Tyrannosaurs hunted in packs?


This video is called Tyrannosaur Rivalry – Planet Dinosaur – Episode 3 – BBC One.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Researchers find first sign that tyrannosaurs hunted in packs

Discovery of three sets of dinosaur trackways in Canada reveals that predators were running together

Ian Sample, science editor

Wednesday 23 July 2014 19.36 BST

The collective noun is a terror of tyrannosaurs: a pack of the prehistoric predators, moving and hunting in numbers, for prey that faced the fight of its life.

That tyrannosaurs might have hunted in groups has long been debated by dinosaur experts, but with so little to go on, the prospect has remained firmly in the realm of speculation.

But researchers in Canada now claim to have the strongest evidence yet that the ancient beasts did move around in packs.

At a remote site in the country’s northeast, they uncovered the first known tyrannosaur trackways, apparently left by three animals going the same way at the same time.

Unlike single footprints which have been found before, tyrannosaur trackways are made up of multiple steps, revealing the length of stride and other features of the animal’s movement. What surprised the Canadian researchers was the discovery of multiple tracks running next to each other – with each beast evidently keeping a respectable distance from its neighbour.

Richard McCrea at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in British Columbia was tipped off about one trackway in October 2011 when a hunting guide working in the area emailed him some pictures. The guide had found one footprint that was already exposed and later uncovered a second heading in the same direction. McCrea made immediate plans to investigate before the winter blanketed the site with snow.

He arrived later the same month and found a third footprint that belonged to the same trackway under volcanic ash. But the real discovery came a year later, when the team returned and uncovered two more sets of tyrannosaur tracks running in the same south-easterly direction.

“We hit the jackpot,” said McCrea. “A single footprint is interesting, but a trackway gives you way more. This is about the strongest evidence you can get that these were gregarious animals. The only stronger evidence I can think of is going back in a time machine to watch them.”

The footprints were so well-preserved that even the contours of the animals’ skin were visible. “You start wondering what it would have been like to have been there when the tracks were made. The word is terror. I wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley at night,” McCrea said.

From the size of the footprints, the researchers put the beasts in their late 20s or early 30s – a venerable age for tyrannosaurs. The depth of the prints and other measurements suggest the tracks were left at the same time. They date back to nearly 70m years ago.

Close inspection of the trackways found that the tyrannosaur that left the first set of prints had a missing claw from its left foot, perhaps a battle injury. Details of the study are published in the journal Plos One.

During the expedition, McCrea’s team unearthed more prehistoric footprints from other animals, notably hadrosaurs, or duck-billed dinosaurs. Crucially, these were heading in all sorts of directions, evidence, says McCrea, that the tyrannosaurs chose to move as a pack, and were not simply forced into a group by the terrain.

“When you find three trackways together, going in same direction, it’s not necessarily good evidence for gregarious behaviour. They could be walking along a shore. But if all the other animals are moving in different directions, it means there is no geographical constraint, and it strengthens the case,” said McCrea.

Golden eagles in southern Scotland


This video from Canada says about itself:

16 August 2011

Birds of prey expert John Campbell teaches his nephew to put an identifying band on a golden eagle chick. Close up and personal views of the nest, its reluctant inhabitant, and the birds’ food sources. Spectacular views of Southern Alberta. The banding is part of a program to protect the species. The band goes on fairly tightly because the birds’ legs don’t grow further in diameter as the bird grows.

From Wildlife Extra:

Golden eagles could return to southern Scotland

Improvements to habitats in the south of Scotland could lead the area to become a stronghold for golden eagles.

A study carried out by the Scottish Natural Heritage showed that the area could potentially support up to 16 pairs, almost four times the present number.

At the moment there are thought to be no more than one or two pairs in Galloway and no more than three in the Scottish Borders.

Prof Des Thompson of SNH, who led the research, told the BBC “We would now like to see on-the-ground, practical work to improve the habitat for golden eagles in the south of Scotland.

