Birds and birding news
- Peer reviews by The Wildlife Society, Society for Conservation Biology, and American Ornithologists’ Union raised questions about the amount of logging that would be allowed under the draft recovery plan for Northern Spotted Owls.
- Birds of paradise create a colorful display to attract potential mates by fluffing their breast feathers to reflect many colors in rapid succession. The feathers' hooked barbules are able to reflect multiple colors, depending on which part of a barbule is faced towards a viewer.
- Henry David Thoreau's notes on the appearance of flowers and arrival of birds in spring provide evidence of the effects of climate change on ecosystems. Plants are now blooming about 10 days earlier than they did in Thoreau's time, and birds are not responding to the changes as quickly as plants are.
- The arrival of humans and livestock in the Canary Islands 2500 years ago allowed Egyptian Vultures to establish themselves on the islands as well. Prior to human colonization, the vultures y not have found enough to eat there.
- Male Blue Tits with territories near artificial streetlights are more likely to mate with multiple females than males in darker areas; the reason may be that the street lights allow the males to start their dawn songs earlier in the day, which gives them a reproductive edge.
- A British conservationist became the first person to see all 32 species of pittas in a single year. He performed the feat to draw attention to the conservation needs of pittas, many of which are threatened with extinction.
- A Bald Eagle nest was removed to make way for renovations of a baseball stadium in Florida for use by the Baltimore Orioles during spring training.
- BirdLife is helping to reseed burned areas around the nesting colonies of Zino's Petrels, a critically endangered seabird in Europe.
- Christmas Bird Counts start this week! Here is the Christmas Bird Count website.
- The Home News Tribune has an article on the Christmas Bird Counts in central New Jersey, including the Raritan Estuary count – one of two that I plan to participate in this year.
- Urban Birdscapes: Birds and Glass: Interview with Dr. Dan Klem
- EBird News and Features: eBirding your Christmas Bird Counts
- 10,000 Birds: The remarkable coincidence
- The Drinking Bird: Someone else's Song Sparrows
- Tails of Birding: LBJs - IDs for 3 & 4 and 1 & 2
- The Daily Wing: Getting Gulls
- The Birders Report: My Favorite Bird Photos of 2010
- Stokes Birding Blog: Bohemian Waxwing Beauty
- The Nemesis Bird: Canada Goose with a telemetry pack
- View from the Cape: Tullytown, Pennsylvania - Gull Nirvana
- Many animals are still being rehabilitated from harm caused by BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The numbers include at least 50 sea turtles.
- The U.S. filed a civil suit against BP and eight other companies for environmental damage incurred during the oil spill this summer. The government has the option of filing criminal charges as well.
- NBN Blog: Blogging for the Gulf: A Roundup
Environment and biodiversity
- The Georgia-Pacific timber company announced that it would no longer buy wood harvested in environmentally sensitive areas in the Southeast. The policy change should benefit the birds in five Important Bird Areas; the link has a list of which ones.
- Polar bears are threatened by climate change, but there is still time to stabilize the population by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The global temperature rise would need to be kept under 1.25 degrees Celsius (a goal that may or may not be reachable in the current political climate). One potential threat to the species in a warmer world is more interbreeding between polar bears and grizzly bears.
- California and the federal government are still trying to restructure the Bay Delta Conservation Plan in a way that will keep water users satisfied but allow for conservation of native fish such as delta smelt.
- California has adopted the most comprehensive greenhouse gas regulations in the country, which will go into effect in 2012. The plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15% below 2012 levels by 2020.
- Cartoonist Darryl Cunningham lays out the argument for climate change in cartoon form. (via 10,000 Birds)