Sunday, August 21, 2005

Some Bird Articles

The Sunday Times has a review of a new book on Britain's avifauna, Birds Britannica by Mark Cocker and Richard Mabey. The former has previously published Birders: Tales of a Tribe, which sits on my bookshelf but has yet to be read. (One of these days I will get around to it.) Birds Britannica is not a field guide but a collection of species accounts for Britain's birds; it combines ornithological discoveries with personal observations and folklore.

Closer to home, there is a neat column on the experience of birding at Jamaica Bay NWR in the Times Herald-Record (registration/bugmenot required) of Middletown, NY.

In Washington, D.C., restoration plans for the West Colonnade of the White House were altered due to swallows nesting on top of one of the columns. The article claims that this was a family of cliff swallows, but local birders feel that these are more likely barn swallows; cliff swallows would be an extraordinary find in Washington. But unless a birder gets a security clearance, we will not know for sure.

Virginia has listed 925 species in need of conservation within its borders. This includes animals that are or have been on the endangered species list, as well as others that are not yet endangered but have undergone steady population declines. The list (pdf) is not only of birds, but of animals from all orders, including invertebrates. In most cases habitat loss is the main cause of decline. It is hoped that the list will draw attention to the problem and generate action to preserve habitat.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is using digital mapping of the habitat of rare species to guide development and preservation plans.