“With habitat improvements, we could see connections with the small reintroduced population in Ireland. This would help both groups of eagles and could even help bolster the population in the north of England.”

Duncan Orr-Ewing, RSPB Scotland Head of Species and Land Management, said: “These magnificent birds should be given every opportunity to recover and reoccupy lost range, and must be protected in practice from the effects of human persecution, which remains a significant threat to this species, and in particular to this perilously small and isolated population.”

The total number of golden eagles in Scotland is 440 pairs, with most of the birds found in the Highlands and Islands.

Hedgehog fossil discovery in Canada


This video is called Tiny Hedgehog Fossil Could Answer Climate-Change Questions.

From Wildlife Extra:

Fossils of tiny, unknown, hedgehog found in Canada

Fossil remains of a tiny hedgehog, about two inches long, that lived 52 million years ago have been discovered in British Columbia by scientists from University of Colorado Boulder.

Named Silvacola acares, which means tiny forest dweller, it is perhaps the smallest hedgehog ever to have lived and is both a genus and species new to science.

“It is quite tiny and comparable in size to some of today’s shrews,” said lead author Jaelyn Eberle.

“We can’t say for sure it had prickly quills, but there are ancestral hedgehogs living in Europe about the same time that had bristly hair covering them, so it is plausible Silvacola did, too.”

The fossils were found in north-central British Columbia at a site known as Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park that was likely to have been a rainforest environment during the Early Eocene Epoch.

See also here. And here.

First ever beluga whales in Rhode Island, USA


This video from Canada is called Discover the Beluga Whales at Arctic Watch.

From ABC in the USA:

First ever beluga whale sighting in Rhode Island

Posted: Jul 03, 2014 4:28 PM Updated: Jul 03, 2014 4:28 PM

by Shannon O’Hara

The first ever sighting of beluga whales in Rhode Island were reportedly seen in Naragansett Bay and the Taunton River, according to oceanographer’s from URI.

These creatures normally reside in the arctic region and the closest beluga population to Rhode Island is up near Nova Scotia.

Marine scientist Robert Kenney of URI states that beluga whales are known to travel south, with previous sightings being in Long Island, New Jersey, and occasionally in Cape Cod, but never before in Rhode Island.

A local fisherman in Narragansett Bay first spotted the whale on June 15. Another whale was also spotted that same day in Assonet River, but is believed to be a different beluga. Additionally, a third whale was spotted near Gloucester, Massachusetts

These three whales are not believed to be in danger or unhealthy. Kenney says the whales are “probably getting healthier food than they would in the St. Lawrence, where most belugas carry very high loads of toxic chemicals from eating contaminated fish.”

In collaboration with the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, a Quebec-based non-profit, Kenney is keeping a close monitoring of the whales.

Photos are being taken to investigate if they can match them to known beluga individuals in their photo catalog.

Whales under threat as US approves seismic oil prospecting in Atlantic: here.

British artists Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibited in Canada


This video from Canada is called ‘Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty’: The Art.

By Lee Parsons in Canada:

Making sense of human suffering: Francis Bacon and Henry Moore — Terror and Beauty

21 June 2014

At the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, April 5-July 20, 2014

Two of the most prominent British artists of the modern period—a rare and unlikely pairing—are brought together in the exhibition Francis Bacon and Henry Moore — Terror and Beauty, currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto. The show features 136 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture. The styles and sensibilities of these two artists present some illuminating contrasts within the traditions of figurative modern art, but it is their shared encounter with the traumas of the past century that lies at the center of this show.

Both artists developed unique approaches to the human figure, but along avenues that are virtually antithetical. With its distinctive solid and natural forms, the work of Henry Moore (1898-1986) suggests a redemptive and stabilizing response to the traumas of the 20th century. Francis Bacon (1909-1992), on the other hand, places his figures in alienated colors and settings, developing imagery that generally tends toward the tortured.

While there are formal parallels between the two, and inevitably some common ground, the question arises: why have two so divergent artists been joined in an exhibition of this sort here and now?

It seems, in fact, the AGO inherited the idea of exhibiting the two together, apparently inspired by the show last year at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, entitled “Flesh and Bone.” Although the two artists knew each other (Bacon reportedly once approached Moore for sculpture instruction), their association was slight and not in any way collaborative. Given their considerable reputation and stature, this exhibition may have begun as an act of shrewd marketing, but it proves to be the sharp differences between Bacon and Moore that makes the juxtaposition as engaging as it is.

Henry Moore, Three Fates (1941) © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Henry Moore, Three Fates (1941) © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Of particular interest and the focus of this show—and what perhaps unites these two artists more than anything else—were the artists’ historical experiences, particularly of the Second World War. Having lived through World War I, both Bacon and Moore resided in London during the Blitz (the period of sustained bombing by Nazi Germany, during which 40,000 civilians were killed) in 1941 and their work speaks to those experiences and the larger experience of the war as a whole.

With Moore this occurs quite directly, in a number of wartime drawings on display here, while Bacon’s work, although not so explicit, is clearly a reaction in part to those horrific events. His isolated figures appear in distortions of raw color and form, twisted beyond recognition, often with exposed wounds that evoke bodies torn in battle.

Henry Moore, in fact, became an official war artist and the AGO exhibition displays a moving collection of his nighttime drawings illustrating the bomb shelters that housed a besieged population, huddled and frightened in underground London. These are compassionately drawn images of the dark reality of that war, rendered in the softened lines and round volumes that strongly indicate his distinctive sculptural style.

Many of the sculptures in this exhibit will be familiar to Torontonians who have had access to the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, the largest public collection of his work anywhere, housed in the AGO since 1974.

Redeeming art

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure (1951) © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure (1951) © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Much of Moore’s sculpture depicts primordial forms of large bone-like structures such as “Reclining Figure” (1951). These rough-hewn recumbent figures appear timeless and monumental, giving this vein of work a relatively easy and comfortable feel, but leaving this viewer at least, on the whole largely disengaged. The plaster sculpture, “Atom Piece (Working Model for Nuclear Energy)” (1964-65), is conversely among his more disturbing works. A distinctly forbidding form, it seems to stand at once in awe and fear of human industry. But this is an exceptional piece for Moore who tended toward less difficult material, returning often to some of his favored subjects such as mother and child. He was nevertheless no stranger to difficulty, and in fact once stated, “I find in all the artists that I admire most a disturbing element, a distortion, giving evidence of a struggle.”

Henry Moore, Mother and Child (1953) © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Henry Moore, Mother and Child (1953) © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS / SODRAC (2013)

Having grown up in a large and poor family in the coal mining district of West Yorkshire in northern England, Moore was not to begin his art studies until the age of 21, by which time he had already seen battle and been wounded during the first imperialist war. Though he soon established himself as an accomplished artist, for many years he had to rely on teaching art to make a living.

Like Bacon, and most of their generation, Moore developed under the influence of innovators in abstraction like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In his early development, he was part of The Seven and Five Society, a grouping that from its inception following World War I opposed what was seen as the excessive experimentation of modern art, and which brought him into contact with such important artists as Barbara Hepworth. As Moore and others were increasingly exposed to avant-garde currents in the rest of Europe, the group moved away from traditional and toward a modernist sensibility.

Neither Moore nor Bacon was chiefly concerned with artistic innovation, but tended to take from the dominant currents of their time what was most appealing and useful. In the early 1930s Moore met a number of the Surrealists, including Alberto Giacometti, Hans Arp and Joan Miró, whose work had a great effect on him. While his association with that movement may have been brief, its influence and concern with unconscious imagery remained evident in his work throughout his career.

Moore pursued an unadventurous lifestyle, and was devoutly religious. In personality as well as artistically, in other words, he could hardly have been further from Bacon who was, to say the least, a more unconventional sort.

