Friday, December 08, 2006

Loose Feathers #77

Mallards at Roosevelt Island

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.
  • This week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service decided against listing the tricolored blackbird under the Endangered Species Act. The decision was based on the existence of a conservation effort as well as a recent increase in the population of tricolored blackbirds. The FWS also declined to list the cerulean warbler this week.
  • Urban birds sing more loudly than their rural counterparts, according to a new study. The study was based on recordings of great tits from 10 European cities. Urban birds need to adjust their songs to be heard above the ambient noise from traffic and other sources.
  • Most recent news out of Iraq has been distressing, but here is one piece of good news. The marshes along the southern portions of the Tigris and Euphrates have rebounded thanks to restoration efforts since the American invasion. The marshes had been dammed and drained by Saddam Hussein, but are now being restored under a joint effort by local residents and the U.N.
  • Summer surveys of California gnatcatchers indicate that the species may be recovering faster than expected.
  • Virulent strains of avian influenza may have a better chance of entering the United States via Latin America than Alaska, suggesting that testing efforts may be better aimed at Neotropical migrants than Alaskan waterfowl.
  • The Bush administration is considering relaxing regulations on lead emissions.
  • Pigeons refuse to budge from their perch atop a military recruitment center in New York City, despite the army's attempt to drive them off with a sound system that plays pigeon distress calls.
  • Two finches have been foraging inside a food store in Minnesota, and so far they have evaded capture.