Friday, August 18, 2006

Loose Feathers #62

Osprey / Photo by NASA

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.
  • Over the past two decades, the population of Atlantic menhaden has declined. The menhaden may be taking ospreys along with them, as researchers have found an increasing number of starving or malnourished chicks in osprey nests in the Chesapeake Bay area. To counter this, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is limiting the number of menhaden that can be caught in a year until the cause of the problem is ascertained.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is making it easier for airports, landowners, and state and local wildlife agencies to kill Canada geese and destroy their eggs without a permit. The purpose is to facillitate a substantial reduction in the numbers of resident population of Canada geese. The maesures are aimed mainly at the Atlantic, Central, and Mississippi Flyways, with more restrictions in other areas. The full regulations are here.
  • Israeli bombing in Lebanon caused an oil spill along the Mediterranean coast. The 15,000 tons released from a bombed power station have created an 87-mile slick. The extent of environmental damage is largely unknown because experts were unable to access the coast until the ceasefire. The spill may endanger humans as well because the oil contained carcinogens.
  • Ruffed grouse are decling in Pennsylvania due to reduction in second-growth forests.
  • Bicknell's thrush may be threatened by planned expansion of the Whiteface Mountain ski resort, but so far the development company is promising not to invade their habitats.
  • Some recent papers have asked to what extent evolution and global warming need to be considered when it comes to species conservation programs. Nuthatch considers this in the context of the Kirtland's Warbler.
  • Speaking of Kirtland's Warblers, two have been spotted on a military base near Ottawa, but birdwatchers are not allowed to visit.
  • As the fall migration season is getting into swing, Coturnix republished tutorials that explain Seasonality and Photoperiodism.
  • John L. Bull, a prominent New York birder and author, died last Friday.
  • There was a report earlier in the week that geese in Michigan had H5N1, but this was a low pathogenicity strain previously documented in North America.