The problem of Bacon

I came into this show, the first exhibit of Francis Bacon in Canada, predisposed to a favorable attitude toward the painter. Having seen most of Bacon’s work only in reproductions, the real-life images were all the more striking and troubling and, along with a survey of his own observations, led me to a fresh consideration of his work.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Francis Bacon was raised in a wealthy military family and early on came into conflict with his father who regarded him as weak, and was horrified by his evident homosexuality. Forced from the family home, he became a social outsider, bouncing from one menial job to another across Europe.

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait VI (1953) © Estate of Francis Bacon / SODRAC (2013)

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait VI (1953) © Estate of Francis Bacon / SODRAC (2013)

With little formal training, Bacon began his career as an interior and furniture designer. He gained early acclaim for his painting “Crucifixion” in 1933. Some of his most powerful images deal with icons of the Catholic Church, including “Study for Portrait VI” (1953), one of a series of terrifying paintings he did based on Velasquez’ portrait of Pope Innocent X.

Francis Bacon, Lying Figure in a Mirror (1971) © Estate of Francis Bacon / SODRAC (2013)

Francis Bacon, Lying Figure in a Mirror (1971) © Estate of Francis Bacon / SODRAC (2013)

Influenced by such diverse sources as Sergei Eisenstein’s silent film Battleship Potemkin (1925) and an old reference book on diseases of the mouth, Bacon was attracted to the grimmer side of social life as well. An inveterate gambler and drinker, his relationships were reputedly conflicted and George Dyer, his partner of many years and the subject of a number of portraits, ultimately took his own life.

It should be noted that one of Bacon’s most important artistic contacts and influences was Lucian Freud (1922-2011), one of the great painters of our time. Along with Moore, these artists persisted in representing the human figure in their work, through the post-war period when much of the art world was looking to higher abstraction as more or less the only way forward.

A painting such as Bacon’s “Lying Figure in a Mirror” (1971) presents an image of inchoate flesh, seductive in flowing form and color, but cruelly contained by geometric frames (and the mirror itself). The painting’s contrasts create a tension that in some real manner reflects the extremes of bottomless desire and severe repression.

Referring to his preoccupation with viscera and tortured forms, Bacon famously countered his critics by saying, “I lived through the revolutionary Irish movement, Sinn Fein and the wars, Hiroshima, Hitler and the death camps and daily violence that I’ve experienced all my life. And after that they want me to paint bunches of pink flowers.”

Francis Bacon, Two Figures in a Room (1959) © Estate of Francis Bacon / SODRAC (2013)

Francis Bacon, Two Figures in a Room (1959) © Estate of Francis Bacon / SODRAC (2013)

The issues raised by Bacon’s life and work are not easily resolved. This may be the strength of his work, that it articulates the contradictions of a striving for beauty in a world that would distort and subvert all our finest impulses. Yet, the more I learned about Bacon and his outlook and looked at his paintings, the more I came to reassess the value I had hitherto placed on him.

The difficulty I have is that Bacon’s response to human tragedy is more or less passive, uncritical, and could be interpreted almost as approving of things as they are. Indeed some of his pronouncements could well be taken as a fatalistic acceptance of the horrors he has witnessed. “I’m not upset by the fact that people do suffer, because I think the suffering of people and the differences between people are what have made great art, and not egalitarianism.”

Artists in the world

In any event, the careers and output of Bacon and Moore don’t allow for simple responses, much less prescriptions. These were both figures who took art and the world seriously. A discussion of concerns about their work, one hopes, will promote a more critical consideration of the relationship of art and artists to their audience, to society and to history—especially at a time when the art world is largely dominated by concerns with money and celebrity. (Bacon, for example, is probably best known at present because his painting, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” (1969), set a record in 2013 as the most expensive art work ever auctioned—$142 million.)

I would have to say that, on balance, I do not find the bulk of the work of either Bacon or Moore altogether satisfying. In the most general sense, no doubt, the efforts of both these artists are vital reflections of and responses to a world convulsed by conflict and suffering. They both grappled with the cataclysms of their time, yet their work, in differing ways, strikes me as a turning inward, in one case for a sort of spiritual solace, in the other as merely a means of painful self-exploration.

Moore’s work is said to be life-affirming, and to a certain extent it is, while Bacon casts a harsh light on human torment. Both, in one way or another, strive for a means of making sense of their time, while perhaps accommodating themselves to it.

However, whatever their individual weaknesses, a great portion of the artists’ difficulty ultimately originates in objective problems of social development in the 20th century. The “unsatisfying” element, in the end, was the delay in the social revolution, which opened the door to the horrors of war and fascism and also generated disappointment and pessimism among the artists and intellectuals. These obstacles helped block Bacon and Moore from more directly and urgently illuminating the human situation.

Canadian dinosaur age forest fire discovery


This video is called Canadian Amber, A Snapshot of a Late Cretaceous Forest and its Inhabitants.

By Rebekah Marcarelli:

Prehistoric Forest Fire Could Help Researchers Understand Biodiversity Before Dinosaur Extinction

Jun 06, 2014 04:04 PM EDT

Researchers found evidence of a wildfire that occurred 66-million years ago.

The findings were made in Saskatchewan, Canada, which was believed to be much warmer and wetter before the extinction of the dinosaurs, a McGill University news release reported.

“Excavating plant fossils preserved in rocks deposited during the last days of the dinosaurs, we found some preserved with abundant fossilized charcoal and others without it. From this, we were able to reconstruct what the Cretaceous forests looked like with and without fire disturbance,” Hans Larsson, Canada Research Chair in Macroevolution at McGill University, said in the news release.

The plant-life present at the site was similar to those that would pop up in an area that was recovering from a fire. Researchers believe ancient forests recovered from fires similarly than they do today. Plants such as “alder, birch, and sassafras “would have grown in the early stages of recovery and sequoia and ginkgo would have appeared as the recovery progressed.

“We were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone,” Emily Bamforth, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the study’s first author, said in the news release. “Moreover, we now have evidence that the mean annual temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 10-12 degrees Celsius warmer than today, with almost six times as much precipitation.”

“The abundant plant fossils also allowed us for the first time to estimate climate conditions for the closing period of the dinosaurs in southwestern Canada, and provides one more clue to reveal what the ecology was like just before they went extinct,” Larsson, who is also an Associate Professor at the Redpath Museum said.

Forest fires can have a huge effect on biodiversity in both the plant and animal kingdoms. This type of research could help researchers gain insight into the state of biodiversity directly before the extinction of the dinosaurs. “We won’t be able to fully understand the extinction dynamics until we understand what normal ecological processes were going on in the background.” Larsson said.

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Important Bird Areas in Canada


This video says about itself:

3 June 2014

To support Canada’s Important Bird Areas Program, join the network of Canadian IBA volunteers, participate in a Citizen Science monitoring program at an IBA, connect with IBA Canada on Facebook, or donate to the national or regional program partners.

BirdLife says about this video:

Canadian BirdLife Partners launch new IBA video

By Bird Studies Canada, Wed, 04/06/2014 – 10:55

It’s Canadian Environment Week, held in the first week of June to coincide with World Environment Day and World Oceans Day.

Just in time for these celebrations, BirdLife International’s Canadian co-Partners, Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada are pleased to share a new video that showcases Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Programme.

The brief, 90-second video, which highlights some of Canada’s cherished bird species and the special places they call home, can be watched [above] and is also available on the IBA Canada YouTube Channel in both English and French. The piece also features the dedicated volunteers who are working to help safeguard Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs). These “IBA Caretakers” monitor birds and ecosystems, perform stewardship activities, and lead outreach efforts in their communities. IBA Caretakers have essential local knowledge, and are invaluable in alerting provincial and national partners about emerging conservation issues.

