Friday, October 25, 2013

Loose Feathers #415

California Quail / USFWS Photo
Birds and birding
  • Two dead California Condors were recently found in water tanks used for fighting forest fires. One found near the Tehachapi Mountains was one of the few condors hatched and reared in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Kern County Fire Department are working to prevent future condor deaths at the tanks.
  • Here is a tongue-in-cheek essay about why a zombie apocalypse would be good for condor conservation.
  • A citizen science project is tracking bird collisions at windows.
  • The Ashy Storm-Petrel, a rare seabird found in the Pacific, was denied federal endangered species protection
  • North American birders will be familiar with a Red Knot subspecies (Calidris canutus rufa) that migrates along the Atlantic coast. Another Red Knot subspecies, Calidris canutus piersmai, breeds in Siberia, migrates through China, and winters in Australia. Like the North American subspecies, C.c. piersmai faces threats to its migratory stopover sites, in this case from coastal development.
  • Since invasive rats were exterminated from Rat Island in Alaska, seabirds have begun to breed there again. The island, which is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, has been renamed Hawadax Island, a name chosen by the local Unangan people.
  • An international agreement has banned ships from dumping PIB, the chemical responsible for killing and injuring numerous birds in the English Channel.
  • If you are setting up outdoor Halloween decorations, be careful of how they might affect birds.
  • Meanwhile, 30 dead birds were found around the Ivanpah solar installation; half of them had burn injuries. 
  • Scientists have discovered some genes that govern the molecular clock of the Common Buzzard. A molecular clock is an internal mechanism that governs things like circadian rhythm and migratory timing.
  • A newspaper article from 100 years ago records the appearance of a white starling.
  • A new condor cam has a live feed of a condor feeding area in central California.
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity