Friday, November 24, 2006

Loose Feathers #75

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

  • A study of red-legged partridges has established a relationship between high levels of testosterone and bright colors in male birds. Male partridges were given extra testosterone, and in response the birds showed a 20% increase in the carotenoids that cause bright reds and yellows. Future work will explore what causes the relationship between testosterone and carotenoid levels.
  • Research in Canada has found that the population of red-winged blackbirds correlates with the North Atlantic Oscillation. This suggests that blackbirds will decline in the face of global climate change.
  • The Madagascar pochard was recently rediscovered in northern Madagascar. There were nine adults and four juveniles. This species was previously considered extinct.
  • The Mercury News reports that wild turkeys are thriving in urban environments in California.
  • A related story explores the conflicts that can arise when wild turkeys move into the suburbs. Some turkeys may be aggressive once they become accustomed to humans. (via Birds Etcetera)
  • Two men were arrested in Myanmar for the possession of over 800 red-whiskered bulbuls, an endangered species.
  • The New Hamburg Independent has some notes on local bird feeding.
  • Female budgerigars prefer to pair with males that sound like them, apparently because such males are more reliable to help with raising chicks.