Yellow-crowned Night Heron / Photo by Eugene F. Hester (USFWS)
Birds and birding news
- Female Macaroni Penguins lay two eggs, the first one smaller than the second, and kick the first one out of the nest before it hatches. It seems that the first egg is smaller because the penguin forms the egg while it is still migrating across the ocean, a time when it has vitellogenin, a protein necessary for egg production.
- About 500 dead penguins washed up on shore in Brazil. The cause appears to be starvation, as the birds' stomachs were empty.
- A Glossy Ibis found dead at Negri-Nepote Preserve in Franklin Township, NJ, may have been shot with an air rifle. The discovery of the body was first reported on the JerseyBirds listserve.
- A former New York City parks commissioner suggested that the decision to kill Prospect Park's 400 Canada Geese may have been flawed because Prospect Park lies more than 9 miles from the nearest airports. The federal government wants to reduce the goose population within a 7-mile radius of La Guardia and JFK.
- Black-crowned Night Herons are the most widespread heron species in the world but often go unnoticed because of their nocturnal habits.
- Minnesota will hold its first Sandhill Crane hunt in 94 years.
- Earbirding: The Microphone You Already Own
- Biological Ramblings: Cannon Netting
- Frontenac Bird Studies: 2010 Frontenac Biothon Report
- Birdchick: American Birding Association...A Failing Hive?
- BP's wellhead has remained sealed since it was capped last week. There was a chance that the valves would be reopened when BP's flotilla leaves the site of the spill to avoid the oncoming tropical storm, but the Coast Guard is allowing them to keep it closed. Officials are concerned that small leaks in the system capping the well could worsen and cause additional damage to the wellhead.
- A new report from the American Bird Conservancy finds that BP's oil cleanup efforts may be doing more harm than good for birds. The IBRRC has a summary of the key points; you can read the full report here (pdf).
- Oil devastated a major pelican nesting colony on Raccoon Island in Louisiana. See photos here.
- Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research received a $100,000 grant to help with cleaning oiled birds in the gulf.
- An oil seep detected near BP's wellhead is not from that well but from another nearby unused well. Natural oil seeps are also common in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Two dozen coastal scientists want the federal government to stop construction of sand berms, which could cause major environmental damage beyond what the oil spill has already done.
- Elsewhere in the world, a pipeline explosion caused a major oil spill in China last week.
- Chicago has opened the world's largest urban solar farm, an array of 32,000 solar panels on a lot near the former Pullman car factory. The array has a maximum capacity of 10 megawatts, enough to power about 1,500 homes. While the output is small, it presents a model for other former industrial cities to reduce dependence on dirtier fuels like coal.
- The US Forest Service is considering shutting down caves on its lands in the Rocky Mountain region to prevent humans from spreading White-nosed Syndrome between caves.
- Yesterday, Senate leadership acknowledged that there will not be comprehensive climate change legislation this year. A smaller bill will focus on oil spill liability and increasing energy efficiency. That the news did not come as a surprise does not make it any less frustrating.
- Here is an interview with Jeremy Yoder on the mutual relationship between Joshua Trees and Yucca Moths.
- Arizona has advice for people who want to help desert tortoises during monsoon season.
- The Nature Conservancy received a grant to create a comprehensive conservation plan for the Delaware River Basin.
- A new map from NASA shows the locations of marine dead zones around the world. Dead zones are areas starved of oxygen by algae blooms, which often feed on fertilizer runoff.
Farewell to Scienceblogs, a long essay on the development of science and nature blogging and problems at Scienceblogs.com.