Thursday, March 23, 2006

Loose Feathers #35

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.

  • Readers in New York might be interested in visiting the New York Historical Society, which is exhibiting 40 of John James Audubon's watercolors. The exhibit, called "Audubon's Aviary," includes bird song recordings that play as one approaches the paintings, and a reproduction of Audubon's mounting boards. The exhibit runs through May 7, 2006.
  • For Washingtonians, this will be the last weekend to see Audubon's Dream Realized: Selections from "The Birds of America" at the National Gallery of Art. If you have not seen it already, go see it now; it is well worth a couple hours. For my take on the exhibit, see my Birds at the National Gallery.
  • The British Library has gathered examples of bird mimicry onto a CD. The sounds include a blackbird imitating a computer modem and a bowerbird mimicking construction noises. Visit the link for some sound samples.
  • Conservation groups are suing to get endangered species status for the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse.
  • A settlement in Washington puts most spotted owl territory on state lands off-limits to logging.
  • A coyote in Central Park caused a great stir in New York City, and the city went to great pains to track it down and ship it out of town. There seemed to be much puzzlement over how it ended up in the city. My guess is that there are actually many more coyotes in New York City, and possibly even in Central Park. This is rapidly becoming an urban species.
  • Geologists are looking for evidence of a meteorite collision in the Chesapeake Bay.
Local birding
  • The official report for DC Audubon's field trip to Hughes Hollow is now online, with pictures!
Transportation news
  • The Intercounty Connector, which will link Interstates 270 and 95, is about to be approved. This project will cost millions to allow commuters to move easily between the two corridors. I think that the priority for transportation money at this point really ought to be improving the public transit system, and then projects like this after the other needs have been met. For example, there has long been talk of a Metro "Purple Line" to run a circle linking the outer suburbs. This would be a much more efficient, and more environmentally sound, way of accomplishing the same transportation goals.