Funky Nests in Funky Places 2017 Winners

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We loved seeing all the photos, reading stories and poems, and watching videos of all your funky nests.  First of all, it was VERY DIFFICULT to choose winners because every entry was so great. We tried our best to give out as many prizes as possible, and in a perfect world each person would win.

All winners have now received an email notification.

Congratulations to all our winners, and we hope you all will participate in future contests!

Play STALL CATCHERS for a Cure

There is currently no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s.

It is difficult for families and continues to confuse researchers; an especially bamboozling question is why there’s less blood flowing through the brains of patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

To study this phenomenon, Cornell University researchers have given mice the human version of Alzheimer’s. When they studied the brains of these mice, they found some blood vessels had stopped flowing and discovered that the “stalls” were caused by some type of blood cell that sticks to the vessel.

The mice with blockage did poorly on memory testing.  But when the problematic cells are removed, the blood begins to flow again and their memories return to normal! If we want to do the same for humans with Alzheimer’s, we need to find a safe medicine. The only way to know if a medicine will work is to try it out on mice first to see if the blocks disappear.

Without assistance, scientists would need decades to find a medicine that works.  That’s why they decided to create a game that permits anyone to be a scientist and look for solutions. With more people looking, we can get the job done faster. And the sooner we find the answer, the less time we’ll have to wait before a safe and effective treatment for Alzheimer’s is possible.

How does Stall Catchers help me, now and in the future?

Playing Stall Catchers gives you power to speed along the research for a treatment. 

Alzheimer’s is one of the top five deadly diseases today with no effective treatment. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be depressing, and caring for someone with the disease can feel helpless. Stall Catchers is your way to make a difference in the research. If enough people play the game, we hope to find a cure for the blocked blood vessels more quickly, maybe in only a few years.  

The idea that the blocked passages in the capillaries play a role in Alzheimer’s is a new concept. Due to our experiments showing improved health in mice, it’s important to learn more about what causes the stops and to look for medicine that could eliminate them in human brains.

Some medicines tried by Stall Catchers are already being used to treat other diseases, like cancer. If we find that one of these works on Alzheimer’s, it could be easier to approve since it’s already being used. As soon as we find an effective drug, we could prescribe it “off-label” until it is officially approved. This common practice is legal in the United States as well as many other countries, and could make remedies accessible sooner than ever before.

Have a Stall Catchers party on July 22, and your team will receive pizza money from the International #Catchathon team!

~Brigid Lucey

Your Guide to Attracting Birds this Summer #2

The weather is warmer and the days are longer, which means it’s the perfect season for some birding! Would you like to make your home more hospitable for birds? All it takes are a few simple steps.  Learn more in our blog mini-series, this time about…

Food

Now that you’ve provided the birds with water, why not offer them something to eat as well? It’s as easy as planting a few seeds and watching them grow into a natural bird feeder. For example, sunflowers make perfect natural feeders because of their large size and many seeds.  Birds will love snacking on any variety!

Check out our instructions on how to plant and raise sunflowers, either in the ground or in a container.  Container gardening is a fantastic way to use limited space creatively and beautify your home at the same time. You could plant your seeds in old bowls, baskets, suitcases, and even old toilets or bathtubs! Just make sure there’s a way for excess water to drain.

We all have our dietary preferences, and naturally the same goes for birds.  Your sunflower will attract cardinals, chickadees, finches, and sparrows. Fresh fruit, like grapes and raisins, attracts mockingbirds, robins, and waxwings. Leafy plants with berries, like the Black Chokeberry, serve as food and shelter for birds.

Bird feeders are also a great way to welcome winged visitors.  Our friends at Feederwatch have a great website to find the best feeder for you; there’s even an interactive feature to make things easier!

Setting up a spot to snack will definitely make your home a more attractive stop for birds to visit. Remember to water your plants and keep your bird bath fresh! And check out our Little Green Places poster for more ideas.

~Brigid Lucey

Your Guide to Attracting Birds this Summer #1

The weather is warmer and the days are longer, which means it’s the perfect season for some birding! Would you like to make your home more hospitable for birds? All it takes are a few simple steps.  Learn more in our blog mini-series, starting with….

Water

We drink it, bathe in it, use it for transportation, and more. It’s not surprising that birds do the same. In the summertime, it’s especially important to be conscious of water.  Dehydration is serious, so make sure you and the birds are properly hydrated!

You could start by placing a bird bath on your balcony or in your garden and observe who comes for a drink and a bath. Although they prefer baths on the ground, you might want to elevate a few feet if you or your neighbors have pets. Birds are an especially tempting snack for cats.  

A good bird bath looks like a shallow puddle, so put some sand or soil at the bottom of the basin and fill it with water, placing rocks or twigs in the water for your visitors to land and stand on while they drink.  Make sure to change the water every few days to keep it fresh and healthy!

In the upcoming blogs, we’ll talk about how to feed, protect, and identify birds.  For now, provide your local birds with water and wait patiently for them to visit.

~Brigid Lucey

Spotlight on David Lindo, The Urban Birder

(Photo © Susana Sanroman)
Here at Celebrate Urban Birds, we love hearing from other individuals and organizations who share our mission to get everyone excited about birds; observing, studying, and helping improve their local environment.

We’d like to introduce you to David Lindo, also known as The Urban Birder.  A native of London, England, Lindo now travels the world to promote birding and community engagement with the natural world.

As an educator, he works to make birding accessible for all, regardless of their background or experience.  Lindo offers courses and tours around the world, and runs a website where birders can view photographs and ask questions.  He also supports organizations that advocate for marginalized communities that want to get involved in birding.  

Over the years, he’s appeared on the BBC, CBS, as well as through his own vlog series.  He writes, “Through my TV appearance, writing, talks and tours I try to inspire people to re-look at their urban environments.  I believe wildlife in urban areas is so easy to engage with.”

(Photo © David Lindo)

Looking for reading material? Lindo has written two books, The Urban Birder (2011) and Tales From Concrete Jungles (2015), and also contributed to wildlife and travel magazines.  

Thanks for being a great peer, Urban Birder! We are happy to see you living your mission.  Keep up the great work!

~Brigid Lucey