Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Birds: Long-whiskered Owlet. Bird Songs. Parahawking. Albatross Chicks. Giant Trees. "I" of Bird. Quake. "De-fostering".

For "Winged Wednesday":

Long-whiskered Owlet

Long-whiskered Owlet by Dubi Shapiro

"The Long-whiskered Owlet is one of the tiniest owls in the world, measuring only 5” tall.  Its long, wispy facial feathers extend out past its head, making the bird appear to have long whiskers; its large eyes are a vivid orange-brown.  Only discovered in 1976, this owl is so distinctive that scientists have placed it in its own genus: Xenoglaux, meaning “strange owl”.

Ongoing habitat destruction for agriculture and timber is the biggest threat to this species. Fortunately, this owl and other threatened birds, such as the Ochre-fronted Antpitta, Johnson's Tody-Tyrant, and Royal Sunangel, are protected at the Abra Patricia Reserve, where ABC and our Peruvian partner ECOAN have secured approximately 24,900 acres of key native habitat.

At present, the reserve provides the best opportunity for birdwatchers to see the owlet, where it can be found along trails near ECOAN’s Owlet Lodge.

Birdwatchers interested in visiting Abra Patricia can find out more and plan their trip at ECOAN’s website or "

Here is a video of the Long-whiskered Owlet taken at the reserve in November 2011 by Guy Foulks.


Videos with the songs of 59 birds:


"Parahawking is coming to the USA. These are a few shots of training a Harris's Hawk to fly with a paraglider."


Lead Removal to Save Thousands of Albatross Chicks on Midway


Laysan Albatross chick: George Wallace, ABC

This August, years of dedicated
advocacy by ABC and others finally paid off as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service announced an agreement
for a $21 million effort to remove lead-based paint from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. This action marks a significant step forward in solving a decades-old problem that has resulted in the death of as many as 130,000 Laysan Albatross from lead poisoning.
Midway hosts nearly one million breeding Laysan Albatrosses every year, making it the world’s largest colony. Unfortunately, curious albatross chicks eat leadbased paint chips peeling off 95 abandoned buildings on the island. The chicks then develop
a condition known as droopwing, which leaves them unable to lift their developing wings off the ground. As many as 10,000 chicks have died each year from the toxic effects of lead, which include starvation and dehydration.       More at:




"Some years ago, several ABC staff were mulling over ways to prevent incursions into our Latin American partners’ forest
reserves for wood-cutting and poaching.

Finally, someone exclaimed, “The best defense could be a good
offense,” meaning that if we funded reserve neighbors to plant trees on their degraded pastureland adjacent to the reserves, we would not only provide critical buffers to our forests, but strengthen relations with our neighbors, and by extension, the
entire community. We realized that we could push the forest frontier outward instead of retreating inward.

This ultimately led to a multinational “silvipasture” development program funded by the World Bank, with ABC providing the conservation leadership.
But more importantly, it spawned many new ABC approaches in both reserve sustainability and habitat recovery."

More at:


imageBack When The Logging Industry Was Young

I wonder how many birds lost their homes, to make homes for people?:    

Let’s see – how many 2x4s is that?



Just look at the length of the hand saw they needed


And look at the size of the heavy duty axes.



After a tree was felled the real work began - a week or more to cut it up.



The work required very strong and courageous men.





Some of the logs were larger than the train engine.



A hollowed out log became the company's mobile office.

Hollowed out logs were also used to house and feed the crews.


The I of a Bird (or Welcome to Birding! Now Get Out!)

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

"Edward Abbey said “that which today calls itself science gives us more and more information, and indigestible glut of information, and less and less understanding.” Are we awash in information, drowning in a media overload that dulls sight and mind? Are we down for the count?

Get out.     Get away.

Drag the kids to the car and rush to the nearest open space. Clear your senses. Watch nature. Watch birds. Watch closely. Birding is for your sanity, for your health. I know; we like to pretend that birding is a science (we call ourselves field ornithologists). I know; birding is a competitive sport and a rapidly expanding recreation. Forget all of this. Birding feeds the brain. Birding exercises the senses. Birding reveals the world as is, not as marketed."

The complete article at:


On This Day:

Worst European earthquake, Dec 28, 1908:

"At dawn, the most destructive earthquake in recorded European history strikes the Straits of Messina in southern Italy, leveling the cities of Messina in Sicily and Reggio di Calabria on the Italian mainland. The earthquake and tsunami it caused killed an estimated 100,000 people.

Sicily and Calabria are known as la terra ballerina--"the dancing land"--for the periodic seismic activity that strikes the region. In 1693, 60,000 people were killed in southern Sicily by an earthquake, and in 1783 most of the Tyrrenian coast of Calabria was razed by a massive earthquake that killed 50,000. The quake of 1908 was particularly costly in terms of human life because it struck at 5:20 a.m. without warning, catching most people at home in bed rather than in the relative safety of the streets or fields.

The main shock, registering an estimated 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, caused a devastating tsunami with 40-foot waves that washed over coastal towns and cities. The two major cities on either side of the Messina Straits--Messina and Reggio di Calabria--had some 90 percent of their buildings destroyed. Telegraph lines were cut and railway lines were damaged, hampering relief efforts. To make matters worse, the major quake on the 28th was followed by hundreds of smaller tremors over subsequent days, bringing down many of the remaining buildings and injuring or killing rescuers. On December 30, King Victor Emmanuel III arrived aboard the battleship Napoli to inspect the devastation.

Meanwhile, a steady rain fell on the ruined cities, forcing the dazed and injured survivors, clad only in their nightclothes, to take shelter in caves, grottoes, and impromptu shacks built out of materials salvaged from the collapsed buildings. Veteran sailors could barely recognize the shoreline because long stretches of the coast had sunk several feet into the Messina Strait."



Misty was glad of her coat again for her walk down at Jay's, when we went to pick him up.  Maddie was wearing her sweater, too.  There was unexpected frost on the ground.

Prime-Bobbie-screen-porch-Dec.2011 Later the day warmed up, so Prime and Bobbiecat were on the porch.

Jay and I started to 'de-foster' and 'de-board' the house.  That meant cleaning and putting away the cages that had been used for my years as a foster mom, and Poodle Nanny.   I have to keep my grooming equipment, but the rest of the grooming room can now be used for something else.  Like even a spare bedroom, it has it's own bathroom.

Whatcha-doin-up-there-Sis First, we took the extra big cage out of the little used dining area.  Originally, it had been put there so that I would have somewhere to put the kittens when I couldn't have them loose in the house. But that didn't work out, Pebbles got into too much stuff, so they went back to the grooming room.  Now, it has mostly been used to lock Prime up when we have the door going into the workshop opening and closing.   We carried it outside, washed it, folded it up, and put it away in the closet in the grooming room. 

Now, while we are working, Prime will be closed up in my bedroom and bathroom with Bobbiecat and Misty. That is if it is too cold/hot on the porch. It is only for 2-3 hours a day. Yes, I know Prime is a foster, too, but she lives in the house with us.

While we were outside a "metal-man" drove by.  Ray had wanted his non-working lawnmower gone, so off it went.

Great!   Now we could get to the window in my storeroom.  The mini-blind was all ratty, so we replaced it with one that had been stored in my attic.  We took the extra pet carriers, and Bobbiecat's two strollers to store up there, too.

4-kennel-cages Now, we are seeing headway.  We moved the fiberglass kennel cages in the grooming room, swept the floor, put them back, and took pictures to offer them for sale. 

These were for when Mindi's dogs used to stay here regularly, I was her "Poodle Nanny".  4-kennel-cages-2 They had carpet over the wire floors with doggie beds in them, and her dogs slept in there with the doors off.  I hardly ever take care of Mindi's dogs now that she has adopted Noah and has a "People Nanny". 

Another picture to show that they can be stacked.

I have one more larger kennel cage in the workshop, and I will use that in the grooming room for a "Doggie Dryer".  I take the bottom tray out and put an ionic pet dryer under the wire.

Mar-28-2011--1The cages have not been taken out of the Middle Room yet.  Those cages have been there for two or three years now.  The kitten's new 'parents' have two weeks to make sure they fit in.  Once that time period it over, I will fold the cages up, and put them away or sell them. No more fosters!

The kittens must be so scared in their new surroundings. I have been thinking about them all day.


Gypsy said...

I must have missed a post or two, but what led to the decision to quit fostering? You will certainly have more time for your own needs.

Michelle said...

OMG 5 inches owl? Tiny little thing. Adorable and so pretty too. Im just a starter here so I don't know nothing about your fostering but can imagine how exhausting that must be.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comments, Gypsy and Tippy.

Gypsy: The decision to quit fostering was made over a year ago, while I still had 3 fosters. I could not go anywhere in my RV. But when I saw those helpless kittens, barely had their eyes open, I couldn't let the pound put them to sleep. They said they had no one to bottle feed them. So then I had six, plus my own two 15-year-old pets.

My local SPCA boss had said not to rescue anymore animals, we had enough homeless ones already, so I was going against orders. Her husband was very sick and dying, so she did not have time to do all the driving and paperwork involved with getting them neutered, checking out applications and adoptions. We were supposed to let them go to the pound, or take them to the Houston SPCA.

But finally, all the kittens have been adopted, and I just have one foster cat, Prime.
She is "Prime", the best cat ever. The only reason I don't want to keep her for my own, is that she will probably outlive me, and she needs to find her 'furever' home while she is still young.

Tippy, Welcome Aboard.
If you scroll down on the "About Me" page, is will tell you some of the history of why I started fostering.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX