Friday, October 12, 2007

Loose Feathers #119

Ruby-crowned Kinglet / Photo by Donna Dewhurst

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment
  • The spoon-billed sandpiper is close to extinction, with only 200 to 300 breeding pairs left. Causes of the Asian shorebird's decline include habitat loss for breeding and migration, particularly through coastal reclamation projects.
  • Attention birders: ticks can survive a trip through the laundry. Most Lone Star and deer ticks can survive the washing machine. You can increase your chances of killing them by running clothes through a dryer at high heat.
  • The BOU has released a report on taxonomic recommendations for British birds. It contains a lengthy discussion of reworking gull taxonomy. (Via George Bristow's Secret Freezer)
  • Countries in Europe, western Asia, and Africa are working on an agreement to protect migratory raptors that use flyways through the three continents. Fifty percent of migratory raptors along those flyways have had population declines in recent years. One reason for the agreement is to prevent incidents like the recent shooting of 52 red-footed falcons in Cyprus.
  • A judge delayed construction of a section of border fence in Arizona due to an inadequate environmental assessment of its impact.
  • Researchers in San Francisco are tracking hawk migration to look for changes due to climate change. For example, rough-legged hawks now arrive five days later than 25 years ago.
  • In Australia, scientists have found spring migrants arriving several days earlier than previously. The helmeted honeyeater, a critically endangered bird, has shifted its egg-laying to take advantage of its preferred food sources.
  • California's lead ammunition ban still awaits Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature or veto. In the meantime, biologists with the condor recovery program leave fresh, clean carcasses within view of hungry condors. Seven of the fourteen condors released last year died of lead poisoning.
  • A birder got lost at Higbee Beach and had to be rescued after a series of bad decisions.
  • Several agencies and nonprofits are coordinating a conservation program for Maryland's coastal bays. The program includes wildlife monitoring (especially birds) and habitat protection.
  • The IPCC and Al Gore won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for their work on climate change.
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