Monday, December 19, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Go, Cardinals!

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

We St. Louis birds have to stick together!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Down with prejudice!

Fox Squirrel
I don't get it. People set out a veritable feast—sunflower seeds and corn—and then tell us they don't serve our kind. It's just wrong. But I'm proud of my friends—no matter how egregiously those people shun us, we limit our protests to simple civil disobedience, without destroying property (well, we're not perfect here, but we do our best) or saying naughty words. But I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of squirrels and the sons of chickadees will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood and peanuts.

Yum yum!!

Cedar Waxwing in mountain ash

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Save birds. Take in a cat.


What kind of misguided humans think it's "humane" to leave cats outdoors or support feral cat colonies? This one was loose in Port Wing, Wisconsin, eating what birds it could kill even though it was declawed. It's FIV positive, so it's probably been spreading that to cats it came into contact with, and had awful worms. The poor thing wasn't going to survive long with all that, and meanwhile it was going to take out a lot of us birds. Consigning these pitiful things to the wild (remember—Port Wing has bears and foxes and coyotes and even wolves!) is humane only for people who want to close their eyes to their plight or who romanticize the wild from their comfortable homes.

People may be more intelligent than you think.

An owl and his human
I've got my human trained to feed me and clean up after me. She even makes curious vocalizations as if she's trying to call when I do! Plus she's entirely housebroken—and we all know how objectionable and disease-ridden human droppings are!

I don't think it's suitable for owls to have pets--you lose too much freedom if you let a human into your life. But if you've got some problem and need assistance, a human may be the right service animal for you. Remember: to keep one, you must have special permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service AND your state's department of conservation or natural resources or whatever. The paperwork is a bitch, but if your human attended obedience school, s/he may know how to fill it out for you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quick Weight Loss Plan

We shorebirds are famous for our long flights and ability to lose weight on our journeys. Josh Kurz did a story about us with a cool graphic on the Higher Mammals blog. Too bad those pitiful mammals just can't master what we birds can!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What does the NRA have against us?

Florida Scrub-Jay

The only place in the entire US of A where we Florida Scrub-Jays have ever been found is Florida. We even have the word "Florida" in our name. But do people make us Florida's state bird? Nope, because Marion Hammer, the first woman president of the NRA, thought we don't deserve it because we can't be found over every inch of the state. So the mockingbird—a generic bird that doesn't even have its own song but has to steal bits and pieces of everybody else's sounds—gets that distinction, even though mockingbirds are the state bird of four other states!

It's not like you can find most state birds over every inch of their states. Louisiana's Brown Pelican can only be found along the coast. Maryland's Baltimore Oriole and Minnesota's loon fly the coop every winter, when they can't be found in those states at all. And Delaware's "Blue Hen" can't be found anywhere—it's a fictitious bird of cockfighting fame.

We are certainly the friendliest bird ANYWHERE. What other lifer lands on the hands and heads of birders seeing it for the first time? And because we're both easy to see and only found in Florida, we even boost the state's tourism income. Come on, Florida—we deserve it!

Florida Scrub-Jays and Joe

Michigan should have made me their state bird

Kirtland's Warbler

For over a century, the only place on the continent where we were known to breed was Michigan. So naturally we assumed when they named a state bird they'd pick us. But NOOOOOOOOOO—they picked the stupid old robin, who you can find just about anywhere. Well, we're not taking this sitting down. Some of us thought, why should we be loyal to a state that doesn't see how special we are? So Wisconsin, here we come!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's SO easy to give Laura a thrill


All I have to do is let her make a recording of my whinny and she gets oh, so excited!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rare, and on the side.

Bald EagleWhen I say I like my meat still pink, I mean it. And I'm no middle-of-the-road kind of guy. I prefer my food served on the side.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hotness Delusion Syndrome?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Nope. We middle-aged male hummingbirds actually ARE hot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hey, Minnesota DNR!

Sandhill Crane
Stop using us as your poster child for the NON-GAME wildlife program unless you're gonna put us back on the NON-GAME list. A lot of people contributed to this fund to help us and other non-game species. Now that those contributions have gotten our numbers up, you're letting hunters kill us. It's just not fair.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm the greatest star!

American Woodcock by Laura Erickson
American Woodcock, a photo by Laura Erickson on Flickr.

People come out to see me every spring, even though we've been doing this show for ages.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Breaking News: Dick Cheney to Quit Hunting

updated 4/1/2011 12:30:37 PM ET

Former Vice President Richard Cheney surprised a crowd at the National Press Club today with an unexpected announcement—he has decided to stop hunting. “It suddenly hit me—here I’ve been supporting a pro-life agenda, and yet I was shooting countless birds and other living things for fun. I mean—yeah, there was some satisfaction in shooting 70 pheasants and all those ducks in a single day, but in the end, what the hell was I thinking?” Mr. Cheney may have been referencing a widely publicized and criticized canned hunt in Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania, in 2003, when he and 9 others shot at 500 Ring-necked Pheasants at close range, killing 417. The party also killed a large but still undisclosed number of Mallards.

Has he become anti-hunting? “Don’t get me wrong—I know some hunters who love being outdoors, stalking their prey for hours, and acquiring the skill and stealth of natural predators. They seem to actually love those animals they shoot at. I guess they’re approaching hunting in a pretty sound and moral way. But that was never me—I mean, who are we kidding? I just got my rocks off shooting living things at close range—the more, the better.”

Asked about his July 2010 surgery, when he was outfitted with a left-ventricular assist device, he said, “Now that I think about it, my enjoyment of canned hunts may have been because my heart was defective. Interesting point to consider.”

Will he keep his guns? “Hell yes! You never know when you'll get a chance to ‘accidentally’ shoot a political opponent in the face.” When asked if that was inconsistent with his pro-life sensibilities, he snorted. “I’ve watched birds long enough to recognize intelligent life. But Democrats? Get real!”

Between you and me... pet peeve is when people say "between you and I." You'd never say "between we"—it's "between us." It's a simple example of objective case. As a chickadee, English is only a second language for me, but still. Get it right, humans!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Between you and me....'s spring! What else would I be thinking about?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Northern Hawk Owl by Laura Erickson
Northern Hawk Owl, a photo by Laura Erickson on Flickr.

Boy oh boy. Photographers are SUPPOSED to want photos of us looking toward the camera, and I obliged this lady plenty. But darned if she didn't keep clicking away when I'd specifically turned my head away for a little privacy while I did my business. How cosmically rude of her.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm the greatest star

There are a bunch of different hummingbirds visiting this feeder. But who gets all the people jumping? Lil' ol' me! That's life when you're a Glowing Puffleg.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The difference between blue jays and chickadees

Blue Jay
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
When Blue Jays get caught, they collapse into a pathetic heap. Not us chickadees!!! We'll fight to the finish.Taking revenge

Great Analog cover, or the greatest Analog cover?