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Fall Migration Begins. Part 3, Orange crate time
October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian friends Monday, October 13th.

Fall colors are still slow to arrive, but there is a splash of color here and there.

What a near perfect week weather wise.

I don't know if the past week was considered an Indian summer without a killing frost, but what a wonderful October week it was.

The weekend was in the upper 70's and Sunday topped out ar 82 degrees.

It was rare treat for this time of year.

Today promises to another warm one too.

The bees were are very active and what a plelant surprise to see so many honey bees this fall.

A few Monarch butterflies are still hanging around as they nectar up on the remaining fall blooms.

There was even a toad I disturbed when I was mowing the lawn.

Goldfinches are still plentiful, even some fledglings.

Robins are becoming more plentiful as well.

Pre-migrating birds are hitting my feeders, especially the Red-winged blackbirds.

How is your bird activity?

Do you still have hummers?

Any new visitors this past week or two?

Make sure to offer fresh water for your birds.

A fresh, sparkling drink will attract more migrators and more often than a good buffet table.

Continue to groom your flower and vggie gardens.

Remove diseased foliage and throw it in the trash.

As time goes on, turn over your vegetable gardens and feel free to add some good organic matter like grass clippings, leaves, manure, etc.

By Spring, the matter will have decayed or composted into the soil making in richer and more workable.

I like to keep flowers blooming as long as possible.

Not only for our enjoyment, but for the bees, butterflies and whatever is passing through.

It is always a sad day when A hard frost or freeze takes care of the last flower.

Sandhill Cranefest.

What a wonderful weekend it was to enjoy these giant birds.

Cranes were everywhere.

In the sky.

Foraging in fields.

Hanging out in the Marshland at Audubon's Baker Sanctuary.

When it gets toward dusk, the Cranes come in to roost in the protected areas of the wetlands.

Last year, over 8,000 Sandhills were counted in early November.

A huge difference from the fisrt count of 19 pair back in 1949.

If you get a chance to observe these gentle giants, do so.

Another pleasant count was on Michigan's Kirtland's warbler.

1,791 singing males were counted this year.

Assuming there is a female for every male, that put the adult population at about 3,582.

The warbler hit a low of 167 males in 1987.

Once a Michigan only bird, singing male Kirtland's warbler was also found in Ohio, Wisconsin and Ontario.

They winter in the Bahamas so they do have a long trip there and back every year.

Why is it a species has to be in trouble before it really gets noticed?

We've come a long way, but far from being out of danger.

This will be an interesting week for me as I finish the series on migration and test my faith.

So let's get to the main story.

It's now mid October and migration is in full swing.

You may have a handful of Warblers visiting for a couple of days.

You may see an open field or marsh alive with thousands of birds.

Or, migration may be a few Turkey vultures circling above as they catch a thermal heading South.

It may be a single hummingbird heading for its winter home.

You can see migration just about everywhere this time of year.

On a calm, quiet night, step outside and you may hear the sounds of wings or the chirps of birds in the night sky.

Fall migration is a busy, yet sad time of year for many of us. Yes, we lose many of our feathered friends.

Colorful friends with songs that bring smiles to your face.

Sure we get winter migrators that help to liven up the winter landscape, but they aren't as pretty and the songs seem to lack that certain something.

As you may know by now, migration is a mix of internal stimulus dictated by the length of day or lack of daylight hours.

This results in a feeding binge to put on fat to survive the journey and then the tendency for most species of birds to aggregate into flocks.

Once the pre-migration flock is gathered, the feeding continues while the birds wait for suitable weather conditions.

Something interesting is, some birds molt before migration, other birds molt once they reach there winter homes and still other birds like Barn swallows molt during migration.

You wont see dust settling on swallows that's for sure.

They eat on the fly and have no time for a molt.

I digress.

While the birds internal clock probably releases the hormonal triggers at a fairly accurate date each year.

Though availability of food and the presiding weather conditions sometimes decide when the migration starts.

For most birds, migration South is at a more leisurely pace than heading North.

Birds stop to feed and rest, maybe make a few friends along the way :-)

Robins for example may travel an average of 12 to 15 miles a day, or as needed.

In my yard, White-crowned sparrows will hang out around here from two to four weeks before moving on.

