Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Loose Feathers #2

This is the second installment of an irregular series of links about birds, birdwatching, and the environment.

  • With all the blog quizzes going around, there is now one to determine if you are now or ever have been a monk parakeet.
  • The November Words on Birds has a story about an extraordinary yard list.
  • Laura has more information about deer and nesting birds.
  • Sikeston, Missouri, is reporting trouble with millions of wintering blackbirds, which cause crop damage and can carry diseases, according to area officials. The solution? Noise cannons! (I have a feeling this will end up disturbing residents more than the blackbirds.) Officials are also training residents in how to make noise, and suggest pruning or removing trees that blackbirds use for roosting.
  • A new wind turbine design may make turbines both more efficient and less harmful to birds. If true, this would remove one of the environmental problems with wind power and make alternative energy look much better.
  • Meanwhile Senator Barack Obama announced that he will block all EPA nominees until the EPA publishes new regulations for dealing with lead paint during home renovations.
  • There is a new carnival in town, the Carnival of the Green, devoted to environmental issues.
  • Pathologists are puzzling over the origin of the 1918 flu, since its genetic structure does not match that of modern strains of bird flu. To some this suggests that they need to look in different birds for the origin of the 1918 virus - and a possible originator for the "next" pandemic virus - but to others it suggests that the threat from H5N1 is less than advertised.
  • The Kittitas and Seattle Audubon Societies are suing the government to finalize and implement a plan for the spotted owl's recovery. While timber-cutting restrictions are in place, the spotted owl has continued to decline. U.S. Fish and Wildlife claims that a plan will be out in eighteen months; the plaintiffs want to see one sooner.
  • Woodsong has a post about the status of the Kirtland's Warbler, with a great photograph.

And a word from Tom Toles: