Saturday, August 9, 2014

This week in birds - #120

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:

The beautyberries are ripening and the mockingbirds have discovered them. Mockingbirds love berries of just about all kinds, but beautyberries are particular favorites. This one was gobbling up those berries as fast as he could. You might notice that he looks a little raggedy. That's because he is still going through his summer molt. In a few more weeks he will be sleek and beautiful again, every shiny new feather in place.

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Birds that are found sick or injured on the streets of New York City have a friend in need, a friend indeed in New York Wild Bird Fund which operates a hospital to care for the birds. It was founded in 2001 and has since treated more than 10,000 feathered patients.

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And on the other side of the country, humans have come to the rescue of a flock of flightless geese that had become stranded because of California's extreme drought. The geese had become helpless prey for foxes and other predators because their pond had dried up. Rescuers moved in to capture them and transfer them to other areas that had more water.

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An oil refinery in Delaware is in danger from the rising sea levels. This is something that we will see more of in the future as global warming continues to melt polar ice and raise the sea, but it is something that is happening in Delaware at present. The oil refinery has asked the government for help in holding back the sea.

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Seasonal articles and regional summaries detailing last year's Christmas Bird Count are now available at the Audubon website.

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There is growing concern about the decline in population of the Blue-footed Boobies of the Galapagos Islands. There is speculation that the decline is related to a decline in sardines which are a major food source for the birds.

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How did birds ever learn to migrate and how did they develop their migratory routes? "Not Exactly Rocket Science" has a blog post about the evolution of migration.

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California's Tri-colored Blackbird is in serious trouble and the state is considering emergency measures that it can take to help the bird and keep it from becoming extinct.

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The "Rewild" blog is featuring a series of posts about invasive species in California. This week's blog features the bullfrog.

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The survival of many penguin species is at risk because of habitat degradation. In this, they are not different from many threatened and endangered species.

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The pangolin, a small scaly ant-eating mammal, is being eaten into extinction. The Chinese consider it a delicacy. A campaign of education is under way to try to stop the decimation of the little creature.

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Many once-common marine birds of the American Northwest are disappearing from those shores. Their decline is apparently related to a similar decline in the species of fish on which they prefer to feed.

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The U.S. Energy Information Agency has announced the release of a mapping tool that will show flood risks to our existing energy infrastructure.

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Friends of Animals has sued to prevent further killing of birds around airports. FOA considers that most such killings are excessive and that less lethal means can be used to shift the birds.

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"Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens" has a very interesting post about some very useful wasps - the stingless ones. Many of these species parasitize insects that are pests in the garden and so they are very handy little guys for gardeners to have around.


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