American redstart sings, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

5 June 2015

American Redstart is a warbler, readily identified by the males black and orange color pattern. They sing a variety of songs during the spring and summer. This male is giving the most common variation, sometimes described as ‘see-see-see-Oh.’

Turkeys in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Wild Turkey Waltz

25 March 2008

21 Wild Turkeys live in the fields surrounding my house. All day long they dance around each other. At night they fly up to sleep in the tall Cypress trees next to me. In the morning I can tell when it is time to get up (true dawn) by their cries after they fly back to earth for the day’s eating and, at least for the toms, puffery and parading.

Wild turkeys are instantly recognizable birds that are more common in backyards than many birders realize. With the right preparation and steps to attract these large game birds, they can be regular visitors to your yard as well: here.

From eNatureBlog in the USA:

Can You Tell A Wattle From A Snood? Let’s Talk Turkey About Our Favorite Bird

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2015 by eNature

It’s almost Thanksgiving and many of us are thinking about our annual feast and the turkey that’s often at the center of it.

But how much do you know about the creature that many folks think is our REAL national bird?

Turkeys are interesting birds— they’re large, colorful and hard to miss when they’re in a demonstrative mood.  Many researchers have devoted their entire career to studying them and their complex social structure.

A Bird For All Americans

As recently as a generation ago, folks rarely encountered Wild Turkeys.  Hunting pressure had eliminated them from much of their original range.  But extensive reintroduction efforts brought the turkey back from the brink and just about every state in the continental US now has populations of wild turkeys, some in the tens of thousands.  You can see from the range map to right how widely distributed turkey’s now are.

Snoods, Wattles and Beards

So what exactly is a turkey’s snood?  Male, or tom, turkeys have a number of features that experts believe are intended to attract female turkeys (hens).  These include the familiar fleshy red wattles on its neck and throat as well as a fleshy mass over their beak known as a snood.  As turkeys are polygamous and happy to mate with as many hens as they can attract, a seems reasonable to conclude that a more spectacular wattle and snood will result in more breeding success.

A tom’s plumage follows the same principles.  Bright colors and unique features rule the day.  His feathers have areas of green, copper, bronze, red, purple, and gold iridescence.  Most males also have a beard; in reality a group of specialized feathers growing from the center of his breast.  The photo to the above right clearly shows many of the tom’s irresistable (to hens at least) qualities.

Strutting Their Stuff

Males attract hens by a behavior known as “strutting”, in which they display for females by puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tails and dragging their wings.  Gobbling, drumming or booming and spitting as signs of social dominance are also techniques toms use to attract females.

Sounds a bit like highschoolers at a Friday night football game!

Overcoming Adversity

Wildlife managers estimate that the entire population of Wild Turkeys in the United States was as low as 30,000 in the early 20th century. By the 1930s,they were almost totally extirpated from Canada and found only in remote pockets within the US.  Populations have rebounded spectacularly since programs across the country were put in place to protect and encourage the breeding of surviving wild populations.  The rebound has reached the point where hunting has been legalized in in the lower 48 states and current estimates place the entire Wild Turkey population at over 7 million.

Wild Turkey or Bald Eagle?

It’s not your bartender taking your order, but rather an interesting bit of American history.  In the early days of the republic, Benjamin Franklin strongly objected to the choice of the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, preferring the Wild Turkey.

Franklin thought the Bald Eagle’s habit of stealing prey caught by other birds, particularly ospreys, an innaproppriate quality and wrote,  “For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America”.

We tend to agree with Ben— the turkey, a uniquely North American bird, is an American original and worthy of our respect.

What makes a Turkey’s meat white or dark? »

The National Wild Turkey Federation has lots more info »

A great story how the resurgence of the turkey brings about many human-turkey encounters »

Stop police brutality in the USA, petition

This music video from the USA says about itself:

2015 Student Emmy Nominee: Hands Up Don’t Shoot

22 August 2014

Pearl Star Student, Queen McElrath, shows love and talent for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson. A great song!!!!

Winner of 2014 My Hero International Film Festival Best Music Video

From in the USA:

Month after month, unarmed African Americans – including Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Natasha McKenna and countless others – have lost their lives as a result of police brutality.

The time to demand major changes to law enforcement practices in this country is long overdue.

Please pledge to support LDF’s Policing Reform Campaign to promote unbiased and responsible policing policies and practices.

Thanks for all you do!

Bob Fertik

Dear Activist,

More than a year has passed since Michael Brown’s tragic death. And yet, month after month, we read reports of how unarmed African Americans – including Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Natasha McKenna and countless others – have lost their lives as a result of relentless police brutality.

The United States is undeniably in a policing crisis and it’s time we demanded real, actionable solutions to monitor and ultimately end race-based policing around the country.

Sign the Petition Now
Policing reform begins now – with your name.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been at the forefront of civil rights advocacy and litigation for 75 years. Now, we are leading the conversation once again with our Race and Policing Reform Campaign – and we need the help of fair-minded, just people like you who believe change is imperative.Pledge to support LDF’s campaign to promote unbiased and responsible policing policies and practices at the national, state and local levels.
With you in struggle,
Sherrilyn A. Ifill
President and Director-Counsel
Copyright © NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.

Louisiana police officers charged with murder in shooting death of 6-year-old: here. And here.

Illinois cop, supposed victim of the “war on police,” exposed as thief and would-be killer: here.

Describing the trend as “alarming,” the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission reported last Tuesday that Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shootings have doubled in 2015 with 45 instances, compared to 23 the previous year: here.

United States police kill over 1,000 people in 2015

This video from the USA says about itself:

Louisiana Police Shoot 6-year-old Boy in Head Multiple Times Killing Him – Jeremy David Mardis Shooting

4 November 2015

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Number of people killed by police this year in US surpasses 1,000

5 November 2015

The number of people killed by police officers in the United States topped 1,000 Monday, as the reign of police violence and terror in the United States continues unabated.

