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Old 04-27-2012, 10:03 AM   #31
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We have them here in Virginia, but I don't know if they are native to this area originally. I like birds just fine but, like WGAdmin I am not a birder.

After looking it up, it appears that this is the case. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/b...rd/lifehistory
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #32
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savannah> I read this last night and was like whoa…. I saved it because it’s a window into a heart. I don’t see enough written like this anymore.
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The problem is, it doesn't solve this problem. It only protects certain species while everything else continues to go haywire. Its a kind of fencing in mentality. Maybe its the best we can expect.” So sad…. so true but…. I never said just destroying their eggs would solve any problems. Destroying the eggs and dispatching cowbirds outside their natural range needs to be combined with legislation that’s serious about righting ecological wrongs. We don’t seem to have any politicians in office serious about much of anything… they’re all missile locked on social justice and how they can make $$$ off of it and their working definition of “preserving” biodiversity is stashing seeds and dna in global seed banks controlled by the…. drum roll please.... privileged few.
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This is a subject that makes emotions run high. People have a tendency to be sensitive to what matters to them and react. We all typically think regionally. For me watching the prairies being swallowed up by trees and attitudes that other ecological issues are more important, due to their beauty and appeal, pushes my react button.” See…. now I think people are being conditioned to think globally and that we’d all be in a lot better shape if more of us would start thinking and acting regionally and even better yet…. locally. That’s really the only place where we can make a difference.
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Its not enough to have pocket prairies or small prairies. We need very large ones for some species to survive and to maintain balance.” On this…. you and me will just have to flat out disagree because…. my heart tells me folk will never voluntarily give up titles to their homes for any “cause” and our government’s unwavering on its path to privatizing natural resources. I look at the gazillions of lawns across the US and KNOW if we could start eliminating that toxic turf and replacing it with locally indigenous plants it could make a HUGE difference and well…. everyone’s got to start somewhere and there’s no better place to start than with a “pocket prairie” or a “pocket woodland” or “pocket wetland” in our own backyards. For what it’s worth… I think the concept of a pocket prairie is BRILLIANT. Too bad more folk don’t realize the value of a pocket.
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I saw a post here where a person said they hated to see any tree removed anywhere, even a dead one. Its that mentality that thinks any loss of a tree is a tragedy that is a problem here. Most people have that same notion where I live and its detrimental. Now really, I could have swooped in there and pelted that person with demands they post documents because they are full of crap and gotten on a prairie rant but I didn't.” Seriously…. someone here posted that way>>>? I believe you but…. it’s still kinda unbelievable unless it was some sort of a shill. I took chainsaw classes a while ago…. my property is mostly wetlands but some of it's a remnant oak hickory savanna so some trees that ended up here just don’t belong regardless of whether they’re locally native to my county or not. I waste trees not native to my property and that includes some trees that like the cowbird…. just sorta opportunistically moved in. Black locust and shining sumac may be great down in the southeastern states but up where I am…. they’re displacing species that are capable of actually supporting more wildlife. It goes without saying what I think of Bradford pears, Norway maples, Tree of Heaven, Buckthorn, Sawtooth oaks, Siberian elms, and too many others to list…. they’re right up there whittling away at what’s left of our national heritage but what’s worse is that our government’s partnered with the likes of ArborGen. They’re trading poofs of air by planting trees in some sort of a twisted joint “humanitarian” effort and if I could…. I’d waste every Eucalyptus tree they’ve planted along with all their GMOed Loblolly pines…. you’d think we woulda learned our lesson by now with Kudzu and white-tailed deer but…. guess some mistakes are worth repeating if our government and their “stakeholders” can make a buck. I for sure hate seeing any “native” tree taken down and I can tell you I hate seeing dead trees taken down even more just because they don’t fit in with someone’s vision of beauty. Have you ever seen a dead tree colonized>? Dead trees are teaming with life and maybe…. just maybe…. if you’ve got a few minutes to read this you’ll understand why people like me get so worked up over the removal of dead trees, http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/wildlife/pdf_files/outreach/fact_sheets/sngs4wl.pdf.
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We are morally responsible in providing balanced habitats or we can choose to just keep fighting the dastardly cowbirds like a lot of idiots flapping our arms in the air from here on out. I am guessing we will do the latter but its a loosing battle and morally reprehensible if you look at the whole picture.” Harsh…. mostly because I just crossed over to being 1 of those “idiots” flapping my arms in the air and feel my moral responsibility is to do what I can restoring some semblance of balance but… I totally understand the emotional component and where you’re coming from…. I get the same way sometimes.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:24 AM   #33
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Oopsie.... totally missed some posts when I left this page hangin' last night...
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WG> Close enough on the native range IMO. Just an FYI…. they’re about as native to where you live as I learned they are to where I live…. they aren’t. The main concern’s their behavior….. it’s threatening biodiversity. Some birds…. like robins that co-evolved with them can “recognize” their eggs and they’ll “purge” them from their nests. Problem is now that their range has expanded to include the entire US….. cowbirds are laying eggs in nests of birds that didn’t co-evolve with em over tens of thousands of years so the cowbirds… hands down…. have a distinct advantage anytime they’re laying an egg in a nest outside their ecological niche. It’s in those nests that their offspring out-compete unnaturally…. or actually I guess a better word would be exterminate…. the young of other species while jockeying for limited resources from their adoptive parents…. most of their nest mates end up dead in the nest from starvation or dead on the ground beneath the nest after getting pushed out. Either way…. dead is dead is dead and the cowbird nestling is able to attain maturity and goes on to perpetuate its species…. all at the expense of 100’s of other species. It’s 1 of those deals where sooner or later at the rate they’ve been reproducing…. they’ll end up over populating and altering what’s left of their own habitat and what’s left of other species’ habitats. Sorta like what’s going on with deer. If you’ve ever read the article, ‘Oh Deer’ by Eric Ness…. you’ll have a clearer picture of what’s playing out in nests outside their natural range where they’re laying their eggs. Their numbers are so great…. they’re now capable of determining whether a few species will make it or not.
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Pope> according to Pillsbury.... who rammed some of his bird books in front of my face.... they're not native to where we are and not even close to being native to where you are. He cupped his hand to his ear and wanted me to say it outloud for him. I refused to give him that satisfaction so he walked off snickering.. ..I felt like slapping him. He's right though.... there's quite a few reputable sources on line spelling it out that I've found.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:13 PM   #34
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Equil. No no no! I don't mean pocket prairies are bad, Not at all, I promote them and would encourage everyone to do one.

We have some endangered species like the Greater Prairie Chicken that are threatened. They can only survive on a large prairie. A 10 acre prairie isn't nearly big enough, never mind a pocket prairie, for its survival. Any buffalo to being preserved also need a very large area. The footage is not lacking, its the vegetation.

One thing I am wondering since I don't travel. We have miles and miles of vast open land here between towns. Is it like that in the east? The sad thing is watching thousands of acres being eaten by woodlands because these cedars are taking over, its alarming to see. I need to get on line an find some pictures showing the stages, it will show what I am talking about.

I have a meeting, will write more later but I wanted to clarify that one thing.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:16 PM   #35
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Phew.... my faith is restored. Just yankin your chain. I understand about the prairies but.... what can we mere mortals do about all the wind farms trashing the prairies that we've now learned aren't exactly producing "renewable" energy and then there's all the land leases we're dolling out like Chicklets to any "developing" country that sticks out its hand and says "gimmie">>>? Think they care about our prairie chickens>>>? They don't. But... they're in good company because neither do our politicians. Mineral and petroleum extractions do damage to prairies too.... they do big time damage. The amount we lease these lands for is an insult. It would leave any normal person scratching their head wondering what we were smoking when we agreed to lease land out for a coupla dollars per acre and adding insult to inury.... the royalties we supposedly "negotiated" long and hard for don't even begin to cover the costs of restoring our lands after they've packed up their bags and gone back overseas with our coal to fuel their coal plants. You and me can't stop this but.... we can plant our pockets.... trap cats and allow them to be humanely destroyed, "examine" cowbird eggs, buy organic foods and organic cotton, and grow more of our own food while watching how we spend our $$$ so we don't unwittingly contribute 1 more dime to the demise of even more of our lands.
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"One thing I am wondering since I don't travel. We have miles and miles of vast open land here between towns. Is it like that in the east?" Uh huh.... miles and miles of vast open land planted with Monsanto GMO'ed corn and soybeans. Real sustainable, eh?
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:27 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgerowe View Post
After looking it up, it appears that this is the case. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/brown-headed_cowbird/lifehistory
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Close enough on the native range IMO. Just an FYI…. they’re about as native to where you live as I learned they are to where I live…. they aren’t. The main concern’s their behavior….. it’s threatening biodiversity.
Then failure to control cowbird reproduction is a form of propitious neglect.

Like it or not, doing nothing will have consequences. Simple.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:17 PM   #37
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This is our habitat takeover problem. You can see a fire caused by anything from a lightening strike to a hot mailbox or piece of glass laying in a field in the sun or static electricity. The trees explode like mini infernos. We have a lot of wind here and the sparks can travel for miles.

There are photos of the red cedar (its actually a juniper) as it starts taking over a field, grassland or prairie. The final photo the end product with tall trees shading and killing out many of the original cedars. The is not reclaimable as grassland. I am seeing miles of what was once grassland or fields looking like this. Lots of people think its pretty. Don't get me started on this love-a-tree thing again.

The number of red cedars is increasing at an estimated rate of 762 acres per day, 300,000 per year according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are endorsing prescribed, controlled burns like the Native Americans regularly did. Its gone on way too long and its now critical. Its the fear of loss of homes and livestock that has caused this so in that regard, its man-made because fires naturally occur where there are grasslands unless people interfere and put them out. Its understandable but this is what has resulted. A simple grass fire is a lot different and much less intense than a fire in an area with these cedars. A grass fire just runs along the ground in a line, these explode like bombs.

What I am trying to look up, with no luck so far, is how this might be helping to increase the number of cowbirds. They lay eggs within about three miles of their feeding area and other nests of a wooded area. If you have any situation of grass with trees nearby, like an average yard for example, its a perfect setup. They are very adaptable birds as far as habitat is concerned, as everyone can see.

Want to hear something weird? In all my life of living here, I have never once had a cowbird in my yard. Ever. I had to look them up just to see what they look like up close some time back. When we were kids we'd see them from a distance and point them out and my dad would say "Them's cowbirds" so we named two of our dolls after them that we called the cowie dolls. I used that as a computer code name once. So, that is the sum of my personal history with the birds and I live here in their main territory.

My sensitivity and concern with what is happening all around me started with takeover of the trees and the ceaseless senseless killing of prairie dogs. Its another one of those species considered to be in such great numbers, they are disposable. They are an object of sport, much hated and considered a pest needing to be removed without question. Rednecks like to have contests shooting them. It would make you sick. If you read about them you will see they are much maligned as scapegoats for the damage they are supposed to cause. There is no proof of this, its just common thought and belief not based on actual fact. I was therefore wondering about the Cowbirds, if you can understand. If everyone says the same thing, it becomes a "fact" so widely believe it doesn't matter to most if its true or not. I see that happening so many times. I have learned a lot in the last couple of weeks and adjusted some of my thinking about the cowbirds. I was not aware of how they had broadened their range until reading these posts. The idea of promoting the mass killing of them was a real shocker because they've just always been here. I grew up around farm people. If it didn't hurt crops its was not considered a bad guy. I reacted.

I'm still trying to work out the natural range of the cowbirds. About the eggs, I would feel about as guilty pushing a cowbird egg out of a nest as I would eating a plate of scrambled eggs. They anticipate the loss and lay about 30 per year. Don't give that a thought. Here they are not so lucky to to find hosts.

More about Cowbirds-article-0-0da3aba800000578-487_634x429.jpg

More about Cowbirds-01928_easternredcedar.jpg

More about Cowbirds-blog-cedar.jpg.jpeg

More about Cowbirds-ok-6a.jpg

More about Cowbirds-p1010287.jpg.jpg
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:06 PM   #38
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Can o' Worms, opened.
I wondered if what your Red Cedar was another name for the Saltcedar which is such a problem around my aunt's place in central NM. As it turns out, no it's not, but I did learn that these are quite common on my friend's farm here in MA. This led me to relearning that just because a species is native to an area doesn't mean that it can't be invasive. Conditions altered by humans can favor a species to the point where it is detrimentally successful. Answers I don't have. Pandora's box has been opened.

Regarding the Saltcedar, I learned a few things as well. While they can be quite a problem, control isn't too difficult. It can be as simple as just cutting them down although that can be daunting task. I've seen miles of the Rio Puerco, an (occasional) river in NM, lined on both banks by Saltcedar, twenty feet deep. The National Park Service has also used introducing the Northern Tamarisk Beetle as it's natural predator. according to Wikipedia;
Quote:
After years of study, the USDA Agricultural Research Service has found that the tamarisk beetles eat only the tamarisk, and starve when there is no more tamarisk available. No other native North American plants have been found to be eaten by the introduced tamarisk beetle.
Still, such stuff scares me. It seems like it only takes one small population of beetle to discover the edibility of a native species to start another potentially larger horror show.

An interesting thought I had was when my hippie homeless friend in NM told me that the Saltcedar made excellent walking sticks. I thought it might be a good cottage industry to harvest them and make the walking sticks and market them, not only on their merits but on the concept of helping rid an ecosystem of an invasive. I don't know how much of a dent could be made in the population but it couldn't hurt and god knows the poor people in NM could use any income they could get.

That's what a little information and a ton of curiosity can lead to in the internet age. It's a good thing.
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:25 PM   #39
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The tree I am referring to is Juniperus virginiana. Eastern Redcedar. The Saltcedar is another invasive tree and is doing a lot of havoc in New Mexico, they suck too much water and deprive other plants from my understanding. We see them around here along rivers and streams but they aren't such a problem that I am aware of like they are in NM.

I saw some cabinet doors with the red salt cedar stems used real close together in the center parts surrounded by wood holding them in and they were gorgeous.

Some in Oklahoma are trying to figure out economic uses for the Redcedar wood and I always like stuff like that, it will motivate cutting. There are some businesses forming to utilize it.
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:37 PM   #40
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Great, glad to hear it. While noble motives are great and all if you can show a profit motive in controlling a problem it will clear up that much quicker. It's a win/win.
The Wikipedia article I read showed some of the logs processed for woodworking and it is some beautiful wood. So much so that a few of the ones on my friend's farm may soon come down for me to play with next year, even though they're not particularly invasive there. While there are quite a few they are being outmuscled by dense stands of young White Pine. Their suitability as fence posts could bring several more of them down.
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