Inventory–Verse (or worse)


Old Guys in the Basement

Some forty board games all intact and neatly stacked.
Worn luggage waiting now to travel, maybe to a rummage sale.
A unicycle upside down, a dusty bike for exercise.
Two pair of crutches and a cane should something                                                             on me break again,   clutch of artificial flowers.
Broken scooter, old computer, sewer rooter.
Machines for ice cream, coffee, drilling holes.                                                                       Tool boxes (two), a rack of wrenches, pliers, hammers.
Paint in pails. Screws and nails –some in little boxes, some are loose.
Coils of wire, balls of string, instruments for taking measures.
On the bench a rusty vise.
Hand trowel, cultivator, packs of seeds, and summer planters.
Tents with poles, camper stoves, back-pack, lantern.                                                     Boxes–labeled and anonymous (sweaters long-forgotten,                                                   photos, children’s art, and other treasures).                                                                          A dozen coffee mugs, the pretty picnic baskets, winter boots,                                              obsolescent travel books.   Mops and buckets, brushes,                                              brooms that used to clean the upstairs rooms.                                                                    Bird house, bird food, bird books, stuffed bird (ruffed grouse).
Cook’s utensils, tableware, wackey gadgets,                                                                     tiny train with wooden track, and bag of stubby pencils.
Ball bat, hat rack, putty ball in plastic wrap, perhaps a cat.
That’s that.


Windows Kill Birds, People Work for Them


20 May 2014 Last updated at 20:24 ET

The invisible killer threatening millions of migrating birds

By Aidan LewisBBC News, Washington      2 VIDEOS at  Source

Drawing of future US embassy, LondonThe new US embassy in London will have an “envelope” designed to prevent bird collisions.

Every year, hundreds of millions of birds are killed or injured when they fly into windows. Volunteers who document the collisions are now calling for architects and landlords to make their buildings more bird friendly to reduce the number of deaths.

Sometimes birds see plants or empty spaces beyond the windows – sometimes they just see the reflection of the sky or trees, but not the glass itself.

Most tend to cruise at 20-30mph (32-48kph) – if they hit a window at that speed the impact is usually fatal as their beak is jammed back into the brain.

Although collisions can happen anywhere, they are most common in cities where big glass buildings proliferate.

Local birds seem to learn where they can fly safely but migratory songbirds such as warblers, thrushes and sparrows have a particular problem identifying glass.

They usually fly by night when they are less visible to predators and use the stars to navigate – but they appear to get confused by the illumination of towns and cities below.

Drawn down by the lights, the birds stop to rest and refuel. Some hit windows as they descend but it is more common for them to run into trouble the next day on the way back up, when reflections are stronger – research suggests that the majority of collisions happen on the lowest six storeys of buildings.

The birds are often distracted looking out for predators and food so “what’s in front isn’t necessarily more important than what’s behind them or to the side,” says Christine Sheppard, bird collisions campaign manager at the American Bird Conservancy.

Reports of mass collisions date back to the late 1800s when powerful electric lights were introduced, she says. Dead birds were often found at prominent illuminated structures such as the Empire State Building and the Washington Monument.

Today, groups of volunteers patrol nearly 20 North American cities during the spring and autumn migration seasons to document the number of casualties and lobby for the owners of buildings to turn their lights out at night.

The idea began in Toronto in 1993 – since then, the city’s Fatal Light Awareness Programme (Flap) has recorded more than 66,000 collisions involving 166 species.

Birds collected after window strikes in Washington DC during 2013Birds collected by volunteers in Washington DC during 2013

Though overlapping migratory pathways stretch across North America, some cities are thought to present particular problems.

We have some of our most prestigious ornithologists working… in buildings that are palatially covered with glass ”     Daniel Klem   Ornithologist

“Toronto is one of those urban centres that was built in the worst possible location for this kind of issue,” says Michael Mesure, Flap’s founder. “It sits on one of the busiest migratory corridors on the planet.”

One day, 12 years ago, they stopped counting after picking up 500 bodies in a single place.

