Skip to content

Birds, Gastronomy, Cultural Heritage–Is It Entrepreneurial Conservation?

October 22, 2014
ORTOLAN-articleLarge

Michel Guérard, left, the chef of Les Prés d’Eugénie, and Jean Coussau, the chef of Relais de la Poste, are among a handful of chefs trying to bring the ortolan back to the restaurant menu in France. Credit Ulrich Lebeuf/M.Y.O.P for The New York Times

We do not link often to the countless stories of rhino populations being decimated due to poaching, not because they are depressing, which they are; but because there have been no breakthrough entrepreneurial conservation stories related to that tragedy. Ditto for elephants and other charismatic megafauna–overwhelmingly depressing and no solution in sight, with the rare glimmer of hope.

So, when we see an article like the one below, even though it focuses on charismatic minifauna rather than megafauna, we take note. We pay a disproportionate amount of attention to birds for reasons that should be clear to regular readers of these pages, so for now a question to all ornithologically advantaged readers: is the reference to the unpublished Canadian study at the end of the article real or bogus? If the latter, please share your knowledge through our comment section and we will provide the publisher a crowd-sourced, fact-checked update to the article.

This is one of the exceptional articles for which we provide full text because of its urgent environmental value, with the expectation that you will click through to the source to give proper credit, with thanks to the New York Times:

“The bird is absolutely delicious,” said Mr. Guérard, who recalled preparing ortolans for Mitterrand and his successor, Jacques Chirac, back when it was legal. (Mitterrand was said to linger over two ortolans in his last supper before his death in 1996, also consuming three dozen oysters, foie gras and capon.)

“It is enveloped in fat that tastes subtly like hazelnut,” Mr. Guérard said, “and to eat the flesh, the fat and its little bones hot, all together, is like being taken to another dimension.”

But the campaign has provoked environmentalists, who accuse the chefs of engaging in a publicity stunt to promote what they say is an archaic custom that will further endanger the bird, and that treats the ortolan inhumanely before it is killed. Read more…

Bird of the Day: White-winged Dove (Xandari Resort, Costa Rica)

October 21, 2014

Learning Laboratories, Museums, And Art’s Future Venues

October 21, 2014
Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer. Harvard Art Museums Director Tom Lentz (from left) moderated a discussion with MoMA Director Glenn Lowry, A.M. '78, Ph.D. '82, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities Jennifer Roberts, and Paul Ha, director, List Visual Arts Center at MIT.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer. Harvard Art Museums Director Tom Lentz (from left) moderated a discussion with MoMA Director Glenn Lowry, A.M. ’78, Ph.D. ’82, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities Jennifer Roberts, and Paul Ha, director, List Visual Arts Center at MIT.

Thanks to the Harvard Gazette for this story about museums functioning as inclusive, modern learning laboratories:

In the 1970s, the Italian architect Renzo Piano was a young upstart with immense talent and brazen daring. It was then, still fairly early in his career, that Piano and his partner, the architect Richard Rogers, redefined the architectural landscape with their groundbreaking Pompidou Center in Paris. Read more…

If You Happen To Be In Paris

October 21, 2014
A general view shows the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by architect Frank Gehry in the Bois de Boulogne, western Paris, October 17, 2014.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

A general view shows the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by architect Frank Gehry in the Bois de Boulogne, western Paris, October 17, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

We are in solidarity with the neighborhoods concerned about the loss of green space in Paris, as reported by Reuters on more than one occasion, and this project has been controversial since first announced, but for now, we can only say wow:

(Reuters) – Billowing sails of glass join the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur as permanent fixtures of the Paris skyline this month, when the new Fondation Louis Vuitton contemporary art museum designed by Frank Gehry opens to the public.

Thirteen years in the making, the museum is the brainchild of Bernard Arnault, the chief executive and founder of LVMH. France’s richest man envisioned a bold new piece of architecture in the capital that would tie the world’s largest luxury group with the cutting edge of art and design.

The private museum that opens to the public on Oct. 27 will be donated to the city of Paris in 50 years. Read more…

Bird of the Day: White-bellied Woodpecker (Kabini Backwaters, Karnataka)

October 20, 2014
white bellied woodpecker by Pallavi Kaiwar

Photo credit: Pallavi Kaiwar

Plastic Bags Going, Going, Gone

October 20, 2014
Marks and Spencer carrier bag

Marks and Spencer is one of the retailers that has agreed to donate the extra money from carrier bag sales to good causes in Scotland. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Small local moves here and there add up, on occasion, to major change. We are amazed to learn of the scale of the success in the Celtic region with the program to ensure consumers and vendors share in the cost of the environmental mess that plastic bags create. Thanks to the Guardian for this coverage:

Scottish shops start charging for bags

Charge of at least 5p a carrier bag introduced in bid to emulate 70% fall in usage in Wales and Northern Ireland

Scotland is joining Wales and Northern Ireland in charging shoppers for carrier bags , in an attempt to encourage sustainable behaviour among shoppers. Last year, shoppers at Scotland’s main supermarket chains alone used 800m single-use bags, most of which end up as litter, landfill or polluting the country’s marine and natural environments.

Read more…

On the Road to 100 Species at Xandari

October 20, 2014

Silhouette of the Blue-crowned Motmot, one of Xandari’s most colorful and exciting resident species due to its racquet-tipped tail and partly iridescent plumage.

Over the last four months or so that I’ve been birding around Xandari, in the beginning with the help and company of James, Xandari’s species list on its eBird hotspot has been growing, if not daily, then at least weekly. James and I had charged ourselves with documenting every resident species before the migrants came down starting in September and October. When James left to go back to school in early August, we had seen or heard 80 species on or from property.

A pair of Gray-headed Chachalacas enjoying the view of Alajuela. Seen from Xandari’s balcony restaurant.

Since then, I’ve seen Read more…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,300 other followers

%d bloggers like this: