For "Winged Wednesday":
"At up to six feet tall and 60 pounds, the Greater Rhea is the largest bird in the Americas. A member of the group commonly known as ratites (large, flightless birds), their size, long legs, and lack of ability to fly makes them unmistakable.
Although they don’t take flight, Greater Rheas have long wings; the birds use them to maintain balance on tight turns as they run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour, and also during courtship displays. A real athlete, this bird can even swim.
Although the Greater Rhea resembles an ostrich—in fact, Charles Darwin first described it as a “South American ostrich”—the two species are not closely related. Greater Rheas are social, living in mixed flocks of up to 30 or more for most of the year. They often forage with Pampas deer, guanacos (wild llamas), and domestic animals, a behavior that allows them to find food more readily and gives an element of protection from predators.
The recent expansion of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve in Bolivia is excellent news for this species. Other birds that will benefit are the resident Blue-throated Macaw, Cock-tailed Tyrant, and Orinoco Goose, as well as the migratory Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Bobolink.
Learn more, including the unusual role of male Greater Rheas in rearing young>> The males rear the young without assistance from the female, taking care of them for up to four months."
Parrot Orphanage Closing Its Doors
"Lazicki’s Bird House and Rescue in Rhode Island is being forced from its home after 17 years. As of early November, there were 80 parrots living at the rescue. The story of this bird orphanage highlights the plight of abused and abandoned parrots across the U.S.
The Bird House and Rescue receives about 10 calls every week from bird owners who want to abandon their pets. Perhaps the bird is too loud… too demanding… or it’s living longer than the owner expected.
Many novice bird owners don’t realize that parrots often require a greater commitment of time and energy than a dog or cat. These birds are as smart as human toddlers and require significant mental and social stimulation. They’re also loud, messy, and sometimes aggressive.
If you’re thinking about adding a bird to the family, please carefully consider whether you’re willing to make a long-term commitment to meet your pet’s housing, nutritional and socialization needs." Complete article at: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/01/01/parrot-ownership.aspx
This sprightly fellow is a Marsh Wren. Based on an original photo by BirdNote science advisor Idie Ulsh, “Marty the Marsh Wren” has been BirdNote’s mascot since the very beginning.
"Some bird-lovers have tagged the Marsh Wren the “Heinz-57 variety bird,” because scientists have recorded 57 different variations of its song. Marsh Wrens usually forage out of view, hopping up only for brief moments. They can be hard to see.
We asked listeners to take an image of Marty with them on their trips from Tulsa to Timbuktu. And Marty has shown up in some pretty unlikely places! People have taken pictures of him in China with the terracotta soldiers, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and on family picnics.
We hope you’ll take Marty along on your next trip. It's easy: download and print Marty, cut him out, and tuck his picture in your suitcase. When you return from your trip, post your photos in the Marty Gallery on Facebook. Happy travels!"
From me: Another variation of Judy and Emma's Flat Joey! http://travels-with-emma.blogspot.com/2013/04/finally-got-flat-joey-letter-done.html
Pacific Flyway Stand-out Species: Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird by oldbilluk
"Last week, we brought you the tallest bird in North America, the Whooping Crane of the Central Flyway. This week, we are highlighting the smallest bird north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Calliope Hummingbird! This species occurs entirely within the Pacific Flyway, breeding as far north as British Columbia and migrating south to winter in Mexico.
Put a penny in your hand, just a single penny. That's how much a Calliope Hummingbird weighs: two and a half grams!
Now, consider that this species migrates up to 5,500 miles - more than double the distance between Los Angeles and New York - every year. Such epic migrations require energy reserves usually found in much larger species.
In fact, the Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest "long-distance migrant" in the world.
Further cementing its status as a "stand-out" species in the Pacific Flyway, the Calliope breeds in mountainous habitats, up to three thousand feet above sea level. These cooler temperatures can be difficult for smaller animals, but Calliope Hummingbirds ingest a lot of nectar - up to several times their body weight every day - to keep their metabolism, and their body temperature, high."
A Love That Will Not Let You Go
Trapped in a dark tunnel in the city’s underground sewer system and floating at the mercy of the current, the tiny ducklings’ only hope was in their mother. Hearing their distressed chirps emanating from somewhere under the ground, the dedicated mother followed their cries. Her heroic journey led her across a busy intersection, countless roads, a metro train line, a housing estate, and two school playing fields. When her chicks suddenly came to a halt in a housing development, she waddled to a stop over a manhole cover. And there, for the next four hours, the faithful mother remained.
Peter Elliott first noticed the little duck at 6:00 AM when he left his home to go for a run. Surprised that she had not moved when he returned, he went over to see if she was injured. Seeing nothing wrong, he went to breakfast, only to see her still sitting there when he finished. It was only later, when his daughter took his two-year-old grandson to see the mallard, that they heard the ducklings’ little voices beneath the manhole cover.
Mr. Elliot quickly gathered some tools and, along with a neighbor, managed to remove the heavy cover. Peering down they saw six little ducklings paddling around in the drain. With a small fishing net, they lifted each little duck to safety and then released the reunited family in a nearby lake.
Just like that faithful mother duck, our heavenly Father will never forsake us. Though we might stray, His heart of love goes after us still. He is always there, seeking for every opportunity to be reunited with us. Even when His chosen people had broken His heart by their wayward course, He pleaded, “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds” (Zechariah 1:4). The sad record is that “they did not hear nor heed.”"
This cockatoo obviously believes the way to a dog’s heart is through his stomach!
BirdNote: What Is the Jynx Bird?
Sooty Tern SUNDAY Sooty Tern - Wide-awake Bird by Dennis Paulson LISTEN NOW ►
Blue Jay TUESDAY Jaywalking by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW ►
Great Horned Owl WEDNESDAY Great Horned Owls Nest in Winter by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW ►
Eurasian Wryneck FRIDAY Jynx! by Bob Sundstrom LISTEN NOW ►
On This Day:
Elvis Presley receives his first guitar, Jan 8, 1946:
"In competing versions of the story, what Elvis Presley really wanted for his birthday was a rifle or a bicycle—both fairly typical choices for a boy his age growing up on the outskirts of Tupelo, Mississippi. Instead, Elvis's highly protective mother, Gladys—"She never let me out of her sight," Elvis would later say—took him to the Tupelo Hardware Store and bought a gift that would change the course of history: a $6.95 guitar. It was January 8, 1946, and Elvis Aaron Presley was 11 years old.
The historical significance of putting a guitar into the hands of a young man who would later help define rock and roll is obvious. For Elvis himself, however, getting that guitar was just one more step in a thorough yet totally unplanned program of childhood musical development that prepared him perfectly to ignite a revolution 10 years later."
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords injured in shooting rampage, Jan 8, 2011:
"On this day in 2011, Gabrielle Giffords, a U.S. congresswoman from Arizona, is critically injured when a man goes on a shooting spree during a constituents meeting held by the congresswoman outside a Tucson-area supermarket. Six people died in the attack and another 13, including Giffords, were wounded. The gunman, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was taken into custody at the scene.
Loughner, an Arizona resident, approached the 40-year-old Giffords and shot her at point-blank range in the head with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.
On January 12, 2011, President Barack Obama spoke at a large public memorial service in Tucson for the victims of the shooting spree. Among the dead were a 9-year-old girl, a 63-year-old federal judge and a 30-year-old member of Giffords' staff. Later that month, Giffords was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, Texas, where she would relearn how to walk and talk.
That May, Giffords traveled from the hospital in Houston to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the final flight of space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley. The following month, the congresswoman was released from the rehab hospital and began outpatient treatment. On August 1, she made a surprise return to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since she was shot, in order to vote in favor of passing a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
On January 25, 2012, Giffords resigned from Congress in order to concentrate on her continuing recovery. On November 8, 2012, Loughner was sentenced to life in prison without parole."
From me: So now we have to support him for the rest of his life.
Once again, a windy day that started out in the 20's, and didn't get much above freezing. At least the power stayed on, and we didn't have rain or snow. So many are suffering throughout the nation, so we are grateful. The cat's water on the screen porch stayed frozen. Nala, my foster cat, wanted to go out there, but soon turned around and came back in again.
During the day, Ava, my 'new' old cat, usually sleeps on a chair by me, and Nala either sleeps on her kitty condo, or the couch. They just stay away from each other. Misty seems to be feeling a bit better, and even played with me for a little while. Ava is still hissing at them both. I still can't leave Ava and Misty alone in a room, as Ava doesn't realize that Misty is blind and toothless, and might lash out at her when she walks by.
Ray came over and helped me refill my bird feeder, and put a new light bulb on my front porch. Both too tall for me. But other than trying to keep the covers on my aloe plants, doing chores, and catching up on emails and blogs, it was a lazy computer day.