|Gray Jay / Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS|
Birds and birding news
- Seabirds nesting in Alaska are having increasing difficulty raising their chicks to adulthood as the Arctic warms.
- A new extinct giant penguin species from the Paleocene has been discovered in New Zealand. This species lived much earlier than other penguin species of similar size.
- A new study sorts out the evolutionary relationships of wrens and their allies in the Americas.
- Critical stopover habitat for the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper could be lost to a land reclamation project in China.
- Ornithologists have discovered a new species of antbird in northern Peru, the Cordillera Azul Antbird. It is closely related to the Ferruginous-backed Antbird and is threatened by deforestation for sun coffee plantations.
- A study identified neurons that Swamp Sparrows use to learn their songs.
- Urban-dwelling Cooper's Hawks are thriving around Albuquerque, to the point that they are pushing rural hawks off their territories. Their success may be linked to an increase in the urban White-winged Dove population since the 1980s.
- Henst's Goshawks, native to Madagascar, are difficult to observe, but what and where they hunt can be studied by retrieving prey remains from their nests after the breeding season.
- Dates are set for the Asian Waterbird Census in January 18. Volunteers are needed to count wintering waterbirds along the Central Asian and East Asian – Australasian Flyways.
- Conservationists are releasing 10 Golden Eagles in Scotland in the hopes of rebuilding their population in northern England.
- The Black-backed Oriole in Pennsylvania was worth an estimated $223,851 to the local and regional economy from the 1800+ birders who went to see it.
- A second Snowy Owl has been banded in New Jersey this winter, this time in Cape May.
- Christmas Bird Count season starts this weekend. You can find a count to participate in here.
Science and nature blogging
- awkward botany: When Urban Pollinator Gardens Meet Native Plant Communities
- Feathered Photography: Pied-billed Grebe – A Strategy For A Fish Too Big
- Bird Ecology Study Group: Rodent Tuber (Typhonium flagelliforme): 3. Pollination
- British Ornithologists' Union Blog: The changing survival of Bewick’s Swans
- Outside My Window: Cooper’s Hawk Family Life
- 10,000 Birds: Birding under Clouds of Uncertainty: Santa Ana NWR
- The Dancing Birder: Big Years From My Perspective
- Bug Eric: Losing the Pine Rocklands
- MoCoSoCo Birds: 2017 New Jersey Bald Eagle Report – Dec. 2017
- Dynamic Ecology: Concerned about the US tax bill? Here’s what to do.
Environment and biodiversity
- Climate change is likely to change global wind patterns so that wind farms in the U.S. and Europe generate less electricity. Other areas may see an increase in wind energy production.
- A new study found that children whose mothers live within two miles of a fracking site tend to have low birth weights.
- A uranium company appears to have influenced the decision to shrink Bears Ears National Monument.
- Customs and Border Patrol has started blocking visitors from entering the National Butterfly Center in anticipation of expanding the border wall. The center is private property and home to endangered species. Two-thirds of the center would be on the Mexican side of the new wall. The North American Butterfly Association is suing to stop the project.
- The ongoing biodiversity crisis means that many species of invertebrates will disappear before they are discovered or their behaviors are understood.
- Light pollution draws pollinators away from plants that they would normally be pollinating.
- In addition to raising fees at national parks (you can complain about that here), the Trump administration plans to allow fewer free days at national parks in 2018.
- Under Scott Pruitt's direction, the EPA has taken fewer actions against polluters.
- Three quarters of Pennsylvania's forests are privately owned, which puts them at risk of development or parcelization.
- New documents emerged showing that the proposed marina for Liberty State Park would be massive and completely transform the southern end of the park. Jersey City will fight the plan.