The Ovenbird gets its name from its unique nest, which looks like a domed oven. This inconspicuous, ground-nesting warbler is best-known for its emphatic and distinctive song—a series of progressively louder phrases often described as “teacher, teacher, teacher.”
Like the Wood Thrush and Kentucky, Cerulean, and Worm-eating Warblers, Ovenbirds require undisturbed expanses of forest for successful breeding. Although more flexible in habitat requirements on their wintering grounds, Ovenbirds and other Neotropical migratory species benefit from habitat conservation in these regions as well.
Ovenbirds spend much of their time walking (never hopping) along the forest floor, where they forage through the leaf litter for insects, spiders, snails, worms, and even small lizards. Since they nest on the ground, habitat fragmentation makes them especially vulnerable to brood parasites such as Brown-headed Cowbirds, and nest predators such as raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and snakes.
Neotropical migrants, including Ovenbirds, face a gauntlet of threats as they migrate; large numbers are killed by collisions with buildings and communications towers, and feral and free-ranging pet cats kill many others. Wintering Ovenbirds find refuge at Guatemala’s Sierra Caral Reserve and Nicaragua’s El Jaguar Reserve, both supported by ABC.
A brown bear tries to snatch a leaping salmon between its jaws in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Picture: Brice Petit / Barcroft Media (via Pictures of the day: 22 August 2014 - Telegraph)
It’s Time Again… Catch the Shorebird Migration!
by Rosemary w/ MassAudubon
The end of summer brings a new kind of beachgoer: waves of shorebirds that stop by Massachusetts (and other Northeastern states) beaches as they migrate south for the winter. This spectacle began in early July, and though we’re nearing the end of its peak (mid-August), it will continue through mid-November.
Migratory shorebirds can appear on practically any tidal wetland. Away from the coast, any muddy pond or lake shore will also often host small numbers of shorebirds during migration. While many shorebirds spend time in Massachusetts/the NE, here are five that you may see right about now…
(read more: MassAudubon)
The racist immigrants carry disease rhetoric is nothing new.
Perhaps we need a U.S. history lesson:
Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U.S. forged a program, through a series of agreements with Mexico’s PRI-dominated government, called the Bracero program. This program was used to fill in the gaps in manual labor the U.S. had after the war.
It sounds like a liberal dream: immigrants being given an opportunity to work in the “land of opportunity,” yet it was hardly that. The laborers were forced into horrible working conditions. Many died from exhaustion (often from working in the sun too long) from working in the fields picking food for the U.S. Many also suffered from disease.
The U.S. decided what was best for the issue of disease: a widespread use of a highly toxic livestock pesticide that braceros were often doused in as part of processing into the U.S.
City Coyotes by Sean Crane
I photographed these two coyotes within the city limits of Los Angeles. Granted they were in the expansive Griffith Park, but nice to see such healthy looking creatures so close to civilization. It was first thing in the morning when I was hiking in the park and came across these two coyotes, plus another, howling.
Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited “facts” from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all.
Some amicus briefs are careful and valuable, of course, citing peer-reviewed studies and noting contrary evidence. Others cite more questionable materials.
Some “studies” presented in amicus briefs were paid for or conducted by the group that submitted the brief and published only on the Internet. Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.
Yet the justices are quite receptive to this dodgy data. Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, Professor Larsen found.
The phenomenon is novel. “The U.S. Supreme Court is the only American judicial entity that depends so heavily on amicus briefs to educate itself on factual matters,” Professor Larsen wrote.
The trend is at odds with the ordinary role of appellate courts, which are not supposed to be in the business of determining facts. That is the job of the trial court, where evidence is submitted, sifted and subjected to the adversary process. Appellate courts traditionally take those facts, fixed in the trial court record, as a given. Their job is to identify and apply legal principles to those facts.
The World War I in Africa Project Sheds Light On An Often Forgotten Part of History.
