Friday, February 09, 2007

Loose Feathers #85

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

  • The American Bird Conservancy has released a list of the top twenty most threatened bird habitats in the United States. The only one present in D.C. is #19, early successional habitat in eastern forests; coastal beaches and marshes (#7) occur close by. More details are available in this pdf link. (via Wildbird on the Fly)
  • Birder's World has an update on the Florida whooping crane and future plans for the breeding program.
  • The Bush administration is considering removing the marbled murrelet population from the threatened species list. A review of population surveys by the USGS found that the population in Alaska and Canada had dropped 70% in the last 25 years.
  • A German man that beat a golden eagle for attacking his dog has been fined $23,000. The court found that he was at fault because he had approached the eagle with his dog despite being warned of its presence.
  • A great-tailed grackle has been documented in Wisconsin for the first time.
  • The Maine Department of Environmental Protection plans to reduce buffers around shorebird areas from 250 feet to 75 feet. The buffers are designed to prevent human activities such as construction or tree clearing that could affect birds negatively. (Here's an opinion piece on the subject.)
  • Paleontologists have linked a mass extinction 33.5 million years ago to a severe drop in temperature, of about 15 degrees. The climate estimate was based on an analysis of oxygen and carbon isotopes in the teeth of fossilized mammals.
  • The U.N. Environment Programme has uploaded an atlas of environmental changes - including climate change hotspots - to Google Earth.
  • California's Ocean Protection Council proposes to add plastics to the state's Redemption Value program because of the effects of plastics on seabirds.
  • Here is a great photo of a European starling in sunlight. (Starlings tend to be a bit under-appreciated because of their ubiquity and effect on native birds, but they can be beautiful in the right conditions.)
  • A Harris's sparrow has appeared in Ohio. Harris's sparrow is a central prairie species that rarely appears that far east.