Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't Quit - Words to Live By

This poem is one that has been around - author is unknown. It came to my attention when Ben Roethlisberger brought it to his locker. His coach at Miami, OH, who later died of brain cancer, used to read it to the team. Though it is was used in a football context, it can be applied in anything life sends your way.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Even the Birds Love Steelers!

It's been a busy week and I was thinking about what I need to get together to post here. Friend Sharon sent me the absolute best thing possible - a blog post of Birds and Steelers!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stairway to Seven

Though I'd love to take credit for that cool subject line, it was a headline this morning. Nothing birds today, folks. Just an amazing season capped by a great couple of post-season wins. All of these Superbowl trips are special. This one started out with a deficit in QB, and some questions after an 8-8 season last year. But this proves why we are who we are - it is a team, it is facing adversity, it is collectively learning where the deficiencies are and addressing them, and it is every man stepping up to contribute when called on.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lowry banding 1-15-11

Lowry Nature Center had their monthly banding session this past weekend. We expected to see the usual residents - Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals and the like. Had some wonderful treats of American Tree Sparrows - anyone reading the blog knows my soft spot for Sparrows. Since it was cold out (read about 10 above), as all responsible bird banders do, we adjusted what we did to make sure the birds were not put at a disadvantage. (Dead birds really wouldn't do much for our pursuit of information about them.) Since feathers were evolved to aid in insulation, if we used nets, it would "ruffle" their feathers, and we didn't want them to lose any of their precious body heat. So - we use Potter traps. These are basically small wire cages with a trap door. We set them on top of feeders. When the bird steps on the little door, the door shuts, not injuring the bird, and we can safely get the birds from inside the traps.

First couple of photos show not only what the traps look like, but just how many customers we had. Chickadees and Sparrow in first one - male and female Cardinal with Sparrow in the second.

The third picture gives you a good look at what the door looks like - if this Chickadee steps on it, his own weight will make it shut.

Can you see the band on the Chickadee's leg? It tells us that this bird was not so unduly traumatized by his banding experience that he doesn't still stay around. You can also see in the enlarged last photo how safe the bands are - there is space between the band and the bird's leg, and obviously not altering his ability to go about his business.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Amber authored

Should have some fun images after this weekend. In the meantime - here is the Fall/Winter Raptor Center Raptor Release Newsletter. I have a few articles and photos in here!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More cool migration info

Check out this cool migration article on European robins. Don't be surprised if you hear me talking about this in the migration class I am teaching through Columbia Heights Community Education. I am teaching a Bird Feeding class Tuesday, March 8; a Bird Migration class Thursday April 7 (with field trip that Saturday; and Raptors in Minnesota class Thursday, April 21 (field traip that Saturday). You can download the pdf of the brochure - or register online - or call 763-528-4517. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Biofuel development and grassland birds

It may sound at odds with itself, but here is a great article that presents benefit to grassland birds in the pursuit of biofuel development. (I included a photo of a Field Sparrow here because they are a grassland nester and I had a photo handy, not because they are in dire breeding straits.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blackbird Mystery

UPDATE - now it is closer to 5,000 birds - and they are Red-winged -

No more info on which species of "blackbird" - more than 1,000 dead birds fall from the sky in Arkansas.