Most flights occur at between 600 and 5000 feet above sea level with an average height of 1525 feet. (Now how do they figure that out?)

However, mountains may mean greater heights of several thousand feet.

Weather Influences Bird Migration.

Birds respond to weather conditions as well as light when deciding when to depart a summer or winter range.

An early spring with unusually warm temperatures can trigger early departure and early breeding. Likewise, extended bad weather or a cool spring can delay things.

Visa versa for fall travel.

Birds generally wait for good weather with favorable winds.

They avoid rain, overcast conditions, and winds that might blow them off course.

As a result, good weather triggers a wave of departures, with large groups of birds leaving at the same time and arriving at a stopover or destination together.

Most will stop to feed or wait out bad weather before moving on with another wave of migrants.

Climate and location also heavily influence fall migration for birds in the higher latitudes.

These birds arrive later, breed later, molt later, and leave later than the rest of the population.

Although most of our smaller birds make their longest flights at night, close observation shows travel is continued to some extent by day.

During the latter half of a migratory season birds may show evidence of an overpowering drive to hasten to their breeding grounds.

At this time flocks of birds maintain a movement in the general direction of the seasonal journey while feeding on or near the ground.

Sometimes they travel hurriedly, and while their flights may be short, they can cover an appreciable distance in the course of a day.

Scientists have been studying how birds find their way along these routes.

To successfully migrate from breeding grounds to winter grounds birds must be able to navigate (judge their position while traveling) and orient (determine compass direction).

Birds do this by using a variety of different cues which allows them to find their way in different weather and habitat conditions.

There are five main ways that birds navigate and orient themselves:

1) topographic features (things like mountains and rivers that can also influence wind direction).

2) stars. (the moon and planets differ each year and wouldn't make a good guiding light).

3) sun.

4) earth's magnetic field.

5) sense of smell.

Night migrators that use the stars to navigate have been known to spend the night if the sky is to cloudy.

Experiments show that most migratory birds have a built-in sense of direction and know innately which direction they need to travel.

First year Starlings in Europe kept in a covered cage and away from birds which have already migrated once or more, still move to the South side of the cage when the time comes for them to migrate.

Some birds appear to use landmarks and obviously at a height of several thousand feet they can see a considerable distance.

Here is another test.

Young crows born and raised in Alberta, Canada and then kept caged until after all the population had flown South and the first snows had fallen flew straight to Oklahoma where the rest of their flock was.

Some strong instincts there.

How about this test?

Is migration strictly instinct?

Mallards are migratory in Finland, but not in England.

Young hatched from eggs taken from English Mallards and put under Finish females had no problems migrating with the rest of the population.

No hard wire here.

For many species of birds, migration is indeed a learned thing.

the next time someone calls you a bird brain, thank them for the compliment.

Look at the survival instincts an adult bird has.

And how about the "GPS"?

If we had that ability to navigate, we wouldn't need road maps or a compass

Well, that about wraps up this short series on Fall migration.

I hope you learned a thing or two and maybe you were entertained some.

Now this is where I may get some of you angry and some will even cancel their subscription to this newsletter. It's orange crate time.

I enjoy a good documentary.

Often we see on Discovery, Animal Planet or National Geographic some really interesting shows on our planet and its inhabitants.

I enjoy the photography.

I am amazed at some of the theories.

Some of it could even be possible.

What I don't understand, is how they can make statements that all of this came about through evolution.

If there was a Big Bang, how did it come to be?

The theory that all life, past and present evolved from this?

My ancestors are trees and even single celled amoebas?

It is an insult to my intelligence.

Surely a higher intelligence and superior being had to put everything in motion.



Back in the 1960's, God was kicked out of our public school systems (look at what has happened since then).

No longer were we allowed to pray, some stopped saying the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag and Creation was no longer an option in the class room.

For more than two generations (40 plus years), most people have been, and are taught in school, from television shows and museums, that evolution explains our universe and all living things.

That evolution is a proven fact.

They have not been told about the problems with the theory of evolution, nor have they been given the opportunity to study the concept of "special creation" as a legitimate alternative.

Scientists want to have an answer for everything, and so the "best" theory is the accepted theory, regardless of its absolute merits.

Natural selection eliminates the weak and those "less fit", but if applied to society today, people like our daughter would be left to die.

