First up, an oldy but a goody of videos that make the rounds on the Internet, but with the passing of Michael Jackson, it's worth a replay. The Moonwalking Birds (aka red-capped manakin): [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-wtO7pjJKk&feature=related[/youtube]
Yes, this bird does actually move like that, manakins do all sorts of funky moves or mating.
Big news! The new duck stamp is available (buy it today) and it's one of the most economical (all the way around) things you can do for bird in the United States. Stamp money -- 98 percent of the $15 cost -- is used to purchase and lease land for national wildlife refuges and waterfowl conservation areas--and it's not just ducks who benefit from this: shorebirds, raptors, warblers, native sparrows, buntings, grosbeaks, etc. This is not just something hunters need to buy, this is something birders should buy. It's relatively cheap, and how can you argue with 98% of the $15 going directly to habitat acquisition? Plus, the stamp is really pretty this year, purchase one today and use it as a gift for friends (especially those who have everything).
Andrea Lee Lambrecht is looking for a nesting red-headed woodpecker near Duluth, MN. She has a confirmed sighting at St. Croix State Park, but no known nest hole. If you know of a nest site, please let me know ASAP by contact her at andreal at umn dot edu (don't contact me).
People raising wild birds without the proper permits (or training) are in the news. One is the "bird lady of Fargo" who was forced to shut down her operation of taking in wild baby birds without the proper permits or training. This woman obviously did not know much about what she was doing or bird health--she has several parrots, if you are a rehabber, you keep wild birds far away from your pet birds because of the risk of spreading bird diseases.
Another story was a young man found with 53 baby birds in his room. No one is sure why he took in so many, it is believed he robbed nests of birds like swallows, bluebirds and sparrows. Two thirds of the birds are dead because they were fed the wrong foods and not kept warm enough. I'm wondering if this is a kid who is really into animals, maybe has read things like the yearling and just wanted to do it himself. I'm not sure, but I hope his interest in birds can be redirected.
Speaking of helping birds, a very lucky double-crested cormorant got a helping hand in New Jersey. Don't worry, despite the freaky photo, there is a happy ending.
Rare birds aren't often a big reason to be in this blog, but this is a really cool bird for my home state. A roseate spoonbill was observed in Indiana--and even photographed. Go, hoosier birders!
Don't forget that there is still PLENTY of time to enter the Swarovski Digiscoper of the Year Contest. You have nothing to lose and a pair of ELs to gain. Get out and take some photos. You don't need your own scope, you could try it out with someone else's scope. If you need help with digiscoping, I'm giving a digiscoping program (and we'll put it into practice) at Carpenter Nature Center on July 25, 2009.
And finally, if anyone is going to be at CONvergence next week, I'll be around for a couple of programs.
Friday, July 3 at 11am, I'll be doing a non birding panel discussion with Mary Jo Pehl--we're going to talk about our fascination with TLC (The Learn Channel). Is it learning, or is it just channel? If you look at the shows: Half-ton Mom, I Eat 36,000 Calories A Day, Face Eating Tumor, My Enormous Foot, Mermaid Girl, The Man Who Turned Into A Tree, etc, you begin to wonder, are we learning with this channel or is it like a traditonal freak show and we are given premission to watch and stare in the comfort of your own homes?
Saturday, July 4 at 2pm, my buddy Amber and I will give a program with live birds from The Raptor Center, it's a bit more of an informal program, but fun all the way around. Bring your camera and your deepest, darkest bird questions--we'll answer them!