Project Feederwatch begins this weekend!!! Oh frabjous day! Instructions here! Please join this year; they need your data!.
These three books were how I got into the world of amateur ornithology (I am not a Birdwatcher; I don't gotta catch 'em all). Truthfully, the battered copy of How to Know the Birds (you can't even believe how out of print this one is) was the real gateway drug. I found it in a pile of very old, hilariously outdated science books that were just going to be thrown away from a school library. I found it, read it, stuffed it in my purse and carried it around with me (most of my field guides shared that fate; I was twelve), colored the pictures in, wrote notes in the margin, and basically loved the book to death - though it's still holding together and still readable.
As far as other amusing bird feeding things I saw over the past year...
I spotted this on the back of an older bag of bird seed. Let's face it, a lot of people think bird feeding is the most square hobby ever (in other news, normal people think that placating flight-capable mutated Velociraptors is square.) This isn't helping.
I saw this in a Big Box store and I *almost* saw myself buying it. Then I remembered that I had long ago dedicated myself to standing up for unpopular animals (I had helped launch this trope for crying out loud) and above all else did not want to give people who advocate only feeding the pretty birds my ten dollars. Even for the sake of an experiment. (How would this even work anyway? Blackbirds eat anything!)
After doing some research and comparing prices online, I came to realize that you can't beat Ocean State Job Lot. I stocked up last week and scored 100 pounds in total for about fifty dollars. (The aforementioned eight pound "I Only Want to Feed the Pretty Birds" mix retails for $14.00.) I keep my seed in two big storage tubs.
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" opens soon and it'll be interesting to see how this does against "A Christmas Carol". Speaking of, I've a special treat for those of you who dislike the idea of a 3D film based upon a Charles Dickens book.*
This 1971 animated short film adaptation was produced by Chuck Jones and directed by Richard Williams. It is the only film version of the story thus far to ever win an Oscar, and deservedly so as it is not only accurate to the letter of Dickens' book but also perfectly captures the eerie mood. (Tellingly, this is the one version of A Christmas Carol that is barely ever shown on television.) Hit the Fullscreen option to get the most out of this:
* - And aside from the linked CHUD review, I also like FARK poster Steve Zodiac's comment:
"I don't think I want Zemeckis anywhere near anything animated, especially Roger Rabbit. Hollywood has decided that:
1) Only 3D (I think he means CGI here) is worthwhile.
2) Capture Motion or whatever they are calling roto-scoping these days is good because it's cheaper.
3) We don't consider animated movies to be real movies anyway.
4) Only well-known actors should be used as voices. Has-beens are ok.
5) Is RIGHT OUT. (It took me a minute to get this one too; think Monty Python)
6) People who have never directed a successful animation feature are not only ok for the project, they are almost required.
7) Plot? Continuity? A good reason to make the Film beyond the fact that even a crummy sequel makes money? This is Hollywood! We don't have those things for real movies either!"
Have I got any readers in the Pittsburgh, PA area? If so, the oddly-named IlluXCon is starting today and a large number of awesome artists are attending.
And I hope it isn't too late to share my "Sesame Street" tribute. Click for large.