Friday, November 16, 2012

Loose Feathers #367

Merlin / Photo by Bill Thompson (USFWS)
Birds and birding
  • A census of Island Scrub Jays on Santa Cruz Island in California documented fewer of these endemic jays than expected. With only 2,500 individuals, this is one of the rarest bird species in the U.S.
  • A survey estimated that 22 million birds die from window strikes in Canada each year. The number is likely higher than that in the United States, which is more densely populated. For more about human-caused bird mortality, see this fact sheet (pdf) from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. David Sibley puts the same numbers into graphical form.
  • Thousands of Lesser Flamingos have arrived at Tanzania's Lake Natron for their breeding season, which may be the largest breeding event since 2007. The habitat around Lake Natron is currently threatened by low water levels due to drought and proposed industrial development.
  • The NY Times took a look at how hurricanes affect birds.
  • Whooping Cranes are returning to Aransas NWR in eastern Texas to spend the winter. Meanwhile, there are lingering legal issues left over from the deaths of 23 cranes last winter. Environmental groups want the state to create a water management plan for the Guadelupe River that will provide adequate water for the refuge.
  • A project is photographically documenting all 39 species of birds-of-paradise in their natural habitats. There are a few videos of bird-of-paradise courtship dances embedded in the article, and you can watch more here.
  • A recent study found that New Caledonian Crows are able to infer hidden causes. 
  • The National Post has an article on Canada's quest to collect and retire all of its $1,000 bills, which are mostly in the hands of criminal enterprises. The main reason I am linking that article is that the Canadian $1,000 bill has a lovely image of Pine Grosbeaks on it.
  • A bee-eater found in Scotland is very rare for that area. Bohemian Waxwings are also irrupting into the UK this winter. Also in the UK, a new wetland reserve opened in the Trent Valley.
Nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity