Friday, August 26, 2016

Loose Feathers #558

Yellow-rumped Warbler / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, August 19, 2016

Loose Feathers #557

Rufous Hummingbird visiting Showy Milkweed / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, August 12, 2016

Loose Feathers #556

Black Oystercatcher / Photo by David Ledig, BLM
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, July 22, 2016

Loose Feathers #555

Greater Sage-Grouse / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
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Environment and biodiversity

Friday, July 15, 2016

Loose Feathers #554

Vesper Sparrow / Photo by Ryan Moehring / USFWS
Birds and birding
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Environment and biodiversity

Friday, July 08, 2016

Loose Feathers #553

Common Nighthawk / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
  • The AOU has released its latest checklist supplement (pdf) that contains taxonomic changes from the past year. A summary of those affecting the US and Canada can be found at the ABA Blog. The supplement includes a major reordering of non-passerine orders, as well as splits to a few species such as the Western Scrub-Jay (now California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay).
  • The presence of campgrounds in Marbled Murrelet breeding territory changes the behavior of Steller's Jays and may put the endangered murrelets in danger of nest predation.
  • A huge colony of Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins on Zavodovski Island is at risk from erupting volcano.
  • The first two Spoon-billed Sandpiper chicks hatched as part of a captive breeding program both died.
  • An extinct relative of ostriches once lived in North America. 
  • Genetic research is showing how hummingbirds and bees influence the shape of flowers in the genus Penstemon.
  • The caustic waters of Lake Natron support a population of around 1.5 million Lesser Flamingos.
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • So-called "beneficial uses" for coal ash are largely unregulated and can release numerous toxins into the environment and poison drinking water.
  • A recent oil train derailment (and resulting spill) in Oregon was caused by broken lag bolts that inspectors had missed.
  • Canada's pipeline regulator is finally addressing problems with shoddy pipeline materials that were first identified eight years ago. 
  • Coal production has been on the decline, which is good for the environment, but western states are not prepared to deal with the economic fallout.
  • The Northern Oak Hairstreak may be more common than it seems because it spends its adult life feeding on oak galls high in the canopy.
  • Cape Cod National Seashore is rebuilding infrastructure like parking lots farther from the shoreline in anticipation of sea level rise (and in some cases erosion that is already happening).
  • During the last Ice Age, weakening of currents in the Atlantic caused rapid climate fluctuations.
  • A black bear in New Jersey lost the use of its forelegs, so it learned to walk upright and appears to be healthy.
  • Three former governors have joined a lawsuit to stop the planned Pine Barrens pipeline.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Loose Feathers #552

Elfin-woods Warbler / Photo by Mike Morel/USFWS
Birds and birding news
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Environment and biodiversity

Friday, June 24, 2016

Loose Feathers #551

Piping Plover in flight / Photo by Joel Trick (USFWS)
Birds and birding news
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Environment and biodiversity

Friday, June 17, 2016

Loose Feathers #550

Nelson's Sparrow / Photo by Rick Bohn/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • The carbon dioxide monitoring station in Antarctic exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in 4 million years. Meanwhile a new study shows that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are unlikely to drop below 400 ppm again within our lifetimes.
  • Satellite imagery revealed that there was illegal logging in Mexico's Sierra Chincua, one of the wintering sites for Monarchs.
  • Removal of a dam has brought river herring back to the Wynants Kill in the Hudson River watershed for the first time in 85 years.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Loose Feathers #549

Ruddy Turnstone and Red Knot / Photo by Gregory Breese/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity