Friday, February 27, 2009

Bird Science News 1

Selected stories about culled from the world's newspapers and other news outlets, particularly as it relates to wild birds, as gathered with the aid of Google news alerts (key words: wildlife, biology, biologist, ornithologist, ornithological, ornithology):
  • Turkey harvest study going well (Allentown Morning Call, Pa.)—Wild Turkeys are being banded in Pennsylvania to study impacts of hunter harvest on populations.

  • Hunters target overpopulated geese (WHYY, Ithaca, N.Y.)—Snow Geese in Delaware; slide show and audio interview.

  • Songbirds killed by salmonella (The Chattanoogan, Tenn.)—In Tennessee.

  • Twitterpated owls are an amorous lot (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y.)—Twitterpated is “a perfectly acceptable ornithological term” to describe the springtime courtship of owls and other birds, says Laura Erickson, science editor at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Funny, I don’t recall that particular term being mentioned in any of my college ornithology texts, but it IS in the Urban Dictionary.

  • How a new theory of bird evolution came about (ScienceDaily, U.S.A.)—Laboratory studies by Ken Dial of the University of Montana suggests that flight in ancestral birds evolved from the ground up through a behavior that Dial has dubbed WAIR, or wing-assisted incline running.

  • The mathematics of murmuring starlings (Telegraph, U.K.)—Those immense, twisting flocks (known as "murmurations") are all about survival. In 1949, so many birds roosted on the hands of Big Ben that they stopped the clock. In the U.K., the starling population is down 73 percent since 1970. In the U.S., the 60 birds released in Central Park in 1890 have grown to a continent-wide population of 200 million birds.

  • Fish and Game changes set extremism, hypocrisy loose (Anchorage Daily News, Alas.)—Not about birds, but about scary efforts underway to “privatize widespread predator control” in Alaska under Gov. Sarah Palin.

  • Odd year for snows (Denver Post, Colo.)—The oddity is that 40,000 to 70,000 Snow Geese have wintered in southeast Colorado rather in traditional zones to the south, likely a function of weather.

  • Celebrity eagles get too much attention (—Broward County’s first successful Bald Eagle nest since the 1970s. I find that fact alone amazing.

  • DNR to help ease kestrel housing crunch (Coosa Valley News, Ga.)—In a cooperative effort between the Georgia DNR and Flint Engergies, nest boxes are being erected on power poles to benefit the southeastern subspecies of the American Kestrel.

  • Nest in Wichita could mean Bald Eagles year-round (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)—Officials have confirmed a nesting pair along the Arkansas River in Sedgwick County.

  • How to spy on a black duck (Bethany Beach Wave, Del.)—Black Ducks captured at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware are being outfitted with satellite transmitters to study their movements.

  • Biologist recommends longer trail closure for herons (Aspen Daily News, Colo.)—A proposal to extend the closure of a popular hiking trail until May 31st to encourage nesting by Great Blue Herons is meeting with resistance.

  • Airport uses radar, noise to prevent bird strikes (CNN)—Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

  • 'Not-so' friendly skies (ESPN)—A good public relations piece about efforts underway by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service's program to eliminate wildlife-plane collisions; making themselves appear invaluable in a time of severe Federal budget cuts.

  • Interior residents notice an invasion of ptarmigan this winter (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Alas.)—For reasons unknown, Willow Ptarmigan have been exceptionally numerous in and around Fairbanks this winter.

    Blogger Mel said...

    Wow, lots of reading ahead!
    Thanks for the resume ;)

    February 28, 2009 12:21 AM  
    Blogger John L. Trapp said...

    I hope you enjoy, Mel.

    February 28, 2009 5:09 AM  

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