Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Last of the Curlews: A Lost Bird's Life

▲ ▲ ▲

Eskimo Curlew, Courlis esquimau (Numenius borealis)
March, 1962 on Galveston Island, Texas
Photo by: Don Bleitz, Copyright held by Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, CA

The Eskimo Curlew is a "modern extinction" along with the Passenger Pigeon, Labrador Duck, Carolina Parakeet, et al. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds:

"Until the 1870s, immense flocks of Eskimo Curlews migrating in fall through the Canadian Maritime provinces and New England fattened up on blueberries and fruits of other heathland shrubs before heading south over the Atlantic Ocean to South America. Similarly sized flocks en route north in the spring fed upon grasshoppers and other insects in the Great Plains.

Despite its vast numbers, the Eskimo Curlew population was devastated over just a 20-year period, and was rarely seen after 1890. Now it is almost certainly extinct."

Last of the Curlews: Feral Theatre at TEDxWhitechapel

Last of the Curlews is one of three stories taken from Feral Theatre's award-winning 2012 play, Triptych. It shines a light on historic forces, resurrecting the lost individuals behind larger ecological narratives as it describes the beauty of a disappearing world through the eyes of a bird on the edge of extinction. Flying with the curlew, Feral Theatre performers explore their own experiences of loneliness and love, and the magnitude of chance events. Closely examining an annual cycle in this lost bird's life, the piece questions the adequacy of science in telling the whole story. Dancing through this work are the ghosts of birds and vanishing places, beckoning us to consider what their disappearance means to us.

The company performing at TED are Emily Laurens, Persephone Pearl, Ben MacFadyen and Tom Cook. Shadow puppets made by Emily Laurens, original score composed by Tom Cook. www.feraltheatre.co.uk

Eskimo Curlew, Courlis esquimau (Numenius borealis)
March, 1962 on Galveston Island, Texas
Photo by: Don Bleitz, Copyright held by Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, CA
"The images taken by Bleitz on this day represent the entire photographic record of this species in the wild. More images from this day, including color photos, are held by WFVZ."

"It is not by accident that the pristine wilderness of our planet disappears as the understanding of our own inner wild fades." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again." ~ William Beebe

About Feral Theatre

Feral Theatre was founded in 2007 by Emily Laurens, Persephone Pearl and Rachel Porter. We bring exciting performance to both conventional and unconventional spaces, exploring themes and stories with the aim of bridging gaps: between the inner world and the outside world, the ancient and the contemporary, the theatrical and the personal. We want to create vibrant experiences that examine difficult themes such as death, fear, loss and isolation, exploring the possibility of making them bearable and even beautiful. Feral Theatre creates a unique kind of theatre that endeavours to embody and represent the wild parts in each of us: the creative, the aware, the questioning.

Eskimo Curlew Migration Routes

International Union for Conservation of Nature: Conserving Biodiversity
Numenius borealis (Eskimo Curlew)
Status: Critically Endangered
Population Trend: Unknown

▲ ▲ ▲

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Most Endangered Bird in America

▲ ▲ ▲

Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus)

(Audubon Magazine)
The Most Endangered Bird in the Continental U.S.
The Fight to Save the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Inspires All Who Love Wildlife

There are probably fewer than 200 Florida grasshopper sparrows left, and as of this writing they’re restricted to the state park and the nearby Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area. The population at Avon Park Air Force Range, where researchers had counted 130 singing males 14 years ago, apparently winked out in 2012. Counts of singing males at the state park dropped from 150 in 2002 to 14 in 2012 and at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area from 150 in 2008 to 60 in 2012. It’s difficult to catch or even inventory the females because they are shy, songless, and indistinguishable from the males unless they’re in hand during the breeding season, when one can see that they lack an engorged “cloacal protuberance” (bird version of a penis).

Read more at Audubon Magazine

Audubon Florida: Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

▲ ▲ ▲

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Russell Means: Remembering the Names of the Clouds

▲ ▲ ▲

Russell Means (1939 - 2012)
Russell Means (1939 - 2012)

If You Have Forgotten the Names of the Clouds, You Have Lost Your Way

Russell Means, the American Indian activist, philosopher, and human rights activist, died October 22, 2012. His last public video on his YouTube channel was "Clouds" on August 14, 2012.

Freedom fighter Means, a Oglala Lakota, had been struggling with cancer of which he would soon succumb. His words are poignant in his final video. He begins by proclaiming "today is a good day" and "what we do with it (today), of course, is up to ourselves". The great Oglala Lakota war leader Crazy Horse is known for his battle exhortation, "Hóka-héy, today is a good day to die!".

Means talks about balance in life, balance with the Universe, and a matrilineal way of life. He notes his book, co-authored by Bayard Johnson, "If You've Forgotten The Names Of The Clouds, You've Lost Your Way: An Introduction to American Indian Thought".

He says the Oglala Lakota and other tribes had names for the types of clouds, as they passed over the Great Plains. Combining this information with wind direction, the weather could accurately be forecasted for up to 2 days. The systematic genocide of his tribe and others by the government of the United States of America has eradicated this type of cultural knowledge, along the names of the flora and fauna, languages, and traditions.

As Russell Means has observed and written about in his own life and journey: do not lose your way. Center yourself and proceed on your spiritual journey, not on an American consumerism way of life. There is too much at stake in your own spiritual and creative growth to waste your time on trinkets the corporate mass media entices you to spend your time striving for and acquiring. Remember the names of the clouds. Remember your personal journey.


"If You've Forgotten The Names Of The Clouds, You've Lost Your Way: An Introduction to American Indian Thought"

This book begins the explanation of how traditional American Indian thought and philosophy were integral to day-to-day matrilineal life. The civilization of the American Indian was predicated on the people's relationships with every form of life, from the perspective of close-knit family communities. This introduction partially explains why indigenous people the world over never overpopulate their environment or destroy the lands where they live. This is the only philosophy that can stop the worldwide ongoing rape by the patriarchs.

Russell Charles Means (1939 - 2012)

▲ ▲ ▲

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cairn Terriers Playing in the Snow!

▲ ▲ ▲

Cairn Terrier running in the snow!
Cairn Terrier running in the snow!

Please support local dog and animal rescue groups. Cairn Terriers are the Best Dogs in the World, by the way. :)

Cairn Terriers Playing in the Snow Cairn Terriers were originally bred in Scotland so it is no wonder that these hardy little dogs take to the snow and wet like the champions they are! Watch our rescued Cairns enjoy playing in the snow. Look for a Cairn Terrier of your very own at our rescue website http://www.CairnRescue.com/ Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network matches Cairns in need of homes, with homes in need of Cairns!

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace.” ~ Milan Kundera

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” ~ Mark Twain

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~ Will Rogers

Cairn Terrier in the snow!
Cairn Terrier in the snow!

▲ ▲ ▲

Seeking Alpha