Main

February 3, 2014

Auto Emergency Kit

420_ 2014-02-03_121428.png
(Photo from: the Washington Post)

Okee Dokee... Not much new with the birds. (If you just: situate the feeders properly, keep the feeders clean, give the birds clean water, and keep the little buggers fed, backyard birding is pretty simple.)

(Before we proceed, I hope this entry will be the shortest long post you'll ever see on this site. It will consist of a couple of links and a simple list. It literally shouldn't take more than a few minutes to scan, yet if you want, you can spend days on the subject. Here we go...)

So what of the shot above? I believe that is from Atlanta last week and might just serve as a good jumping off point for this post. (Given the season, I'll stay on topic and talk about winter, but all seasons should be met with the following sobriety...) About a week ago, a ton of people got basically stranded in their cars in Atlanta. (This is a topic that is dear to me because I've been twice stuck in the middle of nowhere in a vehicle that just didn't want to work.) First, here's an excellent article by Edmunds on how to make your own vehicle emergency kit. Secondly, here's my adjunct list to compliment Edmunds'... Again, this shouldn't take long to read...

  • Check your local laws concerning flares...
  • Those silver emergency blankets are handy too...
  • A hand-crank flashlight (example) never needs batteries...
  • You can buy a nice multiple screwdriver (example) for under $10...
  • Inexpensive socket sets abound in places like Harbor Freight...
  • 12 large trash bags... (They even can be used as gaiters...)
  • I'd suggest pencil and paper...
  • Long-life energy bars or MREs... Hard candy goes a long ways too...
  • As best as you can, always carry water on you vs. storing it in your car... Storing it can lead to freezing and rupture... However, if your commute or journey involves distance, be sure you have plenty of the stuff...
  • Tent.... Don't laugh. I remember one night so foggy that the visibility was less than the end of the hood of the car. The only safe option was to get off the road as far as possible, grab the bug-out bag, and head for the hills ASAP... You can get a decent tent off Amazon that takes up little space...
  • Hand warmers...
  • Over-sized set of sweats and a pair of athletic socks...
  • Simple insulated rubber boots...
  • WD-40...
  • 550 paracord rope...
  • Cat litter...
  • Small tarp...
  • Gorilla duct tape...
  • $ Change and bills...
  • Collapsible snow shovel...
  • A way of making fire...
  • Long electrician's cable ties...
  • Plain knit cap/ski mask and ski gloves...
  • Poncho w/ hood...
  • Medication...
  • Soap...
  • Cheap rain outfit...
  • Solar recharger for phone...
  • Certainly one of the most important is a picture of loved ones -- that can keep you going when all else fails...

I know, I know, I know... How on earth will you ever store all that stuff in the trunk? Well, those lists should simply be touch-points for you -- a sort of mental nudge that hopefully will get you to thinking. And secondly, once you do make up your mind as to what you really need, filling a couple of contractors buckets certainly shouldn't be too arduous a project. If anything, finding a way to organize the gear is the big hassle...

Starting to snow...

Two more storms to go within the next five days... Prepped by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

May 19, 2013

Tornados and the Upcoming Hurricane Season...

Watching the news now... It looks like OK, IA, and KS are taking a beating from an outbreak of twisters... Hope they're prepared. (If I lived in that area, I'd make sure I'd have quick access to an underground bomb shelter, even if I had to dig it with a spoon.)

Thoughts and prayers go out to them...

For those us in the North East, things aren't looking great for the summer... Here's a prediction from WeatherBell...

2013 hurrican season 420_2013-05-19_190712.jpg

I've babbled on way too much about disaster preparedness, but once again, here is a great link on the subject...

Getting ready by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

December 20, 2012

12/21/12

asteroid 420 2012-12-20_080644.png

I guess every blogger has to cover this upcoming event... Tomorrow, a day that will live in infamy, if there are any more days... So let's just say that the Mayan's long count calendar is right, and we're about to get smoked... Well, if that's the case, then let me add my $1/50... Oh, but my prediction is that it won't start with an asteroid strike as the NASA artist's depiction above suggests... No, that will be the ending... Here's how I see the cataclysm unfolding (in no certain order,,,)

  • A shocked world will learn that Bigfoot has eloped with Big Bird...
  • Cats and dogs will actually, really start living together...
  • The magnetic poles will shift because Donald Trump changed his hairdo...
  • Chupacabras will run wild through all major cities, but before they can cause any significant carnage, the rats will tear them to pieces...
  • I'll be abducted by aliens and subjected to the most indiscreet probes... But hey! At least I'll get to meet Elvis!!!
  • The 'Bermuda Triangle' will expand to become the 'Bermuda Octagon', and that will cover all the waters on earth including ponds and streams. And then, even the polliwogs will disappear through a worm hole into an alternate universe populated by cross-dressing William Shatner impersonators and Christmas trees strung with screwdrivers and bacon ornaments...
And when ALL of that is said and done, then we'll thankfully be singed off the face of the planet by the asteroid...

