The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

October 10, 2006


Away from Iraq, Afghanistan and from Russia, where truth-telling female journalists are slain for doing their jobs too well.
Away from people using their infant babies as baseball bats and swinging them at their spouses.
Away from political systems that are perverse with runaway partisanship and policies and sexual controversies involving pages.
Away from the threat of North Korean nuclear missiles and mass murders of innocent Amish schoolgirls.
And from silly mass media inventions like Terrell Owens and Paris Hilton.
And if I could get away, this is where I would go...

This is the Andean Rainforest, where new species of birds can still be discovered (see below) and where they can still thrive and be alive without the mass interventions of higher life forms.

This is where we DON'T know everything, where we're still the interlopers and where there are not one million messages flying around in a nano-second.

Where life is still about peaceful, natural beauty.

Wonder what these winged creatures would be saying about us from their birds' eye view...

Today, I'm going to try to imagine being there, walking as silently as I can through the forest, hearing their chirps and cries and screams, taking in the quiet, simple wonder of what is still a mostly natural world.

I'll send you all postcards. I'm not bringing my laptop.

From The Associated Press

A colorful bird new to science has been discovered in a previously unexplored Andean cloud forest, spurring efforts to protect the area, conservation groups have announced.
The bright yellow and red-crowned Yariguies brush-finch was named for the indigenous tribe that once inhabited the mountainous area where it was discovered and which committed mass suicide instead of submitting to Spanish colonial rule.
For conservationists the discovery of the species came at a crucial time. Thanks in part to the discovery, the government has decided to set aside 200 hectares of the pristine cloud forest where it lives to create a national park.
"The bird was discovered in what is the last remnants of cloud forest in that region," Camila Gomez, of the Colombia conservation group ProAves, said today. "There are still lots of undiscovered flora and fauna species that live in the area."
The small bird can be distinguished from its closest relative by its solid black back and the lack of white marks on its wings.
"There are about two new birds found in the world every year," Thomas Donegan, the British half of an Anglo-Colombian research duo which discovered the bird, said today. "It's a very rare event."
To access the bird's isolated habitat, Donegan and partner Blanca Huertas regularly hiked 12 hours into the nearly impenetrable jungle, depending on helicopters to drop off supplies at mountain peaks 3,050 metres above sea level.
"We first went to Yariguies about three years ago," Donegan said. "It's a huge patch of isolated forest that no one knew about, not even in Colombia."
The new finch, the size of a fist, is native to Colombia's eastern Andean range and considered by its discoverers to be near threatened and in need of close monitoring to prevent it winding up on a list of about 100 bird species endangered in Colombia.
One of the two birds caught by the team was released unharmed after they took pictures and DNA samples, while the other died in captivity.
Donegan said this is the first time researchers were able to confirm a new bird without having to kill it.
The last new bird discovery in Colombia was a Tapaculos species found in the south last year.
With as many as 1,865 different species, Colombia has long been considered a bird watchers' paradise, albeit a risky one because of the country's four-decade-old civil war and drug trafficking.
In 1998, rebels kidnapped four American bird watchers who were later found unharmed.