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Avian analysis - 2005

Posted by Cat / January 10, 2006

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Yes, yes, yes, enough with the list-making already. It's a bit like wishing people a Happy New Year, well into the month of January. Happy New year, dear reader, and while we're at it, here's another list: five feathered friends (and some foes) of 2005, simply because I love birds and bandwagons.

Ivory-billed woodpecker: This bird is the holy grail (and perennial tease) of the twitcher world. For close to a century, this bird was considered close to extinction, if indeed it still existed. Infrequent yet convincing accounts of sightings led to ongoing efforts to track this elusive member of the woodpecker family, mostly found (when it is found) in the cypress- and tupelo-forested swamps of Arkansas. But the past year has witnessed record excitement levels surrounding the search for the Ivory-bill. In 2004-2005, over 50 experts joined the largest search ever made for a rare bird, and sound recordings and valuable video footage were obtained. To a birder, the sound is incredibly distinct; to others it may just be reminiscent of mocking laughter.

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Heritage turkeys: While the comestible turkey market is still comprised of 99.99% industrial breeds (primarily the Broad-Breasted White), heritage breeds of turkey are making a significant comeback, on the farm and on the table. Many of these breeds, such as the Bourbon Red and the Standard Bronze, were developed in North America and Europe, hundreds of years ago. They boast richer-tasting meat, and generally have longer life spans. Heritage breeds tend to feed on a diverse diet of grasses and insects, and thus offer excellent pest-control and superior biological diversity.

Emperor Penguin: Aside from the fact that no other bird in recent memory has had such impressive box office stats, the well-turned out Aptenodytes forsteri could well give us all some important lessons on love, life, and sacrifice. And Montréalers in particular should take notes on the Emperor's impressive means of surviving the harshest winter weather on earth. They also gave Morgan Freeman one of his better roles in a while.

H5N1 chickens: Dangerous chicks indeed. Not since Hitchcock's 1963 ornithological thriller have birds struck such fear in the hearts of so many. Concerns of a pandemic have risen once again in the wake of new human cases of the virus found in Asia and now, Turkey. Many chicken farmers, including some in Canada, have had to destroy their livestock in order to prevent the spread of avian flu to other domestic and wild bird populations, and out of concern for human health. Will this "fowl" situation continue its migration?

Harvey Birdman: No feathers on this bird, but attorney Harvey Birdman soars to the rescue of many a cartoon underdog as superhero-turned-lawyer in this animated courtroom drama. He also has a falcon sidekick named Avenger. In one episode of classic cartoon crossover, Birdman defends Shaggy and Scooby, who are up on (what else?) possession charges.

Discussion

4 Comments

J Mac / January 11, 2006 at 01:15 pm
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This just may be the best post ever. Although I'm waiting for the cheese retrospective before I make this statement official.
Sri / February 5, 2015 at 12:30 am
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Mike has anyone seen wgixwnas in housing estate at the back of wye vale garden centre on Newport pagnell road yet last two years there have been lots.

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