Friday, October 30, 2009

Loose Feathers #210

Bird and birding news
  • A recent study found that migratory European robins can sense direction using light-sensing cells in their eyes. Previous studies (in different species) had suggested birds can sense the Earth's magnetic field with iron particles in their beaks.
  • In the past week, thousands of birds have died off the Pacific Northwest because of an algae bloom. Over 450 were taken to the International Bird Rescue and Research Center for rehabilitation.
  • The migration route of Eleonora's Falcon has been documented using satellite tracking. The falcons fly from northern Africa directly across the Sahara on their way to Madagascar. An unusual feature of this species is its ability to migrate by both night and day.
  • Most of the UK's 63 rare birds have increased their populations over the past decade thanks to active conservation programs. A gallery of some rare species is available here.
  • About 80 distinctive Australian birds are in trouble due to habitat destruction and climate change.
  • Twenty-two rare bird species have been documented in a rugged mountain forest on Timor Island.
  • The American Bird Conservancy is pushing a program to reforest parts of Appalachia as a potential green jobs program. Among the potential beneficiaries would be declining forest species such as Cerulean Warblers.
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