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Image 4 of The Advocate Messenger April 2, 2012

Part of The Advocate Messenger

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A4 MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2012 ENVIRONMENT Birdwatching from your own windowsill THE ADVOCATE-MESSENGER WWW.AMNEWS.COM I think lately I’ve become a little bird obsessed, but I can’t help it. My eyes have somehow been opened to how awesome birds are, and now I just can’t get enough. One of the best things about birds is that, unlike some animals, they aren’t hidden away in the wilderness — many of them are right in our backyards. Lately with this wonderful weather, I’ve been sitting outside on my porch and watching the birds (mostly robins and starlings) visit our yard in search of worms. Robins and Starlings were fun to watch, but I also wanted to see other species who don’t dig around for invertebrates. One day, after we had Since then, a few more birds have started showing up from time to time, including a bright red cardiAmanda Wheeler Eco-columnist nal. The cardinal doesn’t Red-footed boobies may dive like to eat from the feeders up to 98 feet underwater in — he prefers finding seeds pursuit of their prey. on the window ledge that talked about wanting to get other birds have knocked feeders and attract more process of getting a pair of down from the feeders. birds, my husband surbushes that grow berries From what I’ve been prised me by getting two feeders and installing them birds like to eat in order to able to learn, it seems caron the outside of our bed- attract birds to our feeders, dinals prefer to eat from but to my surprise, a few trays or “hopper feeders” room window. that look like bird houses. I was excited to see what birds have finally shown up even before we found Our cardinal buddy has new birds we would atthem any cover. taken to showing up on our tract, but after a couple The first time a bird ledge every morning and weeks none had shown up. showed up on a feeder, I chirping while he eats, like We talked with a family was walking into the beda little alarm clock. member who is a gardenroom and stopped dead in I’ve also been teaching ing expert and she sugmy tracks. I was extremely myself about what kinds of gested planting a couple seeds attract different bushes nearby for birds to surprised and even more birds. Cardinals, for examperch in because they like excited. The same bird, a little brown and white felple, prefer sunflower to have cover near their low, came back three times seeds. food. that day. Here are some tips for We’re currently in the Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week filling your feeders in the most bird-friendly ways: n Black oil sunflower seeds have a thinner shell that’s easier for birds to crack open, so it seems to me they’re the preferable type. n Don’t keep more than 2-3 days’ worth of seeds in a tube feeder because moisture can build up and cause the seeds to spoil. n Many different kinds of birds enjoyed eating cracked corn, including ducks, pheasants, cardinals, grosbeaks, crows and ravens. However, deer, raccoons and other animals also like it, so be careful about what you’re attracting into your yard if you use corn. n If you do opt to attract birds with corn, never use corn intended for planting, because it’s often been treated with fungicides. Such corn is marked with red dye so you can tell for sure. Also, never buy corn in a plastic bag or put out corn on rainy or humid days. Moisture will cause the corn to spoil faster. After we finish acquiring our bushes, I plan on getting a bird bath next. If you have any tips on bird baths, or any other tips about attracting and watching birds, let me know and I might share it in a future column. Amanda Wheeler is a Danville resident who has worked as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo. She is currently pursuing her master’s in zoology. Her email address is amandawheelerphoto@live.com. Panel backs sharing bird flu studies By MALCOLM RITTER AP Science Writer AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky A man launches a paper lantern during a ceremony to mark Earth Hour at Palace Square in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday. World landmarks dimmed for annual ‘Earth Hour’ By RAPHAEL SATTER Associated Press LONDON — Hundreds of world landmarks from Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to the Great Wall of China went dark Saturday, part of a global effort to highlight climate change. Earth Hour, held on the last Saturday of March every year, began as a Sydney-only event in 2007. The city’s iconic Harbor Bridge and Opera House were dimmed again this year. Australia is among the first countries to flick off the light switches each year; in New Zealand, Sky Tower in Auckland and the parliament buildings in Wellington switched off two hours earlier; Tokyo Tower was also dimmed and in Hong Kong, buildings along Victoria Harbour also went dark. All the events take place at 8:30 p.m. local time. The WWF, the global environmental group which organizes the event, said the number of countries and territories participating has grown from 135 last year to 147 this year. “Global warming is a big issue,” said Rudy Ko, of Taiwanese environmental group Society of Wilderness. “Everybody can help reduce the problem by turning the lights off.” Ko said children should invite their parents “to turn the lights off, go out, go to the parks to do some exercise, and enjoy some family time instead of watching TV or play video games.” In Europe, 5,000 candles were lit in the form of a globe in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate before city officials switched off the AP Photo/Pat Roque Women hold lighted candles as they watch the program after the symbolic switching off of lights in observance of Earth Hour Saturday in Manila's financial district of Makati, Philippines. monument’s lighting. More than 230 monuments and major gathering points in Paris were expected to dim lights for an hour — including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, as well as fountains and bridges over the Seine. An exception: The Eiffel Tower, which the mayor’s office said would go dark for only five minutes “for security reasons.” Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral were among the other London landmarks to go dark. Managers at the Savoy hotel planned to light the lobby, bars and restaurants with candles. “Let us stand together to make of our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet,” the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory said in a tweet. Across the Nordic nations, government buildings and municipalities joined in, including Stockholm’s royal castle and the Swedish capital’s huge globe-shaped sports arena. In Sweden’s second-largest city, Goteborg, the main boulevard was bathed in an hour’s darkness. People launched paper lanterns into the air in St. Petersburg, Russia. Washington’s National Cathedral and New York’s Empire State Building also took part. Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea are among those participating for the first time. “Earth Hour 2012 is a celebration of people power; the world’s largest mass event in support of the planet,” WWF official Dermot O’Gorman told reporters in Sydney. NEW YORK — The U.S. government’s biosecurity advisers said Friday they support publishing research studies showing how scientists made new easy-to-spread forms of bird flu because the studies, now revised, don’t reveal details bioterrorists could use. The decision could end a debate that began in December when the government took the unprecedented step of asking the scientists not to publicize all the details of their work. The research, by two scientific teams — one in Wisconsin, the other in the Netherlands — was funded by the United States. It was an effort to learn more about the potential threat from bird flu in Asia. The virus so far doesn’t spread easily among people. But the new lab-made viruses spread easily among ferrets, suggesting they would also spread among humans. Last year, after reviewing earlier versions of the papers, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity said publishing full details would be too risky. The federal government agreed. Scientists around the world debated the matter. Many argued that full publication would help scientists track dangerous mutations in natural bird flu viruses and test vaccines and treatments. On Friday, board members, meeting in Washington, announced they are satisfied with the revised papers. The panel’s advice now goes to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a decision. The board unanimously supported publication of one study, led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the University of Wisconsin. By majority vote it supported publication of the key parts of a second study, from Ron Fouchier, of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In an email, Kawaoka said the revisions to his paper “were mainly a more in-depth explanation of the significance of the findings to public health and a description of the laboratory biosafety and biosecurity.” Editors of the journals Science and Nature, which plan to publish the works, said they were pleased by the recommendation. “Subject to any outstanding regulatory and legal issues, we intend to proceed with publication as soon as possible,” said Philip Campbell, editor-inchief of Nature. The manmade viruses are locked in high-security labs. Publication in scientific journals is how scientists share their work so that their colleagues can build on it, perhaps finding ways to better monitor and thwart bird flu in the wild, for example. University of Pennsylvania bioethics professor Art Caplan said the board’s recommendation makes sense, primarily because the information in the studies is already being shared among scientists. “The details of this paper are already out, these two papers. The horse is out of the barn, and trying to yank it back doesn’t make much sense,” Caplan said. Natural bird flu has infected people through close contact with animals, and it doesn’t easily spread from person to person. Scientists fear that a highly transmissible bird flu could cause a lethal pandemic. The researchers say the transmissible germs they created did not actually kill the lab animals. Is your nest egg growing like it should? Investments earning up to 7.2% interest Auto • Home • Life • Health Cancer • Commercial Rick Mccowan 1402 Hustonville Road, Danville, KY Will help arrange trucking and delivery in and out of sale. (859) 236-6677 Kentucky 1st Insurance

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