Your Weekly–‘Tiny Moment’

From SVBC Charter Member and long-time patron of SVBC projects, Julie Girard-Woolley.

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I thought you’d get a kick out of this…I was on the golf course with Dave this afternoon and a little bird was on the ground.  I got closer and realized it was a baby Baltimore Oriole.  Next thing I know it is hopping onto my golf bag and had perched itself on the handles of my cart.  Mommy was calling it, she had food in her mouth.  Poor little thing didn’t have enough energy or I don’t know what to get going.  It was my turn to play, so I had to advance my bag.  The little guy took a ride with me and never moved.  I then put my hand by him (or her) and it hopped on!  I gently brought it over to a tree and it got onto a branch.  It made my day!!!  I had a real birdie on the golf course.

Julie

Baby Baltimore Oriole: Photos from Julie Girard

Tiny Birds, Tiny Moment

This Tiny Moment comes to us from across the Atlantic Ocean; we thank UK resident and International Member Charles Jones.

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Stepping out one recent morning with my little dog and trusty blackthorn walking stick, I noticed a louder-than-normal round of singing from the House Wrens that frequent a drainpipe out near our garbage can grouping.

House Wren photo by Jo Davidson

At just the right moment, my dog became fascinated with a blade of grass…so I could actually look up in time to see a baby wren fledge from its drainpipe nest and careen onto the ground!

Luckily, a passing scent caught the dog’s attention because then two more fledglings bravely flew out. For a few moments it was sheer pandemonium as the fledglings tried to get their bearings, with the parents flying about to and fro…to and fro. Finally, the five of them gathered their wits and flew across the road to relative safety.

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At the same time when those House Wrens were fledging in Cambridge, England and our sharp-eyed friend Charles Jones was viewing their activity, Michael and I watched a similar House Wren drama unfold in our very own San Vito garden…with a cup of English tea.

Your Weekly–‘Tiny Moment’

When I lived in the San Luis Valley in Colorado (before moving to Costa Rica) an annual Festival celebrated the arrival of the Sandhill Cranes on their annual migration. The Cranes soared into the valley for about 10 days…by the thousands. Truly remarkable.

My friend and I were headed to the festival when we spotted a large group of the Cranes in a field next to the road. We pulled in to the parking lot of a shabby, abandoned small white building. We got out of the car and went to sit on a log defining the parking lot to quietly observe.

A guy in what looked like a park service uniform pulled into that parking lot and asked us to leave.

“What? We are just watching the birds!”

“This is government property, you’re not permitted to be here”

“But we just want to see the birds.”

“Ladies, if you don’t move on I’ll have to arrest you for trespassing”.

My friend and I shook our heads incredulously but we left. We still joke about almost being arrested for bird watching.

(from SVBC member Roni Chernin)

(Sandhill Crane: from eBird)

Your Weekly ‘Tiny Moment’

I think we’ve all seen baby birds do the ‘feed me-feed me’ shake.  Young birds, just out of nest, are old enough to fly about but not quite old enough to feed themselves. And so, the babes are programed to still beg their parents for food like they did when still nestlings. They do this by striking a distinctive pose;

Fluffed up…Wings low and out to the side…Mouth WIDE open…Whole body shaking.

When the parents see this pose, they’re programmed to shove a meal into the offspring’s gaping mouth.

This morning I watched a young Lazuli Bunting do the ‘feed me-feed-me’ shake; only this baby was standing on a pile of millet seeds in my bird feeder!  The baby waited for one of its attentive parents to pick up one of those millet seeds and pop it into its mouth. The dutiful parent…probably doing the bird equivalent of an eye-roll…obliged the request and popped in a seed.

I suspect this behavior won’t be tolerated on for very long.

(from SVBC member Benjamin ‘Patch’ Patchett in Mt. Aukum, California)

Lazuli Bunting: photo from eBird

Hey, SVBC members…send your Tiny Moments to us and we’ll post them! Send to:

eltangaral@gmail.com (Greg Homer)

or

alison.w.olivier@gmail,coim (Alison Olivieri)

Another ‘Tiny Moment’

This ‘Tiny Moment’ happened in California. It happened in California but the tiny moment involved one of our favorite San Vito birds. Here’s how it happened.

My wife Helen and I, recently returned from Costa Rica, were enjoying the outdoor charms of a nearby public park. From the backyard of a neighboring house came an oddly familiar sound;

‘Hey, that sounds like a White-throated Crake’ said Helen.

‘It sure does.’

After a bit of detective work the call of the White-throated Crake turned into the sound of an electric grass trimmer. Oops; but it was a very pleasant reminder of home.

