in the insect world, a favorite muse for poets and songwriters, who hold them up as symbols of love, beauty, transformation and good fortune.

    But providing good fortune apparently goes only one way. As humans rip apart woods and meadows for housing developments and insecticide-soaked lawns, butterflies across the country are disappearing. 

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that two brown, moth-like butterfly subspecies are probably extinct in South Florida, which some entomologists say is ground zero for the number of butterfly species on the verge of annihilation.

    The same issues plaguing butterflies are also causing populations of frogs, salamanders and toads to plummet, along with bees and other insects. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study estimated that seven species of amphibians will drop by 50 percent if the current rate of decline, fueled by pesticide use and loss of habitat, continues.”  More at:


    Milkweeds, Monarchs and More: The Milkweed Community

    Monarch butterfly, adult female. It nectars on a variety of flowers






    Monarch caterpillar, it feeds only on milkweeds

    “Monarch butterflies capture our hearts with their beauty and intrepid globe trotting. We have learned that the caterpillars need milkweeds to grow into the magnificent winged creatures. As a consequence, many gardeners gladly grow these plants in their yards and welcome the arrival of the travelers. They eagerly follow the appearance of the tiny caterpillars, their growth and final metamorphosis.”  

    More at:


    7 Moths that Make Butterflies Look Boring

    “I still like butterflies, but let’s be honest, moths need some love. They just aren’t as popular as butterflies, and they certainly should be! Both belong to the large order of insects, Lepidoptera, which refers to the tiny scales covering most moth and butterfly wings. I used to freak out when I touched a moth or butterfly wing because there was a powdery residue. Turns out, that’s the scales rubbing off their wings. Although they can usually still fly, their fragile wings are easily damaged and it’s best to handle with extreme care or not at all.

    Moth species dominate the Lepidoptera order almost 10 to 1, with over 11,000 species in the U.S. alone! I chose a few moths to highlight that give butterflies some stiff competition.

    Atlas Moth

    Atlas Moth

    (National Wildlife Photo Contest Entry by Andrea Mosley)

    This species is the largest moth in the world (measured by wing surface area). Female Atlas moths can reach a total wing surface area of over 62 square inches and wingspan of over 12 inches! Imagine those giant flappers headed toward you.

    Cecropia Moth

    Cecropia Moth

    (Photo by Flickr: Paul Huber)

    Female Cecropia moths, like many other species, produce pheromones to attract mates. Following this scent can be dangerous for male Cecropia moths, however. Bolas spiders are able to mimic these pheromones and eat whichever male moths show up!”  More at:


    Beekeeping Industry 'Doomed' -- Might We See Destruction of Food Supply Before the End of This Decade?

    “Bees have been dying off around the world for a decade now from a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. A third of the U.S. food supply depends on the honeybees

    This year, the US experienced the highest losses of honeybee populations so far, with most of the nation’s beekeepers losing anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of their bee population

    Many of the 6,000 almond orchard owners in California could not find enough bees to pollinate their almond trees, at any price, this year

    The collapse of bee colonies is probably multifactorial, but a major factor is the toxicity of systemic pesticides called nicotinoids, which kills insects by attacking their nervous systems

    In May, beekeepers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the agency over its failure to protect bees from toxic pesticides.”  More at:


    In the Buzz About Bees, Don’t Forget the Natives

    “Beyond their honey-making prowess, domestic honeybees are worth tens of billions of dollars to U.S farmers and beekeepers, who truck colonies back and forth across the country to pollinate commercial crops such as almonds, soybeans and watermelon.

    Native bee in pumpkin flower.

    A wild bee pollinates a pumpkin flower in an Ephraim, Utah, garden. Photo by Paul Gardner.

    Yet with all the attention being paid to honeybees, I wonder if we’re overlooking an even more important story: the critical role wild, native bees play pollinating plants both in natural and agricultural systems. And unlike domestic honeybees, these natives do it for free.