There, that wasn't so difficult now was it?

Or maybe, just maybe, the Mayans weren't talking about the spectacular sort of event, but rather a tipping point of the less cinematic... Maybe they were warning of a world that behaved so fiscally irresponsibly that catastrophe had become inevitable... Maybe they were thinking about global climate change that could foster a once in a millennium storm like Hurricane Sandy, or a culture that could somehow breed a generation of young people who mass murder their own in the names of sickness, thrill, frustration, and infamy... Maybe 12/21 has been with us for some time now...

I opt for the latter...

By the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

August 28, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse and General Preparedness...

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.gov

There! Do you see that?!? Do you see that?!? I've been warning you for years that our society has been going to Hades, and our economy has been lilting down the River Styx, but you wouldn't listen would you??? Oh, all the signs were there: 'Bad Moon Rising' by CCR... Reality TV... Lady Gaga in her meat suit... William Shatner singing 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'...

The world has become little more than 'Rocky Horror Picture Show', but for real... And now there's this from the CDC (a dot gov site BTW). Zombies! I'll bet those beggars can't even dance like the ones in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video... (At least Tim Curry could wear high heels... but I digress...) So, it's time to get ready for some disaster, and it might just involve that undead schmuck to your right, or just something like Hurricane Issac...

You've been warned...

By the prepped feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

July 18, 2012

New Windows, Rain, Heat, Food and Seed Prices, etc...

Hey!

First up... I apologize for the lag since the last post -- new windows, renovations, and heat take their toll. That being said, the new windows are in and the interior treatments have begun...

420 picture window with shade_IMG_4494.JPG

Here's a screen shot from the eBirdseed.com streaming cam as seen from the new kitchen window...

New window streaming cam screen shot_420_2012 first hummingbird.jpg

Excuse me while I notice that it's raining!!! Yay!!!

Onward...

This country is facing a serious drought emergency, and you should be aware... Expect veggies etc. to spike in cost towards the forth quarter of 2012... Canned goods are good things... Also vacuum packed and frozen meats go a long way... And don't forget your feathered friends -- buying in bulk now and vacuum packing seed will save money later... word to the wise. (We just started discussing buying an old freezer for storage, and purchasing bulk seed by the hundreds of pounds... Hmmm...)

By the busy feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

April 4, 2012

Texas Tornadoes and... Reluctant Rubies...

Hi,

Before we talk birds, here's a reminder about the Texas twisters from a couple days ago...

Texas twister_420_2012-04-04_234507.jpg

Credit: This photo was taken by a NWS Storm Survey team in Lancaster TX on April 4, 2012. It shows EF-2 tornado damage that occurred in parts of Lancaster on April 3, 2012
.
According to various broadcasts, that while miraculously no one was killed, 600+ houses were either damaged or destroyed. Here's a link that offers 'how to help' info...

Onward...

no hummer_with cup__420_IMG_3937.JPG

Well, we still haven't seen any hummingbirds yet, but they're definitely here. (Just check the hummingbird map...) Hence the lonely feeder to the right... (Note the green cup above the actual feeder -- that's filled with water and acts as an effective ant trap. I should think that making one of those with a liter soda bottle, a couple of threaded spacers mated with two long matching threaded screw eyes. Toss in a couple of washers, some sealant and a bit of creativity, and you should be good to go... Anywho... Our rubies aren't here yet. We'll wait...

By the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

September 22, 2011

Tree Down... Now What?

Well, it only took a few hours...

True to form, the Tree Co. showed up early -- a day early actually, and did a fantastic job. (You can see the 'before' here.)

tree_gone_2011-09-22_164457.jpg

But now the fun begins. Somehow, I've got to get most of those logs out of the yard -- supposedly a friend is going to cut them up for firewood. Beyond that, in theory, I'll take a shot at milling the big guy (18" in diameter by 6' in length). I want to split the trunk into a series of slabs, air dry them, and eventually turn them into heirloom pieces of furniture for both the wife and I and for the previous owners who planted the maple 40 years ago. Oh goody. However, not being one to unduly dwell on the dark side of a project like this (though I do reserve the right to be realistic), I think I'm up to the task... But what to make? I'm thinking blanket chest and maybe a jewelry box or two.

Time will tell... I'll keep you posted.

CapeCodAlan

P.S. The crows are already back, but they do seem a bit confused with the disappearance of one of their 'main perches'.


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

September 12, 2011

9/11/2011

Updated_2011-09-11_220245.JPG

(Click here to see the full-size original of 9/11 from space.)

I started this on 9/11/2011, but I'm not sure when you'll see it. (Back on September 12, 2009, I wrote, "No more words right now..." It's taken a while for me to compose my thoughts, but here's my $.02 on ten years ago...) I'll try to tell this tale in five short vignettes...

No... No I won't... I've struggled with this post for many hours, and I'm not sure if the reason that I stop here is that I'm just not ready to open up, or that I fear that you simply aren't ready to read what I write...

By the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

September 1, 2011

Forlorn Crow, Forlorn Crow Feeder

Hi,

As promised in the last post, here are some thoughts about bird equipment survival during a strong storm... (I was going to include info on 'people survival' but I've done that to death already... Google on 'eBiirdseed prepare' and brace yourself.)

gray crow resized_IMG_3147.JPG

The old fella above doesn't look so happy does he... Wonder why? Could it be that his always-reliable 'crow feeder' below got smoked?

Crow feeder destroyed_resized_IMG_3146.JPG

Thoughts on future feeder and bird house designs... Given their demise (the bird house is off to the left out of the picture), both units held up exceptionally well until a honking big branch fell on them. Still, I'll make changes in the future designs...

  • I'm going to start seriously exploring 'poly-wood', -- a man-made, virtually indestructible plastic. There are pluses and minuses to poly-wood:
    • It can be worked with ordinary tools
    • It's relatively impervious to the elements
    • Poly-wood can be secured with standard stainless fasteners
    On the downside...
    • It's expensive
    • There are no glues for synthetic wood
    • It's heavy
    • Birds' claws can't take hold of it, so it will have to be grooved or a perch will have to be mounted
  • I've got to do a better job of making the birdhouse cleanable... The breaking away of the bottom exposed a number of old nests... Shame on me.
  • Speaking of 'breaking away', look at the 4 X 4 post in the shot above. See how it split away at the top where the post was set in. I always worried about that kind of a failure. In the past, I thought of using a stainless pipe clamp to 'collar' the area. Guess what I'll do in the future?

That should do it for now... I still have to put the garage back together again after the storm, repair the crow tray, change the oil in the generator and store that away somewhere, blah, blah, blah...

See you by those ever busy feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

August 29, 2011

Irene Damage

Hi,

Here's our 1st of two entries on Hurricane Irene and the effect on our homestead...

Ok, a resounding, shuddering thud and the following scene is not the way to start your morning amidst hurricane-strength gusts...

resized_tree on deck_IMG_3113.JPG

And this is how close we came to losing the kitchen...

tree by kitchen window_resized_IMG_3114.JPG

To put the damage in perspective mid-storm... (Also note the branch above the trellis 'cause it ain't going to be there much longer...)

tree on house resized_IMG_3119.JPG

Finally, here we are after the second branch was down... That one took out our birdhouse and crow feeder... Ah, there's nothing like half a ton of maple hurtling earthward to rearrange the bird accoutrement...

tree after second limb came down_resized_IMG_3142.JPG

And that's about it... We lost our power for 24 hours, had some roof damage, went through the disaster preparedness drill for real... (Just because I wear an aluminum foil hat doesn't necessarily mean that the the occasional disaster isn't staggering down Fate's Highway towards us! More about that next time...)

'Til then... Alive and well by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan

P.S. Heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to out to all who suffered in this storm, and especially to the 35+ lost souls and their families and friends... In the grand scheme of things, a lost maple tree, a one-day black out, and a dinged up roof is a blessing...


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

August 27, 2011

Irene Begins on Cape Cod

Hi,

Well, if anything describes the day here on the Cape, the shot below does...

Before Irene resized_IMG_3085.JPG

Right now, it's blah, the birds don't seem very active, and we get the occasional sprinkle from the outermost rain bands of Irene. To be honest, I'm expecting an inch or two of rain and some strong wind gusts. That being said, I just watched a radar weather loop, and the storm made a sudden lunge to the east, so who really knows... We here in the Mid-Cape area could get off easy, or we could get our clock cleaned... No one really knows, so precaution is a 'duh!' must.

I've got a bunch to do in the next few hours:

August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update...

Hi,

Well... Now it's starting to look like we (Cape Cod) might get a hurricane after all...

Irene_cone.JPG

So, here's what I'm going to do...

I'll keep an eye on the birds, the barometric pressure, the weather conditions, and 'live blog' (report) as best I can, when I can... (I've been through a couple hurricanes, and they can become hairy to say the least. To make matters worse, our computer room lies smack dab in the path of a humongous oak tree. So if things jump ugly, I'll be blogging from our basement and hoping that the cable service and casa remain unscathed.)

