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#236 Yellow-breasted Bunting

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 28

These come down to Thailand and other countries when they migrate from their breeding territory in Russia. We are getting close to our next stop. It was disturbing studying up on these guys. Half of the articles about them said things along the lines of "Songbird being eaten to extinction in China". I saw a rather horrifying picture of nearly 300 of them (that I could count) on skewers in a market. They are sold as "rice birds" or even "sparrows", so people buying them may well not know that they are eating a critically endangered bird. Their numbers have had an up to 95% population decline since the 1990's. They aren't bred easily in captivity, so undoubtedly all the ones sold in markets are wild caught. Their situation was compared in many articles to the Passenger Pigeon. They are a small bird, just 5 1/2 to 6 inches long. They like many of the migratory birds in the area, breed in Russia and then travel south into Japan, China, Thailand, and other countries in the area. They eat seeds as adults, but feed their young insects.

The ice is going away now, though it is evening so I'm not sure how it will be in the morning. It got a bit thicker last night. You can see our bird feeder with lots of ice this morning after it had started to melt. The peanuts are sitting on ice, not snow. There is a block of suet somewhere under all that ice, it will be nice when the birds can have access to it again. You can walk on the ice on our patio without breaking through. We have stuff on the ground as well because of the one incredibly greedy bully of a starling that is keeping all the littles away from the food. I'm glad that the ice is going away because I will be able to go do the usual shopping for the older at risk people again. I know they have food, but I still worry about them. It is a weird sort of Valentine's Day. Not really safe to go for a drive, and not the type of weather you'd want to sit outside to eat at a restaurant. I've been married for 23 years now, so I've had plenty of Valentine's Days and really don't need the commercial sort of part of it for sure. My husband got me a beautiful melodic sounding wind chime that I had been wanting. It is big and has fairly deep tones all tuned well so it isn't annoying in the least.

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