HooooooPoooooeeeee

What might that mean? HoooooPooooeee!?!? Just my exaggerated version of this darling bird that keeps showing up in my backyard. I thought it was a woodpecker (chalk it up to my lack of bird knowledge). And every time the bird showed up I yelled to my boyfriend, “Woody the woodpecker is back!” And we would watch it hop around with its colorful peak of hair on it’s head and its lovely black and white feathers. Finally, I decided I should educate myself to actually find out what kind of woodpecker this is that loves my backyard …. and is not afraid of my cats.

Low and behold, this is not a woodpecker but a hoopoe! Hoopoe = Wiedehopf in German. Good to know, right? You pronounce it as hu:pu. The name imitates the cry of the bird, listen – huuupuuuu. Awwwwww. So sweet. It is a fun bird notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers and it is the national bird of Israel. I know you have been dying for a pic. Thanks to Wikipedia here is a good one:

hoopoe

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Isn’t it ADORABLE!?!? The hoopoe is a medium sized bird, 25–32 cm (9.8–12.6 in) long, with a 44–48 cm (17–19 in) wingspan. The call is typically a trisyllabic oop-oop-oop, which gives rise to its English and scientific names, although two and four syllables are also common. Other calls include rasping croaks, when alarmed, and hisses. Females produce a wheezy note during courtship feeding by the male. Both genders, when disturbed, call a rough charrrrrr. The food begging call of the nestlings is similar to that of a tiiii. I love birds. Don’t you? And a picture of this darling in my backyard:

hoopoe1

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My own personal hoopoe! The hoopoe is widespread in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. The diet of the hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. Awww, maybe it likes the little geckos that are around my house. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground. More rarely they will feed in the air, where their strong and rounded wings make them fast, in pursuit of numerous swarming insects.

Hoopoes are monogamous, although the pair bond apparently only lasts for a single season, and territorial. The male calls frequently to advertise his ownership of the territory. Chases and fights between rival males (and sometimes females) are common and can be brutal. Birds will try to stab rivals with their bills, and individuals are occasionally blinded in fights. Sounds vicious! And not sure how only a season is monogamous … haha but to each their own.

So there you have it! A bit of a hoopoe lesson. Let me know if you see one! Huuupuuuu

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Brought to you by the Klapperstorch

Der Klapperstorch or the White Stork to us English speaking folks. It is called der Klapperstorch in German because of the sound it makes with its beak. The adult White Stork’s main sound is noisy bill-clattering, which has been likened to distant machine gun fire. The bird makes these sounds by rapidly opening and closing its beak so that a knocking sound is made each time its beak closes. The clattering is amplified by its throat pouch. Used in a variety of social interactions, bill-clattering generally grows louder the longer it lasts, and takes on distinctive rhythms depending on the situation—for example, slower during copulation and briefer when given as an alarm call. Like the adults, young also clatter their beaks.The up-down display is used for a number of interactions with other members of the species. Here a stork quickly throws its head backwards so that its crown rests on its back before slowly bringing its head and neck forwards again, and this is repeated several times. The display is used as a greeting between birds, post coitus, and also as a threat display. Breeding pairs use this display, as well as crouching forward with the tails cocked and wings extended.

Wouldn’t that be awesome if humans used those behaviors to show greetings, or post coitus or when threatened? Your mate throws his head back and forth showing pleasure from the moment – or when greeting his best friends? Doesn’t  matter which, it is all the same emotion.

Back to the birds. When my parents and I were leaving Poland my mom shouted (way too early in the morning), “Did you see that?!”. I flipped the car around and lo and behold there was this stork nest!! Have you ever seen a nest with storks in it? The nest was huge and these two adorable (yes, adorable) storks just hanging out.

The White Stork breeds in open farmland areas with access to marshy wetlands (this nest was next to a large pond), building a large stick nest in trees, on buildings, or on purpose-built man-made platforms. Each nest is 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) in-depth, 0.8–1.5 m (2.6–4.9 ft) in diameter, and 60–250 kg (130–550 lb) in weight. Nests are built in loose colonies. Not persecuted as it is viewed as a good omen, it often nests close to human habitation; in southern Europe, nests can be seen on churches and other buildings.

I had noticed these large nest of twigs, mostly on top of homes, where the chimney was, I wondered why they would leave the nest there, because you cannot use your chimney with a stork nest on top of it. But since the storks do migrate to Africa in the winter maybe they would take the nest down when the migrated? And put it back when it was spring? Not sure, but once I first saw them, I noticed the nests everywhere.

Storks!! They bring babies, have you heard? According to northern European legend, the stork is responsible for bringing babies to new parents. The legend is very ancient, but was popularised by a 19th century Hans Christian Andersen story called The Storks. German folklore held that storks found babies in caves or marshes and brought them to households in a basket on their backs or held in their beaks. These caves contained adebarsteine or “stork stones”. The babies would then be given to the mother or dropped down the chimney. Households would notify when they wanted children by placing sweets for the stork on the window sill. From there the folklore has spread around the world to countries such as the Philippines and South America.

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NYC Take Three

NYC take three. Or should it be, take thee? I LOVE LOVE LOVE NEW YORK CITY!

Our last full day together, sniff sniff. The next day everyone will be flying back to their kids, their husbands, their normal routine. Except for me. My travels are only starting. But the Loos weekend in NYC was coming to an end. Again, sniffles.

Hurry it up gals, we got people to see and places to be. And what would be a trip to Manhattan without stopping at Central Park? It would be NOTHING. Nothing I tell ya.

Awww cute lil horsey. Is the taxi dude checkin’ me out? Or the horse?

Birds on a wire. (In front of the Plaza hotel)

Eight Loos. On a Rock. In Central Park, Manhattan. USA.

I always love a ride on the Central Park Merry-Go-Round. Yeehaw!

After the funness at Central Park we walked to the East Side to grab a burger. Cheeburger Cheeburger. And a Bloody Mary. Or Two. Most of the gang still needed to buy some tchotchkes, so back to Times Square we go. Bess and I needed no more New York themed stuff so since it was WORLD CUP month, we headed to the closest bar for a Bloody Mary. Or Two.

We did NOT go to Olive Garden to watch the game. GO GERMANY! GO USA! GO SPAIN!

Our good friend and SHS ’89 classmate, Kary, works at Shaffer City in the Meatpacking District. He was going to cook us up a dinner made specially for us. Yippee! If you go there, be sure to ask for Kary the chef to make your dinner. You will not be disappointed. I don’t have pics of everything from our 7-course meal, but here are a few of the deliciousness that was served up by the friendly staff.

Love oysters.

Meat, potato goodness in special sauce. Mmmmmm….

I was in heaven with the brownie dessert.

ALL of the Loos, with Kary, the chef. Thanks Goolsby!

Oh, you think that’s it? We are not done yet. The night is young. And the night calls for ….. KAROKE. Yo. Bring it 80s music.

 DELTA DAWN WHAT’S THAT FLOWER YOU HAVE ON. COULD IT BE A FADED ROSE FROM DAYS GONE BYYYYYYYYYYY

 

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid. Susie and I are rockin’ the mic.

There you have it my friends. The incredible tales of the Loos take over Manhattan. Until next time. I am Loo Loo Loobird.

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NYC Take Two

New York City, take two.

I must apologize to my bedmate (does that sound weird?) AMY for not getting up and going to the Today Show with her. She wanted to go see the Rascal Flats play for that weeks summer concert. I opened one eye, said “Do you want to go?” and she said no. So! Therefore I went back to sleep. Hopefully our Today Show celeb sighting made up for the fact that we missed Rascal Flats.

After all eight of us were beautified and ready to go, first stop was Rockefeller Plaza. I took pics of cool buildings along the way.

I really like this one.

We stopped at Le Pain Quotiden for lunch. If you are in Manhattan, you have to go to one, they have several locations. Delicious salads, hummus, sandwiches. I sampled a bit from everyone’s plate (I did order for myself as well) and everything was scrumptious.

High Line park was our next destination. The High Line is a public park built on a defunct railway that runs 30 feet above Manhattan between 10th and 11th Avenues, from 34th Street to Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district. It is going through three sets of phases until final completion. The first phase is finished, the second will be in fall 2010 and the third has yet to be approved.

We climbed up three flights and stairs and wove our way around the wildflowers and plants on the boardwalk through the floating garden. Fantastic sights include:

The Statue of Liberty

Funky art object to give an optical illusion to the buildings.

Pretty wildflowers.

And while we were there our celeb sighting. Remember here?

 Trying to fit everything in on our agenda and we only had about 36 more hours to do so. Cupcakes anyone? Magnolia Bakery here we come! I have never seen the Sex and the City episode where this frosting fabulousness comes from, nor do I care. BUT I did care about my chocolate cupcake with sprinkles. The place is super small and was a bit chaotic but once outside with cupcake and lemonade in hand, I was nothing but happy.

Now to hurry home  back to nyc apartment with a crazy lady living below, freshen up, throw some cheese, sausage and pasta in the belly and go to …….  ROCK OF AGES!

Yes, that’s right. ROCK OF AGES!! Here is the gist of it: In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s. It’s ROCK OF AGES, an arena-rock love story told through the mind-blowing, face-melting hits of JOURNEY, NIGHT RANGER, STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON, PAT BENATAR, TWISTED SISTER, POISON, ASIA, WHITESNAKE and many more. And I can say that we sang along to EVERY SINGLE FACE-MELTING SONG. Fun show, the alcohol also helped…..

Above pic from the ROA website or the LOOS!

 And afterwards, we wandered around Times Square…..

I love Times Square at night.

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Loos heart Hoda!

Hey you guys! It’s ME live from NEW YORK!

I have the greatest group of girlfriends that I grew up with in highschool and our name is the LOOBIRDS. Don’t steal it now cuz it’s so freakin cool. Well, we all met in New York for a weekend reunion which I will be giving highlights to, but wanted to show you our celeb sighting. It was ….. hold on to your hat….  HODA KOTB from the Today show. Who? Wha? Okay, so I had no idea who Hoda was, but hey, I live in Europe now. Yep. But now I know! And she rocks.

So, Hoda met the Loos. She was very sweet. Stay tuned for more NY sights!

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