Saturday, September 24, 2016

This week in birds - #224

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

Green-winged Teal

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The winter finch forecast is out. This is the forecast published by Ron Pittaway every year that predicts the movements of finches from Canada and the upper northeastern United States into the southern parts of the continent during the winter months. In general, he says that some of the cone crops in Canada have been poor this year which may prompt the finches to move farther south in search of food.

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The modern day version of the Sagebrush Rebellion advocates turning over federal public lands in the West to private ownership or to the states. One of many questions not addressed by such proposals is just how the new owners would deal with protecting communities from wildfires that occur with increasing frequency over the area.

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For the past fifteen years, ultralight aircraft have led young captive-hatched Whooping Cranes from Wisconsin to Florida on their first fall migration. There have been numerous problems with this program and this year researchers are trying something different. The young cranes are being placed with mature experienced cranes who, it is hoped, will lead them on migration. 

A few of this year's chicks which researchers hope will be able to make it safely to Florida with their adult leaders.

 
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Monday that it is proposing giving the Iiwi, a red honeycreeper unique to Hawaii, status as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, allowing the bird to have greater protections. This comes at a time when very many of Hawaii's indigenous birds are in dire circumstances and facing possible extinction. 

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The rusty-patched bumblebee has been proposed by the USFWS for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This native bee, found in the Midwest and Northeastern United States, has been declining over the past two decades due to habitat loss, use of pesticides and other chemicals in farming and gardening practices, and other challenges. 

Rusty-patched bumblebee


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The National Audubon Society announced results of a national poll that suggests that two-thirds of America's registered voters are in favor of stronger regulations of energy industries that make them more accountable for causing the deaths of birds.

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News from the world of anthropology: The first extensive study of the DNA of indigenous Australians supports the claim that they are the most ancient continuous civilization on Earth. The study dates their origins to more than 50,000 years ago and traces their journey out of Africa and across Asia. 

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Birdbaths are important aids to birds' survival, but it is important to keep them clean to prevent spread of disease and breeding places for mosquitoes which may cause harm to humans and other animals as well as birds. 

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There is a crisis going on in American forests which isn't getting a lot of notice. Call it a quiet crisis. Millions of trees across the continent are dying from drought, disease, insects, and wildfires. All of these problems are exacerbated by a warming climate. 

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The winds of Hurricane Newton which hit the western coast of Mexico in early September pushed many seabirds all the way into Arizona, a bonanza for birders there.

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Ancient oyster shells, long entombed in the muck of salt marshes, may be able to give scientists clues that will aid in the restoration of such vital habitats. 

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The islands where two Pacific seabirds, the Scripp's Murrelet and Guadalupe Murrelet, breed have been restored and invasive species that posed a threat to birds have been removed. This has prompted the USFWS to announce that the birds no longer need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Common sense conservation practices do work!

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Caspian Terns have been found nesting 1,000 miles farther north than ever before recorded. This is an adaptation to the warming climate.

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The world's only alpine parrot, the Kea of New Zealand, is facing extinction from predation by non-native predators and persecution by farmers who view them as a threat to their crops.

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Did you know that fish sing? Apparently, fish on the reef have been found to greet the day much as birds do with a dawn chorus. Of course, a fish "song" sounds a bit different.






6 comments:

  1. you live in an amazing landscape ,loved the birds

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  2. How do fish sing? I know they communicate because I have an aquarium and I have seen firsthand how smart they can be, but singing? Wow! :-)

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    1. If you click on the link, you can actually listen to the "songs." I have to say they are more percussive than melodic.

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  3. Whoa, sorry, I missed this one. Thanks for the news. Losing millions of trees makes me feel queasy.

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    1. It should make us all queasy and determined to plant more trees and protect the ones we have.

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