Right now, it seems to be a typical summer day, though the crows haven't been their normal pushy selves. My guess is that that is just a function of 68 degrees and steady barometric pressure of 1018.

Finally... Once again... Are you prepared?

This should be interesting...

Tidying the bunker by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

Birds, Barometric Pressure, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Etc.

Hi,

Oh this was going to be such an easy post -- a quick, 'Looks like we'll get a blow so I'll watch the barometer and the birds and keep you abreast of any unusual avian activity' post...

Barometer_resized_IMG_3084.JPG

And there's the barometer at the current Chatham 1018 hPa... Boy oh boy, I'll bet this is getting you all excited. (Like birds really care about hectopascals...) But then came 1:55pm EST... As always, I was working on the computer, and the table swayed... No big deal but definitely noticeable. Like so many souls on the East Coast, I just sat there and tried to figure it out. Was I dizzy? Had there been an accident? Had the furnace blown up? Nope... The only evidence of the earthquake was just a swaying cable before me. In all its majestic power and mystery, the earth had simply moved -- the crusted had ruffled itself ever so slightly, and we were there for the adjustment...

So... Between the earthquake and Hurricane Irene, it seems like this is a good time to remind you to prepare....

There, I've done my civic duty.

I'll get back to you with a report concerning the birds and the barometric pressure ASAP.

By the 'Danger Feeders',

CapeCodAlan

P.S. A word to the wise... Always carry a small flashlight and a pocket knife on your person. A $2 investment can save so much hassle...


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)

Bookmark and Share

June 9, 2011

Solar Flare and Stockpiling Seed

Hi,

This happened yesterday...

flash.jpg

Though scientists think this solar flare shall have a minimal impact for us here on earth, there is still the possibility of electrical grid problems caused by EMF disruptions just as we had back in 1989 when one of these things caused a nine-hour power blackout in most of Quebec... Given that most recent flare (and a gazillion other current natural emergencies) I repeat my suggestion from long ago (June 21, 2007) that you consider buying in bulk and vacuum sealing. Why look, here is some wild rice that we've had for at least a couple of years...

vacuum pack_IMG_2803.JPG

The sad fact is that we're in volatile times... Gas and food prices are skyrocketing with no end in sight... Since long before 2007, Mrs. CCA and I buy in large bulk and vacuum pack everything we can afford, including grains like the rice above... We buy bulk suet and either refrigerate it or freeze it. (For that matter, our freezer is packed!)

Look, I'm no fortune teller... The Middle East could calm down tomorrow... Oil drilling could open up... The economy could turn around... The cost of transporting birdseed could plummet... Etc., Etc., Etc... But I'm just giving you my own humble opinion (and not that of eBirdseed.com.) Just as back in 2007, I think now would be a good time to buy in bulk...

Wearing an aluminum foil hat and stocked up by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

June 4, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Yet Again...

Hi,

Short post for you tonight... The photo below is from just a few days ago in Springfield MA...

Springfield ok_2011-06-04_011710.jpg

Tornado in Springfield rips through a neighborhood behind an office building, 1 June 2011
Source: Matt Putzel
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Springfield,_MA_Tornado_2011,_June_1.jpg

As has been mentioned here umpteen times, better safe than sorry... So much of the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard have just entered the hurricane season... And Cape Cod is long overdue for a beaut'...

Once again, here is a fantastic, free guide for emergency preparedness... I can't recommend strongly enough that you download, print and follow it to the letter...

Let's have a safe and happy summer... After all, the birds can fly away, but we can't...

By the feeders...

CapeCodAlan

P.S. As always, The American Red Cross is there to help...


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

May 24, 2011

Joplin MO Tornado, 2011

(As I type this, Fox News is reporting yet more tornadoes,... Five twisters, including one that apparently went through or near Oklahoma City... )

neighborhood_joplin_resized_2011-05-24_125235.jpg

Joplin cars tornado resized_2011-05-24_124710.jpg

The pics above are from Joplin... Unbelievable. 120+ dead and 1,500+ missing... Unreal... EF5...

Odds are that you've never seen a twister, but I have. I can tell you straight up that the experience was one of helpless and hollowness. I was stuck in a traffic jam, and there was no place to go. It was literally a crap shoot as to which way the tornado would move.

This isn't just about lost lives, broken bodies, demolished homes and businesses... No one who encounters a tornado is ever quite the same again...

