Friday, March 25, 2011

Boston Peregrine Falcon poses for the camera!

Our favorite feather friend, the Boston Peregrine Falcon, dropped by our Back Bay office again to pose for a few photos. The people in our office love when he stops by because he perches right on the ledge outside our windows and doesn't mind the attention. How could we not stare?

Photo Credit goes to my boss Larry. He always has his professional camera on hand, which is lucky in moments like this when the peregrine falcon decides to perch on our ledge!

It's rare to get to see a peregrine falcon up close and personal. You really get to see the details in the bird's coloring and the scales on its legs/talons.

I've been avidly reading my new Hawks at a Distance book. It's a great resource for learning more about raptors. I'm trying to educate myself on the proper way to talk about the different parts of their body, the different classifications, and of course how to identify them at a distance.

I'm also learning about the various viewing positions. The peregrine falcon was soaring past my window yesterday afternoon, and I got to see it "head on" several times. It's pretty cool to get to look it in the face as it goes by.

On Sunday I drove down to Cape Cod to celebrate my birthday with my parents. Driving down Rte. 495 and Rte. 25 I got to see two red-tailed hawks standing on the grass in the median (as they like to do), one Osprey flying overhead (those are easy to identify from below- just look for the "M" hooked wing shape, and the white and black markings), and a mystery raptor as I was driving over the Bourne Bridge. I was looking at it from above sort of (it was hovering slightly below the level of the road on the bridge) and it was dark brown all over. Maybe a broad-winged hawk? Or red-shouldered hawk?

Better get back to the book. I have more studying to do!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fairy Wren and Pheasant Coucal from Australia

These pictures come thanks to my co-worker in Australia. He knew I was an avid birder and had a birding blog, so he shared two of his best photos with me.

The first is a Fairy Wren:

Interesting fact about Fairy Wrens (also known as the Superb Fairy-wren)- males often latch onto a predator's call to catch the attention of females. Pretty innovative! For more info:

The second is a Pheasant Coucal:

The Pheasant Coucal is a large cuckoo similar in shape to a pheasant, often seen in backyards. For more info:

Thank you Brad!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Eco-friendly Lighting- Be kind to your bird friends!

I try to make a conscious effort to be green, by making choices that have a positive impact on my bird friends. Shade-grown coffee is an obvious one, but I recently started researching various eco-friendly lighting options and discovered that Pendant Lighting is a great option because you can use a lower-watt bulb. Why is pendant lighting eco-friendly? The trick is that the shape of pendant light shades illuminates more than traditional lamps, and since it's suspended from the ceiling it gives more direct light for reading or cooking below.

Here are some cool pendant light examples I found on the Web!



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Barn owl mascot for Atletico Junior killed by opposing team

Representative image of a Barn Owl
Image credit: Brian E. Small
Source credit:

This was a sad story to see on the morning news. A tame Barn Owl, the mascot for Columbian soccer team Atletico Junior, was thrown onto the field during a game against Deportivo Pereira of Panama. It was sitting there minding its own business, when it was hit by a wayward soccer ball and then laid there stunned with its wings spread out. That's when Deportivo Pereira defenseman Luis Moreno kicked it about 3-4 yards. Supposedly he was frustrated because his team was losing and the game had to be stopped while the players and referees decided what to do about the owl. He claims he didn't know it was Atletico Junior's mascot, he thought it was just a stray bird. Even still! It's unbelievable that he would do that.

If you want to see the video (bird lovers- this is not for the faint of heart), you can see it here,life,video,fury-as-footballer-luis-moreno-kicks-opposition-owl-mascot-to-death-in-colombia-video

The owl suffered a broken right leg after the kick, and hung in there for two days until it died Tuesday after going into shock. There are reports that Luis Moreno has been getting death threats, which is upsetting to him and his family of course. I can understand that the Atletico Junior fans are hurt and upset, but violence is never the answer. I do believe that he should be forced to face his actions and somehow try to make amends with Atletico Junior and their fans.

Turns out Columbia doesn't have any laws against animal cruelty, so he's not facing and legal sanctions, but he may face the disciplinary committee for his soccer league.

Some interesting facts about the Barn Owl:
  • It is one of the most widely-distributed birds in the world, appearing on all continents except Antarctica
  • It's one of the few species where the female is more showy than the male (with more spots on her chest)
  • The Barn Owl's ability to locate prey by sound alone is the best of any animal tested.