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In The News
October 01, 2012
(I different use for old pallets.)
What a glorious past week weather wise.
Mornings have cool and sometimes crisp, yet I can still take my evening walks most nights without a jacket.
Windows remain open and the sounds of birds continue to fill the air.
Listen to the fledged American goldfinches continues to put a smile on my face.
The load and ruckus sound of Blue Jays that were noticeably absent for much of the year are now back, as Blue Jays are forming loose flocks.
Cardinals are lacking (there are a couple that do show), as they always disappear during molt.
They will be back.
Belted Kingfishers are loud as they fly around the ponds.
My loving bride and I also managed a day in downtown Grand Rapids as it is indeed that time of year.
ARTPRIZE is in Full Swing.
Today's pictures are a bit of the artwork on display.
Nature and Wildlife is a big part of the art scene this year.
Once again, a couple of pencil drawings or work steal the show.
I will be surprised if the one with the elephants doesn't win (she's from California).
The artist of 'City Band' won two years ago and is a local art professor
Winning artist gets 250,000 dollars so you can see why artists come from all over the globe.
(Bogie air brushed onto a motorcycle.)
Yard work is now in full swing.
Cutting down select plants and picking up yard art is done at a leisurely pace.
I don't know how much of it is reluctance on my part, or simply enjoying every day I can right now.
Maybe some of each.
Every now and then, I still see a lone Monarch butterfly drifting south.
I haven't seen a hummingbird now for the past 3 days.
That doesn't mean there isn't a stray or two, however.
It is interesting to watch the hummers.
The resident birds, looking plump and healthy, left in early September.
A day or two later, a small wave of replacements took over my yard.
Skinny and hungry, the transients hung around for another 10 to 14 days.
Filling up and plumping up.
Besides being skinny, it took this wave several days to visit the feeders.
Another day of no hummers, and one or two make an appearance to our still flower filled yard.
This time, not one noticeable visit to a feeder.
(Flight: several over sized birds flying through a park. Bigger seems to be better.)
Skinny and hungry, the hummer(s) are busy in the flower gardens.
It is entertaining and educational to watch a hummingbird feed almost non stop as it doubles its weight for the next leg of the journey.
Three waves of hummers in my Southwest Michigan yard.
I can only imagine how they must funnel through to their winter home, and the weeks of enjoyment as wave after wave make their way through Texas.
Still, there have been years when I have had hummers well into October?
Could this be one of those years?
The second week of May seems so far away to wait for my next hummingbird sighting.
This weeks letter,
'In The News'
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
(Bear made of Pine needles, quite impressive up close.)
For the past few years I have made comments about 'Genetic Altered' or 'Genetic Modified Seeds' (GMOs).
Seeds injected so plants are not fazed by killers such as Round-up.
Not only does this make it possible for farmers to spray weeds (no milkweed for butterflies), I've mentioned a few few times how we ingest this product.
Can you imagine what long term effects it may have on humans and wildlife?
Well, now we may have the answer.
September 19, 2012,
A recent French study and report shows.
Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.
The photo released by the French research team, showing large cancer tumors growing at a strongly heightened risk in rats fed a "lifetime" of Monsanto's GM corn, is shown below. According to that study,70% of females died premature and showed significant damage to their liver, kidneys and other organs.
Russia has banned the import of GMOs and France is seeking a European-wide ban as well.
Folks, we consume GMOs in our cereal, beef, pork and chicken (unless you eat organic).
We aren't lab rats, and we may never ingest as much as is fed to the rats, but it gives you an idea.
A side note:
Expect the price of bird food to increase as the year goes on (corn is already at a record high).
With this year's drought and the commodity market, I do expect more increases.
On the lighter side.
An Oil Company Doing Some Good:
Last year, a colony of endangered Whooping Cranes were reintroduced to the state of Louisiana.
The program was set up by the 'Louisiana Department of Wildlife and fisheries in hope of educating people about this rare and endangered species.
26 birds were released last year in the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.
16 of the birds survived the wild.
Two cranes however, were shot and killed by some youngsters, the rest perished from sickness or simply couldn't survive.
Hopefully the cranes will continue to grow in numbers and education improves.
The program was funded by a $125,000 grant from 'Chevron'.
Nature needs more help like this.
(The Chase: Eight Alaskan wolves and one bull moose. Yes, they are real.)
Bird Migration Tracked by NASA:
In partnership with 'The Nature Conservancy', NASA will use its Radar to track bird migration, as part of a program to track rainfall.
The NASA program and radar is designed to improve weather tracking by combining radar and satellite data.
NASA states that the system is so accurate, it can see individual raindrops.
Now it is also being used to track birds migrating Along the Virginia coastal region.
(It seems more NASA radar is used for tracking as well.)
NASA scientists are able to remove rain data from bird data.
Ornithologists are hoping to learn where birds roost and how large the flocks are.
Who knows, if all goes well, this technology will be used elsewhere in the near future.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if one day they can even tell what species of bird they track.
(Elephants, a massive pencil mural I'm thinking a good 35 feet long and 10+ feet high.)
All the major Trade shows have come and gone for the Bird Feeding Industry.
You can expect new and even improved feeders on the market this fall (just in time for Christmas).
'Droll Yankees' has a couple of new products to offer.
First one is (I like this idea).
'Droll Yankees' has partnered with 'Microban' to produce 21 different sizes and styles of bird feeders that integrate antimicrobial technology into the feeder itself.
The technology will reduce the growth of mold and mildew that is harmful to our birds.
(This doesn't mean no more cleaning, you will still need to clean feeders on a regular basis.)
This does offer a bit of a safeguard for mold and mildew in between cleanings.
The antimicrobial agent is built right into the tubes, so it wont wash off or wear off over time.
Yes, it is safe for birds.
And tube will remain clear over time.
Good Job Droll Yankees.
Droll Yankees has also rolled out a line feeders with possibly your teams colors.
16 different color combos are offered.
So, if you're a Lion, Tiger, Elephant (Crimson Tide), Gator,
Still, there may be something if you're a Corn Husker, Sooner, Golden Domer, Sparty, Trojan, Boiler Maker, Wolverine and even if you're a Nut (Buckeyes).
Check them out if this is for or your favorite sports fan.
Now you can cheer on your team and backyard birds.
Droll Yankees doesn't sell to Big Box Stores.
you will need to visit a specialty store or their web address for more information.
Before I go, here is your thought for the week.
When you take a risk and step out of the norm, you run the risk and sometimes you fail. But you only fail if you give up.
What if God gave up?
What if Jesus packed it in?
Instead, he laid down his life for all of us.
The thief comes only to steal
John 10:10 (NIV)
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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