Monday, July 29, 2013

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

I went to  the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum this morning to look into doing some volunteer work and while I was there I spent half an hour in the hummingbird aviary. It happened to be pretty quiet at the time which is when it's the most enjoyable for me and the birds I'm sure. This Broad-tailed Hummingbird was pretty active allowing me to get fairly close but chasing away the Costa's when ever they ventured too close.

This photograph does really good job of showing all the identifying characteristics. As you can see this little guy has been banded on his left leg. For this species more than 2/3rd's of Arizona is in it's summer or breeding range. More information on the Broad-tailed Hummingbird can be found at:

Wilson's Phalaropes and Rufous Hummingbird

We had to deliver an order of Nancy's handmade soaps to Apple Annie's Country Store in Willcox Az. which is about 100 mile drive one way so when we go I make sure to get a piece of apple pie and make a stop at Twin Lakes to check out the wading birds before heading home. I did a little exploring while at Twin Lakes which is more like a couple of ponds (one fairly large and one not so big) and checked out the two blinds on the large pond and an overlook that looks fairly new on the smaller pond. Clearly this place is set up to encourage birding and I always see plenty of wader's like Stilt's and Avocet's. On this trip however the big lake was loaded with Wilson's Phalaropes, perhaps a hundred or more. Because there is absolutely no cover around the big pond it was hard to get any decent pictures except for landscapes. As you can see it was a beautiful morning and I wish I could have spent more time there. You can find more information on Wilson's Phalarope at:

Also this week I had my first visit of the season from a Rufous Hummingbird at my feeder in Tucson. I see Rufous several times each migration and have had them stay in the yard for weeks on occasion but this was just a couple of days and I haven't seen her for a couple of days now. Rufous migrate from as far away as Alaska and generally from the northwestern US. Read more about Rufous Hummingbirds at:

Monday, July 22, 2013

In The Presence of Buffalo by Dan Brister

Working To Stop The Yellowstone Slaughter

I just completed reading Dan Brister's new book and I have to say in all my sixty-four years I have never read a more moving and educational offering on the treatment of the Yellowstone buffalo. Dan takes you through the brutal history of the cattle industry in Montana and his own 15 year journey dedicated to stopping the slaughter of buffalo that wander to their ancestral lands across the border into Montana from Yellowstone National Park. His commitment to the buffalo and the commitment of many others who volunteer at The Buffalo Field Campaign shines a light on the abhorrent treatment endured by the buffalo at the hands of the Montana Department of Livestock, National Park Service and the State of Montana.
I have followed this tragedy since the late nineties when the Interagency Bison Management Plan was still in the talking stages and was one of the original commenter's siding with the buffalo who under the plan finalized in 2000 had no good options for the buffalo. Dan's and the Buffalo Field Campaign's story is an inspiration to all of us who cherish wild creatures and shows that we can stand up against those who would destroy them. If this book doesn't move you to take action, nothing will. Perhaps the truth will set the Yellowstone buffalo free.

In The Presence Of Buffalo by Dan Brister can be purchased at

Proceeds go directly to The Buffalo Field Campaign

Note: I sent a copy of Dan's book to the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell with the follwing letter attached.

Secretary of the Interior Jewell                                                        8/2/2013
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell,

I am writing to today both to congratulate you on becoming Secretary of the Interior and to make you aware of the mistreatment of the Yellowstone buffalo at the hands of the Montana Department of Livestock, the State of Montana, and the National Park Service.
The mistreatment of the only remaining wild bison herd in the United States under the terms of the Interagency Bison Management Plan is nothing short of a stain on the good name of the National Park Service which is tasked by the American people to protect all park resources including the buffalo of Yellowstone. Under the IBMP the buffalo are hazed and run for miles, shot, trapped and slaughtered to keep them from their ancestral grounds in Montana because of a non-existent threat of disease. While the enemies of the buffalo will tell you that it’s because of brucellosis their real motivation is grazing rights and to illustrate this point elk contaminated with brucellosis are allowed to freely move back and forth into Montana.
I have enclosed a copy of Dan Brister’s book In The Presence of Buffalo, Working to Stop the Yellowstone Slaughter which I sincerely hope you will read as it lays out the misery that the buffalo of Yellowstone National Park have endured for more than fifteen years.


Ray Goodwin
Tucson Arizona