|Photo: Kara K.|
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
American Robin. Three strikes were reported around the same time at this building. Unfortunately this one was not able to fly away.
The person who reported these strikes said the bird "initially looked like it knocked itself out and then was trying to regain its senses, made its way to where it finally died."
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Baltimore and Washington DC Lights Out Programs
"Perhaps none of this would be happening without citizen-scientists dedicated to a rather morbid avocation, folks who soon will take to the streets again to document the deadly toll the buildings of Washington and Baltimore will have on the spring migration."
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Thanks to UV vision, birds see the world very differently than we do
Birds and UV Light: The Eyes Have It
How do birds detect ultraviolet (UV) light?
To answer this question you must understand avian eye structure. The human retina has three kinds of cone cells (receptors used for color vision): red, green and blue. By contrast, birds active during the day have four kinds, including one that’s specifically sensitive to UV wavelengths. There’s another difference: In birds, each cone cell contains a tiny drop of colored oil that human cells lack. The oil drop functions much like a filter on a camera lens. The result is that birds not only see UV light, they are much better than humans at detecting differences between two similar colors.
What does the world look like to a bird with UV vision? “We can’t imagine,” says Auburn University ornithologist Geoffrey Hill. Since birds can detect more colors than humans can, scenes may appear more varied. And colors that already are bright to human eyes are—if amplified by UV reflectance—probably even brighter to birds.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
From: American Bird Conservancy
Birds inspire us.
Birds inspire us.
Our affection for birds dates to the dawn of our species. Eagles, doves, and ravens permeate our history, cultures, and religions. Images of cranes, falcons, geese, and parrots adorn the walls of Neolithic caves, Egyptian pyramids, Mayan temples—and most American homes today. Storks deliver us at birth and owls mourn our deaths. Each new generation marvels at the beauty of birds and their ability to fly away, leaving us simply to wonder.
Birds are indicators of environmental hazards.
Because they are sensitive to habitat change and are easy to census, birds are the ecologist's favorite tool. Changes in bird populations are often the first indication of environmental problems. Whether ecosystems are managed for agricultural production, wildlife, water, or tourism, success can be measured by the health of birds.
Protecting birds promotes good land stewardship.
Birds have been a driving force behind the American conservation movement since its early days, when unregulated hunting, use of toxic pesticides, and destruction of wetlands threatened our wildlife and wild places. The environmental problems we face today are even more complex, and we need a new generation of committed conservationists to counter them.
Birds are a tremendous economic resource.
Forty-six million Americans watch birds. Birders are the market for a burgeoning industry, spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year feeding birds, purchasing equipment, and traveling in pursuit of birds. This economic force—and the benefits birds provide in insect and rodent control, plant pollination, and seed dispersal—add value to sustaining birds and their habitats.
But most of all, we have a moral obligation.
As stewards of our planet, we have an absolute ethical obligation to maintain all other species regardless of their functional values. We should no more allow the loss of species than destroy a masterpiece of art. The very least our generation can do is to ensure our children inherit as much as we have now.