    Bumblebee on Coneflower by Josh Mayes

    A bumblebee visits a coneflower in a Dayton, Ohio, backyard. Photo by Josh Mayes.

    Bees are by far the most important pollinators in natural ecosystems, Vaughan told me. The insects also are essential to producing more than a third of all foods and beverages humans consume. “In the United States alone, native bees contribute at least $3 billion a year to the farm economy,” Vaughan said. “We grossly overlook the critical role these animals play.””  More at:



    BirdNote: The Birds of Lake Wobegon

    Upcoming Shows:


    Golden Eagle SUNDAY Birds as Omens - From The Iliad by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW

    Carolina Wren MONDAY Hurricanes and Birds by Dennis Paulson  LISTEN NOW

    Hawaiian Petrel TUESDAY Hawaiian Petrels Atop Haleakala by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW ►

    King Penguin WEDNESDAY Happy Birthday, Roger Tory Peterson by Ellen Blackstone  LISTEN NOW

    Orchard Oriole THURSDAY The Birds of Lake Wobegon by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW

    FRIDAY Children Study Birds At Maxwelton Outdoor School Featuring coordinator Lori O'Brien  LISTEN NOW ►

    Williamson's Sapsucker SATURDAY Woodpeckers Love Ants by Bob Sundstrom   LISTEN NOW


    On This Day:

    King speaks to March on Washington, Aug 28, 1963:

    “On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the African American civil rights movement reaches its high-water mark when Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to about 250,000 people attending the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The demonstrators--black and white, poor and rich--came together in the nation's capital to demand voting rights and equal opportunity for African Americans and to appeal for an end to racial segregation and discrimination.

    He told the hushed crowd, "Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettoes of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair."

    images[8] Continuing, he began the refrain that made the speech one of the best known in U.S. history, second only to Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address: "I have a dream," he boomed over the crowd stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, "that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'

    In the year after the March on Washington, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the poll tax and thus a barrier to poor African American voters in the South; and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. In October 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On April 4, 1968, he was shot to death while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee--he was 39 years old. The gunman was escaped convict James Earl Ray.”


    Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, puts her stamp on the March on Washington, Aug 28, 1963:

    “If the legendary gospel vocalist Mahalia Jackson had been somewhere other than the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on this day in 1963, her place in history would still have been assured purely on the basis of her musical legacy. But it is almost impossible to imagine Mahalia Jackson having been anywhere other than center stage at the historic March on Washington on August 28, 1963, where she not only performed as the lead-in to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his "I Have a Dream" speech, but she also played a direct role in turning that speech into one of the most memorable and meaningful in American history.

    The story that has been told since that day has Mahalia Jackson intervening at a critical junction when she decided King's speech needed a course-correction. Recalling a theme she had heard him use in earlier speeches, Jackson said out loud to Martin Luther King, Jr., from behind the podium on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, "Tell them about the dream, Martin." And at that moment, as can be seen in films of the speech, Dr. King leaves his prepared notes behind to improvise the entire next section of his speech—the historic section that famously begins "And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream...."”


    Charles and Diana divorce, Aug 28, 1996:

    “After four years of separation, Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and his wife, Princess Diana, formally divorce.   In the year following the divorce, the popular princess seemed well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming "a queen in people's hearts," but on August 31, 1997, she was killed with her companion Dodi Fayed in a car accident in Paris.

    Prince Charles married his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, on April 9, 2005.”



    Misty and I went to get Jay, and had our walk down there.

    Jay and I had to make a change in the normal order that the roof panels were put on the screen porch roof.  The clear and opaque panels had to be right over the patio door going into the living room, to let the light in.  And the overlaps needed to be lined up exactly over the roof rafters, so that they wouldn’t show.  The only way to do that precisely was to install them first and then work in each direction.  So that’s what we did.  For the first time since Spring, the screen porch has a permanent roof over it today.

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