HawkArtScience: Hawksaloft.com blog

(Archive: Hawk•art•science orienteering)

26 October 2009, Monday
"That box of birds, madam..."


Immoral indeed! Well, for my part, I have at least been deemed 'unofficial' and 'illegitimate' in my reporting of the movements of hawks over the years. Let's see if I can induce the vapors in some, while infusing others with warmth and enthusiasm by way of my very own hearty hawk stew. A recent bit of fanmail caused me to ramp up production on this blog thing:

So Tom are you like the Edward Abbey of the hawk world? Your information is very forward thinking and I would like to read more? Books? Links? Etc. Please! Also, I'm sure the "OLD GUARD" doesn't want to hear about this...
it would disrupt the stats quo of the hawk counting rules(?)crowd

I am certainly not the late great Ed Abbey... or Scott Weidensaul or Pete Dunne! All those guys can actually write — long and hard, with complexity and wit. Please do go and read them... they've got, like, books and therefore publishers (for good reason). Here we've got, like, scraps of paper and emails, illustrated. Because we are online here, like Amazon.com, fulfillment via overnight shipping is my goal.

Getting back to The YouTube, I've make an introductory playlist for your viewing horror, well, a few little gems that I like. My natural anthem, but without any hawks at all. I motivate to go out and look at hawks through many stimuli... music, TV, movies, windows, shaking due to low levels of raptoramine. These little movies are not of birds or wings or Nature for that matter. (Rule #1, of mine: I don't watch hawks, or other natural things on television)

Warning: some of these clips are at least R-rated. If you are easy vaporized, then don't look. If you've survived a day in the field with me or always wanted to try, if you've read a post or two of mine and chuckled, then go ahead on over to my little cache of vids. There's a couple of funny-rauncy ones from Showtime's Calfornication series where my foremost blogging inspiration, David Duchovny's Hank Moody character, curses on about being reduced to starting a blog for HelL-A magazine (his radio interviewer is punk bad boy Henry Rollins, so there's that)... BTW, great name for a publication in and about life in Los Angeles. Furthermore, fellow babies, consider, if you will, LA as a metaphor for observing birds of prey awash in a sea of hawkwatches.

If I can't be Abbey, let me be Moody.


21 October 2009, Wednesday
Image gallery: this is only a test...

If these were actual images you'd receive instructions on what to do and where to do it. Oh, wait. That's what this is! Flickr is more my idea of the birder's blog, not the MyFace or Twitcher metaphor. I really just wanted to use some semi-cool technology to show off some photos, but have more words than a photosite. So, I've hand-coded this puppy to split the difference.

I started using it to add some snapshots associated with the Wolfe Island post a couple of weeks ago. That was during the start-up phase, but here's where I'll explain how it works.

When you encounter a single image within an entry, try clicking it. Or if there's a strip of image slices at the bottom, go ahead and click on the left hand one (or any one for that matter). Once the screen dims, the image(s) will unfold. Pre-clicking, on mouseover, the upcoming caption for the image will show.

Navigating is intuitive/fun: use your left and right arrow keys to move amongst the pictures; use either the "x" key or "esc" to exit. Your mouse works too: if you move it to one side or the other on an image, a tab appears, just click when it appears (no need to hit the tab itself). You may use your cursor to "Close" the slide show. But the keyboard shortcuts, along with the resolution, are the coolness.

Here are five images from last Winter: pretty nice ones, IMHO. I enjoyed sharing them through emails with friends, but they never got posted at Hawksaloft.com. Enjoy.

Test09: image 1 0f 4 thumbTest09: image 2 0f 4 thumbTest09: image 3 0f 4 thumbTest09: image 4 0f 4 thumb

3 March 2010, Wednesday
100: Looking back

This is the one-hundredth blog entry here. And I think I've balanced the hawks with art and some science... at least to my satisfaction, while violating most of the the laws of art, science and the English language.

