Thursday, August 23, 2007

Earky Birder Warblers

Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik - May 20, 2006

Irene Warshauer sent in a report about yesterday's Early Birders walk, in my temporary absence:

On a very dreary morning John, Karen, Naomi and I birded in twilight and had a nice wave of Warblers at the lower lobe-No. Waterthrush, Black & White, Yellow, Redstart, Blackburian ( a quick look), also No. Oriole, Robins, elsewhere Mallards, Catbird, N. Cardinal and Downy. Karen & I left around 8:40.

Bob Levy reports on the annual Black Walnut Extravaganza


Central Park Gray Squirrels congregated in an apparent celebration of the ripening of Black Walnuts. This particular contingent of eight excited furry mammals demonstrated the species preferred techniques and proper etiquette for the opening and eating of Black Walnuts. Here are some highlights of the event.

The tried and true “standard method” may not be a crowd pleaser but it gets the job done.


Students of the history of western civilization will surmise that the reclining method harkens back to antiquity. At the height Roman Empire eating while reclining was all the rage though I have no proof that these Central Park creatures are related to those of that period and geographic location. Still one must admit these contemporary squirrels have mastered the technique and execute it with aplomb and a suave sophistication, n’cest pas?


Last but not least was a demonstration of the so-called gravity assist method. It was obvious that this required the most skill but was not always as effective as the the other methods. In fact I watched three squirrels drop their Black Walnuts. One retrieved its nut only to drop it again while assuming a second gravity assist posture. Considering the outcomes I am not at all sure that gravity assisted these participants at all but there is no denying the artistry involved in the attempt. Please don’t attempt this yourself. Instead I suggest utilizing the standard method. And be sure to use a nutcracker. Bon appetite!.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More about Bad-hair-day Papa

Bob Levy continues the remarkable cardinal saga:

Here’s a follow-up to my report about the “bad-hair-day” Northern Cardinal I call Papa Museum. His energy and devotion to his fledglings has not diminished though his feather count clearly has. Since I first told you about him I was able to find him again on three successive occasions. On the most recent one I zeroed in on the sound of a fledgling calling from a bush along the sidewalk adjacent to the exit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art parking garage. Papa Museum burst out of the shrub with both juveniles racing to keep up with him. A few yards away inside a circle of shrubbery separating the garage exit from the entrance he proceeded to feed both youngsters while I appreciatively watched for ten to fifteen minutes after which the family skedaddled over a fence where I could not follow. The birds kept in the shadows and behind the leaves most of the time I was with them. With the poor lighting conditions I got a series of blurry shots but managed one reasonable one at a crucial moment in every youngsters life: feeding time. I have to wonder if his offspring will inherit his genes and experience bad hair days of their own when they are his age.