Mexican Amethyst Hummingbird and Green-Tailed Hummingbird, from A selection of the birds of Brazil and Mexico by William Swainson
Birds and birding news
- All this week, The New York Times has been running a Bird Week series on birds and birding in New York City. Some of the more interesting posts have included one on bird photographers in Central Park, one on ten particularly desirable birds, and one on John James Audubon's last home. There is also a list of suggested resources for birders in the New York area. To access the articles for free, look for the links on the @cityroom Twitter account (or mine).
- Hummingbirds use lamellae (i.e., hair-like structures) on the edges of their tongues to drink nectar; rather than curling their tongues into a straw.
- A new, longer-lasting rat poison is killing wildlife, including hawks and owls, in California.
- One biology teacher is having her students post to Twitter whenever they observe an interesting bird behavior.
- Birders on a cruise ship off the coast of Chile have probably discovered a new species of storm-petrel.
- A study of Giant Hummingbird metabolism suggests that hummingbirds might be able to be larger than currently known species.
- A doctoral student reports on his research at a Magnificent Frigatebird nesting site.
- Outdoor cats are the main predator of Northern Mockingbirds and their nestlings in urban areas.
- Guillemots nesting at St. Abb's Head in Scotland laid eggs at the earliest recorded date this year.
- A major pipeline leak in northern Alberta released 28,000 barrels of crude oil; it was the largest spill in Alberta since 1975. The leak was discovered on April 29 and has since been repaired, but it contaminated 8 acres of beaver ponds and muskeg. You can see photos of the area here and here.
- Approval for drilling permits in the Arctic faces several political obstacles, particularly convincing the Interior Department that oil companies can prevent a major spill and persuading Native Alaskans that drilling will not interfere with their subsistence hunting.
- BP was fined $25 million for a spill in Alaska in 2006.
- Gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains were removed from the Endangered Species List this week, on order from Congress. The Interior Department also moved to delist the wolves west of the Great Lakes. Their fate will now be in the hands of state wildlife agencies.