Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trio of Topics

1-Lady Gaga (the Peregrine Falcon) Euthanized

This is old news now (July 12th, 2011), but did you know Lady Gaga (the Peregrine Falcon) was euthanized? There is a sad story that basically boils down to this: The falcon was discovered limping on the ground so she was brought to a local Windsor Vet. They did surgery on her leg which involved using titanium pins and was collaborated online with vets in California and abroad. At her recovery center near Toronto, an X-Ray had revealed that her wing was severely damaged as well, so they decided it was in her best interest to be euthanized... A falcon's first summer must be spent learning how to kill birds in mid-air. She would have been unable to feed herself having missed that learning window...

Windsor Star Article: http://www.windsorstar.com/opinion/Peregrine+falcon+down/5085163/story.html

2-Can Birders Have Nice Lawns?

I was weeding my lawn recently (manually, by hand) and a neighbor came up to me suggesting that I use the stuff he gets from 'The States'. I told him that I appreciate the offer but I prefer not to use chemicals on my lawn because I'm a nature lover and I have a two-year old son. (I though about explaining to him how marsh birds are declining like 4%  3.6% per year (Birdwatch Canada) and I still haven't lifered American Bittern, King Rail or Virginia Rail for that matter). My neighbor then went on to complain that the 'earth friendly' weed and feed does not work. I don't think he understood my (polite) conscientious objection to using weed and feed. I'm not convinced that there is no harm done to the environment.

But, weeding a lawn in Windsor on a hot, humid summers' day is not fun either. I couldn't help think as I continued to stubbornly and manually weed my lawn about the commercials that society endures relating to cosmetic lawn chemicals. I thought about the Ortho commercial that features a good looking couple talking about how they're not going to be that homeowner that has weeds blowing all over the neighborhood. If you deconstruct the psychology behind the message, its basically: If you have a weedy lawn, your neighbors will hate you and you better conform to the expectation that you will have a nice lawn. If not, don't expect to be invited to the next neighborhood bbq! lol...

Click here to see a related Ortho Video on pesticides, not herbicides: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzvEHVB03g4

I wonder if there are nature lovers and birders that complain about our failing wetlands but have beautiful, lush, chemically induced kentucky bluegrass mono-culture lawns? Congrats to Ontario for banning cosmetic lawn pesticides. That took alot of guts by our politicians and I'm sure the chemical industries were not happy about that law being put into place. But, I still think cosmetic lawn pesticides are still readily available, and has this law simply created a black market for people to go across the river and buy this stuff from Detroit's Home Depots?

3-My photography is featured on Cornell's Website: www.allaboutbirds.org
I was shocked to find out my Golden Eagle photo from last fall is now being used on allaboutbirds.org! Cornell has a Flickr Group called Birdshare and I have all of my bird photos with this great group. Several other groups and parties have taken interest in my photos. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden contacted me to use several of my photos from my Flickr account in their literature! A museum in Oregon also took interest in some photos as well as a Breeding Bird Atlas project in Vermont. I have not really responded to requests in the past but I figure, why not? Even if I make no money off my photos, they could help someone take notice in the beauty and wonder of nature... that alone is payment enough.

Good birding,

Birdwatch Canada, Summer 2011 Number 56, Bird Studies Canada, (Journal), pg 23, Port Rowan ON


  1. What a great series of posts!

    I had not heard about the peregrine being euthanized, very sad with so few births here in Ontario,.

    As far as weeds go, I tend to ignore most of them although occasionally I can be roused to do battle.

    Congrats on the Cornell placement, well deserved!!

  2. Hey, Dwayne, congratulations on your photos being adopted and shared. And I say GOOD FOR YOU for hand-weeding your lawn. To have or not to have a lawn is a great debate Sylvain and I get into whenever we discuss future possibilities of cohabitation. I would rather cover the front yard in native species, water and rocks that support fauna, no lawn and certainly no chemicals.

  3. GREAT post D.
    I don't use any chemicals on my lawn either but since I live in a townhome with a postage-stamp-sized lot, it hasn't caused too much frustration...all jokes aside, I will maintain that choice when I have a home with a bigger lawn
    That's pretty neat to see your pics being used!



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