Friday, June 20, 2008

Loose Feathers #154

Brown Pelican / Photo by Gary M. Stolz (USFWS)

Bird news
  • Maine Audubon has identified 22 potential Important Bird Areas within the state. Initial work has focused on wetland sites in southern and central Maine, as well as coastal areas, to preserve habitat for piping plover, saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow, and rusty blackbird.
  • A waterfowl survey in North Dakota estimated that there are 3.4 million ducks (of all species) in the state. That was the 13th highest result since the survey began in 1948. Canvasbacks and scaup were especially plentiful. Unfortunately they may have trouble finding places to breed, since the number of wetland sites is down 70% since 2007, the 10th lowest total in the history of the survey. The low number of wetland sites is due to a combination of dry conditions and land being taken out of the Conservation Reserve Program.
  • In sage grouse news, the Bureau of Land Management has agreed to protect "core population areas" that Wyoming has designated. The protected land would total between 200,000 and 400,000 acres. The BLM still insists on allowing oil and gas wells in or around these areas, so it is hard to predict how protected they will really be. Meanwhile, it looks like the Wyoming sage grouse population has declined over the past year. Also, a new USGS assessment documents the species's range and habitat needs.
  • The American Bird Conservancy announced new land purchases to protect endangered birds in five South American countries. The new reserves will protect both South American resident species and Neotropical migrants, including cerulean warblers. The image at right is a flock of El Oro parakeets, at the Buenaventura Reserve in Ecuador.
  • Cyclone Nargis destroyed bird habitat in Myanmar's Irraddy delta. The area is important for painted storks and bronze-winged jacanas, among other waterbird species.
  • Floods have also washed out 1600 nests of birds in the Ouse Washes. The nests included 12 pairs of rare garganeys.
  • Florida wants people to stop feeding brown pelicans.
  • The oldest documented wild bald eagle in the Midwest was found dead at the age of 31. The bird was hatched and banded in 1977 at a nest in Ottawa National Forest.
  • Here is a video about hummingbirds.
  • A white stork showed up at a maternity ward in Scotland.
  • Audubon Alaska produced a birding map for Anchorage.
  • The Earth Conservation Corps is trying to raise environmental awareness among young District residents by running educational events with live wild birds at Nationals Park during baseball games.
  • A wildlife rehab center helps orphaned wild birds learn to sing by playing CDs of the dawn chorus next to their cages.
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