Friday, June 09, 2006

Loose Feathers #49

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment. I missed some stories while I was away.

  • Counts along the Delaware Bay have put the migratory red knot population at 13,000 - not as low as thought a couple weeks ago but still low enough for computer models to predict extinction by 2010. (I am really glad that I have had the chance to see a few of these birds before that happens.) Other shorebird species have also declined precipitously over the past two decades. Meanwhile a federal project is underway to restore beach habitat along the Delaware Bay.
  • The Forest Service is taking bids for logging a 350-acre tract in Oregon. The tract was burned in a forest fire in 2002; the claim is that this will help recovery.
  • In the Maryland area, birds are moving into big-box home stores like Home Depot to nest and roost.
  • Pale Male and Lola have moved across Central Park to roost on a high-rise on Central Park West.
  • Also in New York, water birds have rebounded at breeding sites along the East River.
  • Eastern Neck NWR in Kent County, MD, will likely have to cut two of its four staff members because of the tight budget given the US Fish and Wildlife Service under Bush's spending plans. The cuts will hurt the management of the habitats on this valuable refuge.
  • Perhaps wildlife will get more funding now that Bush has hired a birder to be his new Secretary of the Treasury. More here.
  • This weeked is the 2006 Adirondack Birding Festival.
  • More attractive bird songs by male canaries appear to induce the laying of larger eggs by their female mates.
  • At least one piping plover nest at Cape Point on Hatteras Island has seen a successful hatching. In other plover news, there are new posts for the season at the Plover Warden Diaries.
  • Three species of albatrosses have suffered severe losses and may be facing extinction due to long line fishing. It is believed that albatrosses get caught on hooks and drown when they try to snatch bait.
  • Some scientists did a study on the relationship between testosterone levels in dark-eyed junco males and breeding outcomes. It turns out that high testosterone meant a more attractive appearance and thus more breeding opportunities with females, but also a lower likelihood of chick survival since the high-testosterone males were worse fathers.