Friday, April 13, 2007

Loose Feathers #94

Red-necked Grebe Pair / Photo by Donna Dewhurst (USFWS)

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment
  • Reforestation has been cited as an important tool for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide. A new study indicates that such reforestation projects are most effective when they are done in the tropics. Reforestation at northerly latitudes may cause localized warming, since the trees absorb heat and prevent snow cover from reflecting as much sunlight. (abstract)
  • Protected birds such as marsh harriers are getting shot during Malta's spring hunting season. Malta opened the season despite the European Commission's Birds Directive, which forbids spring hunting. (Charlie links to a column by Simon Barnes on the subject.)
  • Traces of collagen in fossilized bones can be analyzed for protein sequences and compared against living animals to determine evolutionary relationships. When this process was applied to a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, the protein turned out to be most similar to chickens. (See Pharyngula and GrrlScientist for better commentary.)
  • The Florida Everglades are in the midst of a 16-month drought, which may affect the breeding season for birds by reducing food supplies. There is a chance of long-term ecosystem damage if relief does not come soon. Sustained development has reduced the ability of the Everglades to recover from prolonged dry spells.
  • Also in Florida, airport officials have destroyed two eagle nests near an airport but so far have been prevented from destroying a third because the third nest is on private property. Officials cannot find the owner to permit access, so they got it from a judge instead.
  • Research by a graduate student helped stop Chevron from building a liquid natural gas facility next to a large breeding colony of threatened Xantus's murrelets.
  • A birder in Galveston was indicted for animal cruelty for shooting a feral cat.
  • Virginia's State Corporation Commission delayed a Highland wind power project to create a plan to protect birds and bats from being killed by the turbines.
  • Meanwhile, Maryland is reducing the environmental review process for new wind projects.
  • Here is an opinion piece on the effects of global warming on birds.
  • A cockatoo at a British wildlife sanctuary has been guarding chocolate candy eggs and trying to hatch them.
  • Here are some tips on gardening for birds. The article is oriented to the Pacific Northwest, but generally applicable.
  • Keep an eye on some nesting peregrine falcons in New York City with the 55 Water Street webcam.
Birds in the blogosphere
Blog carnivals and news links