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Loose Feathers #645

White-crowned Sparrow / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
  • Newly-analyzed fossil skulls of Ichthyornis dispar show a moment in the transition from dinosaurs to modern birds. Like dinosaurs it had muscular jaws with teeth, but other features of its skull are more similar to modern birds. (If you have access you can read the article here.)
  • A scientist is looking for recordings of Mourning Warblers singing in migration, as part of a project tracking whether breeding populations stay together during migration and winter.
  • Owens Lake in California became a source of toxic dust after it was drained to provide water to Los Angeles, but recently its wetlands were restored to reduce the dust, and the lake has become migratory shorebird habitat.
  • Wetland restorations like that are important since the future is grim for many migratory shorebird species.
  • I have not seen a Green Heron yet this year, but one has been hanging around a garden in Wales this week.
  • The introduction of a beetle to control invasive tamarisk along southwestern rivers harmed conservation efforts for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher.
  • David Sibley has a reminder about how to get other birders on an interesting bird.
  • A new study found that the umbrella species approach to habitat management breaks down when the needs of vulnerable bird species conflict with each other.
  • Scientists have been tracking Egyptian Vultures to learn their migration routes.
  • Warm water anomalies along the west coast of the U.S. have threatened seabird populations like the Heermann's Gull.
Science and nature blogging
  • Snapshots of Nature: Trash Birds
  • Vermont Center for Ecostudies: Forest Thrush Mix Up
  • Auk & Condor Updates: Endangered Petrels and Trawl Fishing Clash in Tasman Sea
  • awkward botany: The Seed Salting Experiments of Charles Darwin
  • Cicada Mania: Cicada habitat in peril in Connecticut
  • Natural History Museum Curator of Diptera: Celebrating Robber flies – big, beautiful venomous assassins
  • Mia McPherson's On The Wing Photography: Photographing Yellow-rumped Warblers in Cluttered and Clean Habitats
  • The Bruce Mactavish Newfoundland Birding Blog: Odd Looking Thick-billed Murre - 28 April 2018
  • Union Bay Watch: The Air Dance
  • Edge Effects: Photographer Nathan Destro Finds Beauty in Human Presence in Nature 
Environment and biodiversity
  • The levels of smog pollutants have stopped falling in the past several years as the easiest air pollution cuts have already been maybe. Stricter emissions rules have been formulated, but the implementation date keeps getting pushed back.
  • While many Americans (especially politicians) continue to deny that climate change is real, truck drivers in Siberia are seeing the results up-close.
  • USDA Wildlife Services killed 23,646 beavers in 2017, but there are better ways of coexisting with them.
  • A reorganization plan would transfer several senior National Park Service employees, possibly with the goal of making them retire rather than move across the country. Meanwhile, Trump has still not nominated a director for the National Park Service.
  • Last weekend, iNaturalist hosted the City Nature Challenge, which draws participants from around the world to record as many species as possible in their cities. Here is an interview with one of the participants from Seattle.
  • Wood Frogs hold their urine all winter because it keeps them alive even as their bodies freeze.
  • Wet wipes are not flushable, but get flushed down drains anyway and aggregate at the bottoms of rivers.
  • Feral pigs now do most of the seed dispersal on Guam after invasive species wiped out the island's bird population.


This post first appeared on A DC Birding, please read the originial post: here

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Loose Feathers #645

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