For "Winged Wednesday":
"The song of Audubon’s Oriole—a low, slurred warble—almost sounds like a person learning to whistle. Both males and females sing a series of long notes, often calling to each other as they forage or come and go from the nest.
Once known as the Black-headed Oriole, Audubon’s Oriole is the only yellow oriole with a black hood and a yellow back found in the United States. Less than five percent of its population occurs in the U.S., making it a much sought-after species by listers.
The bird was once common in the Lower Rio Grande Valley but began to decline there in the 1920s because of the destruction of thorn and riparian forests for agriculture. Populations have declined significantly not only in Texas but in much of its Mexican range, following conversion of its preferred habitat to crops and pastureland. Brood parasitism by the Bronzed Cowbird, facilitated by habitat fragmentation, is also a major problem.
Audubon’s Oriole is a priority species for the Rio Grande Joint Venture, which includes ABC and a network of private and public partners. The best hope for this species’ recovery are efforts to protect and restore native vegetation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley."
Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats! Range Map by ABC
Very Strange Bird Group Names
“These group nouns are rarely used, even by scientists, but they nonetheless represent our own species' collective creativity for linguistics — not to mention our deep-rooted affinity for nature." A Partial List:
A bevy of quail
A bouquet of pheasants [when flushed]
A brood of hens
A building of rooks
A cast of hawks [or falcons]
A charm of finches
A colony of penguins
A company of parrots
A congregation of plovers
A cover of coots
A covey of partridges [or grouse or ptarmigans]
A deceit of lapwings
A descent of woodpeckers
A dissimulation of birds
A dole of doves
An exaltation of larks
A fall of woodcocks
A flight of swallows [or doves, goshawks, or cormorants]
A gaggle of geese [wild or domesticated]
A host of sparrows
A kettle of hawks [riding a thermal]
A murmuration of starlings
A murder of crows
A muster of storks
A nye of pheasants [on the ground]
An ostentation of peacocks
A paddling of ducks [on the water]
A parliament of owls
A party of jays
A peep of chickens
A pitying of turtledoves
A raft of ducks
A rafter of turkeys
A siege of herons
A skein of geese [in flight]
A sord of mallards
A spring of teal
A tidings of magpies
A trip of dotterel
An unkindness of ravens
A watch of nightingales
A wedge of swans [or geese, flying in a "V"]
A wisp of snipe. From: http://baltimorebirdclub.org/gnlist.html
Bats Have Good Eyesight
An Amazing Fact: "Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind. In fact, many bats have exceptionally good eyesight designed for low levels of light.
Bats are nocturnal creatures and can be found all over the world, from Canada to warm tropical climates. To get around in the dark, many bats rely on a sophisticated form of sonar known as echolocation. With this detection method, bats emit short pulses of high-frequency sounds that are usually well above the threshold of human hearing. The sound waves spread out in front of the bat, striking any objects in its flight path and bouncing back in the form of an echo. By using this God-given radar, bats are able to discern the direction, distance, speed, and in some instances, the size and density of the objects around them."
Are you missing your hummingbirds?
"Are you missing your hummingbirds? Many species of hummingbirds have already migrated south for the winter, though some species will be present year-round. We've assembled some terrific hummingbird images on our website to ease the pain until they return next spring. And where in North America can you find hummingbirds year-round?
BirdNote: Bird Songs Go to Hollywood!
Swainson's Thrush TUESDAY How Evolution Works Featuring Dr. Mike Webster, Director, Macaulay Library, Cornell Lab of Ornithology LISTEN NOW ►
Canada Geese FRIDAY Canada Geese - Migratory or Not by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW ►
On This Day:
Hoover Dam begins transmitting electricity to Los Angeles, Oct 9, 1936:
"On this day in 1936, harnessing the power of the mighty Colorado River, Hoover Dam begins sending electricity over transmission lines spanning 266 miles of mountains and deserts to run the lights, radios, and stoves of Los Angeles.
Under the guidance of the Federal Reclamation Bureau, Hoover Dam became one part of a much larger multipurpose water development project that tamed the wild Colorado River for the use of the growing number of western farmers, ranchers, and city dwellers. Water that had once flowed freely to the ocean now was impounded in the 115-mile-long Lake Mead. Massive aqueducts channeled millions of gallons of Colorado River water to California where it continues to this day to flow from Los Angeles faucets and irrigate vast stretches of fertile cropland.
With Hoover Dam, the federal government set out to demonstrate that the aridity of a region once called the Great American Desert need be no serious obstacle to its full settlement and development. However, as rapidly growing western cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix today face increasing difficulties in obtaining the water they need, it remains to be seen if the Great American Desert might still dictate its own limits to western growth."
Oskar Schindler dies, Oct 9, 1974:
A member of the Nazi Party, he ran an enamel-works factory in Krakow during the German occupation of Poland, employing workers from the nearby Jewish ghetto. When the ghetto was liquidated, he persuaded Nazi officials to allow the transfer of his workers to the Plaszow labor camp, thus saving them from deportation to the death camps. In 1944, all Jews at Plaszow were sent to Auschwitz, but Schindler, at great risk to himself, bribed officials into allowing him to keep his workers and set up a factory in a safer location in occupied Czechoslovakia. By the war's end, he was penniless, but he had saved 1,200 Jews.
Schindler's grave in Jerusalem. The Hebrew inscription reads: "Righteous Among the Nations"; the German inscription reads: "The Unforgettable Lifesaver of 1200 Persecuted Jews".
In 1962, he was declared a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem, Israel's official agency for remembering the Holocaust. According to his wishes, he was buried in Israel at the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion."
Misty and I went to pick up Jay, and had a walk down there. While I was gone, Animal Control picked up the trap with the two feral cats. My yard was in great need of mowing, and Jay likes to mow. It took him a while as the grass was very long from all the recent intermittent rains. I think it would have been too much for Ray's bad back. But because of that rain the burn ban was lifted, so we finally got rid of some of the pile of brush and pine needles. Then I took Jay home and stopped at the mail box to pick up the mail.
Meanwhile, Ray was inside vacuuming ceiling fans and reloading the air cleaner filters with AC filters cut to size. Much cheaper than buying the new cartridges for the air cleaners. The carbon part can be bought separately, so I have a stock of that. I was trying to keep Ray and Jay apart, because they just haven't been getting along since Jay caused all that trouble up here when he was drunk a while back.
Medicare had asked me to scan and fax some documents to their office. That's when I found out about more programs which are different on this computer. It took me a while to get that sorted out, but I got it done. I don't fax very often, so I don't need a fax machine any more and just use a free fax site, http://faxzero.com/ on my computer.
The afternoon was spent going through all the mail, recycling all the ads, and shredding all the junk. I only go to the mail box about every two weeks.
It's turning chillier at night, and I had to put the winter bedspread back on my bed. Another 'windows and doors open' day.