Friday, February 23, 2007

Loose Feathers #87

Greater Scaup / Photo by Donna Dewhurst (USFWS)

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment.
  • An experiment with scrub jays showed that some birds can plan for the future by storing food.
  • A European team found the wintering grounds of the aquatic warbler, which apparently was a mystery until that discovery.
  • Last weekend's cold snap killed 50,000 perch along the Potomac in St. Mary's County.
  • A robot is being used to watch for ivory-billed woodpeckers in the Arkansas swamps. It is fitted with video cameras programmed to detect and record birds in flight. (When I first saw this headline, I imagined some kind of robobirder that looks like this, with binoculars in hand.)
  • Occasionally I receive queries regarding types of birdhouses or birdfeeders that are best to attract birds. In some ways, the best first step to attract birds is to adapt gardening and landscaping to be bird-friendly.
  • Of course, feeders are great, too. Here is a good article with tips on feeding birds. (This is quite detailed, and even better than some I have linked in past "Loose Feathers" editions.)
  • The Invasive Species Weblog has a cautionary tale about controlling feral cats. On Macquarie Island, feral cats were eradicated to protect native bird species from excessive predation. The trouble is that once the cats were eliminated, populations of invasive rodents boomed.
  • The Washington Post has an article on ecotourism, specifically for birding, in Panama.
  • Finally, the birds are singing in Texas. If they have started singing there, spring here cannot be far away, either.
Counting birds