Friday, February 04, 2011

Loose Feathers #276

Birds and birding news
  • The American Bird Conservancy estimates that building out wind power to 20% of the nation's electricity would kill about 1 million birds per year by 2030. The Department of Interior plans to release guidelines about the siting and operation of wind farms soon.
  • Most parrots favor one side of their body over the other – they prefer to use the right eye and right foot or the left eye and left foot. Some species favor the left foot almost exclusively.
  • A San Francisco area woman has turned her home into a private aviary to breed endangered tropical birds to reintroduction into the wild.
  • Scientists are tagging Red-breasted Geese to determine what factors are causing their decline. There are only about 40,000 of the geese left, making this the most endangered goose species.
  • Researchers are trying to determine why New Caledonian Crows display so much more intelligence than other species, and even other corvids. Observations of their behavior suggest that a toolmaking culture is passed down from adults to their offspring, who learn by watching adults.
  • A new study found that pigeons navigate via olfaction, primarily with their right nostril.
  • The former Ponderlodge golf course in Cape May (also known as Villas WMA or Cox Hall Creek WMA) will undergo habitat restoration. The buildings will be demolished, paved walkways will be removed, and the former fairways will be seeded with appropriate plantings. A focus will be on creating forest habitat for Red-shouldered Hawks and Barred Owls.
  • A harsh winter drove a lot of unusual birds into Britain's gardens just in time for the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. This year's sightings included large flocks of Bohemian Waxwings, the largest invasion in several decades.
  • A Red-tailed Hawk that crashed into a window at Johns Hopkins University has recovered and will be released back into the wild soon. The collision broke the window but not any of the hawk's bones.
  • A rock formation in Denali National Park produced the fossil footprints of two previously undiscovered prehistoric bird species. Many of the other fossil tracks in the rock formations match bird species that have also been found farther south in Asia or North America, suggesting that there were migration patterns during the Cretaceous similar to those today.
Birds in the blogosphere
Oil spills
  • The administrator of BP's victim compensation fund for the Gulf oil spill believes that the Gulf will have recovered by 2012.
  • Scientists evaluating the Gulf's recovery are concerned about a lack of data to understand how marine populations are doing.
Environment and biodiversity
Blog carnivals