Newly Noted Books

Creatures of the City

Creatures of the City

From domestic livestock to the exotic subjects of popular entertainment and amusement to the “wee beasties” that cohabited with and plagued its human residents, London teemed with a variety of life.

Recent Natural History Book Reviews

California Condors, Then and Now

California Condors, Then and Now

Strengthening the population of any bird species found to be declining in numbers is never a simple matter. Considerable research must always be done to answer a number of important questions – foremost among which being “What is causing the decline?” – if any plan implemented to reverse the trend is to have a chance of being successful. However what if the species in question has declined to such small numbers that it is no longer even found in the wild but only continues in captivity? The focus must then shift from strengthening populations to reintroducing them into their former range and habitat – and with this shift a host of additional questions come to the fore, particularly just what exactly the species’ former range and habitat was? Keep reading…

Marginalia

New Articles in Bird Watcher’s Digest

New Articles in Bird Watcher’s Digest

My review of Facing Extinction; The World’s Rarest Birds and the Race to Save Them (2nd edition) by Paul Donald, Nigel Collar, Stuart Marsden and Debbie Pain is included in the May / June 2014 issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest.

Born Again Bird Watcher

Downloading for Improved Mental Health

Downloading for Improved Mental Health

Ordinarily, one of my favorite passive activities during the day involves listening to National Public Radio programming. From Morning Edition to All Things Considered, I formerly enjoyed keeping up to date on what was happening around the world. However with the state of the economy continuing to exhibit a negative atmospheric pressure in a vacuum (i.e., it sucks), and war, pestilence, and politicians continuing to run amok the world over, I have recently frequently chosen to turn off the radio (please don’t misunderstand; I continue to be an ardent supporter of public broadcasting in its many formats; they just don’t have a very nice world to tell us about right now, that’s all) and tap into the more emotionally and psychologically edifying topics to be found in the world of podcasting. Keep reading…

Tools for Naturalists

The Wingscapes AutoFeeder

The Wingscapes AutoFeeder

When I first learned of the Wingscapes AutoFeeder, I’ll admit – I was a bit skeptical. After all, I’d fed birds in my back garden for years using traditional feeders and, aside from having to refill them a bit too often when the winter irruptions of Pine Siskins came through and cleaning the gunk out of the bottom of the seed chamber when the rains beat down heavy enough for water to get into them, they worked as well as I would have expected. So what possible benefits could a time-based dispensing feeder give me? As it turns out, quite a lot of them actually. Keep reading…

WRN on Twitter

Unnatural(ist) Interests

A Better Way to Honor U.S. Presidents

Back when I was a schoolboy, we took a bit of time each February to remember the lives and deeds of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. That was the idea, at least; most of what we came away with however was little more than myth and triviality. Washington was scrupulously honest and had a youthful penchant for amateur small-scale logging; Lincoln wore an unusually tall hat and had a beard (I seem to recall something about slavery being mentioned as well). Keep reading…

WRN on Facebook

A question dear readers: as I would like to bring my blog Born Again Bird Watcher back into active status as a part of WRN, I am once again wondering about its name. The name has its origins in my departure from a position as a product developer and market manager in the sports optics industry - where I was to a certain degree a professional bird watcher - and subsequent reinvention of myself as an amateur bird watcher, hence the "born again." However I have found that some people have been confused about the title - thinking it to be religious in nature. Do you think it such or does it seem sufficiently tongue-in-cheek to make itself understood as not religious? ... See MoreSee Less

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