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V.23 No.17 | 4/24/2014
August March

Book Review

Watching Little Dinosaurs

The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition

Sibley’s guide covers the North American continent and the edges of the surrounding oceans. And it’s a whole lot better than some app.

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dreams

Rowdy’s Dream Blog #322: The Magnificent Blue Bunting

Many exotic birds visit our small Frida-Kahlo-esque courtyard, but none so beautiful as the magnificent blue bunting. It is as large as a pigeon but with a golden breast and long blue tail feathers. It also has the face and long, curly blond hair of a young girl.

dreams

Rowdy’s Dream Blog #310: Towers and Birds.

Two dreams in one! Brutus woke up in between dreams and took a sip of brown carbonated dream juice.

I see the Lumpur Towers, painted like Pepsi cans.

My pal has long strands of straw sticking out of the front of his blue sweater. He explains they're for the birds to pick at.

V.22 No.33 | 8/15/2013
Carl Petersen

Feature

Fauna of Burque

A roundup of animals and insects in your new environs

Publisher/editor Carl Petersen turned in an extemporaneous essay on antlions, black widows, New Mexico whiptail lizards and horny toads.

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Science

¡Viva la Science!

When tiny arms became crooked legs

Big Bird is a terrible example to us all, at least when it comes to bird anatomy. Check out those gams and you’ll see why. Like humans, real birds are bipedal, but their legs aren’t straight up and down. Instead, bird legs zigzag in such a way that birds are essentially in a permanent crouch, using their muscles to resist gravity. We humans don’t have to do that―our weight is borne passively on our straighter frames.

But of course, we can’t fly. The crouching posture peculiar to birds, says a recent study published in Nature, has everything to do with their evolution from dinosaur ancestors into animals capable of flight.

Previously, it was believed that the bird stance came about as a way for bird bodies to balance as massive T-Rex-style tails disappeared. Using 3-D digital reconstruction, however, the authors of the study determined that the key change was actually in the size of those adorable dinosaur arms. According to co-author John R. Hutchinson:

The tail is the most obvious change if you look at dinosaur bodies. But as we analyzed, and reanalyzed, and punishingly scrutinized our data, we gradually realized that everyone had forgotten to check what influence the forelimbs had on balance and posture, and that this influence was greater than that of the tail or other parts of the body.

Read more about the evolutionary adaptation that made bird flight possible here.

video games

Webgame Wednesday: A Crow in Hell 2

Halloween is fast approaching, and the season puts us in the mind for certain spooky activities. No reason, then, not to focus this week's Webgame Wednesday on an appropriately "Halloweeny" diversion. A Crow in Hell 2 puts you in the role of a crow that has been killed (again, apparently) and sent to .. well, Hell. (What you've done to deserve such a fate, I cannot speculate.) Your job is to navigate through the increasingly tricky airspace of this deathtrap-filled underworld. Grab enough keys and you might just get out.

Arts

Weird Bird

Northern Shrike

This cute little fella impales its prey on thorns so he can enjoy it later. Taken at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
John Bear
This cute little fella impales its prey on thorns so he can enjoy it later. Taken at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
V.20 No.5 | 2/3/2011

Culture Shock

Bird Art Next Door

Birds. They are among us. Everywhere. Unavoidable.

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news

The Daily Word 1.13.11: Guv vs. CNM, Target in the air, Tom Hanks' rapper son

Obama says America should be as good as 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green imagined it to be. Here's the full text.

What Gov. Martinez has to say about being sued by environmentalists.

The guv is also suggesting the state bleed CNM for cash.

Officials are moving a sex-offender registration location away from a bus stop.

Target wants to build a Target in the air Uptown.

Someone pulled a fire alarm at The Pit, forcing evacuation with one second left in the first half.

These people will name their baby after you if you find their dog.

Romanian birds died of the drink.

NPR photo essay: Then and now, a year after the quake in Haiti.

Landslides kill hundreds in Brazil.

Twin sisters turn 100.

Hard cider is back.

Don't have sex with your mister or mistress in the marital bed.

Tom Hanks' son, Chet, is a rapper who likes to smoke fancy weed in fancy places.

How about a nuclear car?

Arts

Weird Bird Number Six

Lighter Note by Jamie Chase

Cool bird art from Jamie Chase
Jamie Chase
Cool bird art from Jamie Chase
Arts

Weird Bird: Number One

A hooded merganser
John Bear
A hooded merganser
Science

Where are all the sand hill cranes?

In the mean time...

Pelicans in Chile.
Paul Rust
Pelicans in Chile.

What can I say, I have a fairly unhealthy fixation on birds the last year or two, in particular, sand hill cranes.

For the last month I have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of the ancient ones to Central New Mexico. I have seen huge flocks of birds flying high above the Rio Grande in recent weeks, coming in for the winter.

They blot out the sky. Some of them look like cranes. I love cranes.

Unfortunately, I am always going 80 mph on the freeway and can’t look too long. For this reason, I cannot confirm whether or not I’ve seen one yet. This is probably how I’m going to die, staring up at the sky trying to identify migrating bird species. I can think of worse ways to go.

I don’t want to say I’ve seen them until I’m sure I’ve seen them. Speculating will get you into trouble fast in this business. For this reason, I’m waiting until the three-foot-tall, dinosaur-like creatures are standing on the ground in a field somewhere, the crimson feathers on their heads plainly visible.

I can’t wait.

In the mean time, here is a picture of some pelicans in Chile, graciously sent by Mr. Paul Rust of Lawton, Okla. Thanks, Paul. You are tiding me over.

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