August 29th – A Touch Of Spice

The two flashes of ruby on the throat indicate that this is a young male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

The two flashes of ruby on the throat indicate that this is a young male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.


In the humdrum of our everyday lives sometimes something special happens. A cool song on the radio, the scent of flowers along the trail, a rainbow, a touch of spice that turns a ho-hum meal into a delight. Today it was warblers brightening the day.
First Swainson's Thrush of the season.

First Swainson’s Thrush of the season.


There was a northerly wind during the night and it enticed (prompted? urged?) migrants to get on the move. And when the sun showed signs of rising these birds, high above us, headed for food, rest and safety from avian predators in the landscapes below them. Some stopped at Ruthven. We banded 59 birds of 30 species including 7 firsts for the season, all long-distance migrants: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, Tennessee Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Canada Warbler.

Although the warblers have assumed their duller “basic” plumages, they still delight with the subtlety of their colours:

Young Tennessee Warbler.

Young Tennessee Warbler.


Young female Magnolia Warbler.

Young female Magnolia Warbler.


Young female Canada Warbler

Young female Canada Warbler


Young female Blackburnian Warbler.

Young female Blackburnian Warbler.


Young male Black-throated Green Warbler

Young male Black-throated Green Warbler


Male Blue-winged Warbler

Male Blue-winged Warbler


We caught a group of 4 juvenile Eastern Bluebirds. One of the birds had a deformed beak, making it look like a cross-bill. The deformity was obviously difficult for the bird as it had a lower muscle score and weighed at least 3 grams less than its siblings.
Young Eastern Bluebird with a malformed bill.

Young Eastern Bluebird with a malformed bill.


Banded 59:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Blue Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 House Wrens
3 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
4 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Veery
1 Swainson’s Thrush
3 American Robins
4 Gray Catbirds
5 Warbling Vireos
5 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Tennessee Warbler
2 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
2 Blackburnian Warblers
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Canada Warbler
3 Northern Cardinals
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Common Grackle
3 House Finches
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 49 spp.
Rick

August 21st – Revving Up

Male Blue-winged Warbler - the yellow in the wingbars suggests some Golden-winged genetic remnants.

Male Blue-winged Warbler – the yellow in the wingbars suggests some Golden-winged genetic remnants.


I was out banding this past Tuesday and again today. I was getting news from other stations (along coasts) that migrant warblers were beginning to show up in good numbers and I wanted to see if we were getting them at Ruthven. (Our migration monitoring season starts September 1st and runs daily until November 7th.) If migrants are on the move they will often bunch up at shorelines waiting until dark to cross a large expanse of water where, otherwise, they would be highly vulnerable to avian predation. But this isn’t the case so much inland – migrants that we see have come down at daylight to feed and rest and get ready for the next stage….unless of course they have run into bad weather (rain, headwinds, etc.) in which case they may come to ground in large numbers and seek shelter.
A very handsome Yellow-throated Vireo.

A very handsome Yellow-throated Vireo.


Young male Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker.

Young male Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker.


Young female Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Young female Red-bellied Woodpecker.


During these two days we banded 64 birds (28 on Tuesday; 36 today). We got a mix of young birds and adults – about two thirds to one third. Quite often the young of a particular species was caught with the adult of that species suggesting that the parent was still “caring” for it. As well, when removing young birds it was common to hear the adult scolding us. So…the young have not quite fledge yet and/or are in the process of doing so. Most of the adults were going through a complete moult, replacing flight feathers (which they’d had since last year and were often worn and tattered). So very soon the young will be completely on their own and will begin to disperse – heading out in all directions to check out the area, and beyond (most of the time birds that are found way out of their normal range are dispersing youngsters). And the adults will either commence their moult or finish an already started one. Then it will be time to put on fat, the fuel that will power them south.
This Veery was carrying a good fat load and weighed over 36 grams; if it's not on the way south, it soon will be.

This Veery was carrying a good fat load and weighed over 36 grams; if it’s not on the way south, it soon will be.


