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Hallo Dayle Ann and all...
         Oh, I don't consider conversation about poison ivy to be off 
topic at all, since traipsing over hill and dale is an integral part 
of birding.  I consider it education ... much along the lines of 
recommending that groups of birders have a "designated driver" who 
vows to NOT look up when someone in the car points and says, 
"Look!"  (I know of one caravan of birders in which the second car 
rear-ended the first car because of a hawk, and the car was no longer 
drive-able.)  Birders need to be educated, just like any other group 
that goes into the wilds.
         So I would like to mention that, since an allergic reaction 
is an immune system overreaction, it is possible that your family 
tends to have a "low normal" immune system.  One way of knowing is to 
consider whether this lack of response is limited to just the poison 
plants, or encompasses other common allergies as well.  I have never 
contracted poison ivy, though my daughter has.  My immune system does 
run "low normal" (when I get sick it can dip slightly below normal, 
which is not a good thing) while her immune system tends to overreact 
to some things and make hives.  Ah, biology.
         I hope your immunity to poison ivy stays ever strong!  All 
the best...and thanks for this conversation before the season turns 
to leafy greens again!

         NOW!  Birds!  We have had Pine Grosbeaks under the feeders 
the last several days, usually around 10:00am (Packard Road in 
Jericho).  I even saw one female that looked and acted so much like 
the bird I rehab'd that I imagined it could be her.  It was the way 
she sat and looked about, and her alertness, just the way she cocked 
her head, little things like that.  I haven't seen another Pine 
Grosbeak, male or female, who reminded me of her mannerisms, so could 
be.  I wonder if anyone here who has observed specific birds for any 
length of time has an opinion about individual behavioural differences?
         We have also had a pair of Northern Cardinals, a pair of 
White-Breasted Nutchatches, a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, numerous 
Chickadees and Juncoes, some Bluejays and Mourning Doves, and a 
couple of Goldfinches.  The birds (and red squirrels) seem quite 
appreciative of fresh water in the heated birdbath each day.  I think 
they are visiting our yard more for the water than the seed, despite 
the recent bit of snowfall.

                                         ~ June in Jericho

At 12:33 PM 1/21/2008, you wrote:
>Agree that many people may suddenly develop a sensitivity, something to
>guard against.  But my brothers are not sensitive either, nor others on my
>father's side of the family.  I understand that sensitivity has a genetic
>componant, and that seems to be the case wit us, because we were exposed to
>it routinely.    Logged over hills where I grew up, and an abandoned pasture
>on property behind my grandparents' farm were infested with poison oak (same
>thing in shrub form) and we rarely had so much as a bump.   Wonder if being
>mixed native american is a factor.
>
>Last year I was cleaning out some Virginia creeper from  behind my barn
>minus gloves and bare-armed.  Later as I was looking at the pile, realized
>that some of it was poison ivy-- hadn't been paying attention.  No rash.  I
>don't worry about it, though I'll probably wear gloves next time if I notice
>any ivy.    Irony is that the year before I'd cleared the same area of
>common buckthorn (invasive alien), and probably inadvertently opened the
>area for the creeper and poison ivy.  Wonder what the birds will plant back
>there for me this year?
>
>Apologies for being off-topic.
>
>Dayle Ann
>Brandon
>
>