Showing posts from 2009

A Special Gift: Wildlife at the Bird Feeder

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: I don’t often blog about bird feeder happenings, but in honor of the holiday season, I wanted to let all of our friends know about a major triumph at our feeders. Kimberly and I are interested in all wildlife, of course, and sightings of wild mammals can be particularly exciting. What a treat, then, to actually attract one of these elusive wild creatures into our own backyard, where we can observe it and begin to learn about its habits. Imagine how thrilled we were when we looked out the window on Christmas morning and saw this: Yes, it’s a squirrel. If you have spent any time in wild habitats with tall trees, you may have seen these wary acrobats climbing about in the branches, far above the ground. Getting a good look at one, though, that’s another story. Kimberly and I had glimpsed these wily creatures around Oak Harbor, but we had hardly dared to hope that we could actually attract them to our own yard. But here was one of these elegant wild ani

Riding the Edge of Winter

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: In fall, most birds migrate south before they would have to. Most migratory birds in North America leave their northern nesting grounds and start southward long before the weather begins to turn bad, long before the food supply begins to dwindle. The birds apparently are keyed to changes in the length of the day, not to local conditions, so they fly away from their summer homes while resources are still abundant. But there are exceptions. Not surprisingly, one of the exceptions is the surprising Sandhill Crane. Cranes are different from most birds in the nature of their migration anyway: their routes are learned, not instinctive. A baby Indigo Bunting, to cite an example of a typical migrant, is born with an instinct to migrate to Central America in fall without any help. A baby Sandhill Crane is born with an instinct to follow its parents in the fall. Cranes learn their routes and their stopover sites and their wintering sites, and they can change

iPhone Users: The App Is Out There

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn Writes: It’s finally out. We had a last-minute conference call yesterday afternoon -- involving Ithaca, Charlottesville, Philadelphia, Monterey, Singapore, and me in Oak Harbor -- making sure everything was set up, and then Todd told Apple to release it to the App Store. Within a couple of hours the app was available online, and reviews of it were appearing here and there on the internet. If you’re just joining us -- if you have been out paying attention to birds, for example, rather than the latest in tech toys -- "app" is short for "application," but the millions of people downloading these applications for use on their iPhones just call them "apps." An iPhone -- well, that’s like a supercharged combination of a cell phone and an iPod, and it can do everything from place calls to navigate cross-country, to check the stock market, to send e-mail, to store photos, to play games, to play music (of course, just like an iPod). An

All I want for Christmas is...a Winged Journey

Kim Writes: Several months ago, one of my dear friends, Sally Deems-Mogyordy, came to me with an idea. Actually, it was more like a dream, and when she revealed that my beloved Black Swamp Bird Observatory was a part it, I was more honored than she will ever know. The dream: Sally was teaming up with her friend, Bryan Holliday, to create something that would combine their astounding talents and celebrate their mutual love of birds. And, whatever the vision grew into, they wanted to include some way to use a portion of the proceeds to benefit BSBO. Sally and Bryan are both BSBO members and they have witnessed, first-hand, the dramatic impact that the Observatory's work is having. The Reality: Fast forward to present, and the dream is now a stunning and inspiring reality called, Winged Journey: A 16-Month Calendar of Birds . Positively maxing out the high-end capacity on the gorgeous meter, the photos in this calendar are courtesy of the incredibly talented, award-winni

Giving Thanks

Kim Writes: This is Reginald Anthony Luzader , or "Reggie" as most people call him. I call him, Dad. He called me,"Kimmer Dukous." My Dad has Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's sucks. Dad was diagnosed about seven years ago. He had been having a lot of difficulty with simple things, and my brothers and sisters and I insisted that he go see a Doctor. Dad didn't want to. I think he knew what they were going to tell him. Here's Dad just a few precious years ago with his Great Granddaughter, Macy. My Dad was kind of a hardass . He didn't see much value in reading or studying or anything like that. The way you won my Dad's praise was to work; hard. We lived on a farm. We grew row crops like soybeans and corn on the Luzader family farm, which had been in his family for a long time. It was a good fit; the thin soil on "the ridge" in Wyandot County and this stubborn family who didn't know any better than to try. More rock that dirt, the farm

We're gonna fly with a little help from our friends...

Kim Kaufman's recipe for starting a young birders club: Start with a bowl of love for wild birds mixed equally with love for kids, add money --to your personal taste (*note, it always takes more than you think!), mix in two rounded spoonfuls of excitement, an entire box of energy (the extra large one!), add a healthy dollop of a trusting and believing board of directors (BOD)--(add the BOD all at once before they change their mind!), mix in six outstanding young people to guide you as you get started, pound in a big fat dose of stubbornness, and voila! Ohmygoodness , I almost forgot... Here are some key ingredients that help make a young birders club successful. Just add friends... The Nutty Birder Indiana Audubon Society Susan Gets Native Jim McCarty's Cleveland Plain Dealer Article Queen City Young Birders Club Jim McCormac's Blog Janet Creamer's Blog Midwest Birding Symposium WildBird Magazine Donald the Birder's Blog and these are just a few! Thank you all fo

Who Says Big Girls Don't Cry

Kim writes: I have been totally swamped (Black Swamped to be exact!) since the Ohio Young Birders Conference a week ago, and I feel really guilty for not posting anything about this amazing event yet. I'm working on a post to fill you in on all the great things that took up my time this week, and I hope it will explain why I haven't said a peep about this monumental event. My friends Kevin Loughlin and Chad Williams have already posted great summaries of the conference on their blogs, and rather than duplicate efforts, I'll just share a link to their blogs and you can check them out. But, before I send you off to other eLands far away... I'd like share some of my favorite things about the 3rd Annual Ohio Young Birders Conference. I get so emotional on conference day. I had someone tell me once that I should be a less emotional public speaker, that when I got weepy it made me seem unprofessional. I have this tendency to want to please everyone all the time (my Mom cal

Naturalist of the Year

From back home in Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: The Toledo Naturalists’ Association (TNA) has a proud history going back more than 75 years. This organization has always counted some of the finest field biologists in Ohio and Michigan among its membership -- not just bird experts, but experts on every aspect of natural history. Once a year, the TNA honors someone as their Naturalist of the Year. Tonight, at their annual banquet, the Toledo Naturalists’ Association presented the prestigious 2009 Naturalist of the Year award to my wonderful wife Kimberly. I am so thoroughly bursting with pride at this point that I can hardly write a coherent sentence, but I wanted to let all our friends know about this. In presenting the award for the TNA, bird expert Greg Links acknowledged Kim’s background in natural history -- the thousands of hours observing and monitoring Bald Eagle nests, the volunteer work at Killdeer Plains in central Ohio, the tens of thousands of songbirds that she has banded

The Ohio Young Birders Club Conference

From the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Kim writes: Today felt like old times. When the Ohio Young Birders Club was younger itself I spent A LOT of time on the phone with parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and neighbors -- trying to arrange transportation for students still too young to drive. Last January, I took the position as the executive director of the Observatory that founded the club, and since then I've had to dish many of those responsibilities off to the OYBC coordinators, John Sawvel and Delores Cole. John and Delores are great, and it's very rewarding to see the club continue to grow and reach more and more young people while I'm doing other BSBO business. B ut, I have to admit that sometimes it's hard to accept that the club is not "my baby" anymore. Well, for a few hours today, I got my baby back! I just happened to be the one available to deal with this, and it felt so good to be back in the business of making great experiences happ

Pelagic Magic: When the gales of November are...absent?!!

From Terra Firma, Kim Writes: When Robert Faber, of Discovery Tours and Inside Outside Radio, contacted me last year to see if I was interested in BSBO partnering to host a Lake Erie Pelagic trip, I was very interested. But, I finally had to admit that, with all the other things BSBO had going on at that point, I just didn't have the time to do it and do it right. Now, I have some additional help in the office (volunteers make EVERYTHING that nonprofits do possible!) I was thrilled to tell Bob to count us in this year! And, I'm so glad we did. We planned two trips on board the HOLIDAY , and they sold out FAST! I think everyone on board yesterday felt blessed to be alive and outside! The trip really was marvelous. Great people, tasty food, phenomenal weather (almost weirdly warm...), a lake that looked like glass...flat calm, and some pretty special birds too--Kenn will fill you in on the birds in a later post. And so, I give you, trip number one: Our group, with the HOLIDAY (