Yarn Along {& Audubon}

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I’ve been pouring over the latest issue of Audubon this week.  The State of the Birds Report for 2014 also came out this month & it was surely depressing in many ways, especially the list of Common Birds in Steep Decline:

Northern Pintail
American Wigeon
Cinnamon Teal
Greater Scaup
Long-tailed Duck
Scaled Quail
Northern Bobwhite
Purple Gallinule
Franklin’s Gull
Herring Gull
Black Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Snowy Owl
Short-eared Owl
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Loggerhead Shrike
Horned Lark
Bank Swallow
Verdin
Varied Thrush
Snow Bunting
Cape May Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Field Sparrow
Lark Bunting
Grasshopper Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Pine Siskin

Did you spot a favorite or two?  There were a few bright statistics in shorebird populations and forest-dependent species in specific areas of the country, but for the most part the Report was worrying to someone like me who loves to bird.  Declining bird populations are often a harbinger of habitat distress & even if one doesn’t bird or birdwatch or even like birds (gasp! really?!!), the state of birds can tell a lot about the future of human existence & the world our grandchildren & great-grandchildren will one day delight in without us.  I was most upset to read the Eastern Meadowlark was in steep decline & mostly due to habitat loss as a result of farming fencerow to fencerow…enough said, I suppose,  I live in Iowa where the ghosts of prairies-past whisper quite weakly nowadays.  It’s proven difficult for a patch of grass to claim a ditch anymore.  Thankfully, the Meadowlark’s decline seems to have stabilized at this low point due to efforts to conserve more grasslands (mostly outside of Iowa), but a leveling out at the bottom of the pitch doesn’t seem like a great solution.

I’ve been knitting a custom Sleigh Ride Cap in pale pink Merino wool for an Etsy order.  I use the immensely popular Justine Turner pattern Aviatrix for my Sleigh Ride Caps. {My Ravelry notes for one of the many I’ve knit.}  Yes, the pattern has a cottage license which I adhere to as written.  Seriously, Aviatrix is the BEST newborn/baby/toddler cap pattern EVER.  And the pattern is free!  Such a well-written pattern.  So well-fitting.  So cleverly-designed.  I just love it.  Highly recommend it.  I usually put a double-stacked knit flower on the right side of the cap, over the place where the chin strap fastens.  I also knit this cap without the strap for newborns–brilliant as a little “Amelia Earhart” cap for girls or an old-fashioned football helmet cap for boys.

June has been keeping track of the first maple in our yard to put on her Autumn finery & is still wearing her own Autumn finery. 😉  She was very impressed with the large red leaf she found on the ground yesterday, as evidenced by her expression in the second-to-last photo.  We also rediscovered our Purl Bee Hedgehog this week & he’s been showing up all over the house.  Another fantastic pattern.  I’m using the same yarn for the Sleigh Ride Cap as I did for Hedgie’s charming pink face & belly.

Joining in with Ginny

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17 thoughts on “Yarn Along {& Audubon}

  1. So sorry to read about the decline of these lovelies…birds are one of my favorite wild life. Here in Montana we really can define our seasons with which birds are arriving and departing. I love the first signs of the Mountain Blue bird in spring as well as the lovely notes from the Western Meadow lark.
    Your knits are lovely as usual- the sleigh hat is so unique and I bet it is a great fit for a wee one.
    I need a hedgehog…I really do.
    Have a lovely week Ruby.

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    • I just knew you were a friend to the birds–your blog is so lovely, indicative of a lovely soul. Bluebirds are becoming less abundant here in Iowa for sure, but I have noticed an increase in Indigo Buntings in my little neck of the prairie…hope abounds. I wonder if the Western and Eastern Meadowlark sound the same? You have intrigued me–I will have to visit the Macaulay Library database to listen & compare.

      You absolutely need a family of hedgehogs to inhabit that gorgeous home of yours. xx

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  2. oh, my….sadness abounds. I had no idea. I’m going to share this with my garden club this morning…..maybe if we all worked just a wee bit harder on our habitats, it just might help.

    (I, too, LOVE the aviatrix!!! the best.)

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    • ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’–I think that is attributed to Gandhi? I so agree, if we all move one small stone, we can move mountains together. So glad to hear you will be sharing the Report with your club. A sad state for sure, but there was quite a bit of hope still mentioned…I fear the day these reports are issued with little hope…

      Aviatrix = ❤

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  3. A bittersweet post, reading about species in decline is always sad. I do love your knitting, (knitting is such good way to become cheerful again). I think I may need to add a hedgehog to our home, I think it would make a perfect Christmas gift 🙂 Have a lovely day, Ruby! xo

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    • Thanks, Leigh! I did have a moment after I published this post wherein I realized I made a 180 with my sentiments–from depressing species decline to happy baby knitting in two short paragraphs–oops! Keep Calm & Knit On, as they say. 🙂

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  4. “The ghosts of past-prairies whisper quite weakly now days.” Great language powering beautiful images, Ruby. Thanks. Many people in Wisconsin and Minnesota are dismayed by the loss of our meadowlarks. On a brighter note, the western meadowlark is alive and kicking west of the Missouri River in South Dakota. They ushered in the sunrise loudly every morning and flushed before my bird dogs. The latter took notice but only because their quarry, sharp tailed grouse, is in decline. The grasses are still there but the habitat has changed in other ways without benefit to their interests. Daddy

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    • So glad to hear the Western is doing well. Your trip sounds wonderful. I’ve always like South Dakota ever since you took us as kids. Thank you so much for your comments–means a lot to me as you are a brilliant writer. Miss you!

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  5. Pingback: Yarn Along {Aviatrix} | Being Bodeker

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