With one exception, all the birds captured during these two days had almost no fat. The exception was a Veery that we caught today: it had a fat score of ’3′ and weighed over 36 grams – about 10 grams more than its fat-free weight. This bird was on its way.
Young Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Note the rufous panels on the wing.

Young Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Note the rufous panels on the wing.


Note the old brown secondary feather surrounded by newly moulted black flight feathers - this is a SY or Second Year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Note the old brown secondary feather surrounded by newly moulted black flight feathers – this is a SY or Second Year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.


Drab brown flight feathers of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak will be retained until the end of next year's breeding season.

Drab brown flight feathers of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak will be retained until the end of next year’s breeding season.


Bright rose-coloured breast (like the one on this SY male) is missing in the young (HY) male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

Bright rose-coloured breast (like the one on this SY male) is missing in the young (HY) male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.


There's just a hint of rose on the breast of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

There’s just a hint of rose on the breast of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.


Tuesday, August 19th; Banded 28:
2 Mourning Doves
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Blue-bray Gnatcatchers
3 American Robins
4 Gray Catbirds
5 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Northern Cardinals
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 House Finch

ET’s: 32 spp.

Thursday, August 21st; Banded 36:
4 Mourning Doves
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
2 Tufted Titmice
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 House Wrens
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Veery
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 Yellow-throated Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
4 Common Yellowthroats
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 44 spp.

Often mistaken for Jacques Cousteau, Zander Ressel paid us a visit after returning from two weeks of underwater research in Cuba.

Often mistaken for Jacques Cousteau, Zander Ressel paid us a visit after returning from two weeks of underwater research in Cuba.


Rick

August 20th – ” the happiness of the birds.”

Image

Birds are the indicator of ecological health in Iceland.

Birds are the indicator of ecological health in Iceland.


Words of wisdom on signage for a reclaimed wetland in Reykjavik.

Words of wisdom on signage for a reclaimed wetland in Reykjavik.


I’ve been “on the road” so to speak for the past 3 weeks: Marg and I spent 6 days in Iceland and then I travelled to Halifax and spent the rest out in the Atlantic well offshore between Cape Breton Island and Sable Island. First Iceland:
I’m not sure what it is about these far flung places in cold climes that I like to visit in the Summer. It can’t be to escape the heat – temperatures there were matching those in southern Ontario for part of the time. No, I think it’s the stark beauty of these places….although I must say I was surprised by the large trees and thick scrub I found in some places, especially around the capital Reykjavik (where we spent most of our time).
Gold....at the end of the rainbow.

Gold….at the end of the rainbow.


Colours abound in Reykjavik.

Colours abound in Reykjavik.


Street art is common....and colourful.

Street art is common….and colourful.


The country is very aware of its unique environment and ecology and is working hard to preserve it. The city and countryside is clean and virtually free of litter – every morning mechanical street cleaners travel the downtown area to sweep up any trash left from the night before.
But its the country’s ethos around conservation as an integral part of its development that impressed me the most. A fine example of this was the reclamation of a wetland in the downtown core that had been decimated by development. Called the Vatnsmyri Bird Sanctuary, it has been brought back from ruin to once again provide nesting habitat and migratory stopover areas for birds. In the signage (seen above) I was surprised to see that birds seemed to be the measuring stick used to assess environmental health.
A reclaimed wetland - Vatnsmyri Bird Sanctuary -  in the heart of Reykjavik.

A reclaimed wetland – Vatnsmyri Bird Sanctuary – in the heart of Reykjavik.


Due to its far northern location and long distance from Europe it’s understandable that passerine variety is low. I think it’s these reasons that leave me in awe when I consider the feat of these little birds in just making the flight to and from the island. The open North Atlantic can be harsh and unforgiving. A misjudgement in timing can mean the difference between life and death for these small birds. But, somehow, they make it and seem to be thriving. My hands-down favourite of course would be the Northern Wheatear. This bluebird-sized passerine spends the Winter in Sub-Saharan Africa!
Juvenile Northern Wheatear - it will spend the winter in sub-Saharan Africa.

Juvenile Northern Wheatear – it will spend the winter in sub-Saharan Africa.


Adult Redwing searching the stream running through the botanical gardens.

Adult Redwing searching the stream running through the botanical gardens.


Marg holding a juvenile Redwing that was just (barely) able to fly.

Marg holding a juvenile Redwing that was just (barely) able to fly.


Another very common breeder is the Arctic Tern, which spends its Winters in the far southern oceans, racking up one-way flights of over 10,000 kilometers. Amazing!
A VERY long-distance migrant - Arctic Tern.

A VERY long-distance migrant – Arctic Tern.


Reykjavik is a destination well worth visiting and spending time in. One of the most pleasant aspects of the city is its use of geothermal energy for heating and electricity and….heated pools. The city is dotted with municipal swimming pools that feature warm water and hot tubs of varying degrees (38 up to 42 – something for all tolerances….) as well as steam baths. And all for the modest price of six bucks!
But the island is spectacular – dotted with lakes and glaciers and waterfalls and hot springs/geysers. We had only one day outside the city – enough to whet the appetite for more.
Overlooking the meeting of the tectonic plates of North America and Europe.

Overlooking the meeting of the tectonic plates of North America and Europe.


Gullfoss - a spectacular waterfalls draining one of the major glaciers of Iceland.

Gullfoss – a spectacular waterfalls draining one of the major glaciers of Iceland.


A big geyser that bursts forth about every 2 minutes. The island is a hotbed (no pun intended) of geothermal energy.

A big geyser that bursts forth about every 2 minutes. The island is a hotbed (no pun intended) of geothermal energy.


The geyser at the point of erupting.

The geyser at the point of erupting.

And now into the North Atlantic:

CCGS Alfred Needler - my home (and pelagic birding perch) for 2 weeks.

CCGS Alfred Needler – my home (and pelagic birding perch) for 2 weeks.


The Department of Fisheries and Ocean has a very active program of assessing and monitoring the health of Canada’s oceans. This involves surveys of biological, hydrographic and oceanographic parameters, both close to shore and far out to sea. You can’t make informed decisions without information. And one of those “parameters” is our bird populations. Placing seabird observers on these research vessels provides the opportunity not only to generate baseline population numbers but also to record movement dynamics.
My "perch" on the Needler.

My “perch” on the Needler.


This trip took me parallel to the coast of Nova Scotia, but about 30 miles offshore, up to the end of Cape Breton Island and then out into the middle of Cabot Strait (between Cape Breton and Newfoundland) returning via the proximity of Sable Island. At intervals, set to cover a variety of ocean features, we shot trawls to sample fish populations and lowered sensing devices to assess such things as salinity, temperature, density, amount of plankton, etc.
Every 30-minute trawl was accompanied by an investigation of the water at that location - in this way thousands of data points have been and are generated on the characteristics of the ocean on our coasts.

Every 30-minute trawl was accompanied by an investigation of the water at that location – in this way thousands of data points have been and are generated on the characteristics of the ocean on our coasts.


Daphne told me she just goes to sea for the Halibut.

Daphne told me she just goes to sea for the Halibut.


Sorting the catch in the ship's wet lab.

Sorting the catch in the ship’s wet lab.


Birding-wise I was struck by the lack of alcids – puffins, murres, guillemots – in the offshore waters. But it made sense: the young had not yet fledged and, so, the adults were tied to the inshore waters. The open ocean was the haven of Storm-petrels (Leach’s and Wilson’s) and Shearwaters (Great, Sooty, Manx, and Cory’s). This marked the first time I had ever seen Cory’s Shearwaters….and I saw a lot of them (up to 26 on some days). These magnificent fliers, that are just slightly larger than Great Shearwaters, breed in the Mediterranean and on some of the islands off the western coast of Africa and spend their winters in the southern Atlantic. The birds I was seeing were likely immatures or non-breeders. Interestingly, they are associated with warmer waters. The areas that I was seeing them in were just that with surface temperatures ranging up to 23 degrees! It was thought that these might indicate eddies extending north off the Gulf Stream.
It’s always interesting to see passerines offshore and try to figure out just what they are doing there. Thirty-five nautical miles east from Cape Breton I watched 2 Yellow Warblers fly around the ship, alight, and then fly around again. This went on for about an hour before they made up their mind and headed, roughly, for land. This is a dangerous place for them to be in the daytime as they are quite visible (and attractive to) hungry jaegers and gulls. And just outside of Halifax harbour I was greatly surprised to watch a hummingbird overtake the ship from out over the sea and fly toward the southern shore of the harbour. Now where was that bird coming from!?
Halifax Harbour.

Halifax Harbour.


The endless ocean - a view whose  myriad aspects I never tired of.

The endless ocean – a view whose myriad aspects I never tire of.


Rick

July 28th – Operation PUMA Rescue: The Saga Continues

Nancy, the PUMA Lady, writes up her notes after the morning's findings.

Nancy, the PUMA Lady, writes up her notes after the morning’s findings.


Thanks somewhat to Nancy’s helping hand but largely to their parents (who seem to have found 2 chicks easier to provide for than 4), the two Purple Martin chicks continue to….well, not thrive but….get by.

Here’s the history to date:
July 21st: when the nest was checked, one of the four had died of starvation and the other three were not doing well, one was an especially bad way.
#373 – 41.7 g.
#374 – 42.6 g.
#375 – 28.2 g.
We decided to remove the lightest two and feed them and leave the heaviest bird in the nest to see what would happen. The two birds were fed about every half hour. It was found that playing a recording of adult calls would elicit feeding behaviour from the young birds; i.e., stretching out the neck and opening the mouth. It was also noticed that while the lightest bird performed these behaviours, he was much less energetic in doing so.

July 22nd:
The birds were weighed at around 1330 (24 hours after yesterday’s weigh-in).
#373 – 41.55 g.
#374 – 41.95 g.
#375 – 28.45 g.
As #374 had lost weight we decided to remove it as well and provide supplemental feeding.

July 23rd:
The birds were weighed at 1300.
#373 – 42.55 g.
#374 – 42.60 g.
#375 – 27.3 g. (this was concerning; it subsequently died during the night)

July 24th:
The two remaining birds were weighed in the morning (0730); both had lost weight but this is a regular pattern seen in small birds: they gain weight during the day and lose it during the night when they can’t feed – the key is to get enough resources during the day to sustain them through the night.
#373 – 37.15 g.
#374 – 40.40 g.
We decided that if these birds were going to have any sort of chance to fledge we would have to return them to their nest and have the parents resume feeding them. We weren’t sure if this was going to happen and were pleasantly surprised when the adults “rediscovered” their young and began to make semi-regular feeding trips to the nest. The young were quite responsive, sitting at the opening to the nest box with mouths agape at every passerby.

July 25th: weighed at 1030.
#373 – 38.10 g.
#373 – 41.45 g.

July 26th: weighed at 1730.
#373 – 45.15 g.
#374 – 50.35 g.
This represented a significant weight gain for these two youngsters.

July 27th:
We weighed the young birds twice today; you will see the fluctuation that they go through during the course of a day.
@0830:
#373 – 42.30 g.
#374 – 45.75 g.

@1745:
#373 – 47.35 g.
#374 – 53.80 g.
At the time of the second weighing Nancy noticed that the nest was infested with blowfly larvae (slug-looking things that attach themselves to the young birds and suck their blood) and feather mites. Both take an energetic toll on the well-being of the birds so we decided to change the nesting material. The old nest was discarded and Nancy put in a mixture of grass clippings and wood ships.

The considerable weight gain they experienced during the day would stand them in good stead through the night. We experienced a lengthy thunderstorm with strong north winds (blowing right into their nest box), heavy rain, and a drop in temperature. So I wasn’t sure what we would find when we went to weigh them this morning @ 0930.
#373 – 43.40 g.
#374 – 46.10 g.
They had lost weight from the previous day but still weighed more than they had the previous morning. Further, there was no sign of any parasites.

It will still be touch and go for the next couple of weeks but….if they can continue to put on weight and the weather stays relatively benign and their parents don’t desert them (and continue to provision them) then they have a good chance of fledging. I wonder if we’ll see them next year.
Rick

July 25th – It Was Decision Time For The Young PUMA’s

If you look carefully you can see the bills of Nim and Num. They are waiting impatiently for parent birds to return with food.

If you look carefully you can see the bills of Nim and Num. They are waiting impatiently for parent birds to return with food.


On Tuesday we removed 2 young from their nest box and left one – the heaviest – in it. Nancy fed the two that were removed and got them to a point that they were lifting their heads and begging whenever they heard the call of an adult (from her ipod). One of the birds was very light. The next day, Wednesday, we had to remove the bird in the nestbox as it was unresponsive. Nancy took on feeding that one too and soon had it up and around and begging energetically. But, during the night the lightest bird passed on….it just didn’t have enough energy to continue despite Nancy’s heroic efforts.

So yesterday, Thursday, we had a decision to make. young martins have to learn how to feed on the wing. For the past week we have watched family forays in which adults, often with food in their mouths, fly around with young birds chasing them trying to get the food. Initially these flights were restricted to the immediate area of the nest boxes but they soon branched out, eventually reaching as far (at least) as the river. We would not be able to teach our two remaining youngsters the skills they would need to survive – we would need to return them to the nest and hope that their parents would find them and take on the task of feeding them.

Nancy gave them a couple of good feedings and then, in the late morning, returned them to the nest. It wasn’t long before the adults refound their nestlings and not long after Nancy witnessed them feeding the youngsters. I checked on them last night and also saw the young birds being fed. They sat right by the opening with their bills ready. As soon as a bird, any bird, came close they opened their mouths vigorously and made begging calls. Sometimes they were rewarded.

This afternoon Nancy reports that they are both alive and appear well – however, they are not putting on weight; on the other hand, they aren’t losing it either. It’s touch and go….keep your fingers crossed.

When the young have fledged, adult birds of many species go through a "complete moult", replacing all their feathers. Here is the wing of a female Baltimore Oriole. You can see that it has replaced two secondaries and primaries and there are new primaries growing in.

When the young have fledged, adult birds of many species go through a “complete moult”, replacing all their feathers. Here is the wing of a female Baltimore Oriole. You can see that it has replaced two secondaries and primaries and there are new primaries growing in.


Kayakers taking in the beauty of the evening on the Grand River.

Kayakers taking in the beauty of the evening on the Grand River.


The Mansion in the golden evening light.

The Mansion in the golden evening light.


Rick

July 22nd – Operation PUMA Rescue – Day 2

Yesterday Nancy and Sandy rescued 3 young Purple Martin nestlings from a nest that appeared to be neglected by parent birds. One youngster had died and the 3 remaining alive were well underweight for their age. After a feeding we left the heaviest bird in the nest box to see how it made out – whether the parents or a parent was feeding it – and Nancy took the other two home with her for supplemental feeding and rehydration.

This afternoon, about 24 hours after the rescue, we checked the bird in the box and reweighed all three to se how they were doing. Whereas the birds yesterday were pretty unresponsive and weak, the two that Nancy had taken home to feed were quite alert and energetic, especially the larger of the two; both had gained weight – only 0.25 grams but still a gain and they were energetic. You can clearly see this in the videos below. However, the bird that had been returned to the nest box was quite lethargic and unresponsive and had lost weight – over a full gram. This was very concerning so we decided to take this bird from the nest and give it supplemental feeding as well. Interestingly, this latter bird seemed to be infested with feather mites unlike its two siblings – we saw one of the latter actively preening which may have been a factor in this. Was the bird left in the box now too weak to preen and reduce its parasite load?

