Friday, June 23, 2017

Loose Feathers #601

Yellow-headed Blackbird / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
  • A proposed funding formula would direct federal conservation money towards endangered or threatened species with the best chance of recovery. Under that formula, species that continued to decline despite intervention, like the Northern Spotted Owl, would see their funding cut, while others like the Hawaiian Crow and Indiana Bat would get more.
  • Eggs come in a variety of shapes, from smoothly rounded eggs like a chicken's to ones that are much more pointed at one end. Pointier eggs are generally produced by stronger fliers, which may be a result of a bird's internal anatomy.
  • Analysis of carbon isotopes in Bobolinks' feathers shows that while they eat other grasses in the winter, they eat mostly rice just before they migrate north. This has the advantage of providing them more calories in preparation for migration, but also exposes them to more pesticides and possibly persecution by farmers.
  • Mangrove swamps in Indonesia are important stopover sites for migratory shorebirds but are being lost to palm oil plantations and agriculture. 
  • An expedition to the Atacama Desert in Chile found nesting grounds for the Ringed Storm-Petrel, whose breeding sites were previously unknown.
  • Birds following army ants cooperate when foraging
  • Gulls feeding at landfills may transport nutrients that cause algal blooms to nearby waterways.
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, June 16, 2017

Loose Feathers #600

American Bittern / Photo by Krista Lundgren/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity

Friday, June 09, 2017

Loose Feathers #599

Brewer's Sparrow / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • The Whitebark Pine is likely to go extinct because of a combination of threats (including invasive species, climate change, and fire suppression), but so far it has not been listed as endangered because of politics and funding. 
  • Another tree species threatened by climate change is the Atlantic White Cedar, which struggling to survive in coastal wetlands made more brackish by sea level rise.
  • Genetic analysis shows that the extinct Palaeoloxodon antiquus is more closely related to the African Forest Elephant than the latter is to the African Savanna Elephant. This should help conservation efforts since it provides additional evidence that the forest and savanna elephants are separate species.
  • Beavers have been documented on the tundra as woody plants advance northward.
  • NJ DEP has revised its rules for development near wetlands in ways that will probably result in the loss of more wetlands.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Loose Feathers #598

Ovenbird / Photo by Nate Rathbun/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity