Archive for the 'Books & Events' Category

Apr 14 2016

This Saturday and Sunday at the National Aviary

Kate St. John (photo by Thom Moeller)

This Saturday and Sunday, as part of Sky Kings Weekend, I’ll be presenting Celebrate Pittsburgh’s Peregrines! at the National Aviary.

Come on down for the 12:30pm show on Saturday April 16 or Sunday April 17.

Click here for more information on my Events page.

 

(photo by Tom Moeller)

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Apr 13 2016

Pittsburgh’s Redbud Project

Published by under Books & Events,Trees

Redbud blooming (photo by Dianne Machesney)

Redbud blooming (photo by Dianne Machesney)

Imagine that Pittsburgh was as beautiful in the spring as Washington, D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

That’s the vision that local landscape architect Frank Dawson had when he proposed planting eastern redbud trees along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.

This spring the dream is starting to come true.

Thanks to a grant from Colcom Foundation, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is launching the Pittsburgh Redbud Project.  From now through Spring 2017 they’ll plant 1,200 eastern redbud and other native trees in Downtown Pittsburgh and along the city’s riverfronts.  Everyone who helps through May 12 will get a free seedling. (They’re giving away 1,500 of them!)

Eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis) are understory trees in the Pea family that bloom in early spring.  Native from southern Pennsylvania to eastern Texas, they’re cultivated for their beauty because their rose-pink flowers open on bare branches before the leaves.

Come to the Redbud Project’s Launch Event on Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00am at the Three Rivers Heritage Trail near the Mister Rogers statue.  Students and volunteers will plant 60 trees along the riverfront.  Attendees get a free redbud seedling.  (Click here for more information, here to RSVP.)

Here’s a planting along River Avenue to give you an idea of the beautiful results.

Redbud trees along River Road, Pittsburgh, April 2016 (photo courtesy Western PA Conservancy)

Redbud trees along River Avenue, Pittsburgh, April 2016 (photo courtesy Western PA Conservancy)

More events and volunteer opportunities are coming in the weeks ahead. Click here for a list.  Get a free tree!

Soon our Downtown and riverfronts will be transformed.

 

(photos: redbud flowers’ closeup by Dianne Machesney. Row of redbud trees on River Avenue, courtesy Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)

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Mar 19 2016

CANCELED! No Duck Hollow outing on March 20

Published by under Books & Events

CANCELED! Duck Hollow on Sunday March 20 at 8:30am

The Duck Hollow outing on Sunday March 20 is canceled.

It’s going to snow the night before, it will be snowing during the outing (unpleasant!) and I have caught a cold.

Do NOT meet at Duck Hollow parking lot at the end of Old Browns Hill Road.

So sorry I had to do this, especially since I’m not available for a make-up date in March.

 

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Mar 14 2016

Reminder: Duck Hollow Walk, March 20

Published by under Books & Events

Mallard (photo by Steve Gosser)

CANCELED! Duck Hollow on Sunday March 20 at 8:30am

Just a reminder that I’m leading a bird and nature walk on Sunday March 20, 8:30am at Duck Hollow and the Lower Nine Mile Run Trail.

Meet at the Duck Hollow parking lot at the end of Old Browns Hill Road.

Dress for the weather. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them.

Click here for more information and updates in case the walk is canceled for bad weather.

I’m hoping for ducks.  I’m sure we’ll see mallards.

See you soon.

(photo by Steve Gosser)

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Mar 07 2016

Coming Soon: Walks in Duck Hollow and Schenley Park

Crocuses blooming (photo by Kate St. John)

Crocuses blooming (photo by Kate St. John)

Spring is coming so let’s get outdoors!

Just as I did last year, I’ll be leading bird and nature walks once a month beginning in late March.  This year I’m branching out to include Duck Hollow/Lower Nine Mile Run as well as Schenley Park.

Come out with me to see birds and trees, blooms and bees.  On each walk we’ll travel slowly, keeping our eyes and ears open for the latest birds and flowers.

Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes that aren’t afraid of mud. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them. The walks will begin at 8:30am and last two hours but you can bow out early if you wish.

Here’s the schedule for the first three walks.  More will follow in summer and fall; stay tuned.

As each date approaches I’ll post a reminder here on the blog.  Visit my Events page any time for directions and up-to-date information including cancellations and rain dates.

Hope to see you on March 20 at Duck Hollow.  It’s time for Spring!

 

(photo by Kate St.John)

One response so far

Mar 03 2016

Reminder: Blog Address Changed

Published by under Books & Events

New location! birdsOutsideMyWindow.org

Dear Readers,
There are 20 of you out there who have not changed your bookmark for my website and are still looking for me every day at WQED.org.  My blog isn’t there anymore!   It moved on November 29, 2015 to http://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org.

So far you’ve been able to find me but that may change so please click on the image above and make a NEW bookmark for my blog.

Thanks,  Kate St. John

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Feb 13 2016

Flying Dinos at Carnegie Museum

Published by under Books & Events

Pterosaurs banner at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh (photo by Kate St. John)

Pterosaurs banner at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh (photo by Kate St. John)

Speaking of dinosaurs, if you like things that fly don’t miss this special exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs is on loan from the American Museum of Natural History.

Pterosaurs broke a lot of rules.  They were warm-blooded reptiles. Their bodies were furry. Their heads looked like birds.  They stood on their wings! And when they took off they jumped in the air and flew.

You can see them as skeletons and …

Pterosaur skeleton, main exhibit, Carnegie Museum of Natural History (photo by Kate St. John)

Pterosaur skeleton, main exhibit, Carnegie Museum of Natural History (photo by Kate St. John)

… as life-size replicas with fur and wings and colors.

Quetzalcoatlus was as big as a giraffe (look at him standing on his wings!).  Others were as small as finches. Yet they’re not the ancestors of birds.

Quetzalcoatlus floor sign for Pterosaurs exhibit, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh (photo by Kate St. John)

Quetzalcoatlus was the size of a giraffe (floor sign at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, photo by Kate St. John)

The exhibit includes videos and three interactive Wii-like flight zones where you flap your arms and the pterosaur flies.  I flunked flight school with the small insect-eating pterosaur but I soared with the large one.

Visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History before May 22 to see Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs on the third floor.

Then cruise downstairs to see this little guy in the main exhibit.

Pterosaur skeleton, main exhibit Carnegie Museum of Natural History (photo by Kate St. John)

Pterosaur skeleton, main exhibit Carnegie Museum of Natural History (photo by Kate St. John)

Click here for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History website.

 

p.s. I wish I could have photographed the Pterosaur exhibit but it’s not allowed.  However, you can use your camera in the rest of the museum.

(photos by Kate St. John)

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Feb 12 2016

The Largest Dinosaur Ever Found! PBS, Feb. 17

Perhaps you heard on the news last month that “the largest animal ever to walk the earth invaded New York City’s American Museum of Natural History.”

He’s the largest dinosaur ever … but how big is that? Where was he found? And how was he reconstructed?

Find out next Wednesday when PBS NATURE premiers Raising the Dinosaur Giant with host David Attenborough:

A few years ago in the Argentinean desert, a shepherd was searching for one of his lost sheep when he spotted the tip of a gigantic fossil bone sticking out of a rock. When the news reached paleontologists at the MEF Museum in Trelew, Argentina, they set up camp at the discovery site to examine it and look for more bones. By the end of the dig, they had uncovered more than 200 other huge bones from seven dinosaurs, all belonging to a new species of giant plant-eating titanosaur whose name will be announced soon.

The giant was 121 feet long, weighed 77 tons, died 101.6 million years ago, and was still growing when he died!

Visit the dig and follow the forensic research.  See 3D animations and the skeleton’s reconstruction. See how these creatures compare to our largest land animals today.  The videos (above and below) show the enormous thigh bone and examine a baby dinosaur inside the egg.

 

Don’t miss Raising the Dinosaur Giant on PBS, Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 8:00pm (ET).

 

(YouTube videos from PBS NATURE)

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Feb 07 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count, February 12-15

Published by under Books & Events

Birds at Marcy's feeder (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

How many birds can you count? (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

Are you ready to count birds?  Next weekend is the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count: Friday through Monday, February 12 to 15.

It’s easy to participate in this citizen science project.  Just watch your feeders or go out birding.  Don’t forget to …

  1. Register here.
  2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes, keeping track of the highest count per species, the time you spent counting, and your location.
  3. Enter your counts via the GBBC website or eBird. (The Great Backyard Bird Count uses eBird and tags your entry as part of the weekend count.)

Download the instructions on the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count or read more here.

Have fun!

 

p.s.  Photographers, submit your photos to the GBBC Photo Contest to win one of these prizes.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

2 responses so far

Feb 01 2016

Get Ready For Groundhog Day!

Published by under Books & Events,Mammals

Get ready for Groundhog Day!

Tomorrow is the mid-point of winter, halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  February 2 is also the day when a very special rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from his den to predict the weather for the next six weeks.

Phil never makes his prediction in isolation.  His day in the sun (or shade) spawns a huge celebration in Punxsutawney, PA.  Preview the excitement in his eight minute promo video above.

If you don’t like winter, then hope for an overcast sky so that Phil has a day in the shade.  Here’s why.

 

 

(video from Punxsutawney Phil on YouTube)

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