March 2006 Report

March Report 2006

Photo by Antonio Celis in El Cuyo, Yucatan, Fall 2005

February 2006 Report

Photo © Michael Osterreich, Focus on Nature Photography
St. Louis, Missouri 2006

Gone Fishing.
Please visit again.

December 2005/January 2006 Report

Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Holiday Cogitation

Birds are intelligent. Itís official. Research is in. Can we have caring concern for thinking and feeling creatures? Read on.

November 2005 Report

Photo © Michael Osterreich, Focus on nature photography
Castlewood Park, MO 2004

A chance to plant for returning Spring birds:

      Faced with a hurricane torn Gulf Coast, from Texas to Alabama, migrating songbirds, hummingbirds, hawks and owls east of the Mississippi have managed passage through Alabama and Florida, apparently in good numbers. Those following the Mississippi Flyway through Louisiana and Mississippi have had poorer chances. The U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service ordered the closing of 16 national wildlife refuges in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana because of damage. Spring will tell how many of our birds make it back to us. You can still plant bird-friendly (with fruit, berries, insects, nectar) trees and shrubs for their return. The first 40 to 100 miles inland are critical. See list below.


October 2005 Report

Give the Gulf Coast back to the birds and the turtles.

Without restoration and protection, we will lose the migrating songbirds of North America.

September 2005 Report

Fall Migration Begins Unaware Birds must pass through Gulf Coast

"O, God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small."

August 2005 Report

The Heat Beats on... - August 2005 Report

Small trees for the backyard
Remember: No trees, no birds. No birds, no trees!
Reminders: Keep cats indoors
Fall Hummingbird feeders out
Bird News: Eminent Domain rules; "Development" continues

June-July 2005 Report

Memorial Day Weekend - June/July 2005

April-May 2005 Report

Spring has Sprung. Babies are Coming. Migration is in Full-Tilt Boogie.

March-April 2005 Report

MARCH, the tangled month of winter cold with hints of Spring.

February 2005 Report

Think "location" in quail estate, too

January 2005 Report

Quail-friendly farming pays

Do these two pests look too familiar?

December 2004 Report

Good Ideas for the Holidays

Good books about birds, naturalism, and conservation.

November 2004 Report

It's Still A Beautiful Country

Fall 2004 Report

Back by Popular Demand

A review of some of our favorite past reports.

August 2004 Report

Paving Our Way Out of Greenery

From the Christian Science Monitor:
"An environmentalist's protest song laments that we're 'using up the world.' Two new maps of human environmental impact now make that point graphically."

Spring-Summer Report 2004

Sermon On A Twig

Birds of the Middle East

Holiday Report 2003-2004:


Astronomers reported this fall (2003) (25th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Sydney, Australia) that the world's most powerful telescopes can view approximately 70 sextillion -- that's 7 followed by 22 zeros -- stars in the known Universe. The Los Angeles Times suggests there are more stars in the sky (that we can see) than there are grains of sand in every beach and desert on Earth.

In this immensity, what are we?

November 2003 Report

Fall Slides Into Winter:
Goldfinches Change Their Brilliant Yellow for Khaki Winter Drab

Rare Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie

Harry Needed a Sweater

Winter Days Get Shorter

Woodpecker Bills are Important

Sandhill Cranes Choose Choice Habitat in Florida As New Winter Home - Florida Update on Whooping Crane Experiment

Spring and Summer Birds, Where are they now?

October 2003 Report

Young Sandhill Cranes Choose Choice Habitat in Florida as New Winter Home - With Help

Better Farming May Be Coming? - New computer can protect groundwater from pesticide and fertilizer runoff.

How to Transplant Shrubs and Save Money

September 2003 Report

If Birds Can Do It, What's Wrong With Us?
© Dawn di Lorenzo
Fall Migration of Our Birds: What's New in the Tropics?

July-August 2003 Report

  Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Photo Courtesy Jim Rathert, Missouri Department of Conservation,
How Do You Band a Hummingbird?
(Visit a Master Bander, Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, MO, June 28, 2003.)

Still News: Deer Drive Out Breeding Birds - Bambies need culling

Remarks of Teresa Heinz, April 23, 2003, Missouri Botanical Garden - Recipient of the 2003 World Ecology Award from the International Center for Tropical Ecology, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Agri/Chemical Industry Continues to Implode Environment: Update

June 2003 Report

Photo courtesy Jim Rathert,
Missouri Department of Conservation

The Greater Road-Runner (Geococcyx californianus)

West Nile Protection - some very good tips from Progressive Farmer magazine

News Worth Noting

Gouache, Watercolor, and Pencil Bird Prints to support Scholarships

May 2003

Summer Tanager, June fledgling.
Photo courtesy Jim Rathert,Missouri Department of Conservation

