Thursday, 10 July 2014

Cool facts about Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeaks breed in tangled vine and bush territories crosswise over southern North America—as far north as New Jersey in the east, focal California in the west, and North Dakota in the inside United States. These natural surroundings may be in old fields, woodland edges, transmission-line hallways, hedgerows, stream edges, deserts, mesquite savannas, saltcedar backwoods, and southern pine woods. Their environment necessities appear to incorporate a little number of tree species, little overhang scope, and low bush thickness. Blue Grosbeaks use the winter in shrubby territories of Mexico and Central America as far south as focal Panama. 

Despite the fact that they encourage basically on creepy crawlies (particularly grasshoppers and crickets), Blue Grosbeaks additionally consume different spineless creatures, for example, snails, alongside the seeds of wild and developed grains. Their bug eating methodology incorporates scarabs, bugs, cicadas, treehoppers, and caterpillars. The grain parcel of their eating regimen incorporates seeds of bristlegrass, panicgrass, wheat, oats, rice, corn, and horse feed. They float and gather nourishment from foliage, sally out for flying creepy crawlies from a roost, and even chase for bugs on the ground. Before sustaining a creepy crawly to their nestlings, they evacuate the head, wings, and the majority of the leg. Facts about Blue Grosbeak are as follow.
  1. As indicated by hereditary confirmation, the Lazuli Bunting is the Blue Grosbeak's closest relative. 
  2. In the southern piece of the Blue Grosbeak's rearing run, each one mated pair may raise two broods of nestlings for every year. 
  3. Numerous Blue Grosbeaks relocate straightforwardly southward from their reproducing ranges to their wintering grounds. Western flying creatures head over area and eastern winged animals cross the Gulf of Mexico. Relocating grosbeaks pass through the Caribbean Islands including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Antilles, the Swan Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Virgin Islands. 
  4. Blue Grosbeaks breed along streets and open territories, fabricating their homes low in little trees, bushes, tangles of vines, or briars. No less than one sets of grosbeaks has settled in a bluebird home box. 
  5. Blue Grosbeaks have stretched northward in the United States in the previous century or two, perhaps exploiting woodland clearing. 
  6. The most seasoned Blue Grosbeak on record was 6 years, 1 month old when it was caught and discharged by a Maryland fledgling bander in 2010.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Humanist Support for Prisoners

Probation Officer Amy Walden gave us a unique insight into the needs of nonreligious prisoners at our December meeting and how these are being met by a pilot project offering Humanist support.  

The proportion of non-religious prisoners, 31%, is in line with society in general yet there is an assumption that their emotional and psychological needs can be Christian chaplains.  For example, when a prisoner’s family member is seriously ill or has died, it is always a chaplain who delivers the news. Not all prisoners are allowed to attend the funeral – they are offered time to sit in the chapel instead, and for prayers to be said and the chaplain is there to provide emotional support.  

But not all non-religious people feel comfortable talking to a religious person for advice.  There is a void in this area and no guidance given, as if atheism is a taboo and not important. Some questions and needs of nonreligious people require a non-religious person to deal with them – for example bereavement and making sense of the world.  

Amy explained that a non-religious chaplain or Humanist adviser can give non-religious prisoners a voice and redress the imbalance of provision for religious and non-religious prisoners.  Non-religious prisoners find it helpful to be able to talk to a Humanist adviser who can provide guidance, help and support through difficult times, particularly bereavement.  They also find it helpful to attend atheist meetings to discuss their views, beliefs and opinions with like-minded people, and to support each other.  A Humanist adviser can facilitate acknowledgement and acceptance that non-religious beliefs are also a ‘norm’ and give advice on how to deal with situations appropriately when a religious person challenges atheist views. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012


The term "humanism" can be ambiguous, and there has been a persistent confusion between the several, related uses of the term because different intellectual movements have identified with it over time.
In philosophy and social science, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of a "human nature" (contrasted with anti-humanism). The word "humanist" derives from the 15th-century Italian term umanista describing a teacher or scholar of classical Greek and Latin literature and the ethical philosophy behind it (including the approach to the humanities).

In 1856, still before the word was associated with secularism, German historian and philologist Georg Voigt used humanism to describe Renaissance humanism, the movement that flourished in the Italian Renaissance to revive classical learning (this definition won wide acceptance among historians in many nations). During the French Revolution, and soon after in Germany (by the Left Hegelians), humanism began to refer to philosophies and morality centred on human kind, without attention to any notions of the divine. Around when the Ethical movement began using the word in the 1930s, the term "humanism" became increasingly identified with secularism and finally became "Humanism", or secular humanism (a relatively recent movement – born at the University of Chicago).

When the first letter is capitalized, "Humanism" describes the secular ideology that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, while specifically rejecting supernatural and religious ideas as a basis of morality and decision-making. Religious humanism developed out of secular humanism. Religious humanism is a unique integration of secular humanist ethical philosophy with the rituals and beliefs of some religion, although religious humanism still centers on human needs, interests, and abilities.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Yellow Grosbeak

The Yellow Grosbeak (or Mexican Yellow Grosbeak), Pheucticus chrysopeplus, is a medium-sized seed-eating bird in the same family as the Northern Cardinal, "tropical" or "New World" buntings, and "cardinal-grosbeaks" or "New World" grosbeaks. The Yellow Grosbeak occurs on the Pacific slope of Mexico from central Sonora to northwestern Oaxaca, and in southern Chiapas and Guatemala. In Sonora it is migratory. It has been considered conspecific with P. tibialis of Central America and P. chrysogaster of South America.

It occurs mostly in trees in forest, woodland, and edge, but generally not dense rain or cloud forest. Occasional vagrants have reached the United States, mostly in summer in Arizona, but it has also been reported from California, Colorado, New Mexico, and even Iowa. It is considerably bigger than its North American congeners, the Black-headed Grosbeak and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, being about 21.5–24 cm (8.5–9.5 in) long and weighing on average 62 g (2.2 oz). The head is "massive" (Sibley 2000), and the gray-black bill is even bigger in proportion to the head than those of its northern relatives.

The plumage has bold contrasts of yellow, white, and black or gray. Males' head and underparts are solid yellow—light lemon in most populations, "brilliant golden-orange" (Howell and Webb 1995) in P. c. aurantiacus of Chiapas and Guatemala. The back is black with yellow mottlings, the rump is yellow, and the upper tail coverts are black with white tips. The wings and tail are black with conspicuous white spots, patches, and wingbars. Females are similar but the upperparts are more olive, with dark streaks on the crown and back. Black is replaced by gray, and the white markings on the wings, especially the white base of the primaries, are smaller. Females are very similar in pattern to female Flame-colored Tanagers, but much bigger, especially as to the bill. Immatures resemble females overall.

Typical calls are a metallic iehk or plihk (Howell and Webb) or piik (Sibley) resembling other Pheucticus grosbeaks' calls, and a soft whoi or hu-oi (Howell and Webb 1995) or hoee (Sibley 2000) often given in flight. The song is a variable, rich-toned warble resembling that of the Black-headed Grosbeak, but shorter. As is typical of the genus, it lays 2 to 5 pale bluish to greenish eggs with heavy brown and gray speckling. The cup nest is built at medium height in a bush or small tree.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Adult birds are is 18–19 cm (7.1–7.5 in) long and weigh 45–47 g (1.6–1.7 oz) on average. At all ages and in both sexes, the beak is dusky horn-colored, and the feet and eyes are dark. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black head, wings, back and tail, and a bright rose-red patch on its breast; the wings have two white patches and rose-red linings. Its underside and rump are white. Males in nonbreeding plumage have largely white underparts, supercilium and cheeks. The upperside feathers have brown fringes, most wing feathers white ones, giving a scaly appearance. The bases of the primary remiges are also white.

The adult female has dark grey-brown upperparts – darker on wings and tail –, a white supercilium, a buff stripe along the top of the head, and black-streaked white underparts, which except in the center of the belly have a buff tinge. The wing linings are yellowish, and on the upperwing there are two white patches like in the summer male. Immatures are similar, but with pink wing-linings and less prominent streaks and usually a pinkish-buff hue on the throat and breast. At one year of age—in their first breeding season—males are scaly above like fully adult males in winter plumage, and still retail the immature's browner wings.

 The song is a subdued mellow warbling, resembling a more refined version of the American Robin's (Turdus migratorius). Males start singing early, occasionally even when still in winter quarters. The call is a sharp pink or pick.