Turkish Weekly gets the story wrong

The story of the cockatoo-for-kids trade down in Louisiana has been making the news rounds this week. It’s been picked up internationally, as in these articles from the UK, Australia and the Netherlands.

It was even picked up in Turkey, but here they got the story a bit mixed up:

The Swiss police arrest three in Lausanne for exchanging two children with an expensive bird.

Dona Greenwell offered two of the three children under her protection to Paul (46) en Brandy (27) Romero who had placed an advertisement asking 1500 dollars for their cockatoo. The 53 years old lorry driver said that she had made the offer because it was very difficult for her to look after three children for someone doing her job.

Who the biologic parents of the three children are still remains unclear. Swiss officials say the inquiry still goes on. The children are given under the protection of a two families in Lausanne.

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New yard bird: Dark-eyed Junco

The yard list is growing by leaps and bounds since we moved into our new place earlier this month. Not. Today we had our second yard bird after an American Goldfinch visited earlier this week. Our brave friend, the Dark-eyed Junco. A gang of three flew by the fence and stopped in the tree behind our yard. Two were brave enough to float down to sit on our fence and this one bold little guy actually went down to munch on some seed.

Dark-eyed Junco (slate-colored)

Dark-eyed Junco (slate-colored)

Dark-eyed Junco (slate-colored)

Now go tell all your friends, dude!

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Posted in Yard Birds | 1 Comment

Two rare cranes spotted in Nebraska

A juvenile Whooping Crane and an albino Sandhill Crane were recently spotted near the Platte River southwest of Grand Island.

Read the entire article here.

I had a look on Flickr for photos of either of these birds. I came up empty but did find this nice picture of a leucistic Sandhill Crane taken in Indiana last year: Partial Albino (leucistic) Sandhill Crane

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Posted in Endangered, North America | 1 Comment

Online encyclopedia of Spanish birds launched

BirdLife International announced last week the launch of a new website encyclopedia of Spanish birds. The site is a huge database including bird fact sheets, 1600 photos and over 4000 individual pages.

The encyclopedia is at http://www.enciclopediadelasaves.es/ and you will need the latest version of Adobe Shockwave to view the site.

I had a look at the info page of one of my favorite birds, the Hoopoe. Each fact sheet includes distribution information, an audio file of the call and several photos. Similar birds can also be explored.


The database of birds can be viewed in several languages, including English.


Besides the bird fact sheets, there is a wealth of information on birding and bird life in general.



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Colbert joins San Jose Peregrine drama

A Peregrine Falcon named Esteban Colbert, after Stephen Colbert’s alter-ego Esteban Colberto, has taken up residence at the San Jose City Hall. Colbert (the falcon) has been seen with Clara, a Peregrine who has starred in the City Hall’s Falcon Cam for the last two years.

The San Jose City Hall Peregrine Falcons became reality show superstars more than two years ago when staff opened up the birds’ rooftop nesting box to worldwide viewers of the FalconCam.

In the third “season” of her ongoing reality show, falcon mother Clara has another new man in her life and, based on field reports, is expected to soon make him a father.

Clara has quite a history with the males.

As it became apparent that last year’s tiercel (male falcon) Carlos was not returning for a second season, falcon fans have been watching the FalconCam to see if a new beau would attempt to woo Clara.

“I’m delighted that Esteban Colbert appeared at City Hall this week, and that he and Clara are hitting it off,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who press reports have noted is an avid fan of “The Colbert Report.” “Like the City Hall falcons, the original Colbert has proven that with primitive instincts and sharp talons, anyone can survive in modern society.”

Read the whole article here and find out more about the San Jose Falcons here.

Here’s Stephen talking about other animals and things named after him:

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Posted in Funny, Webcams | 1 Comment

Never so happy to see a Goldfinch!

We moved to Round Lake Beach a couple of weeks ago. We are in a newer neighborhood, where most homes have expansive green lawns of grass and few trees, most of which are ornamental. We’re on the outskirts of the neighborhood and our back yard faces a warehouse. Between the yard and the warehouse there’s some vegetation and a few trees. Our neighbors also have a few small trees in their yard but ours is bare. It’s a rental so I doubt we’ll put any big trees in while we’re here.

Shortly after we moved in, I placed two feeders in the yard, hanging from a gazebo frame, close to the house. Last Tuesday we moved these to the back of the yard, closer to the vegetation behind the fence.

This is a view of the house from the back yard. You can see the frame close to the house, standing on a small concrete patio.

BY Facing House East

Here’s some more views of the yard, before and after our latest snowfall. The back slopes up to a mound and you can see the vegetation and trees in the neighbors’ yards and behind our fence.

BY Facing East Mound

BY Facing East

BY Facing West Bramble

BY Facing West Back

BY Facing West Back 2

BY Facing Warehouse

BY Facing East Back

Up until today, we had seen 1 European Starling by the warehouse and a few songbird fly-bys. No one showed any interest in the feeders.

Until today! This morning we had (relatively speaking) a lot of bird action in the back yard. First, this morning I noticed a male Northern Cardinal perched in the tree behind the neighbor’s yard. He appeared to be looking at our feeders. He then flew into the tree behind our yard and then I was sure he was casing out our feeders. They are for smaller birds though so not suitable for a Northern Cardinal. After a minute he flew low over the back of our yard and landed in a tree in the other neighbor’s yard, not to be seen again today.

A little while later, Arthur looked out and he thought he saw a Dark-eyed Junco (slate-colored) flying away from our feeder.

Well, that was more bird action than we’ve had since we moved in, so we were already pretty excited. I mean, an almost-Junco and a kind-of flyover Cardinal, wow!

I was planning on putting out some feed on a ground platform between the feeders but when I was getting ready to do so I looked outside and saw a bird sitting on the top of the tube feeder! Our first official yard bird: an American Goldfinch!

Goldfinch 1

Goldfinch 2

Goldfinch 3

He took bites from every perch on the feeder and remained munching for about 15 minutes before flying off. He (or one of his friends) came back a while later for about 5 minutes of feeding. Between these visits I placed the makeshift platform on the ground with a songbird mix. No one else came by today but we are starting to feel optimistic about getting some birds in the back yard!

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Chicago area bird rehab needs help

Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, a private nonprofit rehab organization in the Chicagoland area, is in trouble. The group has three locations, in Itasca, Barrington and Chicago (Northerly Island), and in the past six month they have suffered through three floods at two locations. The Northerly Island location suffered a burst pipe on January 17th, ruining the center’s flooring.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Since September, flooding twice forced [founder Dawn] Keller and her all-volunteer crew at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Itasca to evacuate 43 birds from outside cages. Then last month, while Keller was still figuring out where she was going to get $15,000 to replace damaged bird habitats, Flint Creek’s bird emergency room at Northerly Island in Chicago flooded.

Repairs to the ER will cost more than $8,000, and Keller fears they won’t be finished in time for the start of migratory bird season. And as the weather thaws, mildew will start to turn the ER into a veritable bacteria farm, she said.

Read the whole article here

Donations can be made to the center via the website. You can donate via Paypal or contribute to their current fundraising drive via firstgiving.

Here’s a message from founder Dawn Keller, recorded for the 2008 holiday season.

Visit the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation website for more information.

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Posted in Charity, FCWR, Illinois, Rehabilitation, Video | Leave a comment


The Painted Bunting Observer Team, or PBOT, is a group of citizen scientists in Florida and the Carolinas who provide data which helps develop strategies to sustain the Bunting’s population. PBOT is a project from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and they need volunteers to join the team. If you’re in the Carolinas or Florida and want to know more, read all about the project and then become a member!

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) by dominic sherony, Creative Commons on Flickr

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Posted in Citizen Science | 1 Comment

Oh no, it’s CAM time again!

Last year I spent a lot of time watching live online bird and nest cams when I should have been working. I doubt this year will be any different.

My favorites are the Rochester Falconcam and the Beleef de Lente cams from the Dutch arm of BirdLife International, Vogelbescherming.

This year will be very exciting for the Rochester cam. The long-used nest box was relocated over the winter to a new location due to construction work. A second nest box was also placed in the area and falcon-watchers are waiting to see if and when the falcons, Mariah and Kaver, will choose one of the boxes. The Rochester Falconcam cameras were turned on this week at the Powers Building location so you can already tune in to see if the falcons will make an appearance. You can keep up with all the Rochester Falconcam news by reading their blog, Imprints, which also includes frequent updates on Mariah & Kaver’s offspring from previous years.


If you’re interested in supporting the Falconcam, you can make donations here. You could also purchase a Mariah & Kaver t-shirt or other product from Birdorable, where 30% of your purchase price goes to the Falconcam.

The cams at Beleef de Lente won’t start up until March 1st. Last year there were cameras following families of Common Kestrels, Little Owls, European Kingfishers, Eurasian Spoonbills, Sandwich Terns and Common Swifts. The Little Owls suffered quite a drama as all four eggs hatched but the parents were unable to provide enough food for the family and only one of the chicks survived to fledge.

Beleef De Lente

What are some of your favorite Bird Cams? Wait, don’t tell me – I’ll never get anything done all spring!

UPDATE: I just read which birds will be on the Beleef De Lente cams this year: Great Tit; Common Kestrel; Little Owl; White Stork; Eurasian Spoonbill; Sandwich Tern; Peregrine Falcon; Common Kingfisher. I can’t wait!

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