Friday, November 03, 2006

Loose Feathers #73

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

  • Dover Air Force Base is testing a new radar system to reduce collisions between birds and aircraft. A similar system in North Carolina has eliminated most strikes.
  • Tool use by crows may be learned from other crows. A study showed that all crows have some ability to use tools, but crows that had been taught tool-using skills were faster to make use of them.
  • Large, flightless birds are being studied to understand how bipedal dinosaurs walked.
  • Global fisheries are in the midst of a steep decline, which could wipe out most populations of seafood species by 2048. Needless to say, this would be a disaster for both humans and seabirds.
  • Farmers producing ethanol have been slow to sell their plants to major investors despite the high prices; in many places ownership remains local for now.
  • John at Birds Etcetera has a follow-up to my post on crows and ravens. It turns out that, in contrast to the decline among the DC-MD-VA corvids that I charted, American Crows in West Virginia have actually increased in recent years. It would be interesting to know the cause for this.
  • A California woman was caught with two spotted owls in her freezer, as well as a red-tailed hawk hanging from the ceiling.
  • Maryland has approved a wind-power project along Backbone Mountain in Garrett County, after barring construction in sections of the site that would affect mourning warblers, among other species.
  • This Week at Hilton Pond notes that rufous hummingbirds have already been spotted in South Carolina this fall. It is time to start looking out for these migrants from the northwest along the eastern seaboard.