Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy B-Earthday

Today is a very important day. Each year we set aside April 22 as Earth Day, a day in which we celebrate nature and our environment. Earthday was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin back in 1970. His purpose was to bring the growing environmental problems facing the country and the world to the national stage. Although the initial Earthday was a huge success, approximately 20 million Americans participated, and future Earthdays were even larger, in 1990 over 200 million people in 141 countries participated, many of the environmental issues still exist today and some have even become larger and more urgent. So please take some time today and think about what each of us can do every day to help bring these issues under control so that we can save this planet, our home, for the future.

Earthday also has another meaning for me. April 22, 2007 was the day that the Ecobirder blog was born so today is Ecobirders 2nd B-Earthday. Last year for our B-Earthday I posted my top 10 favorite posts of year one. I thought about doing it again, except for year 2, today but then I got to thinking that since it is my B-Earthday I should get to take it easy for the day. So I have decided to put together this post using only pictures that other people took. Some you may recognize, since they may have been posted before, but many of these pictures have never made it on to the blog.

These first two pictures appeared back in February of 2008. The picture above was taken by my wife Michelle at Colville Park in Redwing, MN. The immature eagle that I am holding was one that Michelle and I rescued from Crex Meadows on August 12, my birthday, 2007. When we found him he had a broken wing and he could not fly so I wrestled him into a cage and we brought him in to The Raptor Center.Six months after we brought him in he was rehabilitated and ready to be released back into the wild. Fortunately I was already on The Raptor Center's list to release a bird so I requested to release this particular eagle. On a snowy February 28th, 2008 I released the bird at Colville Park in Redwing. John Mikes, who blogs at Weekend Shooter, decided to come down and help us celebrate the release and he took the awesome picture above as the eagle took wing.
This next series of pics appeared in a post a little over a month ago, March 8th, 2009. The Bird that I am holding is a northern goshawk. I adopted this bird up at Hawk Ridge on October 4th, 2008. During the fall migration there are several stations around the ridge where raptors are captured and then banded.
Often the banders will take the banded raptors up to the ridge where they can be adopted. The person who adopts the bird gets the privilege of releasing it back into the wild. This is one of the ways that the Hawk Ridge Observatory raises money to help pay for their public outreach programs which educate people about raptors. The photo with me holding the goshawk as well as the one above with me releasing the bird were taken by Debbie Waters, who is the Education Director at the Hawk Ridge Observatory.
On Saturday October 18th I took my 3rd trip of the fall up to Hawk Ridge and while I was there I adopted and released two more raptors. The first was this feisty little merlin falcon, pictured above.
The second bird that I adopted that afternoon was a sharp-shinned hawk. This sharpy, like most Accipiters, was very vocal and let me know in no uncertain terms that it was not in a good mood. Both of the last two pictures where taken by Eric Bruhnke who was a count interpreter at Hawk Ridge during the fall.
Here are a couple more pictures that have not yet appeared on the blog. Back in March the World Bird Sanctuary, out of St Louis, MO, held a couple of programs at the Carpenter Nature Center. They brought several owls with them that are not native to North America.
Since I help out a bit at CNC I volunteered to come in and help out and take some pictures of the event. I also took the opportunity to become a contributor to the Friends of CNC, like a lot of charitable organizations they have been severely affected by the countries economic troubles and I knew that they could make good use of my donation. Because of my donation I received the privilege of having my picture taken with the World Bird Sanctuaries tawny owl.
These last couple of pics are from the past couple of weeks. They were taken by Kelly Scott, a member of The Raptor Center staff and my Wednesday Crew leader. This picture I posted a couple of days ago.

Here is another one that Kelly took that I have not posted yet. This is me with Artemis, one of The Raptor Center peregrine falcons that I am working with in my handler training. Even though my initial training is almost over with, I just have a few days left, I will continue to work with Arte as well as beginning to work with some of the other education birds.

Well I hope that you enjoyed this years B-Earthday, I think that I prefer to be behind the camera but it is really hard to hold a bird and take a photo at the same time. I hope that you all find the Ecobirder blog fun, interesting and inspiring and that you continue to visit over the next year.


Arija said...

I have noticed over the months I have been following your blog, that your smile is so different when yu handle a special bird, your soul just shines!

madcobug said...

These pictures are very good. I think it's great that you donate your time for this cause. They banded the three eaglets today that is in a nest at the Norfork Botanical Gardens in VA. They took measurements of all kinds on them. They weighted in at 6 lbs each.

The Early Birder said...

Many Happy Returns to a very informative blogger. The pictures certainly radiate your love & feelings for these wonderful birds.
Best wishes, Frank

Amanda Guthrie said...

OK I just WOWed myself to death looking at all that, Amazing!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Wow, it must have been so fulfilling to release that eagle after it was rehabilitated! Beautiful creature, truly. Happy birthday to your blog and our great planet!

Shellmo said...

This was a treat! Thank you for sharing all these photos of your beautiful bird friends!

Janie said...

What beautiful birds, and so great that you're helping the raptor population.

The Explorer said...

You have a great heart for the birds and it shows in your blog. I am honored to meet you here even its only blog..I admired your advocacy...I learned so much from you. I hope give back something nature too.

Thrifty Living Mom said...

I cannot even begin to imagine how incredible it must feel to help a bird be rehabilitated and then to release it to the wild where it belongs. It must feel so wonderful! Thank you for sharing it here on your blog!