Showing posts from September, 2013

Operation Migration: Kenn Soars with the Cranes

Standing beside my husband, my eyes have relished some of the most astounding things the planet has to offer. I have shed so many tears of joy in the face of the awe-inspiring gifts that nature presents to those who are aware and are looking. Today, as this remarkable flight of birds, including birds of a different feather, passed overhead, for the first time in my life, I named the tears I shed.  This morning, Kenn was given the extraordinary (perhaps even life-altering) opportunity to fly with the birds when we joined Operation Migration (OM) in Berlin, Wisconsin as they trained Whooping Crane colts to migrate following an ultralight aircraft.  In this picture, Kenn is in the lower aircraft seated behind OM CEO and pilot Joe Duff.T Yes, that's Kenn in the backseat of this odd "bird." And I watched them pass overheard, I shed tears for Kenn, as he so richly-deserved this life-altering opportunity. I shed tears for me, for being blessed enough to share my life with this m

Why Birders Buy the Duck Stamp

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes:  A big event is coming to northwest Ohio at the end of September, and local birders are excited about it. That in itself is not unusual. Northwest Ohio is no stranger to birding events. One of the largest and most important bird festivals on the continent, The Biggest Week In American Birding, makes a huge impact here every May. Another notable festival, the Midwest Birding Symposium, is held here in fall every other year. But the event in late September isn’t a birding festival. It’s the contest to choose the artwork for next year’s Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp—better known as the Duck Stamp. The Duck Stamp program dates to 1934, a time when waterfowl populations in North America were in serious trouble because of habitat loss. The federal wildlife agencies needed a way to raise money to purchase or restore wetland habitats. By producing the stamp and requiring hunters to buy it, they were able to immediately start raisin

Random Bird: South Georgia Pipit

South Georgia Pipit (Anthus antarcticus) From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: According to the International Ornithological Congress, there are over 10,480 species of birds in the world. According to us, every single one of those species is fascinating in its own way.  Take this one. It's not large, it's not colorful, it doesn't have the most interesting song. But it lives in an amazing place. This is a South Georgia Pipit. It isn't found in the state of Georgia in the U.S., and it isn't found in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. No, this bird lives only on South Georgia Island, out where the South Atlantic meets the Antarctic Ocean. South Georgia is huge, wild, remote. About 100 miles long and up to 23 miles wide, it is crowned with snow-capped peaks that rise as much as 9000 feet in the air. The island and the surrounding waters are home to many large and spectacular creatures: seals, whales, penguins, albatrosses, various other seabirds. This is also

Letting Go of the Curlew

Eskimo Curlews, as painted by John James Audubon in the early 1800s. From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: Fifty years ago today, on Sept. 4, 1963, an Eskimo Curlew was shot on the island of Barbados. Many migratory shorebirds were shot every fall on islands in the Lesser Antilles. It was almost a fluke that this small curlew was recognized as something unusual and that the specimen was given, many months later, to an ornithologist from Philadelphia. And in another fluke, as a little kid and beginning birder, I heard about this only two years after the curlew was shot. I had joined the National Audubon Society at the age of nine, since it was the only bird group that I'd heard of, and one of my very first issues of Audubon Magazine carried the sad news about the curlew.  At that point the Eskimo Curlew was already a bird of legend. It had been abundant at one time, migrating north through the Great Plains in spring, nesting in the Canadian Arctic, migrating out over the Atl