Birds and food allergies blogs
I AND THE BIRD
There are dozens of blogs dedicated to birds and bird-watching, but if you only look at those you’ll miss an abundance of good writing on birds that’s scattered elsewhere in the blogosphere. Birds Etcetera provides an excellent compilation of recent posts about birds, mostly from sources other than the mainstream bird blogs. Recent posts include links to a discussion of the role pigeons may have played in the Minnesota bridge collapse, an item on the mutually beneficial relationship between birds and pine trees, an entry on avian intelligence and essays about personal encounters with birds. There are also photos and videos. I and the Bird similarly aims to be a showcase of the best writing on birds, with more of a focus on personal accounts.
BILL OF THE BIRDS
Bill Thompson III, the editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest based in southeastern Ohio, provides informational interviews with other birders along with his own musings, which often are accompanied by gorgeous photos. His writing regularly captures the poetic attraction of birds in nature, as in one post where he writes “. . . late August, when summer’s long, slinky dress is getting tattered and torn, and tangled up in Autumn’s briers, as dusk falls upon the land, the nighthawks emerge on the northern horizon. Their dark scimitar shapes contrast starkly with the peach wash of the sky.”
This blog by Sharon Stiteler, based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, aims to “show the world that you can be a birder without being a geek,” according to its masthead. Her recent video of a Peregrine falcon tearing a piece of meat to shreds certainly falls short of geeky.
Ms. Stiteler talks about birding on a couple of radio shows in the Minnesota area, and her blog is packed with information about birds on the prairie and in more urban habitats. In one recent post, she explains how to tell the difference between a juvenile male cardinal and a female cardinal ” neither of which has the bright plumage associated with adult males ” by the color of their bills. A separate post describes a particular insight that comes from being close to wild birds: “I love the good, warm, feathery smell of a bird. Not all birds have this, eagles for example smell like an empty 35mm film canister. Great-horned owls frequently smell of skunk or at the very least three-day-old road kill. … Red-tailed hawks have a wild alive smell.”
PLEASE DON’T PASS THE NUTS
“It’s a shame that so many have no clue about something so basic as allergies,” writes New York-based “Allergic Girl” in this blog about her travails navigating severe allergies to tree nuts, fish and several other foods, as well as allergic asthma.
This well-written blog aims to educate and advocate “with charm and persistence.” It provides a listing of allergen-free foods, reviews of allergy-sensitive restaurants in New York and other places the author has traveled, and interviews with chefs on their tips for diners with allergies.
While most of the blog deals directly with the author’s dietary experiences, she includes posts about her social life and travels, or reviews of movies or plays she has seen. But it’s all connected. The blog, she writes, “is a testament to going out despite being afraid of getting allergic to something; leaving my safe zone to try something new despite the risk that I may get sick.”
MY KIDS’ ALLERGIES
Being the parent of a child with severe and multiple food allergies can be all-consuming. This blog by the mother of a four-year-old in Vancouver, British Columbia, who’s allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, cats, dust mites and mold is all about coping with that life.
In addition to her own experiences, recent posts include discussions of good books for teaching kids about allergies and efforts to avoid contamination through counterfeit products. In one review she writes: “When we read this book to Andrew, he was tickled by the scenarios in the book, because they’re much like what we do for him ” special cupcakes at parties, shopping for safe food at the grocery store. I think he liked knowing that he wasn’t unique in his life experience.”
THE GLUTEN FREE BLOG
This blog by Cleveland-based Mike Eberhart addresses the needs of those who suffer from the digestive disorder called celiac disease and others who just want to maintain a gluten-free diet. Many common foods contain gluten, so those who need to avoid it face many of the same challenges as allergy sufferers.
There are lots of recipes here for gluten-free foods, as well as reviews of gluten-free products and frequent updates on the latest medical news. Mr. Eberhart also encourages readers to share their personal stories and information on products on the blog.
Ms. Bright is an editor for The Wall Street Journal Online in New York.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.