Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Posts about Bird conservation

Bird by bird

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: January 21, 2015 - 5:31 PM

Here's an article from the "New York Times Magazine" that deserves to be read. It's about birds, how we are losing them, and how we look at that. Copy and paste this link in your address bar.


co2 levels 400+ ppm

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: January 19, 2015 - 2:49 PM

co2 measurements in our atmosphere topped 400 parts per million (ppm) twice in the past six days based on measurements taken daily atop Mt. Mauna Loa in Hawaii. The level Jan. 15 was 400.20, down slightly from the 400.59 measurement the day before.


The level yesterday, Jan. 18, was 399.48.


January 18 - 399.48 

January 17 - Unavailable 

January 16 - 399.75 

January 15 - 400.20 

January 14 - 400.59


Week beginning on January 11, 2015:     400.14 ppm 

Weekly value from 1 year ago:     397.47 ppm 

Weekly value from 10 years ago:     378.61 ppm

Pre-industrial level determined to be 280 ppm


For more information go to http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html, or http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu


co2 as 2014 ends

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: January 1, 2015 - 4:00 PM

For the past week, concentration of co2 in the atmosphere, measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, in parts per million (ppm):

December 31 - 399.57 ppm 
December 30 - 398.89 
December 29 - 398.93 
December 28 - 398.64 
December 27 - 398.38

Weekly value one year ago, Dec. 31, 2013 — 397.26 ppm
Weekly value 10 years ago — 377.78 ppm
800,000 years ago — 260 ppm

co2 level for today, Dec. 22, is 398.74 ppm

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: December 22, 2014 - 2:47 PM

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today, Dec. 22, is 398.74 parts per million (ppm). 


The level one week ago was 399.26.


One year ago = 396.80.


1958 = 318


800,000 years ago = 260


In April, May, and June of 2014 the level exceeded 400 ppm, highest in almost one million years. 


Readings are taken daily at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Go to https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/

Last-minute shopper?

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: December 19, 2014 - 11:18 AM

Holiday gift ideas from birding consultant Paul Baicich, an experienced birder and educator (with over 800 species on his North American life list):

Shade-grown Coffee — This is a wonderful gift, ideal to bring along to a holiday party. It should start up a conversation about shade-coffee vs. sun-coffee and the ways that certified arabica shade coffee helps sustain our Neotropical migrants in coffee country throughout much of Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp — The "Duck Stamp" is a fine gift, and a great conservation-supporting item. Since almost all the funds collected from the stamp go to building wetland and grassland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System, it sends a great message, too. Besides, you will probably be at the Post Office anyhow, so picking up a $15-stamp or two should be easy. You can also download a free and unique stamp-related certificate describing just how much one stamp secures in habitat, attach the stamp, put it in a frame, and you're set! 

Bird Art — Speaking of frames, how about some bird art? No, not an original piece of expensive artwork, but a quality print. Whether your recipient favors waterfowl, gamebirds, raptors, shorebirds, hummingbirds, orioles, or warblers, the options are vast. Just search online! 

Bird t-shirt — Yes, lovely bird t-shirts are often perfect gifts. In fact, you can combine the previous two suggestions — the "Duck Stamp" and bird art — in one t-shirt purchase. Buy a t-shirt with a Duck Stamp design on it! You can find one here: http://www.friendsofthestamp.org

Bird Feeder - Few backyards are so full of bird feeders that another one 
wouldn't help. Another tube feeder? A suet feeder? A hopper feeder? 

Bird Seed — And there should be quality feed to fill those feeders. A large bag or two of high-quality bird seed can go a long way. Think especially about getting black-oil sunflower or Nyjer. 

Window Protection — Birdseed and feeders are great gifts, but they can also attract birds to potentially dangerous windows, a situation with creates unfortunate collisions. Short of retrofitting entire windows, some outdoor hanging bird-screens or large "one-way-view" stickers or films can alleviate the situation. These are fine gifts for the season. 

Catio — Also in the realm of backyard bird protection, there is the opportunity to address the issue of outdoor cats. There are an estimated 84 million pet cats in the U.S., and perhaps 36 million of them are let outside to roam. This is deadly for our wild birds. Now cat owners who wish to allow their cats outdoors have a bird-safe alternative. These are called a "catios," and they come in a variety of configurations available in various sizes and finishes. Check out these two sources for catio ideas: Catio Spaces and Catio Showcase.

Optics Gear — No, it doesn't necessarily have to be new binoculars, but it could be associated optic gear. How about a new binocular strap-harness? A traveling case? A quality cleaning kit? 

Field Guide — There are so many excellent field guides out today that it may be hard to choose. But pick one that fits the individual recipient. For kids? Try a Thompson guide. Otherwise, you might consider a National Geographic, a Kaufman, a Sibley, a Crossley, a Stokes, or even a classic and ever-reliable Peterson. They all have their own individual advantages. 

American-grown Rice — A festively-wrapped bag of fine American-grown rice is another great gift that sends a message about habitat for our wetland-associated birds (waterfowl, shorebirds, long-legged waders, and more). No other mass-produced U.S. crop can claim to have such benefits for our birds. 

Gift Membership or Subscription — There are a number of bird, nature, and conservation organizations or magazines that offer special annual gift memberships or subscriptions at this time of year. This is sometimes an ideal quick solution to your shopping problems, and the recipient is often contacted directly about your thoughtful gift. 


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