Citizen Scientists Study Hummingbirds in SW New Mexico #bird #birdwatching #citizenscience #ornithology

I visited the Mimbres Culture Heritage Center when they hosted a hummingbird banding weekend. Hummingbirds are fierce little warriors and fascinating to watch. I have three feeders out for them at my house now, and my windy ridgetop is not the best birding location in the county.

On your vacation through southwest New Mexico, be sure to visit the Mimbres ruins and, if you time it right, see the hummers.

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Wise Ravens #poem #poetry #nature #wildlife #birdwatching #birds #raven

raven perched in tree

One of my ravens, waiting

Morning chores they watch me do,
I prune and weed until I’m through.
The bowl of kibbles that I carry
Commands attention, so they tarry.

I feed the ravens every day.
No need to wait, is what I say,
Like chickens scratching at my feet
You’re welcome to come near and eat.

But wisdom in a raven’s mind
Says keep some distance from my kind.
A human who seems calm and mild
Might plot to hurt a raven child.

So I retreat when I am done.
On whispering wings, the ravens come
To share the bowl I left for them,
In a world I share
with feathered kin.

Kate Rauner

Not my usual science-inspired poem today, but I claim a poet’s prerogative to rhyme about whatever suits me 🙂

Sad Victory Over Greatest Bird #nature #poem #poetry #birdwatching #birds

Passenger pigeons by Audubon

Once upon a time,
Once there was a land
Where one bird
out of every two
Was gray with throat of cinnamon.

Their flocks eclipsed the sun
When migration season came.
One shotgun blast would bring down
Two dozen,
Without the need to aim.

With numbers in the trillions,
A breeding colony
Might blanket fifty miles
With its sovereignty.

And we killed them all.

They could lay waste to fields
But someone must have seen
Their numbers falling fast
And known what that would mean.

It took us several decades,
Less than a century
Of ruthless persecution
Of this farmers’ enemy.

To kill them all.

Do any mourn today
An action so draconian
While viewing stuffed remains
Of the last one
In the Smithsonian?

The last passenger pigeon.

By Kate Rauner

The last passenger pigeon

Thanks to karlshuker for his post on the passenger pigeon. Visit http://reviverestore.org/ for a fascinating look into de-extinction. Reconstructing the passenger pigeon is their flagship project.

Their aim is to increase forest health and biodiversity, especially what’s been lost since the 1700s. Like wildfires, passenger pigeons were a major source of beneficial forest regeneration in eastern North America for tens of thousands of years.

Revive & Restore’s goal is “to hatch the first generation of new passenger pigeons by 2022 and begin trial wild releases ten years later.” Genome sequencing is already underway. Wow.