Friday, July 29, 2011

Loose Feathers #301

Greater Yellowlegs / Photo by Dave Spier (USFWS)
Birds and birding news
  • Scientists studied how far toucans disperse seeds by tracking them with GPS backpacks. Toucans disperse seeds an average of 472 feet from the food source, which makes them an excellent means of seed dispersal.
  • For Acorn Woodpeckers, cooperative breeding is more helpful in times of plenty than in times of scarcity. When food is scarce, the helpers tend to use up more resources than they bring in.
  • The BLM is working on a new management plan for Greater Sage-Grouse on its lands.
  • A Forest Service study concluded that reducing clear-cutting in western forests to help Spotted Owls and salmon also turns the forests into carbon sinks.
  • Meanwhile, the BLM will have to set aside a management plan that called for more logging in northwestern forests because of a legal error.
  • The House of Representatives is working on a bill that would make sweeping changes to bird conservation, including defunding programs like the State Wildlife Grants and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. If it passes, this will probably die in the Senate, but it is indicative of the hostile political atmosphere for wildlife conservation.
  • Three Osprey chicks in the U.K. have been equipped with satellite trackers to record their journey to Africa for the winter.
Nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity