Friday, December 21, 2007

Loose Feathers #129

Horned Lark / Photo by Tim Bowman (USFWS)

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment
  • A study in Conservation Biology predicts 450-550 landbird extinctions due to climate change by 2100, with another 2150 threatened with extinction by that time. Of the predicted extinctions, only 21% are currently considered to be threatened. Climate change can cause extinctions by forcing birds to change their range to cope with higher temperatures. Arctic birds and alpine specialists would run out of places to move.
  • The Foja forest of western New Guinea has been dubbed a "lost world" for its rarely-studied species. A recent research trip there filmed displays by a golden-fronted bowerbird and black sicklebill and gathered information on a still-unpublished honeyeater species (pictured right).
  • A study of 124 common European bird species showed that 56 have declined in the last 26 years. Among the hardest-hit: Crested Lark, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Partridge, European Wryneck, and Northern Wheatear. Some of the other species increased in population, including Hawfinch, Collared Flycatcher, and Common Raven.
  • Christmas Bird Counts in the news: Michigan (no specific circle); Central Park; Powell River (Canada); Matagorda (TX); Athol (MA).
  • Virginia approved a 20-turbine wind farm in Highland County, with the condition that the business will have to pay fines of $500 to $1500 per carcass if any raptors are killed.
  • Colorado State University is conducting research on potential effects of a proposed Colorado wind farm on birds before the site is developed.
  • Colorado is working on regulations to ensure that energy development makes minimal impact on wildlife.
  • The recent federal spending bill included $513,000 for blackbird control.
  • The Western Area Power Administration is experimenting with new ways to prevent birds from flying into power lines.
  • The European Court ruled that Ireland has failed to provide the required Special Protection Areas for the country's most threatened birds such as the kingfisher, chough, corncrake, and sandwich tern.
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