The Turtle Crossing Sign Is Up!

IMG_2026A big thank you to the Allendale Police Department, especially to Todd Griffith and new officer Mark Dunn, for putting up the “turtle-crossing” warning sign on the Franklin Turnpike.  

No, Sgt. Griiffth is not working undercover, He came in on his day off to get this done.  

Great job, guys! 



Monday Morning Mystery Answered

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On Monday, I asked,

What kind of goose is this, Canada or Cackling, and why?

Where is the illustration from?

Sally Teschon answered the second half correctly — a wine label.

As for the first part. Pieter Prall wrote:

In part, the age of the picture comes into play here.

I used to sort through through specimens of canadensis subspecies at the American Museum of Natural History. This was in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. I was doing a series of drawings of all the geese in the genus brant at the time.

There was this huge discrepancy having to do with specimens in the “minima” subset, native to the far northwest pacific landmass and islands. And, by the way , there seemed even to be some confusion in identity or situation of larger canadensis subspecies found in the NW mainlands US and Canada. Shorter-necked, small-billed birds in the Aleutian chain, smaller-billed, longer-necked birds on the mainland of the NW continent.

The split was made to accommodate the need to identify and protect the birds native to the various islands in the Aleutian chain. The son of a neighbor of mine bearing the Koehler name, was on the committee that described the need for the split. The smaller bill, shorter neck and residential range of the birds covered in the complex.

Since I was doing all sorts of drawings and investigations of birds in what was then called the minima subspecies at the time, I’m going to say that this drawing is an older one of one of the minima groups. Especially I’ll say the prettier one with tiny body, comparatively long skinny neck, and tiny bill, a group that was common among the collections of those aviculturists who were raising the small “cacklers” in captivity at the time.

The birds and specimens from the far reaches of the outer Aleutian chain were very different. They were small-bodied stony birds with thickish shorter necks, and small bills. Just remembering now the name of my neighbor's son was Anson Koehler. He was at the museum of natural history in Washington State at the time. He is now working in New Zealand at another institution.

I don’t know if the split was based on genetics or just size of bird and bill shape. I’m not entirely satisfied with the split for numerous reasons. Mainly I’ll say that size of the birds among the subspecies complex of canadensis diminished as one went out through the northwest and thus proceeded out into the Aleutians. The bird in the picture looks to be of a bird that could have been borderline between the current split groups.

Wouldn’t you know: The wine label is from a winery in Washington State. (Thanks, Sally and Pieter.)


Curbing Rat Poisons

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A friend in Massachusetts passed along this photo. The road sign has a  link to an excellent website with all sorts of helpful information about addressing local rodent problems. 

The link is here.

If you scroll down, you’ll see alternatives to using these nasty poisons.

Slowly but surely,  the anti-rat-poison movement is gaining momentum in several parts of the United States and Canada.

Allendale was the first municipality in New Jersey to ban the use of rat poison on borough property.  next step is to go after the rats’ easy access to food in our downtown area. 

Kudos to Newbury, Mass.