According to naturalist Scott Wiedensaul, (Living on the Wind Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, 1999) "slender as a matchstick", a string of Gulf barrier islands stretch along the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, anchored by pine and live-oak forests.1

"A number of these gems enjoy federal protection.... [However], back around 1971, when the Department of the Interior was assembling Gulf Islands National Seashore, the state of Alabama... opted itself out of the effort to preserve the best offshore and coastline stretches. As a result, the National Seashore... skips entirely over Alabama's 55-mile coast and resumes again on the Florida side of Perdido Key. [Areas like Gulf Shores, AL, and Dolphin Island across the Bay have] grown thick with more than 1000 vacation and retirement homes, T-shirt shacks, and hamburger stands."2 In addition, "along Interstate 10, which parallels tne coast, you're hardly ever out of sight of a billboard proclaiming this and that Casino, with more popping up like mushrooms after a rain."3

Does this matter? Here is the nut: "Increasingly, [our migratory] birds must rely on the few bits of protected, public land, like the Barrier Chain of Gulf Islands National Seashore, but they may be a poor substitute for the rapidly dissappearing hardwood forests on the mainland. Researchers found that most songbirds stopping on Horn and East Ship Islands left quickly, and those that stayed gained little, if any, weight. (Those that do not gain enough weight cannot go on to reproduce.) Songbirds stopping in Live-Oak and Hackberry forests, on the other hand, stayed and an average of two days, gaining three to five percent of their weight in fat per day. The difference appeared to be the habitat. The Hardwood forests had an abundance of high-quality food, such as caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects, that the dry, pine-covered islands simply don't provide. Lovely and undisturbed, though they are, the islands offer little more than a landing place for weary migrants...."

Here is the garrote: Landfall on the Barrier Islands, even those that are protected, is not sufficient now or in the future to ensure the safety and recovery of Trans-Gulf migratory breeding birds. This is the choke point. If these special habitats along our coasts are not protected, our songbirds fail.

-- Wild Birds for the 21st Century

1. p. 250-251
2. p. 250
3. p. 266

April 2003 Report, Part 1

Comic Birds are Serious Nesters

April 2003 Report, Part 2


Gulf Shores, AL pier with Laughing Gulls. Photo Courtesy: Joan C. Heidelberg.

Spring Migration - Flight for Life Across the Gulf

Many neotropical migrants (about 300 of the 650 bird species that nest in North America), such as warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and swallows, are some of the best possible insect controllers, eating tons of insects annually. Neotropical migrants, such as thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and vireos, are also among the most beautiful birds in the world, both in song and color. Here are a few:


Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Painted Bunting

Black hooded Warbler

Hermit Thrush

Indigo Bunting

Worm Eating Warbler

Red-eyed Vireo

Field Sparrow

Orchard Orioles

Gray Catbird

Summer Tanager

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Palm Warbler

Prothonotary Warblers

Scarlet Tanager

Summer Tanager / Scarlet Tanager

Black-whiskered Vireo

March 2003 Report


March, the changeling month. First snow; then Spring, and life's Great Return begins.

Human denizens of the East Coast, and parts of the West, like to consider the in between states to be "fly over" territory. That's probably ok. It leaves the greatest migratory fly-way in America - the Mississippi - to the rest of us.

Come to the Midwest! This month alone ducks and geese are pouring North. In Missouri, Great Blue Herons have been arriving for weeks. Bluebird and Wood duck nest boxes are up; barred owls are nesting. Cottontails, for better or worse, have had their first litters. Bald eagles are incubating. Field sparrows are back. American woodcocks are courting. Last week male red-winged blackbirds arrived to set up territories - the ladies will arrive later. Greater prairie-chickens are "booming"; turkeys gobbling. Purple martin houses should be up by St. Patricks's day.

March 20th, come snow or warmth, is the first day of Spring. Also the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are of equal length. Horned larks will be flocking; gooseberries blooming; swallows, double-crested cormorants and Phoebes returning. A torrent of migrants are on their heels as we move into April. Ospreys leave; Kingfishers arrive. White Pelicans - White Pelicans??? - are pouring through the Missouri and the Mississippi on their way North. Wildflowers and butterflies, Peepers and mushrooms. Bats leaving hibernation caves. Not so much as you'd notice, outlanders. So "fly over." The best are here and coming....

Eastern Meadowlark ponders weather and an urge to sing.Photo, Jim Rathert

White Pelicans? in Missouri??

Some Things to Sing About  

* Black-capped Chickadee, Photo Courtesy Matt Miles, P.O. Box 73, Rogersville, MO 65742
** Source: Missouri Department of Conservation





February 2003 Report

In Memory of Our Lost Astronauts

You may have seen the following quoted in part.
We'd like to offer it to you in full:

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,

I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

What they could see from space is still ours to love.

Wild Birds for the 21st Century
St. Louis, MO

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