Listen to the actual call of the White-throated Crake by clicking on the link below:

https://ebird.org/species/whtcra1

Let me know if you think the sound of the Crake is reminiscent of a grass trimmer.

(From Greg Homer)

Happy 70th Anniversary…San Vito!

The San Vito Bird Club sends out our congratulations and very best wishes to the town of San Vito on its 70th Anniversary. We encourage you to participate in an entire week’s worth of historical, cultural and dining-related activities, Feb. 21-28.

Attached below is the schedule of activities to commemorate and celebrate this historic milestone

(scroll to see all 3 pages)

Funeral por Judith Ippolito: Date and time

Está cordialmente invitado a participar en el servicio religioso, y/o la reunión social para recordar y celebrar la vida de Judith Ippolito. Por favor, no se sienta obligado a asistir, si no se siente cómodo.
Siéntase libre de compartir esta información, pues no tenemos los contactos de todos.

Misa funeral por Judith Ippolito
 Lugar: La Iglesia Católica en San Vito Fecha: jueves 27 de enero de 2022 Hora: 15:00 h.

Recuerdo (reunión social)
 Lugar: La Cascata del Bosco Fecha: 29 de enero de 2022 Hora: 9:00 am

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

You are cordially invited to participate in the religious service and/or the social gathering to remember the life of Judith Ippolito. Please don’t feel obligated to attend either if you don’t feel comfortable.
Feel free to share this information, we don’t have everyone’s contact information.

Funeral Mass for Judith Ippolito
Place: The Catholic Church in San VitoDate: Thursday January 27, 2022Time: 3:00 p.m.

Remembrance (social gathering)
Place: La Cascata del BoscoDate: Saturday January 29th, 2022Time: 9:00 a.m.

A Fond Farewell: Judith Ippolito

Mere sadness does not come close…not close at all…to convey how we feel about the recent passing of long-time friend and San Vito Bird Club member Judith Ippolito.

Our most genuine and profound condolences go out to Judith’s family–especially to our neighbor and very good friend, her loving husband Joe Ippolito.

We all have special memories of Judith, I am sure; her appreciation of nature…her dedication and hard work in many Spay & Neuter clinics…hearing her relay stories about the joys and perils of working on the farm. Most of all, I suspect, we all remember Judith for her unfailing joy of life, her glorious smile, her unequaled, flowing, raven-colored hair and her sense of humor.

Both a secular memorial and a Requiem Mass will be offered. Dates and times of these services will be forthcoming.

Allow me to share a most fond memory in this article (I tend to weep easily and would prefer to share it now). My wife Helen and I were visiting Joe and Judith at their home for lunch. We were quite new down here and our friendship was just blooming. During coffee, Helen started to talk about Ariadna’s little dog Africa (many of you will recall Africa). Helen stated that Africa reminded her of one of the Muppets…Gonzo. Judith was drinking coffee at this point and when she pictured Gonzo the Muppet, she laughed so hard she spit coffee all over Helen. Joe was a bit shocked but Helen and Judith just laughed and laughed and then laughed some more. That coffee proved to be a christening of our love and friendship.

Please enjoy the photos below of our dear, dear friend…Judith Ippolito,

The look of love.
Caring for animals.
Beautiful family.
Chicken dinner?
Flawless.

Birding in Your Pajamas

Get up…go outside…breathe deep…sweat…enjoy nature. As you probably are aware that is our mantra here at the San Vito Bird Club, So really…please do that.

But there may be times when, oh…you have the sniffles…a blister on your foot…a bad case of lethargy. If these or similar symptoms hit you, we now offer you a reasonable alternative to the *see above*.

Here are three options that allow you to go birding, from the couch, in your pajamas.

#1: Watch birds in South Africa

Follow this link to see a live streaming bird feeder in Pretoria, South Africa. The sheer number of birds and the diversity of birds is quite astounding. You’ll see Weavers, Hoopoes, Starlings, Lovebirds, old world Barbets, the Mousebird, the Go-Away Bird and much, much more. As a bonus the blogger displays the species names for you on the screen. The live stream continues at night when you might see bats and South African nocturnal mammals.

#2: Hummingbirds of Ecuador

This is place I’ve actually been to; Satchatamia Lodge in Mindo, Ecuador. The hummingbird feeders are kept spotlessly clean. Expect to see close to 20 different hummingbird species including our very own speedy and powerful, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird.

#3: Panama Birds at a Feeder, courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology

You’ll recognize most the birds on these Panama feeders…but not all!

Enjoy these live streams but get off the couch, put on your hiking clothes and GET OUT THERE!