To help, the American Red Cross is always a good starting point...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

May 20, 2011

Hurricanes and CDC Zombie Apocalypse

Recognize that relic below? Yup, we're heading smack dab right into hurricane season...

hurricane_resized_2011-05-20_052751.jpg

Here's what NOAA Administrator Lubchenco and FEMA Administrator Fugate had to say about this summer:

Officials are predicting an "above-normal" hurricane season this year, with up to 18 named storms and as many as six that could become category five hurricanes. It's too early, though, to predict whether any of those storms would reach land.

Lubchenco said preparation is vitally important, and it only takes one storm to "wreak devastation."

Fugate has his own outlook for this season.

"I'll issue my forecast: Far too many people will not be prepared and will try to get ready in the last minutes when the hurricanes threaten their community, and won't have enough time," he said.

Fugate urged people along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Coast to figure out now whether they live in an evacuation zone. He also warned against so-called "hurricane amnesia."

"This is a problem along any of these areas where people forget (the) risk or feel that they have some sort of immunity because of the coastline, or the history, or the classic 'I've lived here all my life, I've never had a hurricane,'" he said. "If you live along the Gulf Coast, if you live along the Atlantic Coast, you have your notice: This is going to be an above-average season."

Alright... So you won't embrace the fact that this could be a rough summer and that you should prepare... Fine! But, at least pay heed to the U.S. Government's warning of a looming Zombie Apocalypse...

Get A Kit,    Make A Plan, Be Prepared. emergency.cdc.gov

I kid you not... Just click on the shot above, and there you'll be -- welcome to "dot gov" and brain-eating zombies. (Pay no attention to the fact that zombie prep looks a lot like disaster prep.)

Consider your self warned by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

April 28, 2011

April 27 Tornadoes...

As you probably know, the South just got slammed with a series of brutal twisters (at least one of which was an EF5 -- the most powerful.) The damage runs some 800 miles and the death toll now exceeds 250. According to Fox News, one entire small town was simply obliterated. The following photographs are from FEMA, and don't even hint at the scope of the destruction...

resized_2011-04-28_154755.jpg

resized_tornado_4_28_2011_2011-04-28_154351.jpg

If you would like to help, here are two trustworthy organizations:

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

March 11, 2011

Japan, 3/11/11...

Hi,

Given what has happened to Japan over the last 24 hrs, I don't think it's appropriate to write about birds. Thoughts...

  • First... The scale of the disaster is mind numbing... So many thoughts and prayers go out to those poor people... If you care to help, here is the Red Cross contact info... Simply heart broken here...
  • Beyond all the horror, there are massive geo-economic worries. Japan's already-weak economy carries one trillion dollars of our debt in the form of U.S. treasury bonds. If the Japanese government has to call in those bonds (penalties or not), where are we going to get the money to cover them? (For weeks, the two parties in Congress have been bloviatingly chest thumping over a $50 billion difference in the short-term budget. What happens when we have to immediately face twenty times that amount?) At this point, I doubt that the Chinese will "lend" us one more dime in the form of yet more "T-Bonds". (We owe the PRC a trillion also.) In short, this natural disaster could well lead to an equally stunning economic meltdown of two of the world's most powerful economies.
  • When it rains it pours... Enter the geo-political... The Middle East is teetering, and don't for one minute think that "The House of Saud" and Col. Qaddafi won't take our tragic distraction to full advantage. Expect more brutal repression in both Saudi Arabia and Libya.
  • Finally, expect the ominous nuclear power situation in Japan to stall once and for all our thoughts of nuclear power here.
Very, very sad by the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

January 10, 2011

Sanctuary

resized_Bird house in snow_IMG_1904.JPG

Note: Sorry for the delay. The blog hosting service we use had "issues" that required remedy. Anyway, this post is roughly a week old. Onward...

"Sanctuary" - it's a warm word isn't it? For the last couple of days, I, like many, have been in a sad, sad funk over the tragedy in Arizona. Obviously, this isn't the first time we've been through these sorts of things: I remember when JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and Reagan were shot. All were bad times.

Anyway, in the midst of my funk, I happened to glance out at our birdhouse (right) and saw a downy woodpecker slip into the domicile. No doubt it was simply looking for a roost to escape the winter weather. (I tried to get a picture, but the creature wasn't wasting any time.) And for just a brief few moments, there was a bit of respite, a break from the senselessness. I find that backyard birdwatching is such a subtle pastime - not all-consuming, but there when you need it... Life goes on...

Speaking of life going on... Looks like we may have another storm heading our way. (Look out Cape Cod!) We're looking at Tuesday night through Wednesday night. 'Tis the season (to be miserable.) As always, we hope you are prepared...

Better get this posted...

See you by those feeders!

