|Ring-necked Pheasant / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS|
Birds and birding news
- The Boreal Songbird Initiative has started an acoustic monitoring program to get better information on the birds that inhabit the boreal forest. Some of the devices in the program are being maintained in collaboration with First Nations scientists.
- The Collared Flycatcher is evolving smaller white forehead patches, apparently in response to climate change.
- The US Navy is trying to move a breeding colony of Laysan Albatrosses away from its airfield on Kauai by shifting fertile eggs to foster parents in a colony in a safer location.
- The proposed expansion of the border wall with Mexico is primarily a human rights issue but also threatens migratory animals along the border; that includes 111 endangered species and 108 migratory birds according to an evaluation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Audubon has more on the effects on birds, particularly Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls.
- There is a new Ivory-billed Woodpecker paper by a long-time searcher. See the summary by Audubon and the journal article. The evidence he presents is not very compelling.
- Last fall, 3,000 geese died when they landed in a toxic retention pond at a former copper mine that is now a Superfund site. The toxic waters also threatens the region's groundwater, and it is unclear whether federal and state officials will be able to prevent it from becoming an even bigger problem.
- Volunteers are cordoning off parts of state-owned beaches in New Jersey to protect birds and dune vegetation.
- Mary Tyler Moore is best known for her acting career, but late in life she campaigned to have the nest used by Pale Male restored after the building's management had it removed.
Science and nature blogging
- Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere: The War on Science: Can the US Learn From Canada?
- Mia McPherson's On The Wing Photography: Without Science You Would Not See This Short-eared Owl Photo
- 10,000 Birds: Why Birds?
- Birding New Jersey!: Other People’s Bird Books: Jean Clemens
- The Meadowlands Nature Blog: Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Birding Binoculars – Keeping It Simple
- The Speckled Hatchback: Post #90 - The death of the ABA Big Year.....(and Wood Duck photos!)
- Viewing nature with Eileen: Limpkin
- Birding Dude: Townsend's Solitaire: A New State and Life Bird
- Feathered Photography: The Exhausting Schedule Of Nesting Red-naped Sapsuckers
Environment and biodiversity
- Among a flurry of executive orders at the outset of the Trump administration was one reopening the way for the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Both of these pipelines threaten important water supplies, and their economic benefits are questionable. See here for suggestions on how to take action; for the Dakota Access pipeline there is an EIS in the Federal Register and you can submit public comments.
- The Earth may have warmed more than estimated since pre-industrial times, which would mean there is less time to cut emissions to forestall catastrophic climate change.
- Meanwhile, the new administration's hostility to climate science and environmental protections is leading EPA scientists to question the security of the jobs and sparking broader questions about whether the scientific integrity standards implemented during the Obama administration will be maintained.
- If you use climate-related data or document from government websites like Climate.gov, now might be a good time to download backup copies.
- The muzzling and potentially gutting of the EPA and other scientists threatens to undo the protections that people like Rachel Carson fought for.
- A CDC-backed conference to discuss climate change and public health was abruptly cancelled and then revived through non-governmental organizations.
- More scientists are considering running for office to combat the anti-science atmosphere in parts of the government.
- The large mammals that populated Australia at the end of the last Ice Age were probably driven to extinction by climate change.
- While a rainy winter has brought some drought relief to California, there are still long-term problems with how the state manages its water.
- Utah House Republicans introduced legislation to revoke the Bears Ears monument designation and reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
- The fight continues over a proposed natural gas pipeline through the southern part of the New Jersey Pinelands to serve a power plant in Cape May County. The Pinelands Commission had previously ruled against the pipeline, and then punted the decision to a different agency until a court ruled against the pipeline permit and sent the question back to the commission.
- Bergen County is holding a series of public meetings for the development of a master plan to manage county parks.