Friday, December 25, 2015

Loose Feathers #525

Trumpeter Swans on Seedskadee NWR / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, December 18, 2015

Loose Feathers #524

Golden Eagle / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, December 11, 2015

Loose Feathers #523

Painted Bunting at Prospect Park (photo by me)
Birds and birding news
  • This week I went to see the Painted Bunting that has lingered in the southeastern corner of Prospect Park since it was found on November 29. (One of my photos is above.) Here is a roundup of reactions and media coverage (as of a few days ago). There is a chance that the bunting will stay for a while since it has plenty to eat in the native plantings around the ice center and the early part of the winter is expected to stay mild.
  • All the same, there are other birds worth watching in the New York metro area.
  • Blackpoll Warblers that breed in northwestern North America have to migrate eastward across the continent in addition to their better-known ocean crossing.
  • Scientists were able to locate a rare Ashy Storm-Petrel nest through analysis of audio recordings
  • Spotted Owls continue to decline wherever they come into contact with Barred Owls.
  • The Bald Eagle population in Wisconsin reached a new high in the latest state surveys.
  • An injured Bald Eagle was rescued from a backyard in New Jersey after three days of trying to coax it out of a tree.
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • Endangered species decisions are often shaped more by politics than science, as in the recent decision not to list wolverines as endangered.
  • Something to remember when reading coverage of the climate talks in Paris is that the world is already committed to warming at least 1.5°C because of past and current emissions.
  • WNYC has a tool for looking up toxic sites in New Jersey. The information in it is a little sparse.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Loose Feathers #522

Green-Winged Teal / Photo by Tom Koerner (USFWS)
Birds and birding news
  • The protection of Important Bird Areas used by migratory birds is too uneven to guarantee the birds' survival. Of the 8,200 designated Important Bird Areas, only 22% are completely protected and 41% partially overlap with protected areas, and 91% of migratory birds lack protection of part or all of their migratory routes. 
  • New research suggests that the Dodo was not doomed to extinction and that invasive animals played a significant role in the Dodo's demise.
  • An adult male Painted Bunting has spent the last several days in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, well north of its usual range.
  • Seabirds return the toxic chemicals from water pollution back to land via their excrement.
  • Russian birds nesting in a church tower preserved numerous historical documents and other items in their nests.
  • The British Trust for Ornithology released its red list of birds on concern this week. While several species were downgraded, the Bittern and Nightjar improved enough to be taken off the list.
  • Possible disturbance of dotterel nesting sites during the filming of a music video is the latest example of how shooting in exotic locales can harm rare wildlife.
  • Humans speak and birds sing using different vocal organs but similar physical mechanisms.
  • There may be rare geese lurking in Canada Goose flocks if one has the patience to look for them. 
  • Starlings are more likely than other birds to drown in groups, perhaps because of their habit of bathing and drinking in groups.
  • With a handful of exceptions, most terms of venery are purely fanciful.
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity