Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Baltimore Oriole. Birds and Coffee Beans. Bird Banding. Ruffed Grouse. Dragonflies. BirdNote: Gulls, Grouse, and Whales! Jews in Palestine. Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


For "Winged Wednesday":

Baltimore Oriole: Shade-grown Coffee Bird

Baltimore Oriole by Greg Lavaty

"Baltimore Orioles take their name from the colorful black and orange heraldic crest of England’s Baltimore family, for which Maryland’s largest city is named. The species is a familiar sight in parks and yards across its breeding range, having adapted well to living in proximity to people.

This oriole overwinters largely in the tropics and follows the flowers in flocks of 30 to 40 birds, pursuing nectar—an important winter food.

Traditional shade coffee farms in Central and South America are magnets for Baltimore Orioles in the non-breeding season. These farms produce the highest-quality coffee and also provide important habitat for many migratory birds. (Read more about shade coffee and birds in a blog post by author Scott Weidensaul, “The View from Northern Nicaragua’s Highlands: Saving Birds with Coffee.”)

Unlike Audubon’s Oriole and Bahama Oriole, which are declining, the population of Baltimore Orioles is currently stable. However, the felling of forests for sun coffee plantations, along with other types of habitat loss, threatens the species across its winter range.

One of the best ways you can help keep the population of Baltimore Orioles stable is to purchase only shade coffee designated Bird Friendly, which ensures that coffee producers adhere to the best practices to conserve birds. Learn more about Bird Friendly coffee from our friends at Birds & Beans." Range Map by NatureServe


Excerpt from:


Lessons in sustainability:
Agriculture meets conservation in Central America, a shade-coffee farm in the foothills south of Managua.

"In the dim light, Kimberly and I worked our way down the slope behind the cabin, between orderly rows of coffee bushes, scanning the trees overhead. Gusts of wind still shook the branches, and birds were quiet, but then Kimberly pointed to a straggling flock of birds flying in to land: slim and graceful, with streaming tail feathers, the were all scissor-tailed flycatchers!


Measuring the day’s coffee harvest

Then a dozen shorter-tailed birds landed in the same treetop: western kingbirds. These were both species that I had known as a kid in Kansas, but here they were on their wintering grounds, a thousand miles south of their nearest breeding range. As we watched, we realized that the scissor-tails and the kingbirds were feeding on small fruits in the treetops. As the morning went on we would see dozens of scissor-tails and kingbirds throughout the coffee farm, all feeding on wild fruits.

But at this moment we were distracted by a chattering behind us, and we turned to see seven or eight Baltimore orioles foraging in another tree. More birds were flying into the tree, and we thought they were more orioles at first, but then we realized that they were western tanagers. These were all migrants from far to the north. It seemed odd to see orioles that might have come from the woods of Maine, and tanagers that
might have come from the mountains of California, foraging side by side in Nicaragua —along with the blue-gray tanagers, a local tropical species, that were now moving into the same tree.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The rest of our morning went that way, as Kimberly and I trekked through the coffee
zones of Gaia Estate, being surprised by birds at every turn. We would be watching yellow warblers flitting among the leaves, just as we might have seen them during spring migration in Ohio, and suddenly they
would be joined by a raucous flock of gaudy,
tropical magpie-jays. We would be watching
a rose-breasted grosbeak, a familiar bird from home, and then start hearing the harsh cries of white-fronted parrots behind us.

Everywhere was a song and a celebration, a mix of migratory birds from the north – warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes – and tropical birds such as motmots, parakeets, and toucans. By the time we had to leave, a couple of days later, we could say with  confidence that the term “Bird Friendly” was no exaggeration. And yet this was a working farm, producing a valuable crop, contributing to the economy, providing good income for local people, and doing so in a way that could be sustained for generations."    More at:


The rhyme and reason to banding birds...


Male Sharp-shinned Hawk © Don Norman

"One of the benefits of banding, which is a mark-recapture technique, is that it gives us the opportunity to assess “vital rates,” measures such as survival rate, recapture probability, and recruitment. These data are useful in:
* Identifying species that might be facing environmental pressures
* Identifying “sources” and “sinks,” (respectively, high quality habitat that on average allows a population to increase, and low quality habitat that, on its own, is unable to support a population)
* Clarifying other population dynamics that are used to inform conservation decisions
Bird banding data are useful in both research and management projects, making it possible to study dispersal, migration, community social structure, life span, and any number of population parameters."  More at:


Drumming Ruffed Grouse

image "The male Ruffed Grouse advertises his territory by drumming his wings back and forth, creating a miniature sonic boom with each flap. And just how many times does a male flap his wings in a typical 10-second display?"  Watch this incredible video to find out >>


Lifting Power

An Amazing Fact: "Among the fastest of all insects, dragonflies have been clocked at more than 25 miles per hour. Fossils also tell us that before the flood, some dragonflies had wingspans of about 30 inches. And they’re strong too! About half of their body mass is devoted to flight muscles, and they have the ability to lift more than twice their bodyweight … a feat that no manmade aircraft has ever come near!

Dragonflies can also take off backwards, accelerate quickly, and then stop in an instant. They can also execute an un-banked turn as if on a pivot, summersault in the heat of combat, and fly virtually any maneuver using a nearly endless combination of four wings.
Not only can the dragonfly out maneuver anything else with wings, it can also see better too! Its wrap-around compound eyes contain more than 30,000 lenses, providing a 360-degree field of view. In fact, a dragonfly can see a gnat three feet away, dart from his nest, seize and devour the prey, and then return to its perch all in about one second. The U.S. Air Force has even studied the amazing flight versatility of dragonflies in wind tunnels, hoping to uncover the secret of its incredible aerodynamic abilities.

