Thursday, May 19, 2016

House finch/cowbird nestlings update

When last I wrote of the house finches (on the blog), back on April 29th, this is what their nest looked like:

[Click on photos to enlarge them.]

Very pretty, very empty.

Then, on May 8th, I took this photo of the nest:

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, the four blue eggs are house finch eggs. However, the brown-speckled egg belonged to a cowbird, a parasitic bird that lays its eggs in other birds' nests and expects someone else to feed its young (often depriving the host bird's chicks sufficient nourishment).

Then, earlier this week, I glimpsed into the nest and discovered that the evil cowbird chick had hatched:

Anticipating that the four house finch eggs were soon to follow, I went back out to the nest with my smart phone just a few minutes ago to be greeted by this sight:

That image of the cowbird nestling waiting to be fed is going to give me nightmares FOR WEEKS.

Will the four baby house finches survive?

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Democratic Primary Race Vote Update (No throwing chairs!)

So when this blog last printed the vote totals for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, back on April 27th, Hillary was leading Bernie by just over 3 million votes. So where do the Democratic candidates for President now stand?

Here is my updated table showing 2016 Democratic Primary & Caucus Vote Totals:

[Click on the image to enlarge it.]

As of this writing (with 96% of the votes reported for Oregon, which was the latest total as of this writing), Hillary Clinton is still leading Bernie Sanders -- by 2,890,670 votes.

Put in delegate terms, Clinton leads Sanders by 274 pledged delegates (which does not include super delegates), with Clinton having 1,768 pledged delegates and Sanders amassing 1,494 pledged delegates.

A few interesting facts about the recent Democratic contests:

* Hillary "crushed" Bernie in Guam, winning 59.5% of the vote to Bernie's 40.5%. Which just goes to show you how you need to read beyond the headlines. While it is true that Hillary, percentage-wise, "crushed" Bernie, in terms of actual votes, it wasn't a big deal -- 777 (Clinton) to 528 (Sanders).

* Clinton and Sanders were each awarded 27 delegates in Kentucky, even though, technically, Hillary "won." That's because the Democrats use the proportional method (which is not to be confused with the rhythm method, though can be just as or more confusing) of awarding delegates to candidates.

* States with large white populations (especially white, male, working class and/or young, white, male populations) and low black and Hispanic populations tend to vote Sanders whereas states that "look like the Democratic party" (i.e., are more diverse) tend to vote Clinton, which would seem to predict wins for Clinton in California and New Jersey (two delegate-rich states) and possibly New Mexico.

NEXT UP, contest-wise: The U.S. Virgin Islands on 6/4; Puerto Rico on 6/5; California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota on 6/7; and Washington, D.C., on 6/14. So expect my next update on 6/8.