Friday, July 13, 2018

Loose Feathers #654

Northern Harrier / Photo by Tom Koerner/@USFWS
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Friday, July 06, 2018

Loose Feathers #653

Killdeer protecting its nest / Photo by Mara Koenig/USFWS
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Loose Feathers #652

Red-headed Woodpecker / Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Loose Feathers #651

Greater Sage-Grouse / Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
  • Audubon sent reporters to cover three teams competing in New Jersey Audubon's World Series of Birding: one adult team, one youth team, and one big sit team. The article is pretty good, but birds that only part of the team sees or hears are not "dirty birds" as the authors say repeatedly. The rules just limit the number a team can count.
  • A study of songbirds in Missouri found that habitat restoration (including the use of controlled burns) leads to more successful nesting
  • Toxins in marine mammal carcasses might be why coastal California Condors produce fewer offspring than inland condors.
  • Australia's most threatened species, like the King Island Scrubtit and the King Island Brown Thornbill, are monitored mostly by volunteers because of a lack of funding for conservation agencies.
  • Over the past forty years, average daily temperatures on New York’s Whiteface Mountain have risen 3°F and birds have moved 270 feet up the mountain from their previous ranges in response.
  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for reports of banded Piping Plovers.
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Friday, June 08, 2018

Loose Feathers #650

Violet-green Swallow / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
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Friday, June 01, 2018

Loose Feathers #649

Green-tailed Towhee / Photo by Jacob W. Frank/NPS
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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.
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Loose Feathers #647

Prothonotary Warbler / USFWS Photo
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Loose Feathers #646

Cinnamon Teal / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
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Environment and biodiversity
  • The Trump administration killed a program that monitored greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane remotely.
  • The wild Red Wolf population is down to 40 individuals and could be extinct within eight years. The population crash seems to be linked to North Carolina's legalization of Coyote hunting, which caused the (accidental or deliberate) deaths of many Red Wolves.
  • Illegal shooting has held back recovery of the Mexican Gray Wolf population are well.
  • Elsewhere, Gray Wolves are losing ground in Alaska because logging is decimating their old-growth habitat.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are finally starting to use a synthetic test rather than horseshore crab blood to test for bacterial contamination (a use that contributed to the decline of horseshoe crabs on the US east coast and elsewhere).
  • New Jersey rejected a proposal to expand a nearby golf course into the Caven Point section of Liberty State Park, where habitat was recently restored and trails opened to the public.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Loose Feathers #645

White-crowned Sparrow / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
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