The IBA Programme is a global BirdLife initiative to identify, monitor, and conserve the world’s most critical sites for birds and biodiversity. There are nearly 600 IBAs in Canada. Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada jointly manage the country’s national IBA Programme, in collaboration with regional partners across the country and with the support of hundreds of volunteers nationwide.

IBA sites are designated using scientific criteria. Having access to accurate, up-to-date information for each site is crucial. Site summaries are stored in a state-of-the-art national IBA database and can be accessed through the IBA Canada website.

“Advancing the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats is the core of Bird Studies Canada’s mission – and also represents a perfect fit with the IBA Program,” said George Finney, President of Bird Studies Canada. “This program provides vital information that informs management decisions and conservation actions, and also helps governments, the private sector, and funders to direct conservation dollars to the highest-priority areas.”

IBAs are not afforded formal legal protection in Canada. Almost 70% of Canada’s IBAs have little or no overlap with officially designated protected areas, leaving them vulnerable to development and other disturbances. “Nature Canada is going to keep pushing hard to have all levels of government recognise these critically important sites”, said Stephen Hazell, Interim Executive Director of Nature Canada. “This video will help us strengthen the IBA Program and increase support by attracting even more volunteer caretakers, and by attracting new national sponsors.”

There are many ways to get involved! To support Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Programme, join the network of Canadian IBA volunteers, participate in a Citizen Science monitoring program at an IBA, or connect with IBA Canada on Facebook.

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Canadian environmentalist socialist author Farley Mowat, RIP


This video from Canada says about itself:

Sea of Slaughter” with Farley Mowat

5 March 2011

Canada’s foremost naturalist recounts the impact of our culture on life in the Northwest Atlantic ocean, over the last 500 years, and explains what must be done now. This very important 2 part documentary was produced by CBC at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, including me. Farley Mowat’s book, Sea of Slaughter, which he considers his most important work, was the basis for this film.

Book and film are both brutally honest enough to make many people uncomfortable. Only now has science come to understand exactly how the former multitudes of large sea animals preserved their own food base, while conditioning both the marine environment and the atmosphere of the planet (via accelerated nutrient cycling/fertilization). This adds to the current urgent imperative that we face up now to the full consequences of what we have done to life in the sea. (both parts are posted here in sequence)

By John Green in Britain:

Farley Mowat: writer, socialist and environmentalist

Tuesday 20th May 2014

THE Canadian author Farley Mowat, who died on May 12, wrote with humour, keen perception and passionate social commitment, completing over 40 books and numerous articles.

He is sadly not so well known in Britain but deserves to be. His family came from Scottish immigrant stock and he retained a special fondness for Scotland.

His works were translated into 52 languages and his books sold more than 17 million copies. He achieved fame with his works on the Canadian North such as People Of The Deer (1952) and Never Cry Wolf (1963).

Mowat’s advocacy for environmental causes and his own claim to never let the facts get in the way of the truth earned him both praise and criticism, yet his influence is undeniable.

Never Cry Wolf, a fictional narrative of a man living among wolves in the sub-Arctic was made into a successful film.

It is credited with shifting the mythology and fear of wolves. After the Russian version was published, the government even banned the killing of the animal.

His stories are fast-paced, gripping, personal and conversational and descriptions of Mowat refer to his commitment to ideals, poetic descriptions and vivid images.

His first non-fiction work People Of The Deer became a classic. In it he documented the disappearing communist way of life of Canada’s native Inuit people, among whom he lived while writing the book.

He showed how a colonial arrogance and an exploitative system had driven the Inuit and their culture to the edge. …

Mowat became a lifelong advocate of indigenous people’s rights, labelling Canada’s treatment of them abominable. Never one to shy away from controversy, Mowat was outspoken about many environmental and social issues.

