The watering Hole, Tuesday January 5th, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

The first stream restoration I was ever involved with took place on a dairy farm. A small three foot wide tributary carved through a dairy pasture, warmed and silted by the lack of vegetation along its course of 1700 feet of the property. We had no idea what to expect but the speed of the results were mid-boggling, and all we did was erect fencing and crossings to keep the cows out of the stream. Trout re-population was our goal, but they came last after many more restorations due to temperature issues upstream, but ducks, otters, water snakes and tons of aquatic insects appeared withing a couple of months. Seventeen years later, scientists are here to tell us that river restoration does not take generations, that the positive effects are speedier than first thought, and that they are inter-specific.. Hell, they could have just asked my Trout Unlimited chapter.

The tandem effects of restoration.

Cattle impacted stream segment.

One year later

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, August 12th, 2015: Chuck Should Listen to George (Bonus: Birds!)

I started this post (a few days ago) thinking that I would rebut Senator Chuck Schumer’s reasoning, as reported in this NY Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman, for his opposition to the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  But that would have taken too long and wouldn’t have been good for my mental and physical health.  Suffice it to say that Chuck’s ‘arguments’ against the deal are specious and unfounded, and the final quote in the article is, quite literally, nonsensical:  “To me, after 10 years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.”

Then I got distracted (once again) by President Washington’s Farewell Address, with his  warning against aligning the Nation with any particular nation(s) at the expense and enmity of any other nation(s), and at the expense of our country’s interests.  (If you’re interested, the pertinent discussion starts at “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”)  I wanted to scold Schumer with these two sections in particular:

“Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

~ and ~

“Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

Then, for a bit of crazy, there were a couple of stories on RightWingWatch about Michele Bachman “predictions” and/or supposed validation of previous “predictions.” 

Finally, I ran across something to wash the bad taste out of your minds: a story about birds from DailyKos.

This is our daily open thread, so talk about ‘such and stuff’ (as my mum used to say.)

Sunday Roast: Hanging out with migrating birds on Sauvie Island

A quiet Christmas morning on the Columbia River, Sauvie Island

A quiet Christmas morning on the Columbia River, Sauvie Island

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Bald Eagle hanging out in a tree near the river

Bald Eagle hanging out in a tree near the river

Lots and lots of Snow Geese, making all kinds of noise -- wish I could have gotten closer

Lots and lots of Snow Geese, making all kinds of noise — wish I could have gotten closer

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Lining up with the Cormorants

Lining up with the Cormorants

Belted Kingfisher -- He didn't want to stay still!

Belted Kingfisher — He didn’t want to stay still!

Photos by Zooey

This is our daily open thread — The last Sunday Roast of 2014!

Watering Hole: Monday, December 26, 2011 – Is the Pigeon Smarter Than the Shooter?

One of the major issues that I fight for is the ending of the live pigeon shoots that are currently allowed in Pennsylvania.  I have written extensively about this animal cruelty at Pennsylvania for Change. Most of the time, these pigeons are brought into the state illegally from New York.  The captured birds are denied food and water for a few days and crated off to some rod and gun club for the big gambling event known as live pigeon shoots.  The dehydrated and weakened birds are tossed into the air and then the “Elmer Fudds” take a shot at them.  It is cruel and brutal and I won’t go into more details.  I’ve seen these “Elmer Fudds” in action and they truly look like Neanderthals (my apologies to the Neanderthals).

It turns out that pigeons may actually be smarter than these “Elmer Fudds”.  A recent study shows that pigeons are capable of higher math.

Pigeons, it turns out, are no slouches either. It was known that they could count. But all sorts of animals, including bees, can count. Pigeons have now shown that they can learn abstract rules about numbers, an ability that until now had been demonstrated only in primates. In the 1990s scientists trained rhesus monkeys to look at groups of items on a screen and to rank them from the lowest number of items to the highest.

They learned to rank groups of one, two and three items in various sizes and shapes. When tested, they were able to do the task even when unfamiliar numbers of things were introduced. In other words, having learned that two was more than one and three more than two, they could also figure out that five was more than two, or eight more than six.

So who is the higher species?  “Elmer Fudds” or the pigeons.  My money is on the pigeons.

This is our Open Thread.  Where are you placing your bet?  Speak Up!

Birders and Photographers, Start Your Cameras!


To all the Zoo Critters and bird-enthusiast Zoo visitors, a reminder that Audubon Magazine is holding their 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards contest, the Categories being: Birds; and Birds in their habitats. The Divisions are: Professional; Amateur; and Youth.

Now’s the time to show off your great photos. I know that we have some truly excellent nature photographers here, so please, don’t be shy. (We’d love to see what you submit, too, so post your photos in the comments, if possible.)

Go to: http://www.audubonmagazinephotoawards.org to submit your photos. The deadline is September 5th.

Go ahead, birder shutterbugs, do it!