Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Like a Duck on a Wire (Wendy)

We are in the southern Rio Grande Valley, where the Texas summer is as we had feared. Hot. However, Texas has cool birds.

Take Black-bellied and Fulvous . They are called Whistling-Ducks now. They used to be called Tree-Ducks. Ken is a Fulvous fan. “They are so fulvous!” he says. “You know what? My old Peterson guide said Fulvous Tree-Ducks are seldom seen in trees.”

They are noisy ducks. With my head down, pushing into a headwind, I can still hear a flock of Black-bellies flying overhead. They don’t whistle, really. They squeak.

Black-belly’s plumage is elegant: rich brown and black. White flashes show when they fly. But wait! Their bill and feet are bright coral pink. I think it’s what inspired cosmetic designers to make that lipstick that was so popular in the early seventies.

I glance up from the road and see a duck perched improbably on a telephone wire. It is swaying dangerously in the wind. Duck on a wire? I pull out my binoculars. Hey - it is a Black Bellied Whistling-Duck.

We stop to watch a heavy bird hovering three feet above the prairie, sort of like a kite. It has a bright pink bill. It drops down and disappears in the long grass. Black Bellied Whistling Ducks apparently don’t know how ducks are expected to behave.

The American Birding Association’s North American checklist puts Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in the number one spot. I agree.


nate said...

126 Kennedy Rio Grande City
for water and rest if you want. Bird pool, green jays, cardinals,and assorted others. But I believe that I found out about you too late.

Bird Year said...

Hi Nate - not to late! We will pass by your place early next in the next week. You may see us!
thanks very much

Nancy Sathre-Vogel said...

I just found your blog and am THRILLED to find another family traveling on bikes!! My husband and I, along with our (then) 8-year-old twin boys spent a year in 2006-07 cycling 9300 miles around the USA and Mexico.

Now we are getting ready to take off again - this time to ride from Alaska to Argentina! We can't wait to get on the road again!

You can read about our adventures at

Bird Year said...

Hey Nancy -
Alaska to Argentina could well take you thru Whitehorse, Yukon, which is our home town. I hope you will come and stay with us on your way thru. Can keep in touch thru website.