Friday, May 18, 2007

Loose Feathers #99

Rock Pigeon / Photo by Peter Vankevich

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment
  • Ornithologists in Colombia have discovered a new hummingbird species, the gorgeted puffleg.
  • A study has linked species diversity in urban parks to residents' psychological well-being.
  • Grist has an interview with James Hansen.
  • The West Nile Virus has reduced the populations of several species of local songbirds, including American crows, black-capped and Carolina chickadees, and American robins.
  • A year ago, South Korea completed a wall around the Saemangeum wetlands as part of a land reclamation project. Saemangeum is a large tidal estuary in the Yellow Sea. It is used by globally significant numbers of many species of shorebirds on their migrations between the southern hemisphere and breeding grounds in eastern Asia. As a result of the closure, many birds are likely to starve or not complete their migration in condition to breed. Two species - spoon-billed sandpiper and Nordmann’s greenshank - could become extinct since their remaining populations are small and depend heavily on tidal mudflats around the Yellow Sea.
  • A scientific advisory board has recommended capturing half of the remaining northern spotted owls in British Columbia to start a captive breeding program. Only 16-25 birds remain in the province. The species has declined in British Columbia because of habitat fragmentation from logging.
  • Laser remote sensing can predict bird diversity in a given location based upon habitat diversity. The system works by measuring the heights of vegetation; areas with a more complex vertical structure tend to host more bird species.
  • North Carolina Audubon will manage three tracts of grassland and scrub habitat for birds along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • A wind farm project in Kansas is raising some concerns about possible effects on the nesting of greater and lesser prairie chickens.
  • Here are some ideas for keeping yellow jackets out of hummingbird feeders.
  • This week from the "people who don't like birds" files, we have complaints about vultures and cliff swallows.
  • A bill has been introduced in the House to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from further oil and gas development. Ask your Congressional representative to support it here.
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