Learn & Play
February 1, 2012
Youngest Pick: “Chirchir is Singing”
Fill in the blank squares in the grid, making sure that every row, column and 3-by-3 box includes all the digits 1 through 9.
An African girl hits the wall before she hits her high note in “Chirchir is Singing,” Community News is proud to by Kelly Cunnane. Early one offer our readers “Book Buzz.” morning, Chirchir rises with This column will feature great the birds ready to help her books for children in three family, a song on her lips. categories: Youngest Pick: First she assists her mom, early childhood who’s lowering a bucket in to the first or second grade, Middle Pick: elementary “the winking silver circle of school children, and the well.” Without warning, Oldest Pick: middle school the rope slips through her hands. It falls. Ker splash! children. Enjoy! Impatient, her mother urges her to go help her grandmother Kogo with the fire, so Chirchir heads to the family’s hut, singing along the way. Initially she’s successful, but soon she fills the pot too high and water spills out, dousing the fire. “Littlest granddaughter, this work is not for you,” says Kogo, who suggests Chirchir help her Big sister “mud the floor.” “I can do that,” Chirchir says, and is off again, her voice still lifted in song, a song that’s eventually extinguished because each time she helps a family member, she botches the job. Fretful, Chirchir’s voice fails her – can’t she do anything right? Reprinted with Out of the blue an opportunity presents itself that saves Chirchir from the permission, Missourian gloomies. And when it does, Chirchir sings again, putting her voice to the Publishing Company. best use ever. Folk-art illustrations by South African artist Jude Daly grace the Copyright 2012. pages of this lovely book. See solution on page 13
Capping Pipes Can Save Birds’ Lives Open vertical pipes and posts take a toll on wildlife. Do you have a fence with hollow posts made of PVC or metal pipe? What about a metal sign post? Bird experts say these and other open vertical pipes can be death traps for birds and other wildlife. Wildlife Ecologist Brad Jacobs with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) learned about the problem from Audubon California’s Kern River Preserve. “They discovered it by accident,” said Jacobs. “Audubon staffers went to remove a 20-foot-long vent pipe that had rusted and fallen over. The lower seven feet of the 8-inch pipe were filled with the decomposed bodies of hundreds of birds and other animals that got inside and couldn’t get out. It was a horrible sight.”
Victims of the irrigation pipe, which had been in place more than 50 years, included bluebirds, woodpeckers and kestrels – small birds of prey. Other animals, such as lizards, also perished. The death trap was part of an abandoned irrigation system. After the macabre discovery, the Audubon staffers began noticing similar hazards on their preserve and neighboring land. They found dead animals in pipes ranging from 1 to 10 inches in diameter and set to work removing or capping the pipes to prevent further carnage. Jacobs says he fears that similar hazards exist throughout Missouri. “It isn’t something we ever considered before,” he said. “But now that we know about it, I think it’s important to let everyone know, so they can take action to prevent needless losses of wildlife.” Solutions include capping pipes or covering open ends with screen wire or hardware cloth. Removal is an option for pipes that no longer are needed. More information is available at www.ca.audubon.org/ workinglands-pipes.php.
Jacobs said anyone, even conservation groups, can unintentionally contribute to such problems. He noted that for several years MDC and Missouri Stream Team have encouraged concerned citizens to construct disposal bins for used fishing line at popular fishing spots. The bins consist of PVC pipe mounted vertically on posts with caps on the bottom and uncapped elbows on top. Anglers can place scrap line in the pipe, preventing it from becoming a hazard to wildlife. “This was a commendable effort,” said Jacobs. “When it began, no one considered that the recycling bins might be hazards to cavity-nesting birds. However, tree swallows and prothonotary warblers have been found dead and entangled in fishing line inside similar receptacles in other states. The birds apparently explore the plastic tubes as potential nest sites and get tangled up in the used line inside.” Line-recycling bins can be retrofitted with covers with a slit that still allows insertion of used fishing line without letting birds get inside. The covers are made from tire inner tubes or rubber roof sheeting held in place by pipe clamps. See http://mdc.mo.gov/ node/16060/ for details. MDC is refitting all its fishingline disposal bins.
Words of the week:
mettle\ MET-l \ , noun: 1. Courage and fortitude. 2. Disposition or temperament. She told him, “now is the chance to show your mettle.”
lackadaisical \lak-uh-dey-zi-kuhl\, adjective: 1. without interest, vigor, or determination; listless; lethargic: a lackadaisical attempt. 2. lazy; indolent: a lackadaisical fellow. Jack was lackadaisical in his approach to the task of cleaning his bedroom.
bleb \ bleb \, noun: 1. A bubble. 2. A blister or vesicle. www.petlandstl.com
During her shower, a bleb of shampoo streamed into her eye.