Friday, May 25, 2018

Loose Feathers #648

Common Raven eating a frog / Photo by Jacob W. Frank/NPS
Birds and birding news
  • Hemlock forests decimated by the hemlock woolly adelgid lose birds that breed in hemlock forests and their territories are taken by species that thrive in other forest types.
  • When environmental conditions are difficult, Willow Flycatchers are likely to put off breeding until the next year.
  • Birds that survived the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous were likely ground-dwelling birds since fossil evidence suggests that most trees were wiped out by fires and other disasters.
  • A new study argues that birds lost their teeth to reduce the development time necessary before hatching.
  • Searching for the critically endangered Niceforo's Wren required a dangerous river journey but turned up enough individuals that estimates of the wren's global population increased by 10%
  • Scientists in Europe have been studying the migrations of White Storks with cellular tracking devices. Among the discoveries is that groups of migrants have leaders that search for thermals to make the flight easier for the others. Less efficient flyers that flap their wings more often tend to winter in southern Europe rather than flying all the way to Africa.
  • Lead poisoning from spent ammunition is taking a toll on already-endangered vultures in Botswana and neighboring countries in southern Africa.
  • Conservationists are using DNA analysis and other methods to track which captive African Gray Parrots were born in the wild to stop illegal capture and smuggling of the endangered parrots.
  • Atlantic Puffins breeding in the Farne Islands have declined, according to the most recent survey data.
  • Fairywrens from different species can recognize each other and cooperate.
  • Dipping on a rare bird is disappointing but can be motivation to search for other vagrants.
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity