Friday, March 6, 2015

This week in birds - #148

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


Bald Eagles are already nesting, and in the Northeast, where they've had massive snowfalls this winter, the birds are having to contend with some harsh winter weather. A pair of the birds nesting in a state park in Pennsylvania had a particularly tricky time of it. The snow covered the sitting bird right up to the eyes. Both parents take turns brooding the eggs, so it is unclear if this is the mother or the father, but whichever it is, it is certainly a portrait in parental devotion. There are two eggs in the nest under the bird and all that snow. The eggs are expected to hatch in about two to three weeks - that is, if the parents are able to keep them warm enough until then. I'm betting on the birds.
Here's a video of the bird getting rid of some of that snow. But, as you can see, the snow was still falling.




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The picture that has been burning up the Internet this week is this one, of a weasel riding on a woodpecker's back.


Picture courtesy of Martin Le-May
The picture is evidently authentic and depicts a real event. You can read about it here.
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A report from the U.S. Forest Service published in "The Journal of Wildlife Management" details how forest management practices can affect the species of birds that live in them.

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A report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences postulates that drought caused by climate change has been instrumental in fomenting the civil war in Syria.

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The Myanmar Jerdon's Babbler, thought to have been extinct since 1941, has been rediscovered on a recent expedition in the country.

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And there has been another "rediscovery," this time in Cuba. One of the world's most threatened waterbirds, the critically endangered Zapata Rail, has been sighted once again.

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Arctic sea ice is thinning faster than expected. It is down 65% since 1975.

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The population of Common Cuckoos in the U.K. has plummeted by more than 50% in the last twenty years. Scientists are tracking the birds on their migration routes to try to find information that will help preserve the species.

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"Beetles in the Bush" has a post about identifying flower ants.

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New Jersey has approved a drastic expansion of its state bear hunt, which will feature a longer season, expansion into new areas, and the use of bow and arrow.

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The Northern Goshawk has been in the news recently because it is featured in a new book that is getting a lot of comment, H Is for Hawk. The goshawk is a mighty hunter that uses a variety of strategies to capture its prey.

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Australia's largest owl is the well-named Powerful Owl. One of its number has been entertaining spectators recently in a suburban Canberra park.

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Colombia has proposed a protected wildlife corridor that would reach across South America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes Mountains.

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Around the Backyard:

Eastern Bluebirds and Carolina Chickadees are still putting the finishing touches on their nests in their respective boxes. Egg laying should begin soon.

I was away from my yard for a couple of days and, when I returned today, the American Goldfinches had disappeared. I'm sure there are still at least a few around but I didn't see them while I was watching today.

The Chipping Sparrows are still here in large numbers. They have been the surprise of the winter, in that they have been the most numerous species at my feeders this season.

There are still some Cedar Waxwings here as well but not nearly in the numbers that we are used to at this time of winter. I see small flocks of less than 20 birds only. 




4 comments:

  1. The video of the eagle is astounding. Thanks for the roundup, Dorothy!

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  2. Amazing the image and video of the eagle, Dorothy. I also saw the pic of the weasel riding on the back of the woodpecker and wondered if the woodpecker didn't realize he had a passenger on board or didn't want to shake off. :-) It certainly looks made up.

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    Replies
    1. The Green Woodpecker of the U.K. Is a ground feeder and while on the ground was attacked by the weasel. The bird managed th take off and fly a short distance. Apparently, the weasel was surprised by the experience and ran off and the bird escaped. True story.

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