As a student of history for all my years of secondary education, I can’t say that I never learned about World War I, the events leading up to it as well as the aftermath it had on Europe and to some extent the United States. Perhaps we never delved into it in quite as much depth as we did World War II, but even then, I’d be hard-pressed to think of time where my history teacher (bless her soul) ever mentioned the impact that the First World War had on Africa and Africans. Such a truth wouldn’t concern me if the circumstances were different; if I wasn’t at a school in an African country, if I weren’t an African myself, if I wasn’t one of five black students in a history class of over 20, if I didn’t come from a country that was colonized by the British (who, as history goes, love war).
But all these things were and still are a part of who I am, and it is for these reasons – and so many more, that the World War I in Africa project is incredibly important learning for me. Even beyond the personal connection of history and heritage, the ignorance of many to the involvement of Africans in World War I and the integral roles the played speak to a much broader concern of the omission and reduction of black people and Africans in many important events in Western history.
It’s been 100 years since the First World War began. 100 years since the first shot fired by British troops occurred in what is today known as Togo, on August 7th, 1914. 100 years gone by and still, the world is yet to actively include and universally commemorate the lives of the estimated two million Africans who in some way contributed to the efforts of their colonial empires during this bitter war of the 1910s. World War I was indeed what its title refers to it as – a war that saw involvement on a global scale.
From the Gold Coast to German East Africa, Algeria to the southernmost tip of Africa, a new initiative is bringing to light the forgotten ways in which European politics brought the Great War to African homes. Through the efforts of World War I in Africa project, we are provided with a multimedia database that both highlights and archives the ways in which African lives were affected by a war they had no agency in. Because what happens in Africa should be told around the world.
American Coots are winter residents throughout Maryland. They are often found with American Wigeon and other dabbling ducks in freshwater environments. Check out the American Coot species page at the Maryland Biodiversity Project: http://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=1027
Photo by Jim Brighton.
Juvenile songbirds on spring migration travel from overwintering sites in the tropics to breeding destinations thousands of kilometres away with no prior experience to guide them. Now, a new study out of York University has tracked these “student pilots” on their first long-haul flight and found significant differences between the timing of juvenile migration and that of experienced adults.
"Juveniles departed later from their overwinter sites in Belize and Costa Rica relative to adults, and they became progressively later as they moved northwards because they stopped for more days," says York U researcher Emily McKinnon, the study’s lead author. "By the time they arrived at breeding sites they were almost 2 weeks behind the adults, and overall their migration took 50 per cent longer in terms of days spent traveling."
The study, published today in PLOS ONE, tracked juvenile wood thrushes from Belize and Costa Rica all the way up into the US and Canada. The birds were fitted with tiny geolocator “backpacks” to track their route, and researchers found that even though the juvenile birds took 50 per cent longer to reach their destination, they travelled a similar migration path as their adult counterparts, including the dangerous open-water crossing of the Gulf of Mexico – a non-stop flight covering 1000km.
(Read more at phys.org)
September 1 marks 100 years since the last known Passenger Pigeon, known as Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s hard to imagine now, but at one time this species was the most numerous bird on earth, with a population of 3 to 5 billion birds.
These seemingly numberless flocks were considered an infinite resource and exploited so drastically that the species was driven to extinction in mere decades. A cautionary tale, the story of the Passenger Pigeon and other extinct bird species inspires our work and one of the main tenets of ABC’s efforts: to safeguard the rarest species.
This account of migrating Passenger Pigeons, by ornithologist and artist John James Audubon, expresses the vastness of the flocks:“I dismounted … and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time, finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable as the birds poured in in countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I traveled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse …”
(Read more: American Bird Conservancy)
Death by “Marsh Fever” (Malaria)
More people die of malaria every single day than have died of Ebola in the past decade.
During an average year, more people die of influenza every month than have ever even been infected with Ebola.
This is because mosquito and airborne transmission are far more effective than direct bodily-fluid contact. It’s fairly simple to eliminate bodily fluid transmission in countries with ready access to chlorine and water. Mosquito bites and airborne droplets are almost impossible to eliminate - all we can hope to do is control them.
There are much scarier things out there than Ebola.