Further south in Washington, volunteers cover an four-mile (6km) route every day during the migration season, setting off before dawn and skirting round the edges of buildings thought to be especially problematic to record the number of collisions.

Often they find a handful of birds – occasionally they find none, but they only cover a tiny fraction of the city.

They have to work fast – gulls and rats may find the dead birds first, or street cleaners may sweep them up. Hotel owners sometimes clear away birds in the morning so as not to upset guests, while crows have been seen waiting in trees, then swooping in to catch a bird before it hits the ground.

The documentation of bird collisions is slowly becoming more thorough and Flap has developed a web mapping tool that allows people around the world to report cases.

Difficulties involved in conducting accurate surveys over large areas mean there are big margins of error when it comes to the statistics. The best current estimate for the US, made by Scott Loss of Oklahoma State University, is between 365 million and 988 million bird deaths each year.

While there is no proven link between collisions and the decline in some bird populations, “there’s a good chance that some species are being affected in some locations,” he says.

He suggests some land-bird populations are being eroded by 2-9% each year – a rate that could have a lasting impact on some species.

Window collisions: US birds of concern

  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Canada Warbler
  • Kentucky Warbler
  • Painted Bunting
  • Worm-eating Warbler
  • Wood Thrush

Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Scott Loss

The collisions are particularly worrying because they are indiscriminate, says Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College.

He pioneered the study of window strikes four decades ago and found the fittest members of the population were just as likely to die in this way as weaker birds.

“You may be killing some very important members of the population that would be instrumental in maintaining its health,” he says.

Klem has watched glass proliferate as a building material, even in bird conservation areas.

“We have some of our most prestigious ornithologists working on conservation issues who work in buildings that are palatially covered with glass,” he says, frustrated that some architects and developers seem unaware of the issue.

“My suspicion is that this is very unfriendly or uncomplimentary to them – dead and dying, and it’s associated with their products.”

For those who want to prevent collisions on their buildings, the options, so far, have been limited.

Adhesive tape that is visible to birds can be stuck on windows but it is not widely available, while blinds and other shades can be expensive to install. New buildings can use a technique called fritting – a ceramic design baked into the glass which can be effective if the spaces between the patterns are the right size.

Until now, this has been applied to the interior surface of windows where it doesn’t interfere with cleaning but is less effective at deterring birds than on the outside – that may soon change though as new methods are developed.

Owl silhouette.

An alternative solution could be to use glass that emits UV signals that are more visible to birds than humans – Klem is positive about the only product to do this, Ornilux, but would like to see it developed further.

In some places, the law is adding another incentive – regulations were recently introduced in California and Minnesota requiring buildings in certain areas to be more bird-friendly. There is a similar law in Toronto.

Extra costs can be justified by designs that serve more than one purpose. Just as companies can save on energy bills by turning lights off at night, so they can save on air conditioning costs by using external shading that is visible to birds.

The Philadelphia based architectural firm KieranTimberlake which is building the new US embassy in London is designing an “outer envelope” for the building. This will provide shade, carry photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy, and help prevent bird collisions.

As new technologies are developed Michael Mesure from Flap is hoping designers will see this as an opportunity. “There are infinite things that you can do to the surface of a building that has its envelope made up of glass,” he says. “The windows themselves can become an art form.”

Top human-related causes of bird death

  • Habitat destruction
  • Domestic cats
  • Building collisions
  • Vehicles
  • Power lines
  • Communications towers
  • Wind turbines

Videos by Colm O’Molloy, bird images courtesy of Sam Droege / US Geological Survey


Hazel in Hospice

by George Lynch

Hazel was a Hospice patient I had been with for two years – a record for my agency. She was bed-bound,  and the first thing I noticed entering her room were all the burn marks on the floor around the bed and on the asbestos blanket that they had over her. She smoked like a chimney but she was dying so…  She was really a nice person and very, very modest. She always kept the bed clothes up around her neck. I was going over there on a Thursday night to take care of her while her husband went to his bible study. I mostly lit her cigarettes for her and we watched Jeopardy together. She liked listening to my guitar and had one song that she wanted to hear over and over again – Children go where I send thee: how shall I send thee? Well, I’m gonna send thee one by one… One for the little bitty baby etc.  I got sick of it. I would try to skip it but she always called me back.

One night I was over there and heard, “Oops”. I looked up and she had dropped her cigarette among the blankets. We couldn’t find it. I started gently pulling the covers off her chest looking for it and was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Obviously I couldn’t just leave the thing there smoldering. Suddenly she said, “Ouch”. She had found it.

I asked her how she happened to become a Christian. She had gone to a home bible study group and gradually received the Holy Spirit. To my knowledge she never stepped foot into a church but she was very religious. I asked how her husband had come to Christ and she said she sat him down on the couch following her conversion and told him to get with the program. He did.

With all the cigarettes going, she always had full ashtrays. Her husband came home one night and is told me a story. While he was talking to me, he picked up a roll of toilet paper and tore off a length of it. I wondered what he was going to do and was starting to retreat to the front door. He took the paper, folded it over into maybe 4-5 ply, picked up the full ashtray and emptied the contents on to the paper. He then folded it over on itself and dropped it in the wastebasket. And this guy was a PhD, his wife bedbound! I wondered who carried his insurance.

After Hazel died, the agency sent me in on a bereavement visit. I was talking with her husband and there is no apparent sadness at all– it sometimes takes a while for the grief process to kick in). He said to me, “You ever see Hazel’s bed sores?” I replied in the negative, whereupon he jumped up and returned with some 8 x 10 glossies of the open sores on her buttocks and thighs. This was before she went on hospice.


Corn Souffle — verse


Image result for photos man reading chair


She says I’ve been imagining a corn soufflé !

(this burst of culinary fervor toward my reading nook).

I think I’ll try it out today. Says how are you at stripping

kernels off the cob?  Excellent I say—my kind of job

although I may well cut myself.  A spurt of blood

will add a  je ne sais, some color to the food.

Oh never mind she says; you’d create crud,

and I return to safely minding my own book.


Giraffe is Born — VIDEO

Suggested by Susan Nowak

Dallas Zoo live streams birth of baby giraffe

Published: April 7, 2015 at 7:43 PM   Danielle Haynes

VIDEO of birth at source          Still photos here  (not the same animals)
DALLAS, April 7 (UPI) —DALLAS, April 7 (UPI) — The Dallas Zoo’s giraffe Katie is about to give birth to a very big baby and the facility is allowing animal lovers the chance to watch the whole thing live.The zoo has partnered with Animal Planet to live stream the birth of the baby giraffe, which is expected to come any day now.Animal Planet installed eight cameras in Katie’s stall to keep a close eye on her as she nears her due date.

Newborn giraffes usually weigh in at between 100 and 150 pounds and stand at about 6 feet tall.

The calf will fall from about 5 to 6 feet in the air head- and hooves-first at birth, and should be up on its wobbly legs within about an hour.

This will be Katie’s second calf. She is already mother to a 4-year-old named Jamie.

Katie’s main trainer, Allison Dean, says the giraffe is known for her personality and diva tendencies.

“She is very good at communicating to me and the other keepers how she’s feeling,” Dean told Animal Planet. “She has expressive body movements and facial expressions. She can really tell you what she likes and doesn’t like.”


© 2015 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


No, Yes, Definitely


No, Yes, Definitely: On The Rise Of ‘No, Totally’ As Linguistic Quirk

LISTEN at  source

3 min 30 sec

“Yep. Nope. Very definitely.”

Kathryn Schulz, a writer for The New Yorker, heard that seemingly-contradictory response to q question recently. And once she started listening for it, she heard it everywhere: people agreeing by saying “No, totally,” or “No, definitely,” or “No, for sure.”

In a recent article, Schulz digs into what’s behind this linguistic quirk. She found out that the English language used to have more options than just “yes” and “no.”

There were four options, to be precise: “yes,” “yea,” “no” and “nay.” She writes:

” … ‘nay’ was used to respond to positive statements or questions, while “no” was reserved for contradicting anything phrased in the negative.

