It’s Alive! Spring 2008 Living Bird

By Hugh Powell
July 10, 2008
Living Bird spring 2008 online edition Check out the online Spring 2008 edition of Living Bird. Photo of Black Oystercatcher by Charles Eldermire.
New self-paced course: Learn How to Identify Bird Songs, Click to Learn More

There’s a new issue of Living Bird up online. Check it out for new articles on Alaska’s Black Oystercatchers, a haute-couture Common Loon and its ungainly loonling, and editor Tim Gallagher’s trip to Peru amid Pearl Kites, Cocks-of-the-Rock, and Marvelous Spatuletails. Also on tap is Pete Dunne’s column, the Catbird Seat, this time about how to destroy a perfectly good pair of binoculars. Plus a reminiscence on southeastern Arizona and plenty more.

But what does a new issue of the magazine have to do with a website redesign? Well, it’s a glimpse of the future. Take a look at Alex’s warm design of Living Bird and you’ll see the direction we want to go. We’re also trying to make it easier to find video, audio, and other material of interest. Check out the Google map that takes you on site with the oystercatchers and their nests.

Living Bird is also one way we say thank you to our members. Lots of people don’t know this, but the Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit organization funded by donors, members, sponsors, and grants that our scientists apply for. So four times a year, we send our 30,000 members a print copy stuffed with mouth-watering photos and vivid articles.

As we move our website into its next stage, we’re thinking of other ways to keep in touch with our visitors. Supporting membership is one way, but there might also be a free sign-up – along the lines of other online communities, from booksellers to travel agents to news services. Once you were logged in, you could choose what features you used and customize the way you appear online.

So tell us what you think: would you enjoy personalizing your trips to the Lab’s website? Or are you suffering from password fatigue already? And the same goes for feedback on the new issue: We’re all ears. Thanks for reading.


  • Jim

    So tell us what you think: would you enjoy personalizing your trips to the Lab’s website? Or are you suffering from password fatigue already? And the same goes for feedback on the new issue: We’re all ears. Thanks for reading.

  • Jim

    Now send a comment it is fun and safe! Okay??

  • Jim

    This entry was written by Hugh and posted on July 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm and filed under News. Bookmark the permalink.

  • Jim

    Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Jim


  • Having to remember multiple usernames and passwords is tedious, but there are ways around this. One would be to have a single unified login for all CLO-affiliated sites, including eBird and BNA. What sites and services a user has access to could be determined by some sort of permissions system. Another would be to allow use of OpenID for free signups.

  • What’s OpenID free signups?

  • It IS alive!

  • Common Loon

    The eerie yodel of the Common Loon is a symbol of the wild North. The territorial call of the male loon can be heard from lakes across Canada to the very northern United States.



    Large waterbird.

    Long pointed bill.

    Long body slopes to rear.

    Sits low on water.

    Size: 66-91 cm (26-36 in)

    Wingspan: 104-131 cm (41-52 in)

    Weight: 2500-6100 g (88.25-215.33 ounces)

    Sex Differences

    Sexes alike in plumage, male larger.


    Call a tremulous wail.

    »listen to songs of this species

    topConservation Status

    Numbers decreased across the south part of the range in the early to mid-20th century, but increased in the last third of the century. Poisoning by mercury in aquatic ecosystems and by lead from fishing sinkers can be significant caues of death.The North American Loon Fund is a nonprofit conservation organization that sponsors research, management, and educational programs throughout North America in an effort to check the population decline of the Common Loon and other loon species.

    Other Names

    Plongeon huard (French)

    Colimbo mayor, Colimbo común (Spanish)

    Great Northern Diver (British) (English)

    Cool Facts

    The Common Loon swims underwater to catch fish, propelling itself with its feet. It swallows most of its prey underwater. The loon has sharp, rearward-pointing projections on the roof of its mouth and tongue that help it keep a firm hold on slippery fish.

    Migrating Common Loons occasionally land on wet highways or parking lots, mistaking them for rivers and lakes. They become stranded without a considerable amount of open water for a long takeoff. A loon may also get stranded on a pond that is too small.

    Loons are water birds, only going ashore to mate and incubate eggs. Their legs are placed far back on their bodies, allowing efficient swimming but only awkward movement on land.

    The Common Loon is flightless for a few weeks after molting all of its wing feathers at the same time in midwinter

    from “All About Birds”

  • Check out the Google map that takes you on site with the oystercatchers and their nests!

  • I love the look of Living Bird online (and I love the magazine as well). I think one main user ID would be the way to go for all areas. I have many (too many) passwords already, but most of the time your web browser can securely save your password so it isn’t a big deal.

    Premium content is a great way to get more people involved. I think the internet has been cheapened quite a lot with all the free content. It’s great to have free stuff, but we know that conservation is anything but free, so supporting the work of the Lab with premium membership dues that gets us great, exclusive content is a good direction to go.

    Of course, I wouldn’t be opposed to discounts to bird conservation bloggers :)

    ~ Birdfreak

  • Alex Chang

    The Lab is definitely aware of the issues our users have with muliple logins. At the very least, we’re going to try to create a single sign-on system for the Lab’s websites (from eBird and Project Feederwatch to the new redesigned website). We’re planning to redesign the website in phases and given that single sign-on is a huge engineering challenge it will not be the focus initially, but it is definitely on the redesign road map.

  • Birdlover

    Nice issue for sure! :-)

  • no it is not:)

  • Will you all just shut up!?

  • :(

  • :I

  • Jim

    :( not working:(

  • Jim

    Check out the Google map that takes you on site with the oystercatchers and their nests

  • Jim

    :)2:( it is hard 2 use this website! Also, have U ever heard of “eBird”?

  • Jim

    An intimate portrait of the Common Loon

    Through the misty sunrise on a northern lake echoes a sound that stirs profound emotions in anyone who hears it: the haunting cry of the Common Loon. The loon symbolizes the wildness of the north—wildness that many of us, trapped in an ever-more-urbanized society, long for from the depths of our souls.

    Since ancient times the loon has featured prominently in Native American mythology. In Sioux and Lakota legends it plays a role in recreating the post-diluvian world. An Ojibwa tale credits the loon’s voice as the inspiration for Native American flutes. And from Alaska, a Tsimshian story describes how a loon restores a blind man’s sight, for which it is rewarded with the gift of the beautiful necklace of white feathers adorning its neck.

    Strikingly handsome, with jewel-like red eyes and an unearthly yet beautiful call, fiercely territorial while breeding, and possessed of magical powers—clearly there’s nothing “common” about the Common Loon. On the other hand its European name, “Great Northern Diver,” is a name well deserved, for the loon is a master of the aquatic environment. With barely a splash it slips beneath the water’s surface in search of food, propelling itself powerfully and with great agility using its large webbed feet. It dives as deep as 180 feet and, although dives usually average under a minute, loons have been known to stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes.

    Feet set far back on the body make the loon a powerhouse of a swimmer, but hamper its mobility on land. An incubating adult can only shuffle awkwardly to get onto its nest. A chick has a similar struggle to clamber onto its parent’s back to rest or warm up.

    Luxuriating in the warmth of the adult’s body, the tired chick may immediately fall asleep, sometimes neglecting to stow a foot or a wing in its exhausted state. Adult loons sometimes roll over onto one side and hold one webbed foot in the air while loafing or preening on the water. It’s called the “foot waggle” but, unlike the drowsy chick, the adult does it purposefully, to cool down in warm weather. Repeatedly shaking the raised foot alternating with dipping it into the water further improves the cooling action.

    from Living Bird :)

  • Jim

    4 more info go 2

    Thanks 4 reading:) here is even more cool stuff!

  • Jim

    Express yourself. Start a blog.


  • Jim

    It is ROUND! It is a ROBIN! It is ROUND ROBIN!


  • Apparently “Jim” has a lot to say. One thing I’d add to the list of things for the Lab’s changes is COMMENT MODERATION!


  • Hugh

    @Birdfreak: We’ve been a bit puzzled by Jim’s contributions ourselves. At present we’re still holding firm to the ideal of the middle-school lunchroom: Ignore until they lose interest. Also, we were thinking our community of Round Robin regulars would step in at some point – so thanks for mentioning it.

  • It’s amazing

It’s Alive! Spring 2008 Living Bird