How the Kingbird Became King of the Birds

(with acknowledgement, respect and thanks to the speedy and powerful Rudyard Kipling, author of ‘Just So Stories’)

photo courtesy of public domain

*This story took place not so very long ago.  Not so long ago that is, if you think about how very old our world is. 

Back in the days when this story took place human beings were quite different than they are now.  Back then, human beings were not so brave, not so wise and not so clever as we all are now.  Back then, human beings were a-scared of almost everything.  Back when this story took place human beings were fearful…always and ever fearful.  Human beings reacted with high pitched emotions (like the 5th string of a banjo) to pretty much every new person, place or thing they encountered; and many of the old things too.  Not like us today…no, not like us.  But then…this story has absolutely nothing to do with human beings.  So let us begin.*

The birds of the world held a big meeting to decide who was to be named King of the Birds.  Having a King, the birds thought, would be a very good thing.  A King, they believed…well, he or she would just take charge of things all right, all right, all right…a King would make the tough decisions that the rest of the birds didn’t want to make for themselves.  Better to have a King around to make all those tough decisions.  So they held a big meeting to pick a King..

All of the birds gathered (perhaps flocked is a better word) together.  This must have been a very big and grand place because there were–and still are–so many many birds. When all of the chatter finally died down (no doubt this took some time, you know how birds can be…especially the geese, chickens and turkeys), the Bellbird…by virtue of having the loudest voice of all the birds…flew up to the podium and addressed the throng.

‘Thank you all for coming to this meeting,’ rang the Bellbird.  ‘Especially you flightless birds; I know what a long walk it must have been to get here.  We have come here to pick out…please note I DID NOT say “peck out”…our King!’

My, what a sound came out from the crowd of birds at that point!  Imagine, if you can, the sound of all the birds of the world giving out with their best vocalization all at the same time; but of course you can’t really imagine that.  Take my word for it, that sound was singular and spectacular.

When quiet returned, the Bellbird continued; ‘I now open the meeting to any bird who wishes to be King of the Birds.’

First up to the podium came the Harpy Eagle.

‘I am the most powerful of all the birds.  I should be King.’

Next up came the Ostrich.

‘I am the largest of all the birds.  I should be King.’

Next, came the Raven.

‘I am the smartest of all the birds.  I even use tools!  I should be King.’

Next, the Peregrine Falcon zipped up to the podium.

‘IAMTHEFASTESTBIRD…ISHOULDBEKING.’  And off he zipped.

Next, the Arctic Tern approached the podium.

‘I regularly travel from the North Pole to the South Pole.  I have seen the entire world.  I should be King.’

The Emperor Penguin also had a notion to go to the podium but struggled and stumbled trying to ascend the eight steps that led up to it.  After about a half hour of trying the Emperor Penguin croaked, ‘Ah hell, I didn’t want to be King of the Birds anyway.’ And waddled back to his seat, hearing quite a few partially covered snickers and whispers from the crowd.

‘OK,’ said the Bellbird.  ‘I guess that’s all the nominees.  Now it’s up to all of you to decide…who is to become King of the Birds.’

If you thought that previous cacophony of bird song was singular and spectacular, let me say it was but a whisper-in-church compared to what came next.  Oh my!

Each individual bird, it seemed, had his or her own favorite choice and each individual bird expressed his or her opinion in the most enthusiastic manner possible.  These opinions were then countered by increasingly strident, even operatic, expressions of opinion; then those were countered and so on…and so on.

Some birds, it seemed, clearly believed the Harpy Eagle should be King.  Others robustly supported the Raven, the Ostrich, the Peregrine Falcon and the Arctic Tern.  There was even a small, but dedicated, contingent for the Emperor Penguin.

In effect, each bird at the meeting was saying, ‘You’re wrong.  Why won’t you believe what I believe!!!’

Louder and louder became the debate…more and more entrenched, less and less tolerant became each supporter of their beloved and favorite candidate.  The rhetoric turned purple.  Short-lived skirmishes even broke out, as emotions fairly flooded the venue.  The Bellbird just threw up his wings and sat down.

Finally (most likely due to sheer hunger and thirst), after 7 hours and 43 minutes, a brief quiet broke out in the meeting.

As quick as a flash, the Kingbird flew up to the podium and spoke to the multitude.

‘I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination to be King of the Birds.  As my first and only Royal Proclamation, I give you these words:  Live your best lives.  Now, back to work…all of you.’

The birds somehow instantly recognized the wisdom spoken by their new King.  They recognized that the King who rules best, rules least.  The Kingbird truly was a great King.  The Kingbird continues to rule wisely to this very day.

And that is how the Kingbird became King of the Birds.