Monday, March 30, 2009

nest boxes

From The Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Got Nest Boxes? If you do, you have a front-row seat on the miracle of birth and renewal in the bird world. If you don't, now is the time to set one up. You can also help scientists learn more about bird families and how they might be affected by climate change.

You're invited to register your nest box (or boxes) with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch program ( It won't cost you a thing but it does yield valuable information about breeding birds and how their natural rhythms may be changing.

NestWatch is easy and fun for adults and children. It helps all of us reconnect with nature, which is good for our health and well-being. NestWatch is a great activity to do on your own, in a classroom, or as a homeschool project.

Here's why it's so important to gather this information: Studies are showing that some birds are laying their eggs sooner than they used to--as much as nine days earlier in the case of Tree Swallows. That could spell trouble if the eggs hatch before a steady supply of insects is available for feeding the young. As a NestWatch participant, you'll visit nests once or twice a week and report what you see: Which kinds of birds are using your nest boxes? When were the first eggs laid? How many eggs were laid and how many actually hatched?

Everything you need to register your nest box and get started with NestWatch is available online, including directions on how you can monitor nest boxes without disturbing the birds. If you have a blog, you can link to the NestWatch site using the web button we provide below.

Don't have a nest box yet? Find out how to provide the best and safest boxes for bluebirds, swallows, chickadees, and other cavity-nesting birds online. If you like, you can also monitor the nests of backyard birds that don't use nest boxes, such as phoebes, robins, and goldfinches.

By the way, the hugely popular NestCams are back in action—peek into nests and nest boxes across the country via live cameras focused on Eastern Bluebirds, Barred Owls, Wood Ducks, Barn Owls and more. Keep watching and see what hatches!

The more NestWatchers we have the better the information we can gather about our bird friends. Feel free to download this NestWatch flyer(PDF) and post it anywhere you feel is appropriate. As a citizen scientist you have the power to really make a big difference.

Thank you!Tina Phillips, Project Leader


P.S. Check out the "Early Birds and Spring" video about the NestWatch project now posted on the ScienCentral web site! And here's that web button:

To download the button, right-click on the image and choose "send to browser." Then right-click on the image again and choose "save image as" to save it to your computer. The button should be linked to:

NestWatch is a free nest-monitoring project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.


Thursday, March 26, 2009




Waiting is hard work. It may seem like you're just sitting there. It may seem like a great opportunity to catch your breath, pause, take stock, re-organize, re-group, prepare for whatever is coming. But that's just it. You are waiting. You don't really know what's coming.


Monday, March 23, 2009


As far as theories go, I've been pondering this one for quite some time. And I don't mean to bring it up to add fuel to the fire of the difficulties between the sexes. But I was wondering about it again this weekend.

I work in health care and many nurses would agree with me when I say that there is a marked difference in the way male patients behave when compared to female patients. It's not a generalization that can be used to neatly compartmentalize every individual, but it's a pattern that is pronounced enough that nurses will usually prefer a ward of men over a ward of women.

Now, of course, that used to bother me, being of the female persuasion myself. But I wondered why? Why did women second guess you all the time, interrupt you when you were caring for another patient, anxiously stop you in the last second before you left the room to ask for something and one-trip-run-you a hundred times in a day? Why did men, in contrast, seem so calm and accepting of whatever way you delivered their care?

It was my genius friend Fiona who finally clarified it for me. She said men are used to being looked after, women are not. That is simply it.

Women are usually the care takers in whatever situation they find themselves in and they have to remember a whole constellation of things and people that need looking after, so of course they are anxious when they themselves need care and help. They are not sure they will be looked after, having rarely been in that position before. Not only are they anxious when they find themselves needing to be cared for by another, but they are often quite angry!

I notice this as well among other professionals in my workplace, among my colleagues and peers. It is far more likely that it will be a male who will delegate or ask me to do things, even if it might not actually be within my scope of practice or is a task that he is supposed to do himself. Or at worst, he will just leave things undone, knowing full well that somebody else (usually female) will clean up, tie up loose ends, or remind him to do something he must do before the shit hits the fan.

I can see women all over the world nodding their heads. Right, ladies? This happens at home too. The phrase "it's so hard to get good help" falls from the lips of ladies, right?

Meanwhile, my lovely calm male patients. How I look forward to caring for them! Amazing how universal is the sense of entitlement, and the security that that expectation gives to the half of our population that enjoys that power, still. They generally will happily toddle off and do as they're told, knowing that their nurse or doctor or physiotherapist has their best interest at heart. Good little soldiers, they get out of bed, and manfully do their laps around the hall.

They might become quite a bit more dependent and whiny when their anxious wives arrive. It would do no good to reassure the wife that all is well, after all! Sometimes, the poor men have no idea what medications they are on, what surgeries or medical treatments or tests they have had in the past. "Ask the wife", they'll say. Or when faced with a challenge, like learning how to manage an ostomy at home, they will helplessly declare: "I can't do it. Wait 'till the wife comes and show her!" They won't wash or get dressed; they can't eat, their hands suddenly useless. They wait for the wife to help them.

It's amazing! I hardly ever hear a wife say "Wait 'till my husband comes in, he'll do it." In extreme situations she may say, " I can't do it," but by then, she will be in that mental and emotional state that she is unable to do anything for herself at all, and is either profoundly depressed or feels like she is alone and terrified out of her wits!

A man recently said to me that the trouble between men and women boils down to women expecting that men should be able to read their minds. Then as the mistakes men make add up, women keep score and after some indeterminate time, women explode. The poor guy is quite surprised because he was unaware of his mistakes, even if he was vaguely aware there was a score card.

It occurred to me that when I do know what I want from a man, I don't know how to ask for it. The other way of looking at that would be that there is no right way to ask in a social structure in which you are pretty much expected to take care of things and be the do-er and care-taker. It also occurred to me that while I need practice in asking for what I want, I have been shot down about a million times just for asking. The onus is not 100% on me to ask in the "right way".

The other part of that issue is that I realize that I don't know how to express what I want. Do I want a mere glass of water, or is it that I actually want someone to be attentive to my needs and to be cared for? If I ask for a glass of water, I won't get what I actually want. But if I ask for attention and to be cared for, well.... You can see how difficult that is!

No wonder women are anxious and angry!

Please, don't get me wrong. I could give you hundreds of examples where this does not hold, but the trend sure is there. And I wondered why....

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Sunday, March 22, 2009


A playful idea executed in a Japanese format Moleskin, created by Juan Berrio.

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A surprise pause in my schedule today, an unexpected change in plans, has me looking with delight towards an afternoon and evening of free time! It seems like I have been snatching a nap, an hour of canoodling, an evening to read a book, out of the miserly hands of some relentless schedule madman for months now. And that madman -- ahem, woman -- was me!

The first sensation is relief. The second, anxiety because I don't have a new book to dive into. However, I looked out the window and the day is sunny, the breezes mild, and I realized, this is an occasion. Maybe not an occasion to celebrate -- too noisy. But an occasion to notice, observe, contemplate and regenerate.

I'll be back in about....10 hours, okay?

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