Is the Tabard open?
Nay, it closed at midnight.

Isn’t Chaucer meeting us here?
No, he went home to bed.”

“Once that distinction dropped out,” Schulz tells NPR’s Arun Rath, “we actually created a problem for ourselves. Because now when someone asks you a question in the negative — ‘Oh, you didn’t like that film?’ — if I say ‘No,’ I might be saying ‘No, I didn’t like that film’ or ‘No, you’re incorrect, I loved that film!’ ”

And in some cases, “No, totally” makes your feelings more clear.

Click the audio link above to hear their full conversation.

Famous Cheating

Image result for cheating photos

10 things you might not know about CHEATERS

By Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer Chicago Tribune  4.12.15

   It’s tax time, also known as the season for cheating. Meanwhile, 11 former Atlanta educators were convicted recently in a student test-rigging plot. And we’re still not over the shock of Jackie Robinson West having to give up the U.S. Little League title because some adults tinkered with the map, leaving a group of heroic kids disappointed. But if you take a look at these 10 items, you won’t feel cheated.  

1 It’s hard to imagine anyone having the gall to cheat in the Paralympics. But a Spanish basketball team did just that in 2000, winning the gold medal by fielding a supposedly mentally handicapped team in which only two of 12 players actually were. And they weren’t bashful: Spain outscored its opponents by an average of 36 points per game.  

2 Young people are conflicted about cheating. According to a 2012 survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, 99 percent of the more than 23,000 student respondents agreed it was important “to be a person with good character” and 93 percent were satisfied with their own “ethics and character.” But more than half admitted to cheating on a test at school and nearly three-fourths admitted copying homework. Bizarrely, nearly one-third of the students also said they weren’t completely honest responding to the anonymous ethics survey.  

3 In the 1980s and ’90s, Tommy Glenn Carmichael, above, feasted on slot machines. His ingenious inventions — the “kickstand” “monkey paw” and “light wand” — cheated one-armed bandits with ease. At his peak, he played every day, crisscrossing the country and raking in thousands of dollars daily. He “dutifully paid his taxes” according to a 2003 Associated Press story, which may be why, after he was caught and sentenced in 2001, he got time served and probation.  

4 To “crossbite” is an old British slang term for cheating, especially pulling a fast one on someone who is trying to pull a fast one on you.  

  Chicago election officials Sidney Holzman, from left, and Sam DeCarl question Sidney “Short Pencil” Lewis about alleged vote tampering in the 28th Precinct of the 27th Ward. CHICAGO TRIBUNE 1955

5 A legendary figure in Chicago’s long history of political high jinks is Sidney “Short Pencil” Lewis, who was accused of erasing votes for Mayor Martin Kennelly and marking them for Richard J. Daley during the 1955 Democratic primary. The Tribune printed photos of the alleged misdeeds, but Lewis denied wrongdoing. According to author James Merriner, “short pencil” also referred to other unfair tactics — providing voters with a stubby pencil that made it difficult for them to mark the ballot, and putting the pencil on such a short string that they couldn’t mark the whole ballot and instead were encouraged to vote straight-ticket. 

Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hits a pennant-winning, three-run home run in the ninth inning for a 5-4 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds. AP 1951

 6 When the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit his famous “shot heard ’round the world” homer off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca in 1951, it might not have been the answer to 1,000 prayers so much as the result of careful planning. The Giants used a telescope for much of that season to steal opposing teams’ pitching signs, a fact confirmed 50 years later by reporter Joshua Prager. The elaborate scheme required the team running an electrical line to the dugout to quickly relay the info. Thomson went to his grave denying that he knew a fastball was coming his way.  

7 About a century ago, many of the American companies that made legitimate playing cards and poker chips also sold a variety of “advantage tools” — devices to help cheaters. Those included “card pricks” “poker rings” “punches” or “peggers” to mark a card by creating a subtle indentation, as well as “holdout machines” that allowed cheaters to pull cards out of the deck and hold them until needed — either up their sleeves or under the table.  

8 Robert Kennedy, who would later become a senator and U.S. attorney general admired for his support of civil rights and his crackdown on the mob, left his Rhode Island boarding school abruptly at age 16 after becoming involved in a cheating scandal. Biographer Evan Thomas talked with multiple witnesses, including RFK’s roommate at the time, who attested that Kennedy passed around a stolen English exam. Unclear is whether Kennedy left school on his own or was expelled.  

9 According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, 70 percent of respondents said they would be very upset at people who had cheated the government out of benefits they weren’t entitled to, but just 45 percent said the same about people who had not paid all the income taxes they owed.  

10 Marathons seem to attract cheaters, and that includes last year’s Chicago Marathon women’s winner, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, for use of a banned performance-enhancing substance. But the champion marathon cheater of all time was Rosie Ruiz, whose apparent victory in Boston in 1980 was overturned when it became clear she had run hardly any of the race. Asked why she didn’t seem particularly tired at the finish, she remarked, “I got up with a lot of energy this morning” Ruiz remained in denial 18 years later when the Palm Beach Post interviewed her. Insisting that she had achieved a legitimate “victory” in Boston, she claimed that the title was taken away because of “politics”  

Jacob is associate managing editor for metropolitan news at the Tribune; Benzkofer is the Tribune’s weekend    SOURCES: “Frontier Gambling,” by G.R. Williamson; “52 Ways to Cheat at Poker,” by Allan Zola Kronzek; “Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago,” by James L. Merriner; Associated Press;; “Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang,” by Jonathon Green; “Robert Kennedy: His Life,” by Evan Thomas; “The Echoing Green,” by Joshua Prager; “A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace,” by Ralph Branca and David Ritz; Pew Research Center; Josephson Institute, Character  ; Chicago Tribune; Palm Beach Post;  ; Tribune archives.

AP 1951   Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hits a pennant-winning, three-run home run in the ninth inning for a 5-4 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds.


Bobcats in Illinois


Editorial: Illinois, where the bison and bobcats roam
Bobcats in Illinois     

Bobcats in Illinois

An adult male bobcat that was injured by a car in 2005 resides in its outdoor enclosure in December 2014 at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. A General Assembly vote to lift the state’s ban on bobcat hunting could come as early as next week. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)
By Editorial Board   Chicago Tribune  4.10.15  source

bobcat VIDEO and story

Gov. Rauner, as you try to revive Illinois, don’t get distracted by this bobcat hunting bill.
Thursday’s Tribune carried a prominent, captivating photo (posted below) of something that hasn’t been seen for two centuries: a wild baby bison born in Illinois  at the 3,500-acre Nachusa Grasslands, a prairie restoration project near Franklin Grove, 95 miles west of Chicago.

Think about it. Better yet, marvel at it. An animal once hunted to near extinction in America by the early 1900s is now grazing on grassland just 90 minutes from the Loop. How? Aggressive but arduous conservation efforts by many people over many decades.

The bison, along with magnificent apex predators such as black bears, gray wolves and cougars, belong here. They should roam Illinois prairie and forest. They’re part of the wilderness that belongs to no Illinois generation because it belongs to every Illinois generation.

Which brings us to another endangered animal that deserves the state’s continued protection: the bobcat. Unfortunately, the General Assembly is again moving to lift Illinois’ longtime ban on hunting these beautiful and furtive creatures.

A quick recap: Illinois banned bobcat hunting in 1972 after the population was nearly extinguished by habitat changes and … overhunting. The cats recovered because they earned a spot on Illinois’ threatened species list from 1977 to 1999. The state’s bobcat population rebounded to 5,000, and the General Assembly moved last year to lift the hunting ban.

We urged a veto of that bill. One day before he left office in January, Gov. Pat Quinn took our advice.

Bobcats are in peril in Illinois.

Now the would-be bobcat hunters are back, trying their luck with Gov. Bruce Rauner. A General Assembly vote to lift the ban on bobcat hunting could come as early as next week.

We understand Rauner’s temptation to be “Not Quinn.” But in this case, Quinn made the right call. He shielded bobcats from another brush with annihilation.