How many of you have elderly, handi-capped or family memebers with other illnesses that require special care.

According to evolution, survival of the fittest should come to play.

But, we have a spirit and a conscious.

In addition, if man is viewed as a product of merely time and change, do morals or absolutes have any meaning?

The thought of a God or creator is taboo.

40 plus years of brain washing. Some fantastic documentarys and some off the wall theories have made Evolution the main stream thinking.

It is well documented that Charles Darwin was an athiest in every way.

His father was athiest and the crowd he hung out with was athiest.

It is beyond arrogance to think we humans are the supreme beings.

That we evolved. For some reason, many people feel that it is easier to accept evolution than it is to believe in creation.

They don't want to accept the fact that there is indeed a Creator.

A being with far more intelligence and greatness than us mere mortals.

Here are a few things to think about.

I like these.

Birds are said to have evolved from reptiles but no fossil has ever been found having a “half-scale/half-wing”. A reptile breathes using an “in and out” lung (like humans have), but a bird has a “flow-through” lung suitable for moving through the air.

Can you even imagine how such a transition of the lung could have taken place?


Abrupt appearance and stasis are consistent with creation “according to its kind”, and a world-wide flood that scoured the earth down to its basement rocks, depositing the “geologic column” and giving the appearance of a “Cambrian Explosion”.

Smarter, more mobile creatures would escape the flood waters longer, becoming buried in higher-level strata, leading to a burial order progressing from “simpler” forms to more complex/higher-level forms, which people now wrongly interpret as an evolutionary progression.

Many creatures reproduce ase*xually.

Why would animals abandon simpler reproduction in favor of more costly and inefficient reproduction?

Se*xual reproduction is a very complex process that is only useful if fully in place.

For se*xual reproduction to have evolved complimentary male and female se*x organs, sperm and eggs, and all the associated machinery in tandem defies the imagination.

> The instructions for how to build, operate, and repair living cells represent a vast amount of information (estimated at 12 billion bits).

Information is a mental, non-material concept.

It can "never" arise from a natural process and is "always" the result of an intelligence.

Life’s DNA itself is "not" the information, it is simply a "physical representation" or housing of the information.

Modifying the DNA via mutation can never produce new genetic information to drive upward evolution.

As a nurseryman, I see this all the time.

Modification happens in the plant world to alter leaf colors, plant smells etc.

Planting the seeds from these altered plants will still produce the original plant likeness, not the altered state.

> Dead chemicals cannot become alive on their own.

The cell is a miniature factory with many active processes, not a simple blob of “protoplasm” as believed in Darwin’s day.

Scientists in a lab will never be able to create life by mixing chemicals together.

They,ve tried.............

This is another view of the core issue of information as the simplest living cell requires a vast amount of information to be present.

The “Law of Biogenesis” states that life comes only from prior life.

Spontaneous generation has long been shown to be impossible (by Louis Pasteur in 1859).

Numerous efforts to bring life from non-life (including the famous Miller-Urey experiment) have not succeeded.

The idea that life on earth may have been seeded from outer space just moves the problem elsewhere.

>Design is apparent in the living world.

Even Richard Dawkins in his anti-creation book The Blind Watchmaker admits “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

>The Second Law of Thermodynamics refers to the universal tendency for things, on their own, to “mix” with their surrounding environment over time, becoming less ordered and eventually reaching a steady-state.

A glass of hot water becomes room temperature, buildings decay into rubble, and the stars will eventually burn out leading to the “heat death” of the universe.

However, the evolutionary scenario proposes that over time things, on their own, became more ordered and structured.

>Dozens of parameters are “just right” for life to exist on this planet.

For example, if the Earth were just a little closer to the Sun it would be too hot and the ocean’s water would boil away, much further and it would be covered continually in ice.

Earth’s circular orbit (to maintain a roughly constant temperature year-round), its rotation speed (to provide days and nights not too long or short).

Its tilt (to provide seasons), and the presence of the moon (to provide tides to cleanse the oceans) are just some of many other examples.

The oldest fossils for any creature are already fully-formed and don’t change much over time (“stasis”).

There is no missing link and never will be.

The “Cambrian Explosion” in the “primordial strata” documents the geologically rapid appearance of most major groups of complex animals.

There is no evidence of evolution from simpler forms.

Lightening striking a mud puddle or some “warm little pond” will never produce life.

Many scientists and doctors (past and present) believe in creation or at least in a superior being.

Because it is not main stream thinking, we seldom read about this.

Soren Lovtrup, Swedish scientist:

"I do not know when I first began to suspect that there is something questionable in the state of current evolutionary thought, but I know who aroused my suspicions - Karl Ernst von Baer and Richard B. Goldschmidt, and it is because I am an embryologist that their teachings had this effect."

"I came to understand that in the last century, hardly anybody, not even Darwin himself, believed that natural selection can accomplish all the events necessary for the occurrence of organic evolution."

"I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science."

Gitt Werner:

“The basic flaw of all evolutionary views is the origin of the information in living beings. It has never been shown that a coding system and semantic information could originate by itself in a material medium, and the information theorems predict that this will never be possible. A purely material origin of life is thus precluded.”

Werner Gitt started his career at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology. He retired in 2002.

If you are still with me........................

Do I believe in change?

Sure I do.

Our planet is alive and is changing every second of every day.

So too, are all of earth's inhabitants.

We are alive and are changing every day.

Our "Creator" put certain laws into motion that still continue today.

Look around you and you will see creation all the time.

Babies are born,

A fire creates new chances for reforestaion.

New stars are forming everyday.

I like using this one.................................

When NASA first gave the world the shot of deep space from Hubble Telescope, we saw a picture with thousands of galaxies spread throughout the pictures.

As NASA studied these pictures, They noticed the galaxies were in a nice grid pattern. "As if someone placed them there" according to one scientist

Yes, the galaxies and the univerese we live in, is in an orderly fashion, governed by God's laws.

Designed by his Greatness, for his pleasure as well as ours.

Throughout history, man, animals and even plant life have shown the ability to adapt some to certain situations. This ability to adapt is already in the DNA coding.

Adaptations take place only when and where needed.

So yes I believe in adaptation and change to a certain degree.

If you are still with me.....................................

Do I believe in evolution?

Not hardly.

If everything evolved over billions of years, why are there still single cell organisms?

Why am I here, yet my cousin the Maple tree is now someone's floor.

Why hasn't life gone extinct waiting for these changes to take place?

Birds and flowers co-evolving to benifit each other?

Get real.

I will continue to watch, read and learn.

Because I don't believe in evolution and hard wires. doesn't mean I can't learn and enjoy.

All to often, people that believe in Darwin go through life with blinders on.

Mention creation and they change the channel, put the book down or even cancel an E-zine they enjoyed until that "C" word was mentioned.

I have had readers cancel and even chastise me for using that word.

I will continue to have readers cancel.

One was an environmental scientist that enjoyed my writing until last Easter. Because of his/her job, he/she felt the need to believe in evolution, even though he/she enjoyed learning and the newsletters up to that point.

Even if we aren't holding hands on some issues, are you learning or enjoying the letters?

Do you enjoy most things in the newsletters?

Than why cancel over this?

Another reader canceled because he/she couldn't understand how a God would allow natural disasters to happen.

How do you explain to someone that we do live in a fallen world?

I believe in creation and a "Creator" (God).

Migrations, hibernations, you name it,

They are all created by God.

Hard wired or Created instincts?

I know where I stand.



I'm stepping down from my orange crate now.

I hope we are still friends.

Well, it's time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your thought of the week.

With the start of hockey season, I thought I would go with a quote from the "Great One".

You miss a hundred perecnt of the shots you never take.

Wayne Gretzky

What is he trying to say?

That we need to practice?

You wont score if you don't shoot the puck?

How about this.....................

You miss out on so many of life's oportunities if you are afraid to stretch and try something different.

You never know if you can do it, if you don't shoot the puck or go after any endevor in life.

Fear is a strong emotion that freezes our desires and abilities.

Make love and passion stronger emotions and go for it.

Face off with life's challenges.

Don't give up, never give up.

Shoot and shoot agsin until you light the lamp.

Than you will know you SCORE................

Now you have something to smile about, don't you?

Share your smile with friends and strangers.

Until next time my friend.

A very blessed week to you.

"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,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers. Better yet, have them sign up so they can recieve their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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