Saturday, July 23, 2016

This week in birds - #216

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

Male Wood Duck.

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June marked the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat on the planet. It is likely that July will be the 15th.

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Osprey and Bald Eagle chicks in Florida are starving, possibly as a result of the encroachment of salt water into the fresh water areas where their parents seek food to feed them.

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The "Capital Naturalist" tells us about a very interesting insect, the cicada killer or cicada hawk.

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Unesco has designated the Iraqi marshlands as a world heritage site. The area includes four archaeological sites and three wetland marshes in southern Iraq.

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Bird species that are able to adapt and live in different types of environments can more easily make the adjustment when faced with the challenges of climate change.

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Trump's border wall would be a disaster for wildlife. The worst thing about the wall's likely wildlife impacts is that they're completely unnecessary. Even if you feel that the human rights crisis involved in international migration is best addressed by sealing the border, there are other ways to do just that, with cameras and other mid-range surveillance equipment, that won't affect so much as a single hungry javelina.

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A study of Ovenbirds and Acadian Flycatchers reveals that the habitat needs of nestling songbirds and fledgling songbirds may be different.

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Even if de-extinction could work and we could bring back species that have gone extinct in the past, they would not be the same as that original species, so it is imperative that we save what we have.

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Ptarmigan, which live in cold ecosystems, are not strongly affected by fluctuations in seasonal weather based on two separate populations that were studied in Colorado, scientists report.

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"Bourbons, Bastards, and Birds" writes about the updated list of species from the American Ornithologists Union with its most recent combining and splitting of species.

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Climate change could make much of the Arctic unsuitable for millions of migratory birds that travel north to breed each year, according to a new international study published this week in Global Change Biology.

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Recent research has shown that the largest and most species-rich group of lichens are not simply alliances between two organisms - one fungus and one alga - as every scientist for the last 150 years has claimed. Instead, they’re alliances between three. There are actually two fungi in the group.

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The "View from the Cape" blog profiles the Solitary Sandpiper.

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The Dovekie, also known as the Little Auk, is one of the smaller members of the unique auk family. They live in the Arctic and recent research found that their foraging may be determined by the underwater terrain in their habitat.

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Hummingbirds have a unique collision avoidance system built into their brains that allows them to perform high-speed aerobatics in safety. The agile birds, whose wings beat up to 70 times a second, can hover, fly backwards, and whizz through dense vegetation at more than 50 kilometers per hour. How they manage to avoid potentially fatal crashes has remained a mystery until now. Researchers in Canada conducted a series of experiments which showed that the birds process visual information differently from other animals. As they dart and dive at speed, they judge distance from the way looming objects appear to get bigger, and vice versa. So, to hummingbirds, size, as they perceive it, certainly matters.

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird visiting a canna blossom.


4 comments:

  1. It's interesting the tidbit about hummingbirds. Perhaps they have a built-in sonar like dolphins and whales.

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    1. They certainly have a unique way of seeing.

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  2. I also liked the hummingbird part. I have tons of them in my yard. I had to look up ptarmigan. I don't know what I thought it was but I did not know it was a bird. How many times have I gone past that word in novels? Thanks Dorothy!

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    1. Lucky you to have tons of the little jeweled fliers. I've only seen one in my garden recently. Usually, I have more, but it's been a slow season for them this year.

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