Rough-legged Hawk / Photo by Dave Menke (USFWS)
Birds and birding news
- Ostriches are able to run faster than humans because the structure of their legs conserves energy even at top speed. In particular, their leg tendons are much more springy.
- Conservationists in Europe are attempting to teach captive-bred Northern Bald Ibises how to migrate by having them follow a microlight aircraft, similar to the reintroduction program for Whooping Cranes in the U.S.
- This article describes the hawk banding operation at a site in New Mexico and includes an interview with a Cape May Raptor Banding Project alumna.
- Flamingos can apply pigmentation to their feathers via the secretions of the uropygial gland. The additional pigment makes up for color lost through normal feather wear.
- Scotland will grant special protection to an additional 80 breeding territories for Golden Eagles. The move was opposed by wind energy developers.
- Researchers are tracking Golden Eagles in Sweden with satellite transmitters to test how they might be affected by wind farms.
- Recording flight calls and learning the timing of migration routes might help reduce airplane strikes.
- The report on the 2009-2010 Christmas Bird Count has been published and sent to participants. This winter's will run from December 14, 2010, to January 5, 2011.
- Dinosaur Tracking: Tracking the Emergence of Birds
- The Drinking Bird: County List Crazy
- Birdchick: Hey? Any food in there?
- 10,000 Birds: EU: Malta MUST comply with Court ruling on hunting
- Birds on the Brain: Shitepoke
- Stokes Birding Blog: White-headed Junco, Speckled Robin, what is this??? Leucistic Birds
- Bay Area Bird Blog: Better to wipe out a species than to play football on Saturdays?
- NYC Birding: Prothonotary Warbler impersonates House Sparrow
- Fotoportmann: Moon over the Bay and other early Skies: Jamaica Bay, NYC
- Birding Dude: Franklin's Gull At Captree State Park LI NY
- wrenaissance: the bird with the golden slippers
- Audubon Guides: One-Eyed Jack
- A report from the National Oil Spill Commission concluded that Halliburton and BP knew ahead of the explosion that the cement around the well was unstable but ignored the problem.
- A research group is tracking the oil spill's effect on Piping Plovers that winter around the Gulf of Mexico.
Environment and biodiversity
- Over the past decade, a new species has been discovered in the Amazon about every three days – over 1200 news species, including 637 plants, 257 fish, 216 amphibians, 55 reptiles, 16 birds, and 39 mammals. Here is a gallery of some of the highlights.
- A new USGS survey estimates that Alaska's North Slope contains only 896 million barrels of untouched oil, one-tenth of previous estimates.
- Scientists found hundreds of new insects from 52 million years ago encased in amber in Gujarat. The amber is soft enough to be dissolved so that the scientists can examine the specimens in three dimensions, like contemporary specimens. Here is a gallery of some of the insects. See also the comment at Myrmecos on taxonomy.
- Pennsylvania has announced a moratorium on new natural gas wells on state lands. The extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing is suspected of contaminating local groundwater.