|The male Resplendent Quetzal|
There is nothing more exciting than reviewing the highlights....and epic dips of the year. Here are some memorable moments that I won't forget anytime soon.
|Lynda reviews video of not only 1 Resplendent Quetzal but 6!!! hiding in an avocado trees!!!|
While we were at Tikal National Park, I noticed a Falcon flying around the pyramids going after Oropendula nests hanging from the tree. At first I thought it was a Bat Falcon until a Park Ranger noticed me watching the bird. He came over and told me that I was witnessing a very special event.
|Juvenile Orange-breasted Falcon|
As a young American child growing up in the 80's, the outlook for many of our falcons, eagles and condors wasn't good. Most of these birds almost went extinct from a compound known as DDT back in the early to mid-20th century. A US wide ban today has seen the successful return of the majestic Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons. However, insecticides are still controversial as different insect eating birds around farm habitat, along with our bee populations, etc face serious declining populations. Poisoned bugs=poisoned birds. But it was the California Condor that almost disappeared forever.
In the 80's, only 22 birds were left in the wild! As a boy growing up, I was heart broken that we were losing wildlife every year around the world to this thing called extinction. How could we allow our wildlife to vanish???!!! Wasn't it important? Then I grew up and learned about the power and greed of the human race and it all made sense. It didn't matter what religion, political party or nationality we were because we were all the same. The California Condor has been labeled a success story today as their numbers have increased (over 400 birds). Over half of that number(237) are out in the wild around Arizona, California, and Utah. Several nests this year have had success in the wild and that is cause for hope. However, if these birds were not closely monitored, they would go extinct because of power lines and those hunters who continue to use lead bullets. This issue is still a major cause of death. In our state, we "encourage" hunters to use copper bullets instead of using the lead ones. Lead bullets spread apart inside an elk or deer carcass. When the carcass is left behind, the Condors descend and feast on the lead saturated remains. Most hunters are good about using the copper bullets but several continue using the lead bullets because they are cheaper. One would think that it should be mandatory to use copper bullets.
|Micheal sees the great shadow of the Condor fly over our heads and reenacts that very special moment|
All I can tell you is that when we saw several Condors near the Vermilion Cliffs, people clapped and were extremely excited to see these birds in the wild! It's funny how such an ugly bird(by human standards) can bring tears of joy to onlookers. It was a very special day because we also got to hang out with our friend Ranger Gaelyn. Epic landscape. Epic bird. And Epic fun! And finally....
|a very handsome drake- the Hooded Merganser|
|A MINK!!! along the Lakeshore in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.|