We offer Rauner the same advice as we did the last governor: Don’t fall for a shortsighted effort to declare open season on bobcats. Don’t side with those who want to drag Illinois back to the days of killing these wild animals — a historic link in Illinois’ environment — for no reason except they make attractive trophies in someone’s den.

Rauner is busy barnstorming the state with a singular focus: to promote his ideas to solve Illinois’ doomsday financial crisis. He needs to make more friends, not enemies. He doesn’t need a state full of schoolchildren, conservationists and wildlife admirers taking up pitchforks over bobcat hunting.

Bobcats patrol the wilderness and don’t threaten humans, large livestock or most other wildlife. They do, however, chow down on rabbits, hares and — thankfully — rats. Who doesn’t think Illinois could use a well-fed bobcat and a few less rats?

People don’t eat bobcat meat. People don’t need to kill these animals.
As we explained last time we wrote about this: We aren’t opposed to hunting. But the wildlife of Illinois is a resource that every citizen shares. These rare animals — so few in number that their revival here is a marvel, and their future in places where they once thrived now perpetually in doubt — shouldn’t be up for dibs to the first hunter who sees them.
When this issue arose last year, Kristen Strawbridge, then state director of The Humane Society of the United States, made a convincing case against bobcat hunting in a Tribune Perspective piece “… Bobcats and other animals alike should be able to be enjoyed by all — not exploited for a few quick bucks.” Read the rest, and view video of a charming Willowbrook Wildlife Center bobcat, here.

Governor Rauner, you have a crucial mission: resuscitating Illinois. We hope you don’t get distracted by this. Some Illinoisans would welcome renewed hunting. But we suspect more would appreciate your preventing the needless slaughter of animals that belong to us all.

The bison, like the bobcats, are making a comeback. Illinoisans, their governor included, should celebrate such hard-won recoveries — and not forget mistakes that drove these animals to near extinction.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

Bison Calf Born


Excitement grows over birth of rare wild bison in Illinois

Ted Gregory  Chicago Tribune    4.9.15  source

 This baby bison is believed to be the first wild bison to be born in Illinois in about two centuries and raises the Nachusa Grasslands herd number to 31. Following mom

Baby bison is Illinois' first in nearly two centuries

Since Bill Kleiman saw from a distance the surprising profile of a bison calf in the remote conservation reserve he directs, the atmosphere around there has become about as electrifying as it can get.

“It’s not crazy,” Kleiman said from Nachusa Grasslands, about 95 miles west of Chicago, on Wednesday, “but I’ve got 20 voice mail messages that I gotta get through.”

In the past two days, the preserve also has received 51 calls from people who have listened to the recorded phone greeting then hung up. Normally, Nachusa might get five of those every three days, Kleiman said. He’s also noticed a distinct uptick in cars stopping to look over the prairies.
“We’re calling it the Golden Calf award,” said Kleiman, project director at Nachusa.

Plenty of bison populate Illinois and lands east of the Mississippi. The 30 bison brought to Nachusa in late fall as the key component to an ambitious prairie restoration of the 3,500-acre preserve near Franklin Grove have several traits that make them distinctly wild, Kleiman said.
First, they and their ancestors have not been interbred with other species, namely cattle. In addition, they are genetically diverse within the bison species and are direct descendants of the original wild herd preserved largely by the efforts of zoologist William Temple Hornaday and Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s, after the species nearly had been wiped out. Finally, the animals are treated as wild — roaming what soon will be 1,500 acres and touched by human hands only once a year for about a minute during a veterinary checkup, Kleiman said.

Kleiman said he dismissed a friend who was touring Nachusa with him and said she spied the calf several hundred yards away. Then, Kleiman grabbed the binoculars and saw the baby bison, still wet and stumbling around its mother.

“It hadn’t even figured out how to nurse,” Kleiman said

Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association, said the birth of a bison on the open prairie east of the Mississippi River is “a pretty rare thing.”

