Friday, January 12, 2007

Loose Feathers #81

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

  • Dead and dying birds caused several blocks in downtown Austin, Texas, to be closed. The 63 pigeons, sparrows, and grackles were most likely poisoned by private individuals to reduce large flocks in the city.
  • A little farther north, in Oklahoma, a raptor has been snatching people's hats.
  • A study published this week established that birds with bigger brains tend to live longer and adapt to new conditions more easily.
  • Wild birds may no longer be imported into the European Union. The move was made as an attempt to stop the spread of avian influenza and other diseases, but should also stop the capture and sale of rare species from their native habitats.
  • Following the major hurricanes of 2005, the number and diversity of breeding birds fell at Pelican Island NWR in Florida.
  • A lawsuit regarding birds killed by Altamont Pass wind turbines has been settled with an agreement by the energy company to reduce deaths. The goal of the settlement is to reduce annual kills by half.
  • The state of Wisconsin plans to kill mute swans within the state. Eradicating mute swans would serve as a preliminary step in reintroducing native trumpeter swans to their former range.
  • The flock of wild whooping cranes on the Texas coast reached a new high of 237 birds this winter.
  • Another ivory-billed woodpecker sighting has been reported from the Florida group. Though the report was apparently at close range, no photo has been produced.
  • A snowy owl has been perched on a construction crane in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. It continues to sit on the crane even as it moves around to support the work of construction crews.
  • A captive breeding program for vultures had its first success with the hatching of a white-backed vulture. The program aims to restore the wild vulture populations that were decimated by pesticides.
  • A rufous hummingbird has been visiting a feeder in Scarbro, West Virginia.
Blogging News
  • The Washington area has a new birding blog: BirdCouple by Warren and Lisa.