Vote for the Blue & Gold Macaw!!!!

Much to my surprise, it turned out this was not the only follower who had made it to the final round! Another account, of budgies, had done so as well. This is extraordinary as only 12 photos make it into the final round. Please be sure to go to and vote!!!


Friend @_macaws_parrots_ (IG) recently learned her blue and gold macaw Mango had qualified for the FINAL ROUND in that most prestigious of pet photo competitions, Penney’s Great Companion calendar competition, 2019.

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Be sure to vote in this fun-filled yet important event here.


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“Though I May Speak”


We hope you have had a restful weekend with your fids!

In the coming week, if you desire a spiritual uplift, consider these lyrics by Hal Habson (1972), for the hymn “Though I May Speak.”  Traditionally sung to the fo;lsy English tume pf the love song, “The Water is Wide,” the hymn “Though I May Speak” embodies simplicity of style and lyric.

You can always find a little inspiration on our Updraft Inspired page.

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The Eurasian Sparrow & Mao’s Four Pests Campaign, 1958-1960

This was too good a historical event not to share!


In China, as part of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1962), Mao labeled four animals as pests and launched the Four Pests Campaign. The Campaign enlisted citizen assistance throughout Beijing to conduct the extermination. The four animals designated were flies, rats, mosquitoes, and the Eurasian sparrow. The Campaign specifically targeted the Eurasian sparrow because, supposedly, one sparrow could consume up to ten pounds of valuable and nourishing grain each year, thus robbing the population of much needed food. Also, the Eurasian sparrow was known to carry disease.

The Eurasian sparrow (passer montanus) is a chunky songbird with short legs and thick bill sporting a chestnut crown, black throat and a black eye patch contrasting distinctively against its white cheeks. Only approximately 5-6 inches long and weighing only about 24 grams, the Eurasian sparrow is about 10% smaller than the common house sparrow. While designated a “songbird,”…

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A Viennese Fortepiano and Baroque-to-Classical Concert in Wesport, Kansas City’s Artsy District

Friday, July 20, JoZach, Peter, Mark and I attended the Kansas City Baroque Consortium's second summer concert, "Outside the Baroque Box: Music from the Eve of the Classical Era" at Westport Presbyterian Church. I can not imagine better entertainment. Perhaps what I most appreciated was the presentational understatement of truly superb talent: a comparable concert … Continue reading A Viennese Fortepiano and Baroque-to-Classical Concert in Wesport, Kansas City’s Artsy District

Treasured Weekend Back Home in Kansas City

Last weekend fiance Mark and I flew to KCMO to meet with family, extended family and old friends for mom's memorial service. Delightfully we stayed in a Residence Inn on the Country Club Plaza. Developed along the banks of Brush Creek in the 1920's by local real estate magnate J.C. Nichols, the Plaza celebrates the … Continue reading Treasured Weekend Back Home in Kansas City

Each Generation must shape its Sacred Space

Pictured above is the reconfigured altar of the church I grew up in. A Southern Presbyterian church rejoining PCUSA in 1983, in my childhood the church's architecture expressed more clearly its Southern heritage.Where today you see an open and bright altar space with the stained glass window visible from any angle, in my childhood, a … Continue reading Each Generation must shape its Sacred Space

TheRoundUp, July 15, 2018: Summer Swelter

Every month we publish social and community bird news in TheRoundUp column of our companion blog,


This month TheRoundUp looks at free flight, indoor and outdoor.  Meet a number of people on social media and learn about some of the resources available there. For instance. Straus Mikalsky’s experiences with free flight led him to seek professional instruction from Chris Biro (above) at Liberty Wings.

As an adult, Straus grew enamored of macaws. However, in Brazil, owning a macaw first requires registration with the government and also a special permit. Registered and permitted, Straus devoured all available information on macaws while awaiting the arrival of baby blue and gold macaw Manuela. In the process, Straus discovered Chris Biro (@Chris Biro (YT) on YouTube) , whose free flight videos demonstrated good training, technique and site selection.

Straus made mistakes of inexperience with Manu. Last year a hawk chased Manu off her flight path. Seeking safety in numbers as a guard against future hawk attacks, Straus…

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Gen(i)us: First Three Days in the Life of a Pigeon

Ayoub Hadidi just has a way with birds!


Thanks to Ayoub Hadidi (FB), administrator of Bird Squad group, for this intimate portrait of the hatching of a pigeon chick and its first three days of development.

The pigeons live just outside Ayoub’s house and are comfortable with his handling.  As usual wild pigeons, they fly out and about the town during the day but return to the protection of the outside of Ayoub’s residence in the evening.

In the pictures featured on our Gen(i)us page, Ayoub has painstakingly over the first three days of the hatchling’s life taken consistent pictures of its daily development.

Note in the above video the lack of stress the mother parent obviously feels around Ayoub: although she is right next to the hatching egg, she does not move away when Ayoub approaches but rather allows him to remove the egg to put it indoors under better light for videotaping the hatching process.


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Hawaii’s ‘Io & Kilauea Volcano’s Eruption

Great article on our companion blog,, by my fiance


By Mark LaBarre

Volcano eruptions damage the surrounding environment in many ways. Mount Kilauea’s recent activity has placed the endangered Hawaiian hawk, called ‘Io, in great jeopardy, yet, like all flighted birds, the ‘Io has certain survival advantages over other animals.

Volcanologist Mark LaBarre, a native of Hawaii, provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of volcanic activity on birds and then focuses on Kilauea’s recent effusive eruption and its effects on local bird populations.

Studies of volcanoes’ impact on birds range from examination of fossil remains from much earlier volcanoes to contemporary studies of observed impacts.  Follow the trail of inquiry with Mark!

To read the complete article, click here.

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