The Bible tells us that God can lift us up and care for us under any circumstance. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV). There is no situation too difficult, no trial too big, no problem too complex, that the Lord cannot carry you through it. God’s angels surpass in strength and skill to anything you can imagine, including dragonflies. They quickly accelerate at our call and God’s command to pick us up.
But there is a secret to being lifted up. It is to first bow down in humility. Unless we acknowledge our helplessness, we cannot be open to receive the incredible help that the Lord is ready to provide."

KEY BIBLE TEXTS: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7


imageBirdNote: Gulls, Grouse, and Whales!


Upcoming Shows

Western Gull  SUNDAY Gull Identification II by Bob Sundstrom   LISTEN NOW

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Black-capped Chickadee WEDNESDAY Learning to Band Birds  Featuring Suzanne Tomassi, V.P. Puget Sound Bird Observatory, and Mark Purcell, volunteer   LISTEN NOW

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Boreal Chickadee FRIDAY Boreal Chickadees Stay Home for the Winter by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW ►

Joanna with a birdhouse  SATURDAY Triple-duty Garden Featuring Joanna Buehler, a gardener who keeps birds in mind   LISTEN NOW


On This Day:

Truman announces inquiry into Jewish settlement in Palestine, Nov 13, 1945:

"On this day in 1945, President Harry Truman announces the establishment of a panel of inquiry to look into the settlement of Jews in Palestine.

In the last weeks of World War II, the Allies liberated one death camp after another in which the German Nazi regime had held and slaughtered millions of Jews. Surviving Jews in the formerly Nazi-occupied territories were left without family, homes, jobs or savings.

In August 1945, Truman received the Harrison report, which detailed the plight of Jews in post-war Germany, and it became clear to him that something had to be done to speed up the process of finding Jewish refugees a safe place to live.

In late August, Truman contacted British Prime Minister Clement Attlee to propose that Jewish refugees be allowed to immigrate to Palestine, which at the time was occupied by Britain. Attlee responded that he would look into the matter and asked for a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry to examine the complicated issue of integrating Jewish settlers into territory that was home to an Arab majority. Meanwhile, two U.S. senators introduced a resolution in Congress demanding the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

In April 1946, the committee issued its report, which recommended the immigration of 100,000 Jewish refugees to Palestine. Truman wrote to Attlee for his help in moving the repatriation process forward. However, by mid-1946, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had weighed in, bringing up the question of who would control the lucrative oil fields in a region that had the potential for unstable political and cultural relations between Jews and Arabs. Since the threat of communist expansion into politically unstable regions then dictated most of U.S. foreign policy, Truman and Attlee became convinced by their respective military advisors that Jewish communist sympathizers in a new Jewish state might jeopardize the west's access to Middle Eastern oil. The settlement plans were put on hold.

Truman was again inundated with requests for help from the Jewish community. The issue of the establishment of a Jewish state was debated and delayed for another two years even though the newly formed United Nations, which had no enforcement power without the participation of the United States and Great Britain, had decided in favor of a Jewish state by 1946."


Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated, Nov 13, 1982:

image "Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.

The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans' groups were opposed to Lin's winning design, which lacked a standard memorial's heroic statues and stirring words.

image However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial's dedication. Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it "a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct," and a veteran declared that "it's the parade we never got." "The Wall" drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict's end."



Jay was going shopping with his mother, so I could go to town by myself for my doctor's appointment.

I left early, so that I could see about getting a new tire to replace the out-of-round one.  When I got to Walmart Tire and Lube, again I was told that it would be about a 2 hour wait. 

At the clinic, I was expecting to see my Primary Care Physician, but she wasn't there. Maybe that's why they postponed my appointment from the day before.  So I was seen by my favourite doctor there, the chiropractor.  The purpose of the visit was to discuss my blood work, so he told me that my cholesterol levels were slightly elevated, but then as busy as I have been, I haven't been sticking to my regular healthy diet.  Statins just about paralyze me, so I have to try to control my cholesterol with diet, lots of raw veggies, juiced, and no processed food. Then he adjusted my back, and said that I am more supple than some 30 year olds.  Wish I looked like one, too!  

Back at Walmart Lube and Tire, and they were still 2 hours behind.  There was just the Service Greeter, and 2 more men to run the whole place.  I asked why they didn't hire more people, and the reply was that they have more, but they won't let them do the overtime!  I have never bought tires at Walmart, and now I don't think I ever will.   So I went to Discount Tires, and was taken care of right away. 

On the way home I stopped at Petsmart as they have a vet there.  I had made Misty some good organic homemade food, but sometimes I can't do that.  We discussed the various prescription canned kidney diets, but I just bought her some Wellness ( for now, while I mull this over for the next few days.  I wrote to Wellness and asked them which food has the least phosphorous, as she mustn't have that.  She is doing well, and the only signs so far, are her excessive water drinking and sleeping more than usual.

One weather website said that it would go down to 37°and another said 27, so I quickly cut up old mattress pads and covered the long row of aloe plants.  We aren't ready to have a cold spell so early in winter. 

Now, I have to get ready for my 'new', old cat to arrive today.

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