Every week we post a funny animal photo that's begging for a caption. Join in the fun and add your suggestion in the Comments section (click "Read more"). You’ve got til 11:59 pm (Eastern time) on Sunday. On Monday we'll choose our three favorite captions and list them under the image.!--/end tags-->
Pine grosbeak, by Nick Saunders.
My story—harrowingly—begins far back in time. Ada and I had driven to New York’s Adirondack Park for a quiet Christmas week, isolated in the snowscape from urban hubbub, looking forward to snowshoeing and some winter birding. On a winding road, we spotted a flock of eight or ten birds then unfamiliar to us, pecking at the gravel spread by a road crew on the recently plowed surface. I checked my Peterson Guide and confirmed that the birds were pine grosbeaks, occasional invaders from remote, underpopulated regions in Canada and “life birds” for both of us. We settled in to study them through our binoculars.!--/end tags-->
Sure the holidays are a time for giving and gifts and loads of cheer. But they’re also a time when we generate an enormous amount of waste—25 million tons of garbage, to be exact. That’s a quarter more from Thanksgiving through New Year’s than any other period all year long, according to Use Less Stuff.
But Audubon’s TogetherGreen program and Toyota have some great tips to “reduce, reuse, and recycle your way into the New Year.”!--/end tags-->
A Northern mockingbird at the Christmas Bird Count in Central Park. (Photo by Debra Kriensky)
On Sunday I went to Central Park for my first Christmas Bird Count (this year marks the 113th year of Audubon’s nationwide survey). It was a dark morning with pinpricks of rain, and birders spread out around the park into seven sectors, ready to look among bare branches for signs of life and to listen for characteristic calls.!--/end tags-->
The 113th Audubon Christmas Bird Count started this past Friday and runs through January 5, 2013. We get some awesome data about birds from the CBC, but we know not everyone can participate in a count. Maybe you’ll be at grandma’s while your local group counts. Or perhaps relatives will be visiting and you simply can’t slip away.
No matter why the CBC may elude you, we’ve got another way to participate: Send support to the on-the-ground citizen scientists. Here we profile four CBC circles, one from each flyway. Cheer them on as they tally.
Photo: Georgi Baird!--/end tags-->
Photo: Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
If someone gave me Bird Bingo (Laurence King Publishing, $29.95) as a gift, I could simply stare at it for enjoyment; I wouldn’t even need to play the game. That’s because it’s the most beautiful bingo I’ve ever seen. And it’s a great gift for bird lovers.!--/end tags-->
UPDATE: Thanksgiving may be over, but these turkeys still need a winning caption. Vote for your favorite!
In honor of Thanksgiving, this week wild turkeys are the stars of our photo caption contest. Join in the fun and add your suggestion in the Comments section (click "Read more"). You’ve got til 11:59 (Eastern time) on Sunday. On Monday we'll choose our three favorite captions and list them under the image.!--/end tags-->
Pomegranates have made a real leap to stardom the past few years, mostly in the form of their ruby red juice. But I personally love the seeds, called arils. And recently, I received two of these odd-shaped, aril-filled fruits as a gift—forcing me to think hard about how to use them. I have to say, I was pretty happy with the results.!--/end tags-->