Friday, February 19, 2010

Hooray for Canada!

Blue Jay
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
They've banned "Weed 'n Feed" products throughout the country! They don't outright tell people not to use pesticides on their lawns, but they recommend exactly what Laura Erickson does in 101 Ways to Help Birds--when pesticides are absolutely necessary to kill either weeds or an insect outbreak, spot-spraying is MUCH better than applying toxins over an entire lawn. (Of course, as Laura also says, hiring local kids to pull the weeds if you don't want to do it yourself is even better!) Read the report from Health Canada here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No, we were not named for President Lincoln.

Lincoln's Sparrow
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
John James Audubon named us for a young man, Thomas Lincoln, of Dennysville, Maine. Lincoln shot and killed one of my ancestors on a trip with Audubon to Nova Scotia in 1834, and Audubon named it "Tom's Finch" in his honor. Ha. That would be like "honoring" any descendants of Abraham Lincoln by calling them "John Wilkes Booth's people."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We chickadees will believe that nuclear power is safe...

...when the companies that profit from it are willing to pay for their own insurance. The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act gives them a pass, putting the burden on taxpayers to cover the possibilities of leaks, accidents, etc. Of course, we're not taxpayers, so we won't be paying out of pocket for any accidents. But we've noticed that the only way people do anything good for the environment is if they're forced to, and when big money enters a picture, especially profits without risks, well, there goes the neighborhood for us.

Yay for poodles!

Turkey Vulture
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
We vultures are ever so pleased to see the poodles on display at the Westminster dog show, because their owners so clearly groom the dogs to look like us! Shaving the face and legs and poofing up everything else. Hooray for vulture dogs!!

Where were we first reported?

Masked Duck
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
According to the Masked Duck entry in Birds of North America Online:
This species was first documented in the United States (in Wisconsin, well outside its usual tropical and subtropical range; perhaps an escaped captive) in 1870; by 1905 it had been collected in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Texas.

Notice the euphemistic use of "documented" and "collected." But it's still interesting. And NO--we did not leave Wisconsin out of embarrassment that we weren't as flashy as our Ruddy Duck relatives.

Pop quiz, hotshot.

Masked Duck
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Where in the United States did the first reported Masked Duck appear? (I love learning about my ancestors!) You have to be a follower of this blog to post a guess or other comment--we were getting sick of dealing with spam. But I'll post the answer later today.

Hey--we birds don't slam into airplanes--they slam into us!

Black Vulture
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
To whoever wrote the stupid article in the Miami Herald today, birds are not kamikaze pilots! Your headline is way misleading: "A bird reportedly slammed into a jetliner departing Fort Lauderdale, forcing the Spirit Airlines pilot to return to the terminal." And to come right out and say there were "no injuries" while not acknowledging the death of one of us when the plane slammed right into him seems cold. And what the h*ll does this mean: "The incident is another reminder of the havoc birds can cause aircraft"??? None of you humans were killed or injured, and the plane wasn't damaged. The havoc wreaked was by all your infernal airplane traffic in our historical skies.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's wishing we could all just get along.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The pigeons in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Rock Pigeon
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Oh, my--we pigeons do love a good romantic comedy, and so I can't say enough good things about the 2007 movie, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, It's set just before World War II broke out in England, and we all know what a huge toll that war took on our ancestors. The director said on the commentary that he was trying to create an ominous tone set against the opulence of pre-war England, like people dancing on the Titanic.

The pigeons perched in the train station and the one on the sidewalk after Miss Pettigrew bids Miss Lafosse and her love off near the end helped set a tone of realism. Really, a world without pigeons makes no sense, does it? (That, of course, is why you'll not see a single pigeon viewing Avatar.)

The pigeons acting in the movie weren't just extras--they were trained actors who did a wonderful job, albeit limited. I don't understand why we pigeons don't have our own Pigeon Academy Awards to honor those of us who make movies better.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My favorite line from Moonstruck...

Great Horned Owl
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson Rose's "I just want you to know no matter what you do, you're gonna die, just like everybody else."

That is absolutely true, but don't blame me!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yes, I'm feeling reflective.

Green Heron
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Why do you ask?

Yep, The Onion gets it.

What we eagles have to put up with.

When the guy on the next territory comes after you...

Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
...just back away slowly.


Bald Eagle near nest
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Okay--I know towhees supposedly are telling everyone to drink their tea. But just as towhees don't tell people to throw their tea overboard, we eagles do not in any way support any political movement that is getting the least thoughtful and environmentally-conscious people on the planet even more stirred up and whacked out than they already are. It's hard enough for us birds to cope with people without our pictures being stuck on posters, hats, t-shirts, and bumper stickers promoting this stinkin' and incoherent political agenda. Don't tread on me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The rich chickadee...

...isn't the one who has the most; he is the one who wants the least. (This applies to other species as well.)

The world cannot have too many ...

Painted Bunting
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson of ME!!

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Turkey Vulture
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
I'm getting sick and tired of being the one in charge of spam comments--they make me want to throw up, and believe you me, we vultures have some pretty nasty vomit! So we're now enabling comments only by followers of the blog. Sorry!

Now where did I leave that peanut?

Florida Scrub-Jay
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can I make you some tea?

Eastern Towhee
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson

No, I'm not a masked stranger.

Masked Duck
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Not after you've introduced yourself, anyway.

See? I do have a red belly!

Well, it's pinkish, anyway. But I'm mystified why you people would focus on that instead of calling me the Zebra-backed Woodpecker.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

There has to be a fish in here!

Black Skimmer
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson

Happy ME Day!!

Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson

Stick 'em up!

Reddish Egret
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson

I'm one of the MOST WANTED!!

Painted Bunting
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
According to a poll of Birder's World readers a few years ago, I was one of the most wanted species birders want to see! Of course I know I'm handsome, but really, guys, anyone with a lick of sense knows that the birds we should most want to see are shrikes, hawks, owls, and other nasty predators--if we don't see them before they see us, it's another bye bye birdie tragedy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking at my shadow???

Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
This photo was taken in summer, when I don't mind looking at my shadow at all. But I like to sleep all the way through February. Is that too much to ask?

Who YOU lookin' at?

Mourning Dove
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson