Sunday, September 14, 2014

The "Industrial Chickadee"

In my neighborhood, surrounded by many factories and a few foundries, there is very sparse bird activity except for flyover gulls, raptors, geese, and Mourning Doves, starlings, and House Sparrows. I have only had a chickadee here 4 or 5 times in many decades - each one appeared at this time of year, undoubtedly a dispersing juvenile. There was one here this week. There's no real "bird habitat" for many blocks, so, there's no reason for one to be here - except to disperse to somewhere else! Perhaps this is why I feel as strongly about protecting habitat as I do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

excellent video of Chimney Swifts at autumn roost in Janesville WI

To see the evening pre-roost behavior of Chimney Swifts at and near their roost chimney at an elementary school, go to this link. Thanks to Jodi Denker of Janesville for sharing this video. Total number of swifts entering the chimney: 860.

Friday, September 5, 2014

wind power and wildlife

An updated summary of wind power and wildlife information is available at the website of the American Wind - Wildlife Institute. 

 Summary of Wind-Wildlife Interactions -Wind Turbine Interactions with Wildlife and their Habitats: A Summary of Research Results and Priority Questions

 can be found at:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

a favorite long-distance migrant

Black-bellied Plover & American Golden-Plover - Wikim. Commons, D. Sherony

I had one of my favorite long-distance  migrants, (pictured at right in the photo), the American Golden-Plover, this morning on Hwy P north of Port Washington. Looking back in my records, I realized that I had not seen any individuals of this species in Ozaukee County in 28 years! And what an amazing species it is: the tremendous numbers we had before 1850 never fully recovered from the market-hunting days. Their long distance migration is staggering, with some birds traveling 8,000 miles +, one way. The Cornell "All About Birds" species account contains this fact: "Some adults arrive on the wintering grounds in southern South America before the last juveniles have left the Arctic." (

Thursday, July 31, 2014

my bird of the week - Winter Wren

Ph - Wikim. Commons - Ron Knight
In the forest on some of the Apostle Islands, this bird expresses the spirit of the place with its song:

Here's a great description of the Winter Wren's habitat, from the Bent life histories series: "To see it, or rather to hear its tinkling, rippling song, to best advantage, we must visit its summer haunts in the cool, shady northern forests, where the sunshine hardly penetrates, where rotting stumps and fallen tree trunks are thickly covered with soft mosses, where dampness pervades the atmosphere near babbling woodland brooks, and where a luxuriant growth of ferns springs from the accumulation of rich leaf mold to nearly hide the forest floor".

And it IS a spectacular song.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"to provide birds the best fighting chance of surviving threats, at least half of the boreal forest should be protected"

Worth reading, from the Boreal Songbird Initiative:

"To provide birds the best fighting chance of surviving the dual threats of habitat loss and climate change, at least half of the boreal forest should be protected from industrial development."