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

Purple Martin festival in June

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: March 13, 2015 - 10:26 AM

The fourth annual Outdoor Purple Martin Festival will be held in Columbia, S.D. (near Aberdeen) Saturday, June 13. Tickets can be purchased online at https://purplemartindakotas.yapsody.com/.

This is a chance to learn more about the birds and their ecological benefits. A hands-on how-to will introduce attendees to creation and maintenance of a martin colony, one box or more.

Martins are cavity nesters that need human assistance given the lack of natural cavities that would accommodate this colonial species. Martins also are prodigious consumers of flying insects. They make wonderful backyard guests, but do prefer nesting locations near water.

Breakfast and lunch socials will be available. Festival hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Overnight accommodations can be found by contacting the Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau: http://www.visitaberdeensd.com.

Another attraction is Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a wonderful birding location. It’s located a few miles north of Columbia. Visit there on Sunday. Columbia is about a four-hour drive from the Twin Cities.

For more information, contact Perry D. Vogel, president of the Purple Martin Association of the Dakotas, and festival co-founder. His phone number is (218) 791-3689, email perry@purplemartindakotas.org. 

The event will take place at the residence of Paul and Joy Mammenga, 12345 396th Ave, Columbia.

You can find martin nesting equipment and supplies at www.shop.PurpleMartinDakotas.org.

Above, a pair of Purple Martins on the porch of their home. Below, a multi-cavity box hosting several pairs of martins. Martins also nest in simple gourd-shaped plastic houses hung from a pole. Examples of these can be seen at Memory Lake in Grantsburg, Wis. The box below is part of a martin colony maintained at the public beach in Wayzata.

CO2 for March 9 -- 401.84 ppm

Posted by: Jim Williams Updated: March 10, 2015 - 10:04 PM

Carbon dioxide content in the air was 401.84 parts per million (ppm) on March 9. Measurements are taken daily at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. A year ago the measurement was 398.40 ppm. The annual daily CO2 content in 2014 was 398.55. For 2013 the number was 396.48. The value for the first week of March 10 years ago was 381.56. 


The project is under the direction of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego. You can find more information at www.http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/data/in_situ_co2/weekly_mlo.csv%20

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.)


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