Thursday, July 27, 2006

Loose Feathers #58

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

  • Kirtland Warblers continue to be fruitful and multiply in Michigan, with 1,478 singing males counted during this year's surveys, compared to 1,415 in summer 2005.
  • Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island is reporting an increase in piping plovers.
  • Semipalmated plovers bulk up on Corophium shrimp, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, before beginning their southward migration. They feast around the Bay of Fundy before beginning a 4,500 km nonstop flight to South America. They double their weight in preparation for the flight and lose all the extra pounds by the time they reach their destination.
  • In Syria, there is an effort to save the remaining population of northern bald ibis, a species that appears in ancient iconography. There are 13 individual northern bald ibis left in Syria and about 100 breeding pairs in Morocco. See the BirdLife fact sheet.
  • Starting in September 2007, hunters and other collectors in certain states will be able to purchase an electronic Federal Duck Stamp online. Paper stamps will still be available. Money raised through the sale of Duck Stamps helps fund the National Wildlife Refuge system.
  • The Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network has created a new website to coordinate conservation of shorebirds and their habitats in North and South America. The network includes 64 sites in 8 countries; currently 8 are participating in the website. See their Google Map for all the sites in the network. (I was surprised to see that Bombay Hook is not included.) The new site will eventually include a full Spanish version.
  • In Indiana, work crews demolishing an old school building will leave the chimney standing so that chimney swifts may continue to nest there.
  • Here is a report on the birding opportunities in Vietnam, where over 900 species have been recorded. The article celebrates the founding of the new Hanoi Birdwatching Club.
  • A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council predicts future losses at 12 major western national parks in the wake of global warming.
  • Meanwhile, Senator Inhofe is comparing people who take climate change seriously to the Third Reich. More insane rantings.
  • The Anglican Bishop of London argued in a recent interview that environmental decisions have a moral dimension and that some choices may be sinful in the light of global warming. The Church of England has a website on this issue called Shrinking the Footprint.
  • Several climate scientists are calling for less coastal building to reduce hurricane damage.
  • Bluefin tuna may be in danger of extinction due to overfishing.
  • Here is a tale of two hikers covering the 41-mile stretch of the Appalachian trail in Maryland in one day. Birders are not the only people crazy enough to do all-day challenges like this!