Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A relationship that could never last...

The long-standing relationship between birds and humans has always been a difficult one but where we can, we do our best for the little guys. Sadly, industrial strength, metropolitan areas are not for the faint-hearted and perhaps never more so than at airports.

Many of you will no doubt be following the great work of those involved in Project Snowstorm, a group dedicated to researching the current remarkable phenomenon of Snowy Owls in the eastern USA. One of the most important parts of the project has been the tracking of birds carrying satellite-tracked GPS tags, the data from which is giving us a great insight into the movements of some of these birds. One such bird, named "Philly" by the researchers has been doggedly sticking it out at Philadelphia Airport and the sad - but seemingly almost inevitable - news of Philly's demise at the hands of a cargo plane was posted this morning. The full story, posted by Scott Weidensaul, can be read here.

Of course, such accidents are an inevitable part of life and all we can do is try to look out for those around us - and that means the wildlife we share the planet with as well as fellow humans. My drive to work this morning involved something of an obstacle course as I did my best to avoid the flocks of sparrows feeding on the roads. Why do they perform such a dangerous act? Well, most likely, the cleared surface of a road on such a snowy, wintry day as we have today is one of the few places that they can find food, and perhaps water if there is a thaw on a salted section of road.

Life is tough enough out there right now, let's not make it any worse.

Philly in his favorite place at the end of runway 27R. His GPS pack can just be seen on his back in the lower picture [photos by Shari Rosenbloom ]