Birds in the News #3

Mar 18 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

I have a nice collection of bird stories to share with you this week, thanks to my efforts and those of some birdy friends of mine. Several stories linked here are special because of the quality of their photographs, so be sure to look at those.

Beginning next week, I plan to include interesting bird photos that my readers have sent to me (you would have seen an interesting bird photo today, but technological problems intervened). If you have found an interesting story about birds in the news or if you have an interesting photo that you want to share, please send it to me so I can include it in my weekly "Birds in the News" round-up.

Birds and People:

Here is an absolutely fascinating link that allows you and your kids to soar the heavens with Tilly, a four-year-old female Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos! Using one of those newly-developed microcameras mounted on Tilly's back, this site features astonishing close-up streaming footage of a flying eagle (including an aerial "dogfight" with a buzzard) that you must see!

I cannot resist linking to this story where my Seattle colleagues and former long-time birding pals are interviewed about their version of name that tune. It is so good to see them doing well and helping more people discover the beauty of birds!

After enduring a lengthy hospitalization and several surgeries to cure a cloacal abscess, Pearl, one of only 83 Kakapos, Strigops habroptilus, remaining in the world, was sent to her new home in her own helicopter. Kakapos are large, flightless charcoal-green parrots found only on several islands in New Zealand. Their physical appearance resembles that of a green owl and they are nocturnal, also like owls, so they are locally known as "owl parrots" or "parrots of the night".

This year, North America has experienced a large southward irruption of owls who are searching for food. This has also resulted in a large number of injured owls, some of whom are receiving medical treatment. I included this story because it features a short but very interesting photoseries detailing the surgical treatment of a female great grey owl's broken wing.

Birds in Love:

In news from my other beloved home, NYC, Pale Male and Lola are nesting again, thanks to protesters around the world who prevented them from losing their nest site on their fancy fifth avenue home in Manhattan. (I am proud to say that I played a somewhat prominent role in this protest, which you can read about in earlier entries in this blog). This is a NYTimes story that requires (free) registration. [If you are severely opposed to this sort of thing, I believe you can still access the NYTimes by using "clreader" as your username and password.]

Like people, birds can and will travel long distances across harrowing barriers in their quest for love, as this love-lorn female ferruginous pygmy owl, Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum, demonstrates. (This story also requires free registration).

Birds in Urban Settings:

Chicago is setting an example for all tall cities around the world by holding a meeting that seeks to address deaths of migratory birds that fly into skyscrapers. Already, their concerns about the welfare of migrating birds have led to some changes; they estimate that approximately 10,000 birds have been saved each year since the managers of more than 20 of Chicago's tallest buildings began turning their lights out after 11 pm during migratory seasons.

Speaking of bird deaths, the Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia, Canada, has a bird problem due to their close proximity to the Fraser River Delta, which provides a superb refueling stop for hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl. Unfortunately, as you will learn in this story, birds and airplanes are not compatible. I hope airport officials devise better ways to discourage birds from hanging around the airport other than killing them; methods such as more harassment by dogs and also inviting in falconers and their birds on a rotating basis, as happens at JFK airport in NYC, which is also located on a major flyway and near an avian refueling stop. (This story also includes an optional sound file).

Birds and Art:

If you like bird art, Audubon paintings or if you are looking for fun things to do in NYC, then this is the event for you! The New York Historical Society is currently hosting a special exhibit called Audubon's Aviaries, which features 40 paintings of John James Audubon's North American birds. I have already seen this exhibit and I plan to return tomorrow before I write a more lengthy narrative for my blog. The show ends 3 April 2005, so hurry!

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Academic job applications: 1 (one-year teaching contract (not tenure-track) at a local university)

Academic job rejections: 1 (assistant professor of evolutionary biology)

Other job applications: 2 (part-time science writer, full-time science information specialist)

8 responses so far

  • Lisa Ganda says:

    I recently learned about a new bird: The Pale Male in NYC. He might deserve a spot on your blog!

  • Rexroth's Daughter says:

    Such great links. The golden eagle footage is spectacular. I was just thinking this morning that the song birds seemed to be very vocal lately. Ah yes, spring is in the air. We're watching a lot of nest building. We saw a pheasant drinking out of our little pond the other day. We're hoping she'll nest somewhere close. If so, there'll be photos!Thanks for giving us all this bird news.Good luck on the job prospects.

  • GrrlScientist says:

    Hello dharma bums .. ain't twitterpation grand??I am glad that you like the golden eagle link. I was so excited when I saw that site .. and it was sent to me by a bird-pal!

  • Tabor says:

    Re: you job searches. I am an 'information specialist' and while it doesn't usually pay well it is very learn while helping others learn.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello from Italy. I dropped in just to inform you Pale Male and Lola featured in a (very) short story in one of the major italian newspaper. ByeMarco

  • GrrlScientist says:

    Hi Tabor. Well, we shall see what happens. I no longer have the luxury of believing anything anymore until after all the paperwork has been signed and turned in and after the first paycheck has been deposited into my credit union account. Even then, I no longer believe that it (a job) will last very long. Hello Marco! It's good to see you again! I've missed you! I hope things are going well. Thanks for the news of the story about Pale Male and Lola appearing in an Italian newspaper .. I will try to find it online.

  • Anonymous says:

    The kakapo is a very beautiful bird. I saw one once at the Otorohanga Native Bird Park and I was surprised by its size and (this might sound silly) greenness.They look like gigantic green owls. That's strangely cool.--Werewolf32

  • GrrlScientist says:

    I've only seen kakapos in captivity (two) and in "the drawers" at several natural history museums, but even then, they are so lovely! And ever so mischievous, too (well, the live ones) -- ya gotta love them for that quality! I understand what you mean about their greenness .. isn't that odd how parrots can redefine the color green almost on a species-by-species basis?