Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Red-faced Warbler. Bar-tailed Godwit. Ruffled Feathers. BirdNote: Godwits, Egrets, and Public Lands ... Bill of Rights. Sandra Day O'Connor. IRA Officially Disarms.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Red-faced Warbler

Red-faced Warbler by Greg Lavaty

“The Red-faced Warbler is one of only two warblers in the U.S. with bright red in its plumage (the other is the Painted Redstart). Unlike many warbler species, female Red-faced Warblers are nearly as brightly colored as males. This species has a distinctive habit of flicking its tail sideways as it feeds.

Male Red-faced Warblers do not appear to defend territories, and extra-pair copulations are common in the species. Over 45 percent of all nests in one study contained young that did not belong to the attending male. Its nest, a cup of bark, dead leaves, or pine needles, is built in a small hole on the ground beneath a log or plant and is lined with grass and hair.

Logging in areas where the Red-faced Warbler breeds can result in drastic declines and even complete disappearance of the local population. In a study of a gradient of disturbed plots in forests ranging from clear cuts to selectively logged plots, these birds were present only in the untouched control areas.

This species would benefit from more study on its wintering areas and more research on the effects of fire management and other forestry practices on its populations. The Red-faced Warbler is fairly easy to find in areas near the Paton property, a birding landmark which ABC and other organizations are working to save.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!

Photo: Greg Lavaty,; Range Map by NatureServe


Bar-tailed Godwit.  An epic journey!

Bar-tailed godwits’ migration route“During fall migration, this Bar-tailed Godwit will fly over the Pacific Ocean, making a non-stop flight of 7,000 miles from Alaska to New Zealand.

These amazing birds can achieve their epic journeys only after fattening up – along the coast of Alaska in fall, or along the Yellow Sea during spring. However, the food-rich tidal mudflats of the Yellow Sea are disappearing rapidly. Using satellite tags, Nils Warnock of Audubon Alaska studies the godwits’ migration routes – and notes the critical importance of the Yellow Sea.”  More at: Preening Bar-tailed Godwit >>


Ruffled Feathers: The Scraggly Life of Molting Birds

Molting Owl Looks Scraggly

Don’t bother me, I’m molting. (Photo Jim H.)

“I’ve noticed some scraggly looking birds the past few weeks. This time of year, many species go through a molt, which leaves them with a rough appearance. How embarrassing!

What is Molting?

Molting is the process of shedding an outer covering (like feathers) to be replaced by new growth. When birds molt, their feathers fall out and are replaced with new plumage to match their age, sex and sometimes the season.

Think about the situations you might change your outfit. Birds change their plumage for a variety of similar reasons: to control body temperature, to match the environment, for camouflage, and to attract/impress a mate.”   

Difference between breeding and non-breeding plumage for a male American goldfinch

These photos demonstrate the change in plumage for a male American goldfinch. Bright breeding plumage is shown on the left, and drab winter coat on the right. (Photos by John Benson and Rick Leche)

A lot more at:




BirdNote: Godwits, Egrets, and Public Lands ...

Upcoming Shows

SUNDAY  The Real Story by Todd Peterson  LISTEN NOW

Willowbrook Center  MONDAY Bird Rehabilitation Featuring Justin Sharp, Volunteer at Willowbrook Wildlife Rehab Center    LISTEN NOW

Bar-tailed Godwit TUESDAY  Bar-tailed Godwit Migration  Featuring Nils Warnock Ph.D., Executive Director Audubon Alaska  LISTEN NOW ►

Magnificent Frigatebird WEDNESDAY Bird in Flight, Strong but Light  by Dennis Paulson  LISTEN NOW

Snowy Egret THURSDAY Snowy Egret - Killer Hats by Chris Peterson     LISTEN NOW

FRIDAY  The Year of Listening Carefully Featuring Kurt Hoelting LISTEN NOW ►

Bachman's Sparrow SATURDAY Voices of our National Public Lands  by Bob Sundstrom   LISTEN NOW


On This Day:

Bill of Rights passes Congress, Sep 25, 1789:

“The first Congress of the United States approves 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and sends them to the states for ratification. The amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government were reserved for the states and the people.

Influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Bill of Rights was also drawn from Virginia's Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776. Mason, a native Virginian, was a lifelong champion of individual liberties, and in 1787 he attended the Constitutional Convention and criticized the final document for lacking constitutional protection of basic political rights. In the ratification process that followed, Mason and other critics agreed to approve the Constitution in exchange for the assurance that amendments would immediately be adopted.

In December 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. Of the two amendments not ratified, the first concerned the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first of these two amendments was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.”


O'Connor takes seat on Supreme Court, Sep 25, 1981:

“Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice in history when she is sworn in by Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Initially regarded as a member of the court's conservative faction, she later emerged from William Rehnquist's shadow (chief justice from 1986) as a moderate and pragmatic conservative. On social issues, she often votes with liberal justices, and in several cases she has upheld abortion rights. She is known for her dispassionate and carefully researched opinions on the bench and is regarded as a prominent justice because of her tendency to moderate the sharply divided Supreme Court.

On July 1, 2005, O'Connor announced her retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court. She was replaced by Justice Samuel Alito in January 2006.”


IRA officially disarms, Sep 25, 2005:

“Two months after announcing its intention to disarm, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) gives up its weapons in front of independent weapons inspectors. The decommissioning of the group’s substantial arsenal took place in secret locations in the Republic of Ireland. One Protestant and one Catholic priest as well as officials from Finland and the United States served as witnesses to the historic event. Automatic weapons, ammunition, missiles and explosives were among the arms found in the cache, which the head weapons inspector described as "enormous."

Originally founded in 1919 to militarily oppose British rule in Ireland, the IRA had operated since about the 1960s as the military arm of Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist political party. The IRA (and splinter groups using various derivatives of the name) had used terrorist tactics and assassinations for more than 30 years in their struggle to free Northern Ireland from British rule.

In April 1998, after more than 22 months of negotiating, a 67-page peace accord called the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement was finally signed. Endorsed by the British and Irish governments, eight of Northern Ireland’s ten political parties, and the region’s voters, the agreement included power-sharing among Catholics and Protestants in government, a commitment to peace and democracy, and a pledge by paramilitary groups on both sides to decommission their weapons within two years. A ceasefire had been in place since 1997, and although they continued to abide by it, the IRA initially refused to give up their weapons. This stalled the peace process for almost six years.

Although many Northern Irish Protestants did not trust that the IRA was truly giving up all of its weapons, the disarmament represented an important step toward lasting peace in the long-troubled region. In the aftermath of the disarmament, IRA splinter groups threatened to continue the violence.”



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

The other day, while the really heavy rain was falling, some water dripped through the seams of the polycarbonate panels on the screen porch roof. 

Metal and polycarbonate panels. So, yesterday, Jay got up there, unscrewed the three polycarbonate panels partway, put blocks between them and stuck butyl putty tape between the seams.   We were told to do that, but Jay said we didn’t need to, so now we found out why it is recommended.  (When he put the metal roof on his mother’s house he did put it between the panels, but he didn’t do it when he built his own house.)  Ray was on the inside of the porch helping, too.  He put the tape where the metal panels join the polycarbonate panels. Then Ray primed the inside woodwork of the screen porch, down below the window sills. 

Jay and I started to put the closure strips at the top of each panel on the screen porch, to keep the bugs out, but we didn’t have time to finish it. 

It was a bit warmer, so the AC was on yesterday.

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