Friday, February 01, 2008

Loose Feathers #135

American Kestrel / USFWS

News and links about birds, birding, and the environment
  • Male Anna's hummingbirds perform a mating display flight in which they climb high in the air, descend rapidly in a "J"-shaped pattern, and make a chirping sound at the end of the dive. A new study determined that the chirping sound is made by the hummingbird's outer tail feathers.
  • Researchers captured some Eurasian reed warblers and moved them 1000 km east of their migration course. The birds found their way back, which suggests that birds can determine their east-west position in addition to their north-south position.
  • The new breeding bird atlas for Ontario shows gains for many raptors but declines among grassland birds and insectivores like swallows and nighthawks.
  • A federal investigation of roller pigeon clubs found evidence for thousands of raptor killings.
  • New York state is creating guidelines to prevent wind energy development from harming wildlife. The draft guidelines recommend that wind companies investigate possible effects on wildlife before investing too much in a particular site.
  • Seventeen first-winter whooping cranes completed their migration from Wisconsin to Chassahowitzka NWR in Florida this week.
  • This video shows footage from a study of some of the 600 barred owls that live within ten miles of downtown Charlotte, N.C. (Via.)
  • Birders who visited a small town in the U.K. to view a rare white-crowned sparrow donated £3,000 to repair the roof of an historic church.
  • A rare great gray owl that visited Maine had to be taken to a rehabilitation center to treat malnutrition. Its condition may have been exacerbated by crowds of overeager birders and photographers.
  • The threat of climate change poses a dilemma for conservation biologists. Preserved land may become inhospitable for the ecosystems it was supposed to protect if the climate changes.
  • A new study ties snowpack decline in the West to human-induced climate change. Further decline will worsen the drinking water situation for western cities.
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