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

December 31, 2010

Turkey and a Gloomy New Years Eve

Hi,

I initially was going to write just a simple post this morning reflecting on the impending 2011, but was interrupted by the following...

big tom resized_auto_adjust_IMG_1796.JPG

Yup... That looks like a "Big Tom" and I'd guess he's in the mood for 'Luv'... (It was kind of embarrassing really... He just stood there all puffed out, and barely moved... Oh Lawd, don't tell me I looked that way when I was younger!)

Alrighty then... Back to 2011... Don't really know what to say... Yeah, we've got some ongoing bird-type projects (like the live streaming cam), but aside from that, hopefully, it will be backyard as usual...

But far beyond the mundane, my gut says that there's something profound and worthy of mention... Something perhaps even ominous that lies in wait for 2011, but I don't know what it is. My hunch is that we all feel it in one way or the other, whether we want to admit it or not. There are just too many Damocles' Swords hanging by a collection of too-ragged threads...

  • There's our long-term economy which is in ruins...
  • In the shorter time frame, just the $2 trillion in red ink owed by 100 American cities lacks the warm and fuzzy...
  • Let's not forget China, Russia, the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East in general. (Don't even think about the African continent...)
  • Take your pick:
    • Al-Qaeda
    • Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
    • Home grown terrorists
    • ???
  • No doubt there will be hundreds more of these types of senseless acts of slaughter
  • Will the murder of children never end?

And so it goes... I'm sorry I'm such a buzz kill, but someone has to say it... I don't know of a single soul who doesn't feel that the world is coming to a boil. Is 2011 the year? Small wonder we feed the birds...

See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

December 28, 2010

Storm, Frozen Driveway, Contests and Privacy, Birds, etc.

Well, the storm has more or less left us (current temp is about 19 F, and the winds are gusting in the 35 mph to 50 mph range.) And many souls who suffered through this monstrosity have more or less dug out. Still, keep in mind that danger lurks - specifically, frozen driveways/sidewalks. They may look clear, but that doesn't mean that ice isn't lying in wait. (Take it from someone who slipped and fell a few years back, knocking himself unconscious and breaking a finger in the process.) Here's a photo of ice in our driveway:

resized_icey driveway 2_IMG_1773.JPG

Look carefully and you can see that ominous glaze... Oh goody!

On a completely different note... It's come to my attention that folks aren't crazy about entering contests for fear of giving out their contact info. (Four people that I know of have declined for just that reason.) There isn't too much that I can add beyond the standard eBirdseed.com privacy policy... We live in a strange time of phishing, identity theft, spam, hijackings, Wikileaks, China's hacking of Google, spyware, etc., etc., etc.

My guess is that eBirdseed.com is about as safe as you can get. (Nowadays, even your snail mail and your trash are at risk... Deep sigh...) I'll see what I can do to think up a new type of contest perhaps using the USPS, a land line, or a winning code.

In the mean time, here's a couple shots of storm-shocked birds...

two bluebirds on branch with snow excellent_cropped.jpg

chickadee finch downy cropped.JPG

See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

December 27, 2010

In the Middle of the Storm

Hi,

This is going to be a short entry... The weather is going crazy here on Cape Cod. Yesterday and last night we experienced snow/sleet/rain. Now the temperature is dropping and this whole mess is freezing in the midst of wind gusts up to 60 mph. I'm really not sure how much longer we'll have power.Oh goody! The following is from last night...

400_IMG_1705.JPG

The birds have justifiably been going nuts on the feeders - no doubt desperate for food energy. Here are a few photos...

bluebird and goldfinch excellent_resized.JPG

and,

bluebird chickadee titmouse_IMG_1709.JPG

and,

bluebird on branch wet excellent_IMG_1766.JPG See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan

P.S. By some miracle, you might be able see our backyard streaming live here...

P.P.S. Keep an eye peeled for a new contest!


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

December 17, 2010

N.E. Nor'easter Storm Possible? Yes But...

Hi,

Let this be a simple reminder for everyone who doesn't live on the moon... Winter is coming, and you should be prepared. For those on the east coast, get ready for a Sunday/Monday blow that probably won't happen. (See: Nor'easter Threat? Doubtful...For Most.) Still, a monster like the one below is just a "matter of time" away...

Jan 2010 noreaster_2010-12-17_024853.jpg

So in keeping with our tradition of keeping you updated on the preparations for the possible hurricane, twister, dam break, blizzard, terrorist attack, etc., here are three links you really should check out: Ready.gov, the Ready.gov kit, and our old faithful - the Cape Cod Emergency Preparedness Handbook. (And while you're at it, it might be wise to lay in a little extra for the birds just in case. We vacuum pack some just to keep it fresh and at the ready.)

