18 February 2013

GBBC: 9,504 house finches and counting

from: Cornell Lab of Ornohology, 18 February 2012

 Wood Stork by Jerry Motter, Florida, 2013 GBBC

GBBC Soars Around the World 

" ...a little more than halfway through one of the biggest bird counts in the world, and we're seeing great participation from the U.S. and Canada as well as from far-flung regions of the world. Thanks to everyone who has been counting with us—please keep the checklists coming!

Halftime Results:

Number of Countries Reporting Checklists: 75

Top 5 Countries with the Most Checklists Reported:
United States (28,949)
Canada (2,620)
India (131)
Mexico (81)
Australia (50)

Top 10 Countries with the Most Species Reported:
United States (609—approaching last year's U.S./Canada total of 623!)
Mexico (443)
India (340)
Australia (253)
Panama (241)
Canada (229)
Costa Rica (187)
Belize (123)
Colombia (117)
Great Britain (117)

Top Species Reported by the Most Countries:
House Sparrow—31 (All continents but Africa and Antarctica)
Rock Pigeon (26)
Great Egret (20)
Cattle Egret (17)
European Starling (17)
Eurasian Blackbird (15)
Great Cormorant (15)
Black Vulture (14)
Great Tit (14)
Turkey Vulture (14)
Eurasian Collared-Dove (13)
Gray Heron (13)
Great Kiskadee (13)
Mallard (13)

Species with the Most Individual Birds Reported:
Snow Goose (4,224,536)

Top 5 Birds Reported on the Most Checklists:
Northern Cardinal (14,060)
Mourning Dove (12,282)
Dark-eyed Junco (12,057)
Downy Woodpecker (10,043)
House Finch (9,504)

For latest results please visit birdcount.org

13 February 2013

a bigot retires

Jesus and Mo
(from: Balaji Ravichandran, Pink News, February 11, 2013)

 Following his decision to step down, Balaji Ravichandran assess 
Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy of intolerance...

"The Pope is resigning. Happy days for every news organisation around the world with a website, or a twenty-four hour news channel. This will give them enough fodder till the white smoke, arising from the chimney of the Vatican Palace, dissolves into the air around St Peter’s Square. The BBC has already started a live page, as have the Guardian and the Telegraph.
Tributes have started flooding. Italian PM Mario Monti has already claimed to be “greatly shaken” by this “unexpected news.” The German Government, quick to cash in on native attachments, feels “moved and touched” by the resignation. Apparently, Angela Merkel has the “highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church.” Even the Church of England, which the Catholic Church, to put it mildly, considers as a heretical establishment, has been quick to sing his praises. (Read any of those live blogs for the precise statements.) Oh, the hypocrisy of it all.

Look what Damian Thompson, a nasty right-winger who has trivialised mental illness, celebrated the shutting down of a church service in Soho for gay Catholics, and demonstrated an alarming lack of sympathy for drug and alcohol addicts, has to say: “The achievements of Benedict XVI have been subtle, above all in renewing and purifying the way the Catholic Church worships its Creator. He will be intensely missed by those of us for whom he was, in his quiet way, the most inspiring Pope of our lifetimes.”

What utter tosh.

Even the most neutral of observers would have to agree that his popedom has been a PR disaster for the Catholic Church. He restored the Tridentine Mass, so that “Jews may be delivered from their darkness,” and lifted the excommunication of at least one bishop who is a Holocaust denier. He came close to celebrating the colonial invasion of South America under the rubric of Christian faith, and described Muhammad’s teachings as purely “evil and inhuman,” as if his own were any better.

This is the man who has endangered millions of lives in Africa by suggesting that, far from managing the HIV/AIDS crisis there, condom use actually increases the rate of infection. Every year, especially over Christmas, he has used his public sermons to condemn homosexuality, gay rights, and equal marriage. Homosexuality, apparently was “an intrinsic moral evil,” “an objective disorder,” and it was not “unjust” to discriminate against gay people.

Transgender people were also an aberration in his eyes, and he has muddled postmodern preoccupation with gender, which is often problematic, with gender malalignment, which blights the lives of millions around the world. And we have to mourn his resignation?

Oh, look at all the good he has done, the apologists claim. Forgive me, but the lie-filled vitriol he has spread among the innocent against gay people, and the lives he has condemned through his message on condoms, and worst of all, if evil has tiers, his active involvement in the cover-up of sexual abuses in the Catholic Church, outweigh all those cries of peace and brotherhood. Merely shaking hands with Jewish and Hindu representatives, or decrying capitalism and nuclear bombs will not do. That is merely the same opinion spouted by beauty pageant hopefuls. If actions do speak louder than words, his actions show far greater prejudice lurking within than tolerance. Some say he has integrity: but no person of integrity wouldseek and obtain diplomatic immunity in cases lodged by victims of sexual abuse. A person of integrity would have testified in a court room, and grovelled at the feet of the victims to apologise.

This is not a man who inspires or purifies. This is a man who sows prejudice and intolerance at people’s hearts.

So, while the politicians celebrate his reign, and his apologists and fans pay their tributes, let me say, with no qualms whatsoever: I’m glad he’s gone. Good riddance."

worth reading: Andrew Sullivan at The Dish  Benedict’s Radical End

Who's next? 

Cardinal Peter Turkson 

Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson and Canadian Marc Ouellet are in the running. Read more about the top contenders here.


10 February 2013

great backyard bird count

GBBC: Just a Week Away!

from: Bird Studies, Canada, 8 February 2013
Make the birds in your community count – participate in the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count. The GBBC is an annual four-day event that engages birdwatchers of all ages across North America and around the world in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts. You can count for as little as 15 minutes on a single day, or for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy – and it helps the birds!
   This year’s count takes place in one week, from Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18. It’s as simple as counting the birds at a location near you, tallying the highest number of birds of each species seen together at once, and filling out an online checklist on the Great Backyard Bird Count website<http://www.birdcount.ca/>. Email gbbc@birdscanada.orggbbc@birdscanada.org
> for more information. As the count progresses, you can visit the GBBC website to view results and share photographs.

Le Grand dénombrement des oiseaux de février

8 février 2013 – Le Grand dénombrement des oiseaux de février (GDOF) est un recensement annuel de quatre jours auquel participent des ornithologues amateurs de tout âge. Que vous soyez un observateur débutant ou expérimenté, vous êtes invités à y prendre part. Vous n’aurez qu’à relever les oiseaux pendant au moins quinze minutes durant une journée, quoique vous puissiez y consacrer le temps que vous souhaitez tous les jours du recensement. Le GDOF est gratuit, amusant et simple à réaliser et vous permet de collaborer à la sauvegarde de l’avifaune!
   Cette année, le GDOF se tiendra du vendredi 15 février au lundi 18 février. Il n’est pas trop tard pour y participer et vous n’êtes pas tenu de vous inscrire. Le recensement est simple. Vous n’avez qu’à dénombrer les oiseaux à un endroit près de chez vous, à consigner le plus grand nombre d’oiseaux de chaque espèce que vous observez à la fois et à remplir un feuillet de compilation sur le site Web du GDOF<http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/canada-1/canada-francais/view?set_language=fr>. Tout au long du recensement, vous pourrez faire le suivi des résultats ainsi que télécharger les photos prises sur les lieux sur le site du GDOF.