It's been a quiet Winter in terms of wintering raptors, but officially Spring migration is underway with the opening of many hawkwatch sites on or about March 1st. So today, I'm looking back... tomorrow, sunny Amherst Island Ontario for some Roughlegs and Snowy Owls.

Web statistics show there are fair number of daily visitors and while any reader can work down page and then back in time to catch up, I've archived most posts into topics. These flow from oldest to newest: meaning, if there were a sequence of thought (who knows), it would reveal itself on that topical page. A few entries appear under more than one topic, for this reason. Some, none.

Hawk•art•science orienteering and Counter Culture posts present an introduction to why I started this and give a sense of the new wave of young professional hawkwatcher-birder-banders that followed on the heels of Pete Dunne — starting with Frank Nicoletti, Jerry Liguori, Brian Sullivan.

Ten Laws and 6 Axioms of Bird ID are my very own formula for originally teaching young birders about how human nature enters into the equation of applied identification (you can see why that would need a hook). Later on, I found these methods work well with adults, who are young at heart.

Blending ID with theories of migration, pairings, and wintering, Redtails R Us (7 entries), Fun with Accipiters (7) and About Eagles (4) get specific. Redtails are everywhere and they are of a never ending interest to me... and I hope it's contagious (Kestrels are my thing too). For the accipiter complex, I'm not sure what I can add, but this is about their identification and our data set based on this ongoing problem. With eagles, it's all about the timing... what isn't!

There are around a hundred of my own raptor images (thumbnails not included, as they duplicate), plus a few weather maps, assorted screenshots, and then there are the YouTube videos — a few of which I've made myself. This leads us into the science... I bring scientific thinking into the field of hawk identification and migration two ways: through entries in the scientific literature — Science, straight up (14); and then by way of some humor — Seinfeld Science, & other effrontery (7).

In the former, it's notes from the scientific literature, but also the occasional trip to Cornell for a live presentation and report... the Raptors & Cuba (3) collection fits here too. Beginning with "The Opposite," Seinfeld Science along with Woolly Bear, Road House, and on through to OJ Simpson Science use popular media to get across some actual science, in my own way.

Weather & Climate (14) is, or should be, a subject of great interest to hawkwatchers and other field biologists, but I think the information is in need of a major update... and I'm doing just that.

Can't get away from the hawks, the art, or science when checking out the entries on film and books! The dozen posts found here — At the Movies (6) & in TLC's Book Club (6) — introduce books and movies I simply like, but also bear on the hawks and science. As a teacher, I've always used pop culture (including the classics) to get my point across.

And last, if you haven't noticed them, I have four quotes over in the right column — from Joni Mitchell, Einstein, Thoreau, and Rachel Carson — that I like a lot and I feel are words to think by.

Tomorrow: The Annual Ithaca Redtail Fest is still underway. Where else can you see forty Red-tailed Hawks perched, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder at times, on just a few acres... but why? You might think Cornell is cultivating the beasts for science, but these are free-ranging RTs. Stay tuned.

They've got the urge for going, and
they've got the wings so they can go.

— Joni Mitchell

Hawk•art•science blog
Truth and beauty. Art and science. Entries here will be on that flightline, although I will stray from the hawk-part on occasion, or will I? I aiming this beast at hawkheads and/or the young seasonal revolutionary biologists. It's for the flexible and young-at-heart too.
Comments, questions, excited utterances, and/or exasperated afterthoughts from you, dear reader, are welcome and will receive a reply. — Tom Carrolan
(Image above: "Recent self-portrait No.3, 2009")

Original recipe Hawksaloft.com
The Hawksaloft.com website was launched in 1997, following three years of printed handbills, plus numerous emails, all voicing my alt.hawkwatching ideas in New England. If you've been here before, the original site is archived in all its old-timey graphic glory. To navigate the old way, just click on Psychedelia the Hawk Owl and be transported back in time... trippy. Any bookmarks or links found anywhere online still work.

Not everything that counts can be counted and
not everything that can be counted counts.

— Albert Einstein