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Archive for September, 2009

“B is for Bufflehead”: a MUST book for your young future bird lovers


“B is for bufflehead,” photos and text by Steve Hutchcraft of Alamo, CA.

Available at bookstores in October, 2009; ISBN 978-0-9824925-0-5; LCCN: 2009905001; Hardcover; 8.5 x 8.5 inches; 80 full color pages; suggested retail price, $19.95; published by PhotoHutch, P.O. Box 482, Alamo, CA 94507; 925-324-5510;

This book will send your children on many fun-filled flights through their ABC’s with a flock of fascinating feathered friends.
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Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Under: Book Review | No Comments »

Rattlesnake roundups leading to diamondback rattler demise

Thought I’d pass along this enlightening little tidbit from the Weekly E-Newsletter from the Center for Biological Diversity:

According to a sobering recent study, rattlesnake-killing contests have dangerously reduced populations of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in the Southeast.
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Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Under: Rattlesnake | 1 Comment »

Native Bird Connections: “An Evening With Owls,” up close and personal

Great horned owl

An Evening With Owls
A benefit for Native Bird Connections … all proceeds benefit this organization

4-6 p.m. Oct. 17 at Alden Lane Nursery, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA
Cookies & Cider included

Cost: $12 per person in advance … or … $15 per person at the door (Cash, Check, Visa or Mastercard)
** RSVP to Alden Lane Nursery … 925-447-0280
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Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009
Under: Native Bird Connections | No Comments »

White hummingbird: What the heck is this strange colored hummer?

Leucistic hummingbird. Photo by Don McConnell, Oakland, CA
White hum2 mcconnell
A cream-colored hummingbird with a rusty back has been visiting my feeder, fighting with the Anna’s hummers that usually dominate it. It doesn’t resemble any of the hummers in the Sibley guide. This was my first effort at setting up a tripod and focusing on a feeder – I didn’t realize that meant I’d have to stand there and pray the bird showed up. But it did eventually, at twilight, which is why the shots are dark. I also sent photos of an Anna’s male, earlier in the day, showing the tiny iridescent plates on its head.
But what the heck is my cream-and-rust hummer? I live in the Oakland hills west of 580, by the way.
Don McConnell, Oakland
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Posted on Friday, September 25th, 2009
Under: hummingbirds | 1 Comment »

Nominate your favorite eco-villain for the Rubber Dodo Extinction Award

Rubber Dodo

Every year about this time, the Center for Biological Diversity throws open the nominations for the center’s Rubber Dodo Extinction Award. This award goes to the individual who has worked the hardest to send yet another stressed out species down the road to extinction during the last year.

I just received the following news release from the center. Please read it and then vote for or nominate the 2009 Rubber Dodo of your choice by clicking on the link below:
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Posted on Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Under: Rubber Dodo Award | 1 Comment »

Wet cats: Who says they hate water? What a funny video!

Will Jasmine do this?
Jacqueline Metzinger, cyberspace

She likes to play in her water dish but I’m not sure she’d go THAT far! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
Under: Cats | 1 Comment »

That’s not a hummingbird, it’s a hummingbird MOTH!

Hummingbird moth in Greve, Italy, about 25 miles south of Florence. Photo by Don Morgan, Concord, CA
hummer moth

Hi Gary:
This past June my family took a trip to Italy (Chianti region). Our last day there, I spotted what first looked like a very large bug in a patch of lavender. It was moving between the flowers. It had a long bill which then made me think it was a hummingbird. But when I looked at its body, it almost looked like the body of an insect. Based on the bill and the hovering between flowers I’m sticking with my hummingbird theory.
Don, Concord

Hi Don:
Not a hummingbird. It’s a “hummingbird” moth. Note the two antennae, which birds don’t have. The “bill” is actually a long proboscis that curls up when not in use and uncurls when it probes into a flower for nectar. We have a similar San Francisco Bay Area species called a sphinx moth. They hover in front of flowers like hummingbirds as they feed on the nectar.

Sometimes I think Mother Nature likes to play with our minds. /Gary
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Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Under: hummingbirds, Moths | 2 Comments »

Non-native frogs/turtles: Need your letters, e-mail to help prohibit their import

Bullfrog, non-native. (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek)


I just got the letter below from Eric Mills, coordinator for Action For Animals In Oakland. Eric has been trying for years to get the state Fish and Game Commission to ban the importation of non-native frogs and turtles that are sold in California’s many live animal food markets. These creatures are diseased, spreading deadly infections to our native amphibians and reptiles and killing them. They are also (illegally) released into the local environments, creating havoc and destruction in local native populations.

Please read Eric’s letter and then send a quick e-mail or letter to the Fish and Game Commission, supporting a proposed ban on the import of these frogs and turtles. Thanks for caring! /Gary
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Posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009
Under: Live Animal Markets | No Comments »

“Restore The Delta” has recommendations for legislative water solutions


Wednesday, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Campaign Director for the organization, Restore the Delta, called on the California Legislature to include 9 ideas in future water package discussions following the failure of the Joint Water Conference Committee to pass a package of water bills during the final weeks of the 2009 Legislative session.

Check out what Restore The Delta has to say in their 9 ideas below and then please add your own comments and let us know what you think about it. Got any better ideas? Thanks. /Gary
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Posted on Friday, September 18th, 2009
Under: Restore The Delta | No Comments »

Fox Squirrel: You won’t believe this photo of a “Squirrel feeder”

“Squirrel Feeder” (Michele Brynjulson/San Ramon)
squirrel feeder

Michele Brynjulson of San Ramon took this great photograph of a “Squirrel Feeder.”

Think about it. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2009
Under: fox squirrel | No Comments »