Outside/In on the Darién Gap

Here’s a podcast about the Darién Gap that’s NOT about somebody trying to drive through it (but also, tell me more about that drive north of Montreal) .

There are places on the map where roads end.

The Darién Gap, or el Tapon del Darién, is one of them. It’s a stretch of rainforest in southern Panama, right on the edge of Central and South America. From a globetrotter’s perspective, the Darién Gap might seem to exist mostly as an obstacle to tourists dreaming of a truly epic road trip from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego.

But, while a road is one way for movement, it’s not the only way to get somewhere. What happens, or does not happen, in a place without roads?

Outside/In produced by Sam Evans-Brown with Justine Paradis and Taylor Quimby.

That Bald Cardinal is Back…

…and he brought his family. The female Northern Cardinal also appears to be losing the feathers on her head. So I learned that every year people report seeing these balding cardinals. I now like to think of them as vulture cardinals, but some people call them lizard-heads. Ornithologists generally think this is normal yearly molting, although in some cases, the cardinals might be suffering from head mites, lice, or some similar parasite. I’m inclined to think the original cardinal, a regular visitor to the birdfeeder, is not just going through a normal molt. It’s been well over a month since I first noticed his condition and his other feathers are normal and bright red. The female may be undergoing a regular molt while I’m guessing the third bird, shown below with duller red feathers and a lot of brown, is a juvenile.

Female Northern Cardinal. Source: TCM
And this third one? Source: TCM

Birdfeeder Birds

Pandemic-related photo opportunity; all seen within about 20 minutes. Not shown: nuthatch, chipping sparrow (?), lurking gray squirrels.