As of Wednesday evening, 1,006 people had been killed by US police forces since the beginning of the year, according to, an aggregator of local news reports of police killings. Since the site tracks only those deaths that are reported in the news, the actual number of victims is likely higher.

A total of 1,108 people were killed by the police last year, according to the database. This year is on track to record nearly 1,200 deaths, at the present rate of 98 people killed every month.

The thousandth person killed by police in 2015 was 28-year-old Matthew Stephen Colligan, whose vehicle was rammed by a heavy-duty police truck during a chase in Klamath County, Oregon. Colligan, who was white, died as a result of injuries caused by the crash.

On Tuesday, six-year-old Jeremy Mardis of Marksville, Louisiana became number 1,002 killed when he was shot multiple times, including once in the head. Police ended a high-speed chase in pursuit of a vehicle he was riding in with a barrage of bullets.

An article in the local media reported: “[Avoyelles Parish Coroner Dr. L. J.] Mayeux said city marshals were chasing [Mardis’s father, Chris] Few after he fled an attempt to serve a warrant. The coroner said Few reached a dead end and was backing into the marshals when they fired. The coroner said the boy was ‘caught in the line of fire’ and was killed.” There is no indication that Few was armed or posed a threat to the officers.

Among the 95 people who were killed in October, 71 of them died from gunshot wounds.

On October 3, two police officers in Los Angeles responded to a beer bottle being thrown at their rear window by shooting and killing a man walking nearby. They claimed that he was holding an “unknown dark object” in his hands, but that it had been washed away by the rain and was never recovered.

On October 20, a police officer in Boynton Beach, Florida gunned down Corey Jones, a 31-year-old local musician, as Jones was waiting for a tow truck. The plainclothes officer, who was driving an unmarked car, chased Jones 30 yards from his car before shooting him dead. According to Jones’ family, the young man would likely have had no way of knowing who the officer was and may have assumed he was being robbed.

A separate count by the Guardian newspaper, based on different methods, records 964 deaths this year at the hands of police. Of these, 443 white, 232 black and 144 Hispanic. The newspaper records that 190 of those killed were unarmed, and less than half possessed a firearm. 17 were under the age of 18.

Police who carry out murders in cold blood continue to receive protection from the justice system. On October 27, a local prosecutor in South Carolina said she would not bring charges against the police officer who killed unarmed teenager Zachary Hammond July 26. Simultaneously with the announcement, the prosecutor released a video of the killing that clearly shows, contrary to the officer’s claims, that Hammond posed no threat and was driving away from the officer when he was shot.

Killer cops are protected at every level of government, from local prosecutors to state officials on up to the White House. …

FBI Director James Comey … said that growing popular opposition to police violence and the greater reporting of police misconduct was leading to the growth of violent crime, essentially drawing an equals sign between criticism of the police and the solicitation of criminal activity.

Since the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August 2014, tens or even hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in demonstrations against police violence. Yet the police murders have continued unabated, as has the defense of killer cops by the political establishment.

This fact makes clear that the homicidal violence inflicted every day by the police against workers and young people represents something much deeper and more malignant within society. In working class neighborhoods throughout the United States, the police effectively function as an occupying force, looking upon the working class population essentially no differently than the US military viewed the residents of Baghdad during the occupation of Iraq.

The growth of police violence, like the attack on democratic rights more broadly, expresses the fact that under conditions of ever-greater social inequality, the financial elite that dominates American society responds to mounting opposition and unrest by systematically building up its police force and arming it to the teeth.

Glossy ibis feeding, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

Glossy Ibis foraging in wet field

22 July 2015

Ibis are long-legged birds with long, down-curved bills that they use for probing into the mud and soil of wetlands and flooded fields. Glossy Ibis tend to look dark brown or black at a distance, like this one, although in the breeding season they can also be a rich iridescent purple in certain light.

Glossy ibis nesting in Algeria: here.

‘James Whistler painting’ at Dutch museum a real Whistler

Symphony in White, girl in muslin dress, by James Whistler

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Singer Museum: work from depot is “absolutely a Whistler”

Today, 12:09

Painstaking research has shown that a controversial work in the Singer Museum is by the 19th century impressionist James Whistler. The work “Symphony in White, Girl in muslin dress” has been for decades in the depot of the museum in Laren because there was doubt about its authenticity.

The Singer Museum presented the unsigned painting from about 1870 as a highlight in the nineteen fifties. But twenty years later, a visiting Whistler expert said he doubted whether it was painted by the artist himself.

The work was written down to “a few thousand guilders,” said the museum director De Lorm. The painting disappeared in the depot, with the vague caption ‘environment of Whistler’.


When De Lorm took office seven years ago as director, the painting aroused his curiosity. He had it subjected to studies with the most modern techniques, and the results were compared with a signed Whistler from the Rijksmuseum.

Infrared photography showing the original sketch

From the painting under the top layer, the pigments of the paint and a list by Whistler himself investigators and the museum director could conclude that the work is “absolutely by Whistler”.

The work will be, along with the Whistler from the Rijksmuseum and other works by the painter, from next week on exhibited in Laren.

Sketch compared to finished painting

Sea also here.

Scissor-tailed flycatcher video

This video from the USA says about itself:

22 July 2015

Unmistakeable in almost any plumage, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher immediately draws eyes to its dramatically elongated tail feathers. This species typically perches in the open, often on barbed wire fences, and has a limited breeding range in praires and pastures of the south-central U.S. Their pale silver-gray plumage is accented by salmon-pink patches on the flanks and underwings.