by Noel Pettingell
10 YEARS AGO/FROM SEPT., 1979 SPOONBILL
"Around and About ** An interesting commentary
on man's effect on birds was made by James
Vardaman: 'A reporter who recently interviewed me
thought that man's effect on birds had been completely adverse, and asked me if I had noticed it.
I'm not sure about man's total impact on birds, but
it is clear that he has created ideal habitats for
many species and caused great concentrations of
them. The Bohemian Waxwings are abundant in
Edmonton because food is plentiful on ornamental
trees and shrubs there; they are much less numerous
outside the city. White-necked Ravens, Mexican
Crows and several gulls occur in great numbers at
the city dump of Brownsville, Texas, and dumps and
sewage plants are favorite birding spots everywhere.
The geese and ducks I got in Oklahoma, Texas and
Colorado were there because man, in one way or
another, kept the water from freezing; the Spotted
Oriole can't make it anywhere except among the
lawns and gardens of Florida cities. Even in the
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Sanctuary in Arizona, the
abandoned railroad bed and the tangle of brush
under the adjacent telephone lines are the best
places for some species and increase the variety of
habitats offered by the sanctuary. Man and some
birds certainly get along well together*"'
Note: James M. Vardaman, who lives in Jackson,
Mississippi, established a new all-time record of 699
species within the ABA Area (North America north
of Mexico) during a single year, 1979, and a new
all-time world record of 2,800 species in 1984.
OUR LIBRARY NOW TRAVELS!
When the OG moved its meetings to the Bay-
land Park Community Center, there was concern
about the library, because we had no storage space
there such as we had at Bayou Manor. An innovative solution was provided by Don Richardson, who
with his wife, Lee, took over as Resources Chairmen.
Don, who works on carpentry the way he works on
birding, constructed a rolling library bookcase that
fits into his station wagon and can be brought to
meetings. We all benefit from Don's excellent
workmanship and dedication to the group. Be sure
to offer your thanks to Don when you borrow from
the library. Just saying, "Thanks!" here is hardly
sufficient. We also owe thanks to Lee for the new
list of library books we received at the meeting.
TEXAS ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY MEETING
The Texas Ornithological Society will meet in
San Antonio October 26-29. There are always
interesting seminars and local birding trips. If you
are not now a member and wish to join, there are
always application blanks at the literature table, or
call Richard Uzar at 527-0454.
(continued from page 1 )
for a starter concentrate on the idea of small
When I say study groups, the image of a few '
people sitting around a kitchen table comes to mind.
It doesn't have to be a kitchen table; it could be
in a library, a local pub, a museum or a laboratory.
It needn't be indoors; it could be at the beach, or
a marsh, in the woods or a meadow. The place
matters not—the interest, and most importantly the
willingness we have to study some specific area of
birding is what's important.
The possible topics are limitless: identification
of problem groups like sparrows or shorebirds,
plumage variations in a particular species or genus
of the gulls or raptors, breeding behavior, habitat
preferences, feeding habits/food requirements, or
biology. This list could go on and on. It probably
will, too, because I may not have hit on your favorite topic of interest yet. Whatever your particular
leaning you can bet someone else is similarly inclined.
Obviously a group working together will accomplish more than one individual working alone. In addition there is a momentum established by a group
that any one of us alone would be hard pressed to
create. You need not be any kind of expert to
begin participating in or leading the study of one
such group. We do, of course, have eminently qualified local experts who will be willing to assist and
help direct the serious group of OG students.
While there are many advantages to group
activity there is no shortage of drawbacks either.
I live in Friendswood, you live in Kingwood; you
work days, I work nights and so on. There will be
difficulties to work out, but they can be worked out
if we are willing to go the extra mile to accomplish
the goal. Learning about birds doesn't happen by
osmosis; it is through the work of study that we
grow in understanding.
The benefits from these group efforts hold
promise for all of us. The results of these studies
could be shared with the OG through articles in
The Spoonbill. Some groups may wish to present
their findings through meeting programs or field
trips, and someone may even find a way to excite
the general public about some aspect of birds
through their study. The possibilities are limited
only by our imagination.
Are you willing to give a little extra to our
OG while gaining knowledge in your area of interest
in birds? Give this some thought, then call or drop
a note through the mail to share your idea. I'll
be talking more about this at the October meeting
and hope to hear from you in the meantime.
Richard Uzar, Chairman... 3421 Mt. Vernon 77006-3830
PWWS BIRD SEED SALE
The Piney Woods Wildlife Society will hold its
yearly sale of bird seed October 12-18. Seed may
be ordered at this time by calling: Liz McCarty
at 440-0843; Martha Branam at 443-1447; or Irma
Williams at 353-7661 (All 713 area numbers). Pickup
date at North Harris County College will be
announced. The PWWS bird seed is this year's crop
of quality seed.