Masked Boobies / Photo by Lindsey Kramer (USFWS)
Birds and birding news
- The USFWS will undertake a thorough status review to determine whether to list the Golden-winged Warbler under the Endangered Species Act. For more on Golden-winged Warblers, see also a recent article in Audubon Magazine, which visits the species on their wintering territory on shade coffee farms in Central America.
- Emperor Penguins that incubate through the long Antarctic winter huddle together to stay warm. As they are huddling, they constantly shift positions in a wave-like motion, so that no penguin is left on the outside of the flock for too long. This link has graphics of the wave movement.
- Andy Rouse has published incredible photos of the King Penguin colony on South Georgia Island.
- The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and Birds Russia are trying to set up a captive breeding population of Spoon-billed Sandpipers to replenish the species. A count in 2009 estimated a maximum of 200 breeding pairs in the wild (and a minimum of 120 pairs).
- Here is another article on that gynandromorph Northern Cardinal, in case you missed it in last week's Loose Feathers. (A gynandromorph is a bird with a chromosome aberration that causes one half of its body to resemble a male and the other half to resemble a female.) Gynandromorphism can occur among insects as well as birds, which is especially noticeable among sexually-dimorphic butterflies.
- Conservationists are worried about what impact the newly introduced Axis Deer will have on the island of Hawai'i.
- Female House Sparrows try to mate with the most genetically compatible male rather than the single best male.
- The U.S. government listed the Salmon-crested Cockatoo, an Indonesian bird, under the Endangered Species Act.
- The Drinking Bird: Invaluable eBird
- Earbirding: Describing What You Hear
- BESG: Judy Quah's Sunbirds Return to Nest Yet Again (6th and 7th Nesting)
- A plane with equipment capable of sensing the chemical composition of trees will make flights over the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Colombia. The chemical data is useful for answering questions like how diverse the tree species are and whether the trees are coping with drought and human encroachment.
- Ice-penetrating radar revealed that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet hides a rocky landscape carved into fjords.
- Scientists believe that future problems with the Wisconsin wolf population can be predicted from past attacks, and those predictions can be used to minimize the threat they pose.
- Violent and unpredictable weather is an expected consequence of global warming, which is why a lot of countries (and some states) are incorporating climate change adaptation into their planning.
- Global carbon emissions hit a new high last year as economies recovered from the recession. The new record is 5% higher than the previous record from 2008.
- An unusually high number of otherwise female fish in the Gulf of Mexico's hypoxic dead zone develop deformed testes instead of ovaries.
- Female Bronze Coppers fold their wings closed when other Bronze Coppers fly past to signal that they have already mated and make themselves less visible to potential suitors.