Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Despite Growing Impacts of Global Warming, Legislation Blocked in Congress

Despite Growing Impacts of Global Warming, Legislation Blocked in Congress

Climate change is already having negative consequences for many species of plants and animals, including birds. Would you like to learn more about this? If so, go here to an American Bird Conservancy report.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

state wildlife action plans

Around the nation, states have built Wildlife Action Plans, to help prevent species from becoming endangered, and working to stop wildlife population declines. Read about these efforts at the website devoted to this work, here.

some meadow favorites, part 1

While out in the field a few days ago with my colleague and friend Dr. Josh Kapfer, we were enjoying two of my favorite wet meadow wildflowers. Number one, above, is common ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata). Then shown below is another stunning wet meadow flower, swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a new place to work

A year ago, my wife Leah gave up her art studio in town - it just wasn't working out for her anymore. Now, she and her amazing family are embarking on a project that aims to save an historic (historic in her family, that is) building constructed by her grandfather, which is on her family's farm in Found du Lac County, and create a new working art studio for her, at the same time. The building in question is pictured above. A new concrete foundation is slated to be poured adjacent to the present site, and the building moved over onto the new foundation sometime this fall. I'll tell that story occasionally, here, as it unfolds.
See Leah's website and a lot about her art, here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Act for Songbirds UPDATE; other news

News from the Bird Conservation Alliance:
"The following representatives have signed onto to the National Migratory Bird Conservation Act reauthorization H.R. 5756. If your organization is in their district, please take a minute to call or e-mail their offices and thank them for their support. If you don’t see your representative listed below – be sure to send them a note asking for their support. You can easily do this through the action site. Please ask your members to also visit this Act for Songbirds action site and send their e-mail!"

Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9]
Rep Udall, Mark [CO-2]
Rep Hirono, Mazie K. [HI-2]
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4]
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6]
Rep Gilchrest, Wayne T. [MD-1]
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1]
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13]
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22]
Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25]
Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20]

"Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, Seattle Audubon, Songbirds of Northern Indiana, and the Boreal Songbird Initiative have all placed information on their websites about the Act for Songbirds Campaign. "


Read about many Important Birds Areas in Alaska at this link.


Are you interested in the Mute Swan controversy? Then you may want to read the article here. Of course, not everyone agrees that Mutes should be controlled. Here's an example of the other point of view. Full disclosure: I do not accept the purported "evidence" that the Mute Swan is native to North America, and I agree with control efforts in Maryland and elsewhere around the Chesapeake Bay, as well as in Wisconsin and other states with control programs. You can decide for yourself which point of view you share...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

news and more

Once upon a time, a place like this was probably oak savanna. It's lost some of its original flora, and had a number of invasives added to it, so you'd have to describe this as "degraded" - but maybe we could say it's a "functional" savanna in some ways. It lacks a Red-headed Woodpecker, though...
Despite that, I still like it. I worked in some places like this during the last few months, doing bird surveys. I especially like the stream pictured here. A singing male Orchard Oriole was right here.
Read more about oak savannas here.
The American Bird Conservancy is recommending new changes to green building standards to help in reducing bird collisions. Read more here ...

Read about the 2008 USFWS waterfowl surveys and what the results show, here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

rusty blackbird news; more on other relatives

See the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center page with Rusty Blackbird news - it is the fastest-declining songbird in North America. In this article Russell Greenberg explains what is known about this species and what's happening.

If you are like me and love blackbirds, you would probably enjoy Alex Skutch's book: Orioles, Blackbirds and Their Kin (1996, Univ. of Arizona Press). I've had it sitting on my bookshelf for several years, but am reading it now. Highly recommended, like all of Skutch's books. Skutch himself was as fascinating as the birds he studied. Learn about his amazing life here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ontario's good move, and some shorebird stuff

Ontario is setting aside 225,00 square kilometers of the boreal region - see the news here.


And this is very cool: see Clare's post on the House about Baird's Sandpipers, here.


Not much time for birding these days, but I am periodically checking some ponds near work for returning shorebirds - I'm ready when they get here. Meanwhile I am looking for new resources on shorebirds, and have found a few you may not have seen yet. Check these out: The Shorebird Watcher, the US Shorebird Conservation Plan website, Track Migrating Shorebirds with PRBO, and about Bar-tailed Godwits (we may never see one in WI - but I did see two when I lived in coastal CA...).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

conservation notes and news, alternative birding notes

The link between agricultural practice and policy, and conservation of natural resources was well-documented by Aldo Leopold. To read about an excellent group working for good ag policy, see the website of the Center for Rural Affairs.


I've written here previously about the opportunity for local clubs to become part of the Bird Conservation Alliance. Some Milwaukee groups took my suggestion, and they went beyond it, to form the Milwaukee Olmstead Bird Conservation Alliance of Wisconsin (MOBCAW) - read about them at this link - perhaps your group may want to follow their lead.


It's always good to see what Mike McDowell has been up to, lately; go to his birding blog here to find out.


If you have never learned about the 10000 Birds blog, you're missing one of the best. Read it by clicking here. And while we're talking about some of the best, see Laura Erickson's blog, here, too!


If in your case it's too early to go shorebirding (it isn't, but that's not the point), way too early for fall warblers (it is, but YWARs and TEWAs will be heading south pretty soon), how about spending some time inputting your spring checklists on eBird? eBird provides tremendous opportunities to make your sightings useful. The last few weeks I've been entering checklists from the past few months, and last year I entered a ton of OLD data (and those of you who know me know I am old and some of my data is old , too!). Here's my challenge to you: enter those checklists! Go to the eBird Wisconsin site - you'll see it's easy and worthwhile.

Friday, July 4, 2008

remembering a hero on the 4th of July

Conservation in the United States of the 21st century has a long way to go to catch up to where Aldo Leopold already was 65 years ago. If your definition of patriotism includes protecting the place we live, there is still a lot we need to learn, and in some cases re-learn, and actually take to heart - the latter being something which we obviously have not yet done.

Some reading I've been doing lately (a not-so-recently-published biography of Aldo Leopold: A Fierce Green Fire, by Marybeth Lorbiecki) makes me want to celebrate this great American hero. Leopold set a direction many of us are still discovering - if you have not done so, I highly recommend reading any of his writings. But instead of just my praises, read more for yourself from others who have written about him.

A review of Lorbiecki's book, here...

A brief online bio of Leopold, here...

And see a list and description of his books here.