About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sports Illustrated Birdwatching edition

What do birds and sports have to do with each other? 

Many North American professional sports teams are named after birds:

Nat’l Football League: Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks 
Nat’l Hockey League: Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers 
Nat’l Baseball League: Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals 
Nat’l Basketball Assoc: Atlanta Hawks

And on May 16, 1955 birds were on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

"Treeful of Birds" is a mythical tree crowded with real birds by artist Arthur Singer
as a salute to the active spring birds seen by birdwatchers in nearby woods and backyards.

Around 10,000 known species of birds inhabit the earth and can be seen anywhere in the world including your own backyard. History shows humans have long been fascinated with birds, but did you know that 14 years before the first swimsuit issue there was a 1950's bird watching issue.

This wonderful early spring edition of SI talks about how, “The pageant of birds is on again, with all their gaudy springtime transformations.”

Dr. Robert Cushman Murphy explains in his article What the Well-dressed Bird Will Wear, that although plumage is for dress up and display, we must not forget its many other functions. It keeps the skin of a bird cool in the heat and warm in the cold... Preening, and the application of pomade from a little compact called the oil gland which most birds carry just above the tip of the tail, keep them in bandbox condition.

This charming article with little hints to its date of publication through the use of  50's vernacular is really very good. It explains feather structure, pattern , color, and molting. Dr. Murphy states that "Birds, like men, vary their garb according to age, sex and season, and refurbish it frequently enough to maintain a high sartorial standard.”

To
The key to all 60 birds on the cover: http://www.si.com/vault/issue/42775/76/2

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