Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Loose Feathers #21

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.

  • Even though the health of the Chesapeake Bay lags far behind standards set in an agreement among the federal government and regional state governments, Bush's proposed budget for 2007 cuts funding for the Bay's cleanup.
  • An expedition to the Foja Mountains of New Guinea turned up some newly-discovered and rediscovered bird species, including Berlepsch's six-wired bird of paradise, smokey honeyeater, golden-fronted bowerbird. The Post has a slideshow with images of the animals and their habitat.
  • Ivory-billed Update: Someone has reported seeing an ivory-billed woodpecker in the Pearl River basin in Louisiana. This is an area that has been searched as possible IBWO habitat in the past, but without a conclusive discovery. From his report: "It clearly had white patches on the trailing edge of the wings. This was easy to see since the view was from the side.... Although I focused on the wings, the head was visible in the right part of my field of view. What I saw of the head was a blur, but it appeared to be all black... The flight was nothing like a pileated." He ends by saying that his sightings were not good enough to be absolutely certain, a problem that has characterized most ivory-billed reports. But if there are IBWOs to be found, a definitive view will come eventually. (Via BirderBlog)
  • A researcher in California will be using rock pigeons bearing light-weight pollution monitoring equipment and digital cameras to monitor smog and traffic conditions around San Jose. The data will be used in her class and posted to a blog as they become available. The blog address was not included in the article, but I hope that it will be made public. (Via Science & Sarcasm)
  • Pharyngula has a post about a herbicide widely used in corn production that converts testosterone into estrogen as a side-effect. This may cause problems in humans, including infertility (in men) and cancer (in women).
  • An agreement among the Canadian government, logging interests, and environmental groups is expected to shield several million acres of forest from further destruction. This area in British Columbia holds unique and important ecosystems including part of the immense boreal forest and also temperate rain forests. Both of these are critical for many species of birds. (See also the NY Times coverage.)
For local birders...
  • This Saturday, February 11, the DC Audubon Society will make its annual field trip to Ocean City, MD, and the Delaware coast to look for winter waterfowl. Anyone interested should see the announcement for directions and contact information.
  • The report from the chapter's November fieldtrip to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is now online.
Finally, in carnival news...