Let's see... What else? The birds have been steadily active, though skittish. We're not sure what that's about, but it could be the weather... The word search contest is wrapping up - better hurry! ... Oh! We ordered the new Logitech 9000 web cam (and 32' active USB extension cable) today and should have it by Monday. Expect almost relentless torment in the form of video and geek updates. Seriously, if I can get this thing working the way I think I can, you're going to be blown away.

That should just about do it for now...

See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

Bookmark and Share

November 1, 2010

Buzz Kill

Hi,

Sorry about my lack of post over the last few days - the attempted bombing kind of knocked me for a loop... I was going to write about the effects of digital photography on the masses and how those effects reverberate throughout the art world. Heck... I even had a semi-respectable picture...

resized with nut_DSC_0076.JPG

But the near-miss terrorist attack put me off my feed... (Here's the deal, I have a background in engineering, technology, and weaponry - I won't go into the details because it would bore you to tears, but I know what I'm talking about.) Bluntly, Friday's failed attempt(s) were too derned close... The explosive du jour was PETN - one of the world's most powerful... The big question is, "What will happen when fanatics and flat-out loons keep acquiring the ever-advancing and ever-more-ubiquitous technologies?"

I wish I had an answer for you, or had more to say, but I really don't. I do though have a few rhetorical questions:

  • Do we really believe Aum Shinrikyo, Jonestown, and 9/11 are the end or even the worst?
  • It's 11/2/10... Do our politicians understand what we're really facing?
  • Has the world seen its last mushroom cloud and if not will the nuke be fired in anger or by mistake, and by whom?
Told you that this would be a buzz kill. But last Friday we got extraordinarily lucky (as we did with the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber and the Times Square bomber...) How much longer will our luck hold out?

Sometimes there are events that push birding to background.

See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan

P.S. On a happier note, there's always our word search contest...

P.P.S. This just in... Four mail bombs explode in Greece.


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam

Bookmark and Share

September 12, 2010

Sept. 11, Voice Recognition, and Turkeys

Hi all, Sorry about yesterday, but September 11 is a very hard one for me. Like many, I had close ones who were wearing bull-eyes that Tuesday, and I couldn't help. Though they survived without a scratch, I will never forget the senseless torment and carnage of it all. Am I afraid or terrorized? No. Do I want swift and absolute justice? Yes. Do I want to use whatever means to prevent that from ever happening again? Absolutely. The phrase "terrible resolve" leaps to mind... (Those thoughts are not necessarily those of eBirdseed.com, but rather CapeCodAlan's.)

Onward... About the birds...

Or perhaps more accurately, about this blog post and how I am entering it. For some years now I've dabbled with speech recognition... At long last it seems that Windows Vista and the newest hardware (headset/mic) makes speech recognition almost plausible. I'm not quite up to speed yet, but in the long run this might just be doable and I can truly dictate the various posts. Time will tell... Check out the picture below...

voice recognition resized_IMG_0801.JPG

That is basically what our system looks like. The headset is a Plantronics unit, and that seems to work fairly well. I dictate into Notepad, perform the edits, and then copy and paste into the blog software. Like I said, time will tell.

Finally, who can leave this post without the perfunctory turkey picture? They don't call them "turkeys" for nothing!

a turkeys turkey_resized_IMG_0775.JPG

See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam

Bookmark and Share

No Post for 9/11

First, I apologize for not posting on 9/11... That's a hard day for me as I guess it is for all rational people. To be honest with you, I really don't feel like posting right now. I've been trying to think of an entry all day, and nothing is forthcoming... At least not anything that would be appropriate for this blog.

WTC_resized_2010-09-12_044708.jpg

Signing off by the feeders, and will post again tomorrow...

See you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam

Bookmark and Share

August 31, 2010

Prepping for Earl and Beyond...

Hi,

Just a quick post about what Earl might do to the East Coast...

EARL_400_2010-08-31_135906.jpg

Any questions?

If you're in the path of this puppy, now is the time to PREPARE and make plans to get out of Dodge if need be.

Stoic self-reliance is all well and good until your roof gets torn off and you realize that you have literally gone from the top of the food chain to the bottom... If the forecasters/authorities tell you to evacuate... Boogie!

I'll try to watch the behavior of the birds for as long as I can, but if the time comes to exit stage left, color me gone. Meep! Meep! (Now that was a compound mixed metaphor!!!)

See you by those well-stocked feeders...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam

Bookmark and Share

June 24, 2010

Oil Disaster and Bird Seed...

Hi all,

We've talked quite a bit about this oil disaster (as well we should have and should continue to do so), but I thought I'd first relate it back to you, the backyard birder. Do you remember when gas was $4.00/gal just a few years ago? Back then, at the behest of the owner of eBirdseed.com, I wrote a quick post on the ultimate effect that that price increase (and the ever-changing dietary habits of Americans) would have upon you, the purchaser of seed. Well, yesterday, I heard an industry expert on Fox News warning that gas could be back up to $4.00/gal by the end of the summer. Oh goody... Right now, I'm looking into the possibility of savings through bulk purchase, etc... Will keep you posted...

Other thoughts, (CCA's and CCA's alone...) What follows needs adult supervision!

  • Part of the reason I didn't want to dig into the gory details of this oil spill earlier is because... well... the details are excruciatingly gory...
  • Be prepared to cry...
  • Very rough tally on day 66...
The bird numbers just go on and on... But something I've been trying to gently introduce is that this disaster easily has the potential to become a mega-disaster on a human scale. Just as an oil spill can ripple into the seed market, shutting down 1/3 of the American seafood industry would most likely deal a death blow to an already teetering national economy. (See: "The Next Economic Disaster", ""Financial Speech for the Ages"", and most ominous... "Societe Generale and Global Collapse")

Yup, if nothing else, America is already in wildly deep economic trouble. (If you aren't mainlining heroin yet, take a long look at this clock (be patient - this site is getting hammered) and note the bottom row in red and the right-side column in debt/GDP ratio.) Bluntly, the world markets are already in crisis... To seriously cripple both the U.S. fishing industry and the oil industry would be catastrophic on a global scale. (Here's a U.N. chart that should give just a hint of the horror should we really trash our semi-functional economy. And as America's economy goes, so goes the world's.)

Obviously, we face a two-horned demon... We must get off oil, but in a controlled manner. And we must put down this environmental Beelzebub... To fail at either (let alone both) is to face a Great Depression on a global scale.

The adult video below is telling...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

One of the lines reads... "We are an unstoppable oil-dependency-breaking machine... unfortunately the machine runs on oil..."

There perhaps is your answer... "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves..."

Cross your fingers and see you by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam P.S. What is that circled Red Cardinal pic on the bottom right of the eBirdseed home page? Inquiring minds... (I've got to do something to lighten this post up just a bit...)

Bookmark and Share

June 23, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill... Yet Another Update

Hi all,

So here we are...

Look, I truly don't know what to write... Best estimates on bird kills, oil spilled in gals/day, long-term ecological effect, short- and long-term economical effect, human health issues, oxygen depletion??? I have no clue. No one does. We're officially in the Twilight Zone now. What the bleep, send in the UFOs.

Look, I've struggled over this post for two days. I've tried to find upbeat, yet realistic ways to say the following... Speaking as an engineer, we may be in deep trouble. Don't hit the "Panic Button" yet, but warm up the hands. If the Federal Government doesn't unload a serious can of "whoop tush" on this disaster pronto, we may end up demolishing 1/3 of the American seafood economy from now until the 12th of Never. (And yes, someone has a solution... Enter General Honore...)

No more words for now... More to follow.

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam

Bookmark and Share

June 1, 2010

Oil Spill and Spooky Crow

Hi all,

Deep sigh... Have to discuss that Gulf oil spill again... Let's see where we stand right now 6/1/10 (Obviously these numbers are apx. and probably underestimated):

Today, they're cutting off the riser and that will raise the flow rate by 20% according to U.S. officials. If the replacement dome works (and many are skeptical that it will), we'll have to see where we stand. But if it doesn't work, we're looking at a total of roughly 66,000,000 gallons by the end of August. And even the end-of-summer relief well may not work. What's worse, not only are we are spraying toxic dispersants, but we're also pumping them into the untested environment of 2,000 psi (pressure at 5,000'). Toss in a major storm, and we have a big fat question mark...

Unfortunately, there is a phrase that no one wants to utter about the affected areas - "Dead Zone". That is to say that we may simply have to write off much of the Gulf and the coastal regions of four states. It wouldn't be the first time. Let's just hope for the best...

On to happier news... Hope you had a pleasant and reflective Memorial Day. Over the weekend, I put out some sausage for the crows...

crow with sausageresized on memorial day.JPG

Great photo... But that leads us to our "Creepy Dept."

Just a few moments ago, I heard a "thump" by the front door. I wasn't expecting anyone, but a "thump" it was for sure. When I opened the shade, there sat a crow on the railing. He flew up into the tree and glared. I went back to the keyboard and raised my hands to type. "Thump"... Same bird, same story. So, I put out some old bread. Situation over, right? Just now, ""Thump" yet again.. Suffice it to say, that we're wigged out... I have to go... "someone" is literally scratching at the front door.

See you by the feeders, maybe...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding

eBirdseed.com photo library

eBirdseed and misc. references

Other birding references

eBirdseed.com bird cam

Bookmark and Share