|Common Merganser / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS|
Birds and birding news
- The plan to protect salmon by killing cormorants backfired when the cormorants abandoned their breeding colony and established a new colony up the river, where they eat more salmon than they did before.
- Hummingbirds are known for their aggressive behavior around feeders, so it should not be surprising that some have beaks that evolved for fighting.
- A new birder writes about going to see the Red-flanked Bluetail that has been in Los Angeles for the past two months.
- Wisdom, the 68-year-old Laysan Albatross, has a newly-hatched chick.
- New Caledonian Crows prefer specific plant species for tool-making.
- Sarus Cranes are rebounding in India thanks to a public awareness campaign.
- Around 20,000 guillemots have washed up dead or dying on the Dutch coast this winter. The cause is currently unknown, but a container ship spill is suspected.
- Bicknell's Thrush is one of the rarest breeding birds in North America and seeing one requires a pre-dawn hike up a mountain.
- Sooty Terns on Ascension Island have declined 80% due to overfishing and climate change.
- A Facebook birding group in Maine is asking its members not to post specific locations for rare birds.
- Shorebirds need quality wetland areas inland as well as near the coasts.
- The shutdown put scientific studies on public lands, such as the California Midwinter Waterfowl Inventory, on hold, and another shutdown could interrupt even more research, such as Denali's Canada Jay project.
- In winter, starlings gather to roost in large flocks known as murmurations.
- Female Golden-collared Manakins give male vocalizations when they have testosterone implants.
- Bird safety needs to be a consideration in the placement and maintenance of bird feeders.
- Thanks to Laura Erickson, Super Bowl Sunday has doubled as Superb Owl Sunday. Here is one story from that day on Burrowing Owls.
Science and nature blogging
- krista schlyer: Border Wall Construction Begins, again
- Vermont Center for Ecostudies: VCE Biologists Discover Migratory Patterns of Two North American Grassland Bird Species
- The Prairie Ecologist: Filling in gaps in the dragonfly migration story
- Avian Hybrids: Scientific Sherlocks: The Case of the Imperial Pheasant
- Incidental Naturalist: A Life in the Freezer – Tundra Swan
- awkward botany: Inside of a Seed: Gymnosperms
- The Birdist: On Bird Names
- BirdNirdFoley Adventures: It’s SuperbOwl time!
- Avithera: Juvenile Pelican on a rampage
- Birding the day away !!: Bonaparte's Gull ~ Ad. W ~ Erith Pier, Kent - 03.02.19
- Feathered Photography: Feeding Behaviors Of Pied-billed Grebes
Conservation and biodiversity
- There is a debate over whether to emphasize intact wilderness in land conservation and what that should mean.
- Chile designated a new national park and a new marine reserve in Patagonia.
- Black bears are moving onto private lands in Alberta because the parks have too many visitors.
- African wild dogs have been recorded hunting baboons.
- A private nature preserve in Haiti will protect 68 vertebrate species, some of which are endangered.
Climate change and environmental politics
- It appears that border wall construction will soon begin at the National Butterfly Center and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. The National Butterfly Center is trying to get a restraining order. If the wall is built, the state park could cease to exist as a public park. Wall construction threatens the area's thriving ecotourism industry, and most local people oppose it. Indigenous activists are planning a protest encampment along the lines of Standing Rock.
- This week Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey introduced legislation for a Green New Deal in the form of a non-binding resolution. Here are some reactions.
- Last year was the fourth hottest year on record, and the U.S. had 14 climate-related disasters that each caused at least a billion dollars in damage.
- Trump administration officials were warned about what would happen at national parks and other federal lands if they were left open during the shutdown.
- One-third of the ice cap in the Hindu Kush and Himalayas is likely to melt because of climate change.
- Berkeley recently passed a law that will mandate that all single-use items be compostable and charge fees for certain items. This is a good start, but reduction of plastic use needs to go beyond local bans on plastic bags or straws.
- A hydropower project in Colombia reduced the Cauca River to less than 10% of its normal flow.
- Here is an explanation of some types of solutions for protecting the coast from storms and sea level rise.
- Small streams are important parts of watersheds and need protection.
- A lawsuit is challenging a federal permit for development along the San Pedro River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest.