Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Birds: Black Swift. Poisoned Eagle. Owls Hatching. Prairie Chicken Festival. Miracle-Gro Guilty. Dr. King Assassinated. Cable Company Again!

For "Winged Wednesday":

Black Swift

Black Swift by Glen Tepke

"The high-flying Black Swift is the largest swift found in the United States, at over seven inches long. It is black overall with a pale gray head, and appears very long-winged while in flight. Like other swifts, it spends most of its life on the wing, where it feeds exclusively on flying insects. Its feet are tiny and weak, so this bird does not perch, but clings to the vertical cliff walls where it nests.

A recent study conducted by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory has revealed that at least some Black Swifts migrate about 4,300 miles to winter in lowland rainforest in western Brazil.

Black Swifts usually lay a single egg in a shallow nest made of moss bound with mud, usually close to or behind waterfalls. Clutches consist of a single egg. This species has one of the most prolonged nestling periods of North American birds, beginning nesting in June, with young birds leaving the nest in September, immediately before migration begins. Adult birds often leave their young for the entire day, returning to feed them near dusk; the young birds spend the day in a state of torpor, or “suspended animation” awaiting their return.

Threats to this species include pesticide use, which may cause a decrease in the swift’s insect food. Nesting sites need protection from disturbance by hikers and rock climbers during the breeding season, particularly on public lands. More surveys are needed to identify nesting sites across the range of the species. Climate change has led to a loss of glaciers, reducing water flow in waterfalls, one of the Black Swift’s favored nesting locales." Read more on about this groundbreaking study.  

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165-Year-Old Mystery of Disappearing Black Swift Solved

Removing geolocators on a Black Swift by Todd Patrick

Researchers attaching geolocators on Black Swift.
By Todd Patrick.

(Washington, D.C., March 14, 2012)  "For 165 years, the Northern Black Swift has pulled a fall migration disappearing act that the famed illusionist Harry Houdini would envy. Where the high flying bird vanishes to after breeding and spending summers in many parts of western North America has puzzled ornithologists since the species was discovered in 1857.  Now, thanks to a new study, we learn that at least some of them travel about 4,300 miles to a remote part of western Brazil in lowland rainforest.

The study, which was published in the March 2012 issue of Wilson Journal of Ornithology, involved attaching geolocators (tiny devices that record and store tracking information) to four adult Black Swifts from two nesting sites in Colorado, then recapturing the same birds at the same sites the next year to download the stored data. Three of the four tracking devices were recovered, and showed the birds departing for their fall southerly migration between September 10 and September 19, arriving in Brazil between September 28 and October 12, departing Brazil between May 9 and 20, and arriving back at their Colorado breeding sites between May 23 and June 18.

“Winter ranges have been identified for most neotropical migrant bird species, but data on patterns and timing of migration for the Northern Black Swift is virtually non-existent… their winter range was previously, unknown,” said Jason Beason, the lead author of the study with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory." More at:


"Sauder", The bald eagle that Washington State University treated for lead poisoning:

A closeup view of the bald eagle that Washington State University treated for lead poisoning.


    A view of the talons of the bald eagle that Washington State University treated for lead poisoning.



  • view of a wing of the bald eagle that Washington State University treated for lead poisoning.



"A bald eagle is back in the wild after receiving treatment for lead poisoning at Washington State University, the university reported Wednesday.

The bird was "unable to stand or support its head" when found in a ditch in January, Nickol Finch, head of the exotics and wildlife unit at WSU's veterinary teaching hospital, said in a news release. "We weren't sure he was going to make it."

Finch named the bird Sauder, after the Idaho fish and game biologist who rescued him. She gave Sauder intravenous fluids and chelation therapy -- administering chemicals that bind to the lead and carry it out through urine.

The bird recovered enough to be released from a crate on Monday at the cusp of a steep canyon near where he was found. The bird hopped out of a crate, looked momentarily bewildered and then flew up to a perch in a nearby ponderosa pine tree, according to the university."

Release of the bald eagle that Washington State University treated for lead poisoning.


    Ingested shot in bald eagle stomach.




Goose gizzards showing bile staining from lead poisoning (left) and normal yellow color (right).


    A brown pelican stomach, showing an ingested jig head, fishing hooks and line.




A common loon stomach, showing a fishing sinker in among stones.


These fishing weights and the fishing line were found in trumpeter swan gizzard.

