October 7, 2008

Where God made his nest

Whenever I used to drive to a friend's place in eastern San Diego County I'd pass a freeway off-ramp to a place called Tierra Santa, and I'd start singing:

La Huasteca es tierra santa
La Huasteca es tierra santa
Donde Dios formó su nido
Donde Dios formó su nido...

The Huasteca is sacred ground, where God made his nest — where the thrushes sing their long notes that everyone loves —

For people who like wild birds and animals and books and travel and history and other fascinating essentials, natural history museums are the coolest places. They are especially great if you volunteer or know someone who works behind the scenes, because then you can look at the collections that aren't on exhibit.

Egg and Nest, by Rosamond Purcell, Linnea S. Hall and René Corado sounds like a behind-the-scenes, bird- and museum lover's dream book. Purcell took photographs of birds, nests and eggs at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, a natural history collection specializing in the eggs and nests of birds from around the world, and naturalist Bernd Heinrich, Linnea Hall, the director of the foundation, and René Corado, its collections manager, supplied the text.

From a NY Times review of Egg and Nest and other bird-related books:
If you are wondering why anyone would spend a life in a pursuit as eccentric as collecting eggs and nests, Ms. Purcell’s work will tell you. She selected a range of specimens, eggs brightly colored and plain, and nests made conventionally of twigs or of materials as bizarre as nails. Then she photographed them in natural light.

Her luminous results explain without words why people have been collecting eggs and nests for centuries.
Small photo: nest of a Bell’s Vireo. Above: nest of a Costa's hummingbird, on a cactus. [Both photos by Rosamond Purcell, from Egg and Nest.]


The most excellent Birdchick and Diane of Ark Animal Answers remind us that there isn't much time left to comment on the evisceration by bulldozer of the Endangered Species Act. You have until October 14 to submit comments by phone, snail mail or hand delivery. The Sierra Club will do the heavy lifting for you if you submit a comment through their site.

You can try leaving comments here as well, by following the links.

1 comment:

Bill Fosher said...

The endangered species act is a cluster something-or-other. Animals that truly need protection are not protected, while in the Great Lakes, wolf populations are larger and encroaching on areas outside of their native habitat. When they were delisted -- a move that would have allowed shepherds to protect their flocks by killing wolves that are feasting on their lamb crops -- "environmentalists" and animal rights freaks went to Federal court and got a ruling putting the gray wolf in the Great Lakes back on the endangered list.

Something must be done to keep judicial activists from overruling science in both directions. I'm so frustrated with the law that I almost think that a bulldozer might be a little too fine tool to use on it.

For a some shepherds' perspectives, see http://edgefieldsheep.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1511