Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Birthday John James Audubon, bird lover!

John James Audubon was born on this day in 1785 (and died in 1851).  As a boy he was completely fascinated with birds.

He lived a life determined by the politics of the times, which meant that he couldn't have a job and earn money doing what he loved: drawing, painting and studying birds.

John Audubon suffered hardship, poverty, being separated from his family and even jail, to follow his calling.

He was over 40-years-old before the quality and magnificence of his work was fully appreciated.

In Birds of America you can see Mr. Audubon's dedication and talent.

It includes 497 life-size prints of birds and over 700 North American bird species.

His love of birds is captured in every page of this amazing book.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Plan Bee

Think you could help out a bee this summer?

Why should you help a bee?
Well, they are our number one pollinators!  So, every apple, strawberry, cucumber and any other fruit or vegetable that you like, grows, in part, thanks to a bee.  As they go from flower to flower in search of nectar they cross-pollinate at the same time.

No bees = no fruits, vegetables or flowers.

Bees are in trouble and they need our help.

Here's why:

  • pesticides that we spray on crop fields are killing bees
  • pesticides that we spray to kill mosquitoes and other insects that we don't like, are killing bees
  • fields that were once wild grasses and flowers, where the bees live naturally, have been turned into farmland for crops that we spray with pesticides
  • a virus has invaded many bee hives and is making the bees very weak

So what can you do?

  • If you see a bee, stay out of its way, it has a big job to do.  Many bees do not sting at all and most are not aggressive, meaning they will not bother you if you do not bother them.
  • Plant some wild flowers, just a few will do, making the bee's job a little easier.
  • Don't use pesticides on your grass or garden.  It's not good for bees - or you.
  • Take a moment to watch a bee as it buzzes around the flowers you planted.  Listen to the sound their wings make, notice how carefully they go into each flower and how wonderfully furry they look!

Just remember, when you see a bee, look but don't touch!