Sunday, March 25, 2007

Random Notes

Just a few gleanings from the weekend that did not make it into my last edition of Loose Feathers....

  • Coffee and Conservation reviewed the shade-grown coffee that is a component of the American Bird Conservancy's Save the Cerulean Warbler campaign. The upshot is that the coffee sampled seems under par for the gourmet/specialty niche for which it is marketed. That is unfortunate since shade coffee plantations in Colombia form an important part of the warbler's winter habitat.
  • A search for ivory-billed woodpeckers has been underway in the Big Thicket area of Texas. So far, no substantial evidence has materialized there. (Thanks, L.!)
  • Some really unusual waterbirds were spotted around the vicinity of Hains Point on Saturday. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to look for them, but enterprising birders may still be able to find some. Check the reports on MDOsprey, here and here.
  • Birds have differentiated sex chromosomes, but the dosage compensation between them is less effective than in mammals. (Paper here.)
  • Here is a photograph of a really odd mallard. Hybrid? Domestic? Mutant? Who knows!