Saturday, October 17, 2015

This week in birds - #178

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

Wild Turkeys photographed at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

*~*~*~*

The ABA Blog has a post about the common language of birders, which can sometimes be an inexplicable dialect for non-birders.

*~*~*~*

The worst extinction that Earth has suffered so far occurred at the end of the Permian Age and was caused by volcanic activity which drastically increased the amount of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. This in turn caused a rapid change in the climate to which many plants and animals were unable to adapt. Scientists continue to study this phenomenon and new research has just been published. 

*~*~*~*

A new study using eBird quantifies the effect of participation in Citizen Science projects on the citizen scientists themselves. Does it make them better observers? The answer seems to be "yes."

*~*~*~*

Did you know that snails can jump? Well, some of them can anyway, and it seems that that ability may give those snails a "leg up," so to speak, in an era of climate change.

*~*~*~*

The City Birder has an interesting post about birds that can be seen in the city while the birder is using public transportation.

*~*~*~*

Winter is coming, and it looks like it will be strongly influenced by El NiƱo. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting that there will be higher than usual temperatures in the northern and western parts of the continent, while southern areas are likely to be cooler. The southern tier of states and right up into New England are also predicted to have a wetter than usual winter. 

*~*~*~*

Wisconsin is filling in its Breeding Bird Atlas using eBird. This is its inaugural year and they have counted 229 species so far that breed in that state.

*~*~*~*

The caffeine in coffee gives bees a mental kick just as it does humans. It makes them busier and they work harder to find food. But research shows that they may misjudge the quality of that food and thereby make the colony less productive overall. Hmm... Wonder what message that holds for humans?

*~*~*~*

Velvet ants may look fuzzy and make you want to pet them. Not a good idea. They bristle with formidable weaponry that gives a nasty sting and makes them almost invincible to predators. And they would definitely see you as a predator.

*~*~*~*

It's happened again. A severely endangered California Condor was shot and killed in Arizona. I fail to understand why anyone would shoot a vulture of any kind and certainly not one as large as a condor.

*~*~*~*

A symbiotic root fungi that coexists with milkweed can have an effect on Monarch butterfly health. A study has shown that the fungi may assist the transmission of a parasite that affects Monarchs, but it also aids the butterflies in resisting infection and surviving if they are infected.

*~*~*~*

In other news from the world of parasites, Burrowing Owls are known to carry the fleas that can be the vector for bubonic plague; however, the fleas on the owls and the owls themselves are plague-free.

*~*~*~*

Famed artist Ralph Steadman has teamed up with conservationist Ceri Levy to produce a book about endangered birds called Nextinction. This is their second collaboration. Their previous book was called Extinct Boids, about birds that have already lost their battle for survival.

*~*~*~*

The emerald ash borer, a destructive invader, continues to colonize additional territory. It was recently found in new areas of New Jersey, though it was previously known to be in other parts of the state. 

*~*~*~*

There's a new and colorful flock of birds in New York, thanks to the National Audubon Society and muralists. A colorful mural of thirteen different bird species has been painted on a building located at 155th Street and Broadway as a way of raising awareness of birds. 

6 comments:

  1. I requested via NetGalley for next year a book about the latest research on birds. I'm excited to get it.
    Like you I wonder why someone would shoot a vulture? Unless it is a collection specimen for its size.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Condors are a protected species, so there is certainly no excuse for shooting one.

      Delete
  2. The other day out my front window I saw some wild Turkeys and there was a white on among them.
    I was doing dishes at my clients home and I saw a stellar Jay. Which I enjoy watching usual when there snow on the ground.
    Coffee is on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leucistic birds (birds with white or whitish feathers) occur in all species from time to time. That may have been what you saw with the turkeys.

      Steller Jays - well, all jays, really - are very interesting birds and great fun to watch.

      Delete
  3. Lots of interesting news, I liked the jumping snail, I don't think it could manage that on land very well. Wild turkeys look healthier than tame turkeys, I wonder if they are aggressive like some tame ones I've seen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wild turkeys can be aggressive during their breeding season, but, in general, they aren't. You're right - these do look to be in the peak of health, don't they?

      Delete