Friday, February 05, 2021

Loose Feathers #787

Bald Eagle / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS

Birds and birding news

  • Neoptropical songbirds molt rapidly prior to migration and replace multiple feather tracts simultaneously.
  • Animals that burrow fare better than birds in hotter and drier conditions in the Mojave Desert. The study compared current populations to data collected by Joseph Grinnell and his assistants. Many desert birds will likely disappear as the climate warms.
  • Birders are no more likely to find additional rarities where a rare bird has been reported than by looking in other area, which suggests that the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect does not exist as a general rule.
  • Extermination of invasive rodents on Lord Howe Island is helping endemic species like the Lord Howe Rail bounce back.
  • Here are rules for antiracist birding.
  • The Biden administration is delaying implementation of a rule change meant to weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The rule is one of many from the Trump administration that attack environmental laws.

Science and nature blogging

Biodiversity and conservation

  • A quarter of known bee species have not been seen since 1990 despite increasing interest in wild pollinators and citizen science efforts. Some families like the Melittidae have declined more than others. 
  • One way to help pollinators (in this case wasps) is to plant native plants.
  • The bee study adds to the evidence that many insect populations are crashing as they face multiple threats, including habitat loss, overuse of insecticides, and climate change.
  • Half of the world's vertebrate species have been reported to iNaturalist, including 90% of the world's birds. Fish and sharks have the lowest percentages.
  • A new baleen whale species discovered in the Gulf of Mexico has a population under 100 individuals.
  • Barnegat Light is getting habitat restoration work this winter.
  • Here is a piece on animals that thrive in cities. Among other things, urban coyotes prey on rodents and Canada Goose nests.

Climate change and environmental politics