Friday, June 22, 2007

Loose Feathers #104

Black Skimmer / Photo by Gary Kramer (USFWS)

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment
  • Climate change may threaten the breeding success of northern gannets. With dwindling fish stocks, parents may need to leave their nests unguarded for longer periods of time, leaving the chicks vulnerable to attacks from other gannets.
  • A British study considered reasons why female superb starlings mate with multiple males. Results suggest that the primary reasons are obtaining extra food for their hatchlings and increasing genetic diversity.
  • An international conference on raptors will be held at Hawk Mountain this September. A special session will focus on kestrel conservation.
  • Hundreds of dead seabirds are washing ashore on the east coast of Florida. Biologists suspect that the cause is starvation, but are testing the birds to check for other possible causes. (More from the Orlando Sentinel.)
  • Dead birds are also turning up on beaches in the Bahamas.
  • Crane handlers with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership are considering alternate wintering sites for the eastern population of whooping cranes because of last winter's disaster.
  • Cirl buntings are breeding again in Cornwall as a result of a captive breeding program. This is part of the comeback of cirl buntings in the U.K., whose population had decreased to 118 pairs in the 1980s.
  • "Trap, neuter, adopt" may resolve feral cat problems in Cape May.
  • Biologists from the Pennsylvania Game Commission are banding resident Canada geese to study their movements and the impact of hunting on their population.
  • New York City's Jamaica Bay has a new visitor center. The refuge (in Queens) is a year-round hotspot for various species of waterbirds.
  • The fledgling red-tailed hawk mentioned in last week's edition has been set free in Central Park. (More at Urban Hawks and Palemaleirregulars.)
  • Birders in Central Jersey are excited about a black skimmer sighting 20 miles inland from Sandy Hook.
  • Fledgling songbirds are already making their appearance. If you see one, let its parents take care of it rather than attempting to care for it yourself.
  • A new study considered the effects of climate change on public health in developing countries.
  • The British government launched a new carbon footprint calculator.
  • A panel from the National Academy of Science reports that the supply of coal in the United States may be less than advertised - 100 years rather than 250 years at current consumption rates.
  • The Senate passed an energy bill to raise CAFE standards for American auto companies to 35 miles per gallon.
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