Monday, November 28, 2011

Visiting the relatives

We share around 98% of our genes with chimpanzees, according to the San Diego Zoo. In Kibale National Park, Uganda, these relatives rule the forest.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Leave only footprints

Hippo prints, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. Note the tire track
on the right came before the hippo passed.

Tracks from the past
Impressions in the mud
Here but now gone
Our footprints linger on

Leopard print, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Take only memories
Leave only shapes
Elephants, hippos,
Leopards and apes

Friday, November 11, 2011

Art and science collide!

Binoculars. Colored pencils. Early mornings. Rough drafts. In a world full of birds, art and science combine to make bird knowledge accessible.

Red-eyed dove - Streptopelia semitorquata - Inumah

Agahozo-Shalom is rich in birds, and now its students can learn about them with a new poster illustrating more than 30 of the most common species.

The poster features drawings and the names of the birds in English, Latin (scientific), 
and Kinyarwanda. One of Rwanda's top bird guides (who is a native Kinyarwanda 
speaker) helped us to find the local names. A student artist completed 26 
of the species while Michele (the art teacher) completed 7 species. The poster is 
shown here in lower resolution because it is not yet ready for distribution.

Meet the artist: Rossi, a 9th grade student at ASYV, drew most the birds.
He was president of the student art club and spent his free time on
Saturdays and Sundays illustrating our feathered friends.

Take a virtual bird tour of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village!

Interested in nature? Great! New to birdwatching? No problem! Join us for a virtual tour of the birds of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.

Black-headed herons (Ardea melanocephala) visit ASYV- so should you!

The sun rises at about 5:45am here, and we could start our bird walk this early if you like. Birds tend to be most active in the morning (about 6am-10am), but the real draw of the early start is that the sun lights up the sky as it appears from behind the hills.

Worth the early wake-up... sunrise at ASYV

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The ones you miss (Ballad of the Birding Blues)

Get ready for some heartache... as much as birds can cause.

First, think about basketball. You have to take shots to score. It is the only way to get points. Inevitably, you are going to miss some of those shots too.

If you want to see a wide variety of birds, you have to go out looking. To see new birds, you may have to travel and spend money/energy/time to find them. Sometimes you get the birds. Sometimes you don't.

Green-breasted pitta, painting at Kibale National Park headquarters.
Never saw it in the flesh (in the feather!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Run like an antelope

Thomson's gazelle (Gazella rufifrons) in Ngorongoro Conservation Area,
Tanzania. Look at all those flamingos in the background! What a life, to
run around free and enjoy the birds, without a care, except for lions,
cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas, of course.

The name antelope refers to a wide variety of mammals. Although antelopes are extremely diverse, they all share some basic characteristics.

White-bearded gnu (a subspecies of blue wildebeest (Connochaetes 
taurinus albojubatus) in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania.

Antelopes are even-toed, hoofed mammals. They share this foot morphology with hippopotamuses, warthogs, giraffes, and deer, but none of those are "antelope."

Female eland (Taurotragus oryx) in Akagera National Park, Rwanda.