During the second world war, Mowat was commissioned as a second lieutenant, rising to the rank of captain. After the war he returned to Canada, desperate to escape from what had been and seemed likely to remain a world run by maniacs. He fled north to live among the Inuit people.

Many of his works such as Owls In The Family about childhood and And No Birds Sang about his experience fighting in the second world war are autobiographical,

Mowat published a denunciation of the destruction of animal life in the north Atlantic entitled Sea of Slaughter in 1984. In 1985, as a part of the promotional tour for the book, Mowat was invited to speak at the university in Chico, California, but US officials denied him entry.

His security file indicated he should be denied entry for violating any one of 33 statutes. Reportedly, these statutes included being a member of a group considered radical by the US government.

The result was a media circus, which brought worldwide attention to Mowat. The negative publicity eventually forced the Reagan administration to allow Mowat to enter the US but he declined because to accept would be undignified as the permission was valid for only one visit [of] his book tour.

Mowat documented the reasons why he was refused entry to the United States in his 1985 book, My Discovery of America.

He won a number of prestigious awards for his books and environmental work and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship RV Farley Mowat was named in honour of him.

Mowat, a strong supporter of the Green Party of Canada, died less than a week before his 93rd birthday.

Farley Mowat, May 12 1921–May 6 2014.

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International Migratory Bird Day, 10 May


This video from Canada says about itself:

Inglewood Sanctuary celebrates International Migratory Bird Day

29 April 2013

Each spring, millions of birds return north from their wintering grounds. To honour this event, City of Calgary Parks is hosting a free family event. Enjoy guided tours, interpretative programs and refreshments while learning about migratory birds who summer in our city.

From Wildlife Promise blog in the USA:

International Migratory Bird Day is Around the Corner!

4/29/2014 // By Becca Shapiro

This May, celebrate International Migratory Bird Day! On May 10th, International Migratory Bird Day will aim to share the many ways that migratory birds matter to us and the earth.

Each season, migratory birds travel long distances between breeding and non-breeding sites. Beyond providing recreational fun for bird lovers and wildlife gardeners, birds help to vegetate areas by dispersing seeds and pollinating flowering plants, trees and shrubs. The goal of International Migratory Bird Day is to motivate people of all ages and backgrounds to simply get outside and learn about native birds and what you can do to help protect them.

Attracting Birds to Your Yard

It’s important to protect tropical forests where migratory birds overwinter, as well as the important breeding grounds in Canada’s boreal forest, but there are things that you can do closer to home to help migratory birds, whether they’re species that are just passing through or those that end their migration in your neighborhood.

When trying to attract birds to your garden at home, there are a variety of measures you can take. Consider the different things birds need to survive: food, water, cover, and a safe place to construct a nest.

Begin with water – a simple birdbath is a great place to start. Keep the birdbath about 10 feet away from dense shrub or other areas that may attract predators to keep the birds safe from harm. Also make sure to change the water every 2-3 days in the summer and use a heater in the winter.

To provide food sources to birds, install native plants to offer seeds, berries, nuts, and nectar. Think about recreating the plant ecosystem of your local area. This will also attract insects, a primary source of protein for birds. Bird feeders also provide supplemental food during times of scarcity.

Birds will build nests out of almost anything they can find. Building a brush pile in a corner of your yard can provide materials for birds to make nests. Keeping dead trees around your garden can offer cavity-dwelling places for birds to raise young. You can also put out nesting boxes, but make sure they have ventilation holes at the top and drainage holes near the bottom.

Once you’ve provided, food, water, cover, and a safe place for birds to raise their young, you’ll be ready to certify your wildlife garden in time for International Migratory Bird Day. To find International Migratory Bird Day happenings in your area, check out the IMBD Events Map. And just because it’s being celebrated on May 10 doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate birds and the outdoors every day!

Celebrate Garden for Wildlife Month by becoming a Wildlife Gardener with National Wildlife Federation. It’s free and you’ll get great wildlife gardening tips and learn how to certify your garden as an official habitat.

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