Monday, May 15, 2006

Loose Feathers #47

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

  • Many birdwatchers expand their interests into butterfly and even dragonfly watching. It turns out that some dragonflies share a trait in common with birds other than flight - migration. Researchers using radio transmitters have found that dragonflies follow a southward migration route along the same migratory pathways that birds use. In this case, green darner dragonflies were tracked from Cape May, NJ, as far south as Florida. Their end destination is so far unknown.
  • The recent oil spill in Delaware Bay may cause less damage than originally feared. However, a fragile species like the red knot may be sensitive to any fluctuation in its environment, so the long-term effects are still unknown.
  • Last summer's record heat appears to have decimated the eelgrass in the Chesapeake Bay. While not directly a bird story, the loss of eelgrass reflects the overall poor health of the bay, and will have ramifications on any organisms that require aquatic vegetation.
  • Visitors to South Jersey beaches should be aware that several beaches on the Delaware Bay will be closed through June 7 to protect migrating shorebirds.
  • Two men who own a fish hatchery in Massachusetts have been arrested for killing over 250 great blue herons, plus several osprey and a bald eagle. The birds were apparently feeding at the hatchery's trout pools.
  • Some birds will nest just about anywhere. In England, a pair of blue tits have taken up temporary residence in an outdoor used cigarette bin.
  • Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity are suing the federal government to prevent the USFWS from removing the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl from the endangered species list. The USFWS is taking this action on the grounds that it is not a distinct subspecies of the ferruginous pygmy-owl. Removal from the list would lift any federal habitat protections for the owl. (Thanks, squeakysoul)