Thursday, January 21, 2010


I finally tracked down and purchased an old episode of the PBS series Nature entitled "Ravens" that I had been hunting over a year for after seeing clips from it on the PBS site. When I finally found it last week on--of all places--the NY PBS site, I bought it immediately. When I got the DVD, I saw that it was one of those 'on demand' types and worried that it would not work in my older DVD player (which happens all too often with these types fo disks). But it played fine. And the episode originally aired in 1999. They've no doubt received requests for it after posting those clips on their site.

And it was worth the wait. What a fascinating, beautifully filmed episode, complete with hautningly beautiful traditional Irish music playing in the background, including "The Raven Song" sung by Maddy Prior. The episode runs for just under an hour and I never wanted it to end.

I've always like ravens and their cousins the crows. I've read numerous books about them and found out that they are intelligent, social, playful, and long-lived birds. They say a raven can live up ot 40 years. They also mate for life. They grieve the loss of a mate or fledgling--or even a member of their flock. They remember individual humans--especially those that feed--and those that are mean to them. There is much more, but I don't want to spoil the DVD if you want to see it yourself.

This is a highly recommended DVD. You can buy a copy here:

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My friend Paula alerted me about this video and thought I would post it here for my readers. Every time you think you've seen everything, you haven't! Especially at 500 frames a second!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Some interesting visitors to the campus today were a pair of Cassin's Kingbirds. The male was vocalizing like crazy. It's hard to call what kingbirds do as singing; it's more like a bunch of crazy notes, buzzes, and cries.

This bird is very common in the Los Angeles area during the winter. I even have one that's taken up residence somewhere near my house because I've heard it calling in the morning for the past two months.

I also spotted a flock of Cedar Waxwings having a feeding frenzy in a Rusty-leaf Fig tree in Dickson Plaza on the upper campus. No photos--they were flitting around too much and in the shadows so the camera refused to focus.