These fishing weights were found in various waterbird stomachs. "

Read more:


From me: I wish fishermen would be more careful. Surely they could carry something on a string to retrieve lead that has come off their lines. Unless the lead has something else in it, it might not be magnetic, so maybe weights could be made out of something else?  Lead shot is banned in many places, why not lead weights, too.


Hoot 'n Annie Screech Owls, 2012 - Austin
The 2012 season for Hoot 'n Annie has begun! Annie has laid 4 eggs -- the first on 3/15 and the last on 3/21. We'll be on egg-hatch-watch beginning 4/12... Until we get closer to that time, this channel will go offline at 11pmCDT each night.

Streaming Live by Ustream


The 18th Annual Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Festival


Attwater Prairie Chicken
National Wildlife RefugeApril 14 – April 15, 2012

Prairie Chicken Viewing Tours,  Saturday and Sunday 7:00 a.m.
"Experience the beautiful and comical courtship dance
of the Attwater’s prairie chicken in their natural
habitat. Attendees have a very good chance of seeing
Attwater’s prairie chickens on their “booming”
grounds on these early morning tours. Tours start at
7:00 a.m. and will continue until the birds leave the
“booming” ground (usually 1-2 hours).
No reservations needed. Be sure to bring your
binoculars or spotting scope."  More at:   Eagle Lake, TX


Judge accepts Scott's Miracle-Gro guilty plea in bird seed case. Tue, Mar 20 2012 at 11:42 AM EST

"Company coated its seed in an insecticide known to be toxic to fish and birds and that is not approved for use in bird food. The company has proposed paying a fine of at least $4 million." Photo: ZUMA Press

image "Scotts Miracle-Gro has pleaded guilty to breaking federal pesticide laws by using an unapproved insecticide on bird seed that was sold across the nation.

Scotts produced wild bird seed packaged as Morning Song and Country Pride that contained an insecticide intended to prevent insects from eating the product during storage. Production began in 2005 and continued through March 2008, despite warnings from Scott's employees that the chemicals were toxic to birds."


On This Day:

Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, Apr 4, 1968:

Martin Luther King Jr. is shot to death at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. A single shot fired by James Earl Ray from over 200 feet away at a nearby motel struck King in the neck. He died an hour later at St. Joseph's Hospital. The death of America's leading civil rights advocate sparked a wave of rioting in the black communities of several cities around the country.

Ray, who had escaped from a Missouri prison almost a year earlier, had used the aliases Eric Galt and John Willard to register in several motels in the Memphis area. He fired a Remington rifle from a bathroom window that looked out onto the hotel balcony where King was standing.

Ray fled to Canada, where he stayed for a month. Meanwhile, the FBI placed him on the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. After buying a passport under the name Sneyd, Ray traveled to England on May 6. Within a week of arriving in London, he traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, for five days. Back in London, Ray moved from hotel to hotel until authorities finally caught up with him on June 8 at Heathrow Airport.

Ray was a career criminal who was in and out of prison for several small-time robberies. Since he had no known record of political hatred, many suspect that Ray was paid to assassinate King. One factor that has fueled this speculation is that Ray clearly had significant resources during the time between the assassination and his capture.

In any event, Ray pleaded guilty before his scheduled trial began in March 1969 and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray recanted his confession a few months later and insisted on his innocence for years. However, his efforts to secure a new trial were futile, despite the support of members of the King family who were eager to determine if others were involved. Ray died on April 23, 1998."



It started to spit rain again, so working on the cargo trailer wasn't feasible.  Also, it was another day of waiting for the cable company's rep to arrive.  Their modem wouldn't power up, no matter which outlet it was plugged into.

Jay and I re-organized the computer desks.  Some of the PC's cords in the living room were stretching to reach their destinations, so we moved the PC to a different place under the desk, and used a 6-way with a longer cord.  As I wanted to keep the laptop in the old computer corner, a place for it needed to be built.  If the cable or power go out again, the laptop is easier to use on dial-up in the old computer area.  We cut down the protruding top of the corner cabinet that we had taken out of the living room, so that it fit tightly in that corner.  Now the cats can't get behind it.  Then we made a shelf for my laptop to sit on, with a little cabinet for paperwork to hold up the shelf.

The cable company's man arrived about 4.00PM.  It was their modem's cord.  It's great to have internet again, but now I am even more behind with listing stuff for sale, and emails.

Anything to do with computers seems to take most of the day.


Gypsy said...

I would say that computers seem to take most of one's life. It would be true especially if you lumped them together with smart phones!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Computers were suppose to save you time but it seems the faster they get the more we use them and the more time we spend on them.