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These Hairworms Eat a Cricket Alive and Control Its Mind | Deep Look Video

July 20, 2019

A baby hairworm hitches a ride inside a cricket, feasting on its fat until the coiled-up parasite is ready to burst out. Then it hijacks the cricket’s mind and compels it to head to water for a gruesome little swim.

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series; this installment is adapted from the “It’s OK to be Smart” series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.   [Chuck Almdale]

Free Thayer Birding Software for Young Birders!

July 17, 2019

Are you a young birder? Do you know a young birder?

Peter Thayer, President of Thayer Birding Software, turned 70 this fall and he is celebrating in a spectacular way: by giving away free copies of his incredible birding software to young birders, no strings attached!

Happy 70th Birthday, Peter Thayer!

His ambitious goal is to have one million kids download the FREE birding program and use it to get excited about nature and conservation.

Downloading the software is straightforward. Just go to the Thayer Birding website and follow these easy steps:

1. Select your desired software version – Windows (7 or higher) Download or Mac (OSX 10.9 through macOS 10.13) Download (this program will not work on Apple’s Mojave 10.14).

2. Click the “Add Promo” button when it appears.

3. Enter the code: SMBASYoungBirder into the Promo Code box and click “Apply.”

4. The total will change to 0.00 USD. Click the “Free Checkout” button.

5. Fill out your email information so they can send you links, then click the “Free Checkout” button.

6. The download screen will appear. You will also get an email (see #5 above) allowing you to download anytime within the next five days. Be sure to read the instructions and watch the how-to video before downloading. There are 6 files to download. Each file is 0.9 – 1.3 Gigabyte (gB) in size (total 7 gB). If your internet speed is less than 20 Mb/second, this may not work for you. In that case you can get the program on a flash drive.

Check your computer download speed:

7. If you need to get the flash drive, go back to step 1 and start again by selecting the proper Flash Drive option and using our SMBASYoungBirder code as before. The program is still free but you’ll need to pay $5 – 6 for sales tax and postage.

That’s it!

If you haven’t ever used the software before, you’re in for a treat. From identification help to quizzes to natural history information, it is a comprehensive tool for improving birding skills for beginners and experts alike. See the images below to learn more about what the software can do, and if you are a young birder, head on over to the Thayer Birding Website to get your free copy now.

***(Special note for college students and teachers: Thayer is offering a 50% discount with the codes Student or Teacher, respectively).***

Additional information on the offer is here:

They also have a YouTube ordering & downloading instructional video.
(You’ll have to listen closely to hear.)

Here’s a few of the program’s screens.

Use the Identification Wizard to figure out what birds you saw.

Compare species side-by-side.

Use pre-made quizzes or create your own to improve your bird identification skills by sight and sound.

The entire contents of The Birder’s Handbook are included as part of the software, full of all kinds of valuable natural history facts.

Want more information on the features before ordering? Here’s a YouTube video.

[Thanks to blogger & birder Jennie Duberstein for her permission to use much of the text and screen shots above, previously posted on the American Birding Association blogsite.]
[Chuck Almdale]

Tracking Backyard Birds | Cornell Lab of Ornithology

July 15, 2019

The same technology used to locate lost pets is now being used to track common backyard birds. Scientists and students at the Cornell Lab have collected data on hundreds of thousands of feeder visits so far by Black-capped Chickadees and other birds. Tiny tags weighing less than one-tenth of a gram are attached to the birds’ legs and are detected each time the birds visit specially-rigged feeders. Watch this in which David Bonter describes the radio frequency identification (RFID) technique and what we can learn by keeping track of who’s coming to dinner.

A film from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you. The Lab is a member-supported organization; they welcome your membership and support.  [Chuck Almdale]

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