Determining how wild a bison is, Carter added, can be “a matter of degrees” that has to do with a very small number of bison that carry a tiny percentage of cattle DNA and whether the animals live in an open ranch or preserve. Those topics sometimes draw too much attention from the animals’ comeback, he said.

About 400,000 bison, some used for meat production, now populate North America, Carter added. The population reached a low point in the late 1800s and early 1900s when it spiraled to around 700.

Herd interaction

“It’s a great thing to see these animals being restored to the land,” Carter said. “There’s nothing more sustainable to the environment than an animal that’s been here for 5,000 years.”

Conservationists say bison are crucial in restoring prairie, which once spread across 22 million acres — about 60 percent — of Illinois. Today about 2,500 acres of pristine prairie remain.

The animals’ selective, but voracious grazing opens land to more native plants. Bison also strengthen prairie biodiversity by attracting a wider variety of insects, birds and other animals, conservationists say. The shaggy, iconic American animal, which can weigh up to a ton, does all that environmental work with a minimum of care.
When Kleiman and staff brought the herd from Broken Kettle Grasslands near Sioux City, Iowa, to Nachusa, he had been told to expect births in late May or June. Five other preserves that, like Nachusa, had received bison from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota developed a friendly competition over which would host the first calf. Nachusa, Illinois’ largest restored prairie, won.

What’s next for the calf is more of what it has experienced so far, Kleiman and Nachusa restoration ecologist Cody Considine said.

“We’re not going to get involved at all,” Kleiman said. “We’re just watching from a distance like everybody else.”


First wild bison


Keeping close




Before Monday’s birth, the bison at Nachusa — the first wild herd east of the Mississippi — already had generated increased interest from the public, Kleiman and Considine said. Staff is “limping along” by using homemade signs and passing along information about the bison on the preserve’s voice mail greeting, Kleiman said.

Workers are planning to erect interpretive kiosk signs about the animals in late fall or early spring, about the same time Nachusa will receive an estimated 13 bison and open its their roaming area from about 500 acres now to nearly 1,500 acres. In addition, researchers are studying the bison’s impact on the prairie, their behavior and their reaction to whatever human activity the animals may experience.

Tempting as it may be, staff is not naming the bison, Kleiman said. The humans want to treat the animals as wild, he added. Naming any of them — even the Golden Calf — could complicate matters when Nachusa determines which animals to move to other conservation preserves, which to trade and which to sell for meat, Kleiman said.



5 baby bison facts


5 baby bison facts


5 baby bison facts



5 baby bison facts

5 baby bison facts

Good Bits and Nice Pieces

Suggested by George Lynch

From  Forgetfulness, 2006, by Ward Just

Yussef was a different breed, devout in his own way.  He could recite verses of the Koran from memory in a beautiful haunting voice.  He did that even when filled up with chemicals. He was unreachable in that state of intoxication.  Ecstatic, I would say, and in that state harmless.  He reminded me of a feral cat my wife took in.  She was nice to the cat and after a while he lost his hostility and became a house cat like any other, except now and then, entirely unpredictably, his eyes would flash and he would bare his teeth and you saw at once where he came from and what he was and might become again if conditions changed.  In other words, if he felt like it. That was Yussef when he was intoxicated.


Reivew of Forgetfulness
FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY   Just has long observed the fault lines in human nature and a person’s moral code. In his 15th novel (after the 2005 Pulitzer finalist, An Unfinished Season), Just, using an unlikely hero, sets his journalist’s eye on the ethically fraught war on terror. Thomas Railles is a 65-year-old American expatriate portrait painter of moderate fame who lives with his French wife, Florette, in a Pyrenees village. When Florette goes for a solitary walk in the mountains and is killed by Moroccan terrorists, Railles blames himself for her death: two of his childhood friends now work in intelligence, and he has pulled several “odd jobs” for them over the years, including one that may have inspired this belated “payback.” When he eventually faces one of Florette’s killers, Railles must decide whether to avenge her death or find a different peace of mind. “Forgetfulness is the old man’s friend,” he muses, but he is aware of the irony. The ethical questions of Just’s tale add moral heft to an emotionally charged narrative.