Friday, January 03, 2020

Loose Feathers #730

Red-headed Woodpecker on New Year's Day / by me
Birds and birding news
  • The number of Gurney's Pittas has declined rapidly since surveys in 2003. Major threats include the wildlife trade (pittas get caught in traps for pangolins) and deforestation (primarily for palm oil plantations).
  • The most colorful coot chicks tend to be the most vulnerable, and the bright colors can get adult coots to feed them more.
  • Hooded Grebes are threatened by introduced American Mink and Rainbow Trout as well as increasing predation from Kelp Gulls.A conservation program includes guardians to watch over the nesting colonies.
  • As the climate warms and more people provide feeders, increasing numbers of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are overwintering in the Carolinas.
  • Two Spoon-billed Sandpiper chicks have hatched in England as part of a captive-breeding program. So far the program has not successfully fledged any chicks.
  • A zoo in India is raising endangered Greater Adjutant chicks as part of a captive-breeding program.
  • About 5,000 Golden Eagles winter east of the Mississippi according to new estimates.
  • Vultures in Zululand, South Africa, suffered their four mass poisonings in 2019.
Science and nature blogging
Biodiversity and conservation
  • A survey last summer found an increase in the number of endangered Seabeach Amaranth plants on New Jersey's beaches. Protection zones at Island Beach State Park and elsewhere have allowed the plants to thrive and also benefit beach-nesting birds.
  • The Natural History Museum in Britain announced that their scientists named 412 new species in 2019
  • Conifers rely on their existing root systems during times of drought rather than growing new, deeper roots.
Climate change and environmental politics