Friday, November 15, 2013

Loose Feathers #418

Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstones / Photo by Bill Buchanan (USFWS)
Birds and birding
Nature and science blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • A study estimated that 600,000 bats were killed at wind turbines last year. The precise number is hard to determine; it could be as high as 900,000. Deaths occur mainly when bats are hit by moving blades, but in some cases sudden changes in air pressure might be fatal. Several solutions are currently being tested.
  • In other bat news, a church in Hunterdon County wants to keep its steeple as welcoming to bats as possible as it repairs hurricane damage. 
  • A new interactive map from the University of Maryland shows how forests have changed worldwide from 2000-2012. Among other things, it makes clear the scale of forest loss in Indonesia.
  • The Senate defense bill has language exempting the Navy from laws protecting the southern sea otters of California.
  • Morbillivirus is spreading south with migrating dolphins along the Atlantic coast, and it may be infected whales as well.
  • The US government crushed six tons of ivory to demonstrate its seriousness about ending the illegal ivory trade (and the consequent slaughter of elephants).
  • Since the return of wolves to Yellowstone, grizzly bears there have had more berries to eat.
  • A recent study of modern and fossil DNA suggests that dogs were first domesticated in Europe. However, other recent studies have pointed to origins in China or the Middle East, so there is not yet a consensus.
  • A 90-car train carrying 2.7 million gallons of crude oil derailed and caught fire in Alabama. The damage to surrounding wetlands is so far unclear.
  • A clam that was thought to be 405 years old turned out to be 507 years old.
  • In local news, a rabid fox was found in the vicinity of College Farm Road in New Brunswick. This is the 14th rabies case in Middlesex County this year. Also, a pumpkin-launching catapult was found in the beach in Laurence Harbor, an occasional birding site.