The one young martin we had left behind - very lethargic. It had dropped more than a gram in the past 24 hours.

The one young martin we had left behind – very lethargic. It had dropped more than a gram in the past 24 hours.

Nancy - "Mom" to the young Purple Martins - feeding two of them.

Nancy – “Mom” to the young Purple Martins – feeding two of them.

We will keep you up to date on what happens to these youngsters. Nancy will be feeding them about every half hour. Here’s their weights:
Yesterday at 1230:
#1 (the one left in the nestbox) – 42.6 g.
#2 41.7 g.
#3 (the runt) 28.2 g.

Today at 1300:
#1 41.55
#2 41.95
#3 28.45

Today at 2000 (the feeding is paying off):
#1 43.35 g.
#2 42.65 g.
#3 29.5 g.

Rick

First, here is a video of the two birds who were rescued yesterday. Note how quickly they respond by opening their beaks when they hear the purple martin calls from an ipod.

In contrast to the rescued birds, here is the “control” bird in the nestbox. Note how unresponsive it is.

Again, here is the “control” bird, but once we moved him to the banding lab. Again, note how lethargic he is.

Carol's hummingbird garden is coming into full bloom.

Carol’s hummingbird garden is coming into full bloom.

July 21st – To The Rescue!

A nest in trouble - the young weak and lethargic.....and starving.

A nest in trouble – the young weak and lethargic…..and starving.


Every two to three days Nancy has been monitoring the Purple Martin nests. The colony has done reasonably well – certainly better than last year in terms of fledging percentage (I’ll report on the final numbers when everything is done). We have been banding the nestlings as we go and as they reach an appropriate age/size. We had just one last nest to do consisting of 4 young. The fact that this nesting was so much later than the rest of the others suggests that it may have been the work of young birds that are just learning how to go about parenting (but this is just conjecture as we don’t have the means to safely capture and check adults).
This little guy weighed about a third less than nestlings of a similar age in other nests.

This little guy weighed about a third less than nestlings of a similar age in other nests.


When Nancy opened the nest box we could see right away that things were not right. The birds did not respond to this change at all. They appeared weak and lethargic and….one had died. This latter bird was much smaller than its siblings and emaciated: it had starved. When we weighed the living nestlings we found that they weighed about a third less than other nestlings we’d weighed of a similar age – these birds were starving too. We could let nature take its course or….try to do something about it. We chose the latter course – Purple Martins are on a precipitous decline, every one counts!
Sandy starts feeding one of the nestlings while Nancy (see attached feet) extracts another.

Sandy starts feeding one of the nestlings while Nancy (see attached feet) extracts another.


While Nancy rushed off to buy some mealworms I got Sandy (Red’s “mother” – see blog for July 16th and “Red’s First Bath) involved. We left the healthiest (i.e., heaviest) bird in the nestbox as sort of a control and took the other two to the banding lab. Nancy and Sandy plied them with mealworms and cut up earth worms (“wormy nuggets”) but with little success. They seemed too lethargic or, more likely, weak. But then Sandy had the great idea of playing the Purple Martin song on her iPhone app. The sound of the adults perked the little guys up and they began to feed, slowly but steadily (the girls still had to jam the food into their mouths – they weren’t actively opening their mouths to get the food). They would take a mealworm or nugget or a couple and then doze off. After awhile they began to feed more actively and show more energy – a good sign.

Nancy took them home last night and reported: “The birds are doing great!! When I play the PUMA call, both of them stretch up with mouths WIDE open eating all of the worms.”

And this morning: “Eating with gusto this morning!”

We will check the nestbox this afternoon to see how the “control” nestling is doing and to weigh all 3 youngsters. If the nestbox bird is losing weight we will have to decide whether to take it with us for supplemental feeding. We will also have to figure out how to return the rescued birds to the wild. Perhaps we will be able to slip them into another nest with successful nestlings. Leaving the nest to venture out into the big world is a process involving learning from adults – without it all this work may be in vain.

Rick