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Charting climate change and local loss of flora from Thoreau's journals

From 1851 to 1858, Henry David Thoreau noted a number of natural occurrences in detail, including the first flowering dates for over 500 species of wildflowers in Concord. Additionally, Alfred Hosmer, a botanist in the same area, had recorded the flowering dates of over 600 species of wild plants in 1878 and from 1888 to 1902. With that data, Richard Primack, a biology professor at Boston University, and fellow researcher Abraham Miller-Rushing spent years aligning old plant names with current names to study the change flowering patterns from the recorded past to present. Their phenological study concluded that plants in Concord, on average, are now flowering 10 days earlier than they were in Thoreau's time (full article for the journal BioScience). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 25, 2014 - 3 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

"There IS a thing called competitive birdwatching..." The decade-long buzz of The Big Year

In 1998 three birders--Sandy Komito, Al Levantin and Greg Miller--had their big year attempt chronicled in 2004 in a book of the same name by Mark Obmascik. Due to a few fortuitous circumstances including some spectacular fallout on Attu, a remote Alaskan Island, Komito's 1998 record of 745 species has never been surpassed. Their friendly yearlong rivalry is being documented further in a motion picture featuring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black coming out later this year. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 5, 2011 - 16 comments

Ask the Bird Folks: award winning short nature-humor articles

Mike O'Connor, owner of Bird Watcher's General Store in MA, writes a column "Ask the Bird Folks", for The Cape Codder newspaper. Five of O'Connor's short but humorously enlightening pieces were chosen by Steven Pinker to be included in the 2004 edition of the Best American Science and Nature writing. Those five can be read here: [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]. The full set of articles here. He started in 2001 and is sort of a "Car Talk" of bird watching.
posted by stbalbach on Dec 13, 2008 - 8 comments

The Biggest Twitch

Suppression is the act of concealing news of a rare bird from other twitchers. Other twitchers take the more open approach - Sean Dooley broke the Australian record for most birds seen in a year, and inspired by his example, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller gave up their jobs and embarked on a quest to see "over 3,662 different species of birds in twelve months, from 1st January to 31st December 2008." On October 31st, they achieved their goal.
posted by awfurby on Nov 3, 2008 - 13 comments

The Next Great Guitar God?

Danny Sveinson is The Rock and Roll Kid. The 11 year old guitar prodigy from Surrey, BC, has already played the Apollo Theatre in New York, jammed with Les Paul, and opened for April Wine and Colin James. They say he's the next Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix. They say he's the next guitar god. His parents say he has to be in bed by ten. How does Danny keep himself grounded under the pressure of fame and the spotlight? He watches birds.
posted by debralee on Nov 29, 2006 - 49 comments

The Birds

Bird Watchers Guide on Flickr. "Linked list of species submitted; find all photos of a species here".
posted by nthdegx on Jun 5, 2005 - 11 comments

What, no hooters?

Nice Tits! The Royal Tit-Watching Society of Britain. (Shockingly safe for work)
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on Apr 7, 2004 - 4 comments

Those Crazy birds

Those Crazy birds The birdwatchers of Ireland were atwitter Tuesday after spotting a Baltimore oriole in a seaside village named Baltimore.
posted by aj100 on Oct 9, 2001 - 7 comments

Falcon watching

Falcon watching I've always found falcons fascinating.

A long time ago, I helped out ( in a small way ) with the state effort to re-establish the peregrine falcon in the Midwest. It was in a major Midwest city, where the downtown buildings were a close match to their native nesting habitat of cliff faces and tall trees. The focus for the falcon release was a hack box. Now, the same hack box is being used as a nest by a falcon breeding pair, who have four eyasses ( singular; eyas: i.e., falcon chicks ) this year.

This URL is the webcam of the hack box; it refreshes every 30 seconds. Since falcons eyasses grow fast, they need a lot of feeding, so the parents are primarily out hunting when they are not sheltering their children. Every once and a while you'll see one of the parents feeding the eyasses. In the coming weeks, you can watch these eyasses grow to more than triple their present size and get their flying wings.
posted by dragonmage on Apr 27, 2001 - 6 comments


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