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Judy Isacoff
Red-bellied woodpecker male, Feb. 5, 2018. Notice his red belly.

NATURE’S TURN: The Year of the Bird

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By Monday, Feb 12, 2018 Learning 1

February 12 – 25, 2018

“Yet here we are, finding commonality with birds, and we would have to think back more than 300 million years before finding the common ancestor… So in evolutionary terms, a midsize ape known as a human is a long way from a tiny avian dinosaur known as a hummingbird, three inches long, weighing less than three grams, flying around that human’s red-colored, syrup-filled hummingbird feeder. For two utterly different organisms… isn’t it strange to have a feeder in common? …the midsize primate is gratifying social desires… In this case, to expand his social connections he bought a feeder to attract a hummingbird.” From “Tamed & Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind” by Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas*

Breakfasting together: chickadee, left; junco, middle; downy woodpecker male, right. Feb. 7, 2018, 11:37 a.m. Photo: Judy Isacoff

Mount Washington — This passage from the recently published book, “Tamed & Untamed,” moved me to look at the human experience today from the perspective of eons of human evolution. I realized that my solitary experience of birdwatching is genuine social engagement outside human community, a capacity that has been evolving between humans and other life forms for millennia. The authors of “Tamed & Untamed,” through their scholarship, field experience, heart and humor, lead us to a fuller awareness of our relationships with animals other than our own kind. Whether we derive pleasure from, fear encounters with or are curious about one or another wild or domestic animal, this collection of essays stimulates reflection on the nature of our world, a world shared by the tamed and untamed.

Birds are everywhere and so everyone encounters the untamed through them. Organizations worldwide, from national agencies to local nonprofits, are honoring the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by inviting you and me, their constituency, to participate in the Year of the Bird, “a year of appreciation, love and action for birds.” Between Feb. 16 and 19, the action can be as small as spending 15 minutes looking for birds out your window or in your neighborhood, then contributing your sightings to a global census at the Great Backyard Bird Count website. If you wish to participate throughout the year, sign up to receive a monthly communication about one simple action you can take each month to make a difference for birds and for the planet. For more items of interest to all ages, see “Opportunities to Participate” below, as well as a video introducing Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas:


*“Tamed & Untamed, Close Encounters of the Animal Kind” by Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont, 2017. (Pages 47-48)  https://www.chelseagreen.com/results?term=all&search_string=Tamed+and+Untamed and introduced on the following video:

National Geographic, Journal of the National Geographic Society, January

Opportunities to Participate

2018 The Year of the Bird, beckons all ages to be involved – http://www.audubon.org/yearofthebirdhttps://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/year-of-the-bird/

Give 15 minutes for the birds between Feb. 16 and 19, the Great Backyard Bird Count – http://gbbc.birdcount.org/, http://gbbc.birdcount.org/about/

March 15 application deadline for teenagers, the Cornell Lab Young Birders Event, July 12-15 – http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/the-cornell-lab-young-birders-event-2018/

Worldwide sharing of bird sightings – http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

Video introduction to eBird – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t-0xAjxakw

Monthly eBird Challenge: contest to win Zeiss binoculars  – http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/january-ebirder-of-the-month-challenge-2017/

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  1. ladycougar says:

    Thank you Author your response!

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