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

Vivid photos showing bird-window collisions

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: February 20, 2015 - 1:06 PM

Large photos of birds colliding with windows are featured in a new exhibit at the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota. The images were created by artist Miranda Brandon who used dead birds collected from downtown Minneapolis streets after they collided with windows there. The show is entitled, “Impact — Birds in the Human-built World.” Brandon arranged the dead birds for her camera to show the moment of impact. The photos are far larger than life, making the death scenes very vivid. The twisted bodies of the birds leave no question about the force of impact and its result. The exhibit opened on Feb. 14. It continues until April 19. Brandon is a volunteer in the BirdSafe program working to eliminate or reduce hazards to migrating birds, particularly in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Most of the bird deaths occurring in our two downtowns happen during spring migration. Birds fly into windows thinking the reflected image is reality. BirdSafe is a project of the Bell museum, Audubon Minnesota, and other partners. Also on display in the exhibit are various window treatments designed to warn birds away from collisions.

The photos above and below show two window-glass treatments designed to warn birds away possible collision.

CO2 for Feb. 11 -- 400.86 parts per million

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: February 13, 2015 - 1:51 PM

 

The reading for this date in 2014 was 397.89

Graph from the Keeling Curve web site, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Go to https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/
Also see CO2NOW.org

A stated goal is reduction of CO2 to 350 parts per million

Beautiful artwork on duck-stamp poster

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: February 2, 2015 - 11:39 PM

Like the artwork on duck stamps? You can buy a beautiful poster showing illustrations of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, aka duck stamps. You buy them wholesale, with a $100 minimum purchase, so get some birding friends or club members together. (Just want one? See below.)

Feenixx Publishing sells the posters. Go to http://www.feenixx.com/birds/Duck%20Stamps%20Poster.htm

Or, reach Feenixx by phone, 855-333-6499. They take credit cards.

The poster shows all the stamps, up to three years ago, and also explains the stamp's history and purpose.
 
Your minimum purchase comes to $102 for 14 laminated posters. With shipping it’s $110. (Non-laminated posters also are available.) This might even be a club money-maker.
 
Buy them singly from Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp (check the web site; join the group). It has about a dozen of these posters, so act quickly. Send $15 to the Friends with a note saying you want a poster. The address is:
    Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp
    P.O. Box 2143
    Columbia, MD 21045
 
The poster shows the history of a landmark in wildlife art, and it promotes a good cause, one of my favorites. Below is an illustration of the poster.

(Thanks for Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp founder Paul Baicich for this information.)

Duck stamps for birders

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: February 1, 2015 - 2:43 PM

Now more than ever it’s important that you, someone who finds pleasure in birds, buy a duck stamp, officially known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. 

It’s important because duck stamp money, as you know, is used to buy and lease land for national wildlife refuges and waterfowl management land. Hunting is an issue for some birders. The issue should be the rapid and ongoing loss of waterfowl habitat, land better called just plain bird habitat. It’s being drained and planted with corn and soybeans. Birders need to step up because the number of waterfowl hunters — the people who have carried this effort for decades, is declining at an alarming rate. 

In the past 30 years sale of the stamp, required to hunt waterfowl, has declined by 700,000. That’s  a loss of more than $10 million annually. That’s a lot of habitat, land used by far more non-game birds — songbirds — than waterfowl. 

Stamp sales to hunters are down for two basic reasons: first, hunters are getting old, dying, and not being replaced by the sons and nephews who once shared hunting experiences with fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. Also, the loss of waterfowl nesting habitat means fewer waterfowl — ducks mostly — fewer to hunt. 

Great efforts to turn this around are being made by organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and Pheasants Forever. They need our help, though. They need us to buy the stamp, and/even join their organizations and support their efforts. 

The price of the stamp was raised last year, by Congress, from $15 to $25. What really increases is our chance to contribute more to the land-purchase efforts. 

In mid-December, on the Outdoors pages of the StarTribune a headline read, “Empty skies, and diminishing hopes.” Aging hunters and lack of birds are prime reasons for that. Whatever the issue, stamp money is a simple, direct, non-political way to make a difference. 

Most post offices and many stores selling hunting equipment have stamps for sale. Buy one. Buy two and give one to a child, explaining why the stamp is important, and perhaps help build a better future for birds of all kinds. 

It’s a simple habitat issue. Less habitat, fewer birds of any kind. Birders have as large a stake and as important a role in saving habitat as do hunters. Birders have the growing numbers. We have to do our share.

399.98 CO2 ppm for week ending Jan. 29

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: January 31, 2015 - 11:15 AM

Graph taken from web page of CO2Now.org, Mauna Loa CO2 Board, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. More information at https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/

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