Friday, September 22, 2006

Loose Feathers #67

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

  • A review of 65 mercury studies covering 40 species reveals that mercury is widespread and potent in the environment. The primary source of mercury is pollution from coal-fired plants and waste incinerators, but mercury may leach into the water from abandoned mines and industrial sites. This is a major issue affecting both birds and humans, and is more reason for tighter enforcement of clean air and water standards.
  • Marshes around Indian River Bay in Delaware have experienced a sudden dieback of marsh grasses, leaving only mud flats behind. The cause of the problem is unknown.
  • Eight Hudsonian Godwits were electrocuted in upstate New York when they flew into a power line.
  • Nuthatch has a great description of the work in a bird banding workshop.
  • California is hosting a symposium to form guidelines for preventing bird kills at wind farms. One Californian wind farm, Altamont Pass, is notorious for killing thousands of migrating raptors and must be shut down each winter to let hawks pass unscathed. Strong guidelines could prevent further massacres like that while keeping wind power alive as an alternative energy option. Weak guidelines could end up papering over the problem.
  • Remnants of the demolished Wilson Bridge will be moved to the lower Chesapeake Bay near Point Lookout to form a reef for fishes.
  • Maryland is considering mass transit options across the Chesapeake Bay as part of its examination of how to solve growing traffic congestion on the Bay Bridge.
And finally...
  • Tim Gallagher claims the following: "I knew that the ivory-bill had been the Holy Grail of bird-watching for more than half a century, but I had no idea how deeply other people would respond to the news," he said. "Apparently when National Public Radio broke the story of the rediscovery on April 25, 2005, hundreds of people across the United States who were on their morning commute had to pull over to the side of the road -- they were crying and couldn't see well enough through their tears to drive." (via Wildbird on the Fly)