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April 2021

YouTube Video of TNC Webinar

Had a great time talking about Jim Bond and Caribbean conservation last week -- with a lot about coral reefs, sandy beaches and the fish that Bond collected for science.

The webinar, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy on New Jersey and Montclair Film, also featured Marci Eggers, TNC's deputy director for the Caribbean.



The Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale

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A very cool and under-publicized roadside attraction is the Widow Jane Mine in Rosendale, N.Y.

Limestone from the mine helped build the foundations for the Brooklyn Bridge, and the entrance to the poorly marked site refers to that connection.

Even saw several birds and heard a distant Barred Owl (in an inaccessible location).

My Monday Morning Mystery will feature a nest from that mine...


How I Found the Turducken Egg & Feather

IMG_0072As news of the discovery of a brand-new bird species, Turduckensis flemingi (Wild Turducken), sweeps the globe, I am getting besieged by media requests.

Everyone wants to know: How did I get close enough to this elusive bird to collect an egg and feather for DNA analysis? (The post about the discovery is here.)

The answer: It wasn't easy.

I have become somewhat of an expert on fowl calls and have one of the world's leading collections of the same. (See photo above.)

Although the Wild Turducken's call is uncannily similar to the Blue Jay's, I have found through trial-and-error which call it responds to best.

Among the store-bought calls that I field-tested were the turkey-hooter/owl-call, IMG_0849 (1)a RedHead Jerry Martin Signature Series Mahogany Deluxe Box Turkey Call, two garden-variety Wild Turkey calls and a Haggli Scotticus (Haggis) call.

While I had some success with the RedHead Jerry Martin Signature Series Mahogany Deluxe Box Turkey Call, I did the best with the Haggis call.

The manufacturers of the Haggis call say that "the Haggis walks around the heather 'chirping' gently but when agitated it 'squawks.' Like trying to play Morse Code on a bagpipe."

You can read more about the Haggis bird here. (Ut is thought to be a relative of the Bare-fronted Hoodwink.)

I now hope to compare the Wid Turducken DNA with the Wild Haggis DNA to determine if they are related.

It makes sense. After all, the domestic turducken and the haggis are famed culinary treats.