Invite birds now for the winter
With even the hint of a cool Autumn breeze still weeks away, it’s difficult to think of winter now. However, wild birds’ internal clocks will soon signal them to begin their preparation for the harsh winter ahead. Along with our partner Songbird Essentials, we’ve prepared some expert suggestions for inviting and retaining winter birds in and about your yard during the upcoming long, cold winter.View full post
The highest rate of beak abnormalities ever recorded in wild bird populations is being seen in a number of species in the Northwest and Alaska, and scientists to this point have not been able to isolate the cause. Black-capped Chickadees, Northwestern Crows, and other birds are being impacted by the problem, which affects their ability to feed and clean themselves and could signal a growing environmental health problem.View full post
This is going to be the lamest form they’ve ever received. That was my thought as I participated in my first Great Backyard Bird Count several years ago. More than half an hour into my count I had found only a few tufted titmice and a lone mockingbird. Sure I was headed toward the water where I was sure to pick up a duck species or two, but I had expected to see more than titmice and mockingbirds by this point. I was, after all, doing a count. Didn’t the birds know this? Didn’t they want to be counted? Why weren’t they lining up?
Oh well, I thought, the people who run the Count want to know what I see, and if a few birds is all I see, then that’s what I’ll submit. Then I heard something overhead. It sounded very busy, but also very subtle. I was a much less experienced birder at the time, so I struggled to find the source of the noise, despite it happening all around me.
When I found it, I was amazed. It was a mixed flock of American robins and cedar waxwings. The waxwings were the more exciting species, but it was the robins that I still remember. Strength in numbers, as the saying goes. There were dozens upon dozens of robins. I couldn’t even count them there were so many of them surrounding me, stripping berries off the trees, vines, and bushes. Since I was doing a count, I gave it my best shot. Forty robins? No more like fifty. I finally settled on sixty, even though even that may have been low.View full post
Do you like seeing birds in your backyard? If you would like to see more, follow New England Birdhouse’s Top 5 Tips for a “Bird-Friendly Backyard”.
Tip #1 – Safety First: Where we see beauty in the vibrant red flash of a male cardinal, a cat sees lunch. Keeping cats away from bird feeders can be difficult if not impossible, unless the cat is kept indoors. Unfortunately many people believe that if they put a cat out the front door, their backyard birds will not be threatened – not true. Cats eat birds, other birds notice and all birds go away – so keep your cats inside.View full post
Think you know your backyard bird songs and calls? Take this short video quiz from Birds and Blooms magazine to find out. How many bird songs and calls did you get right?View full post
The 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) featured two invasions this year: voracious Pine Siskins (pictured right) and a whole new crop of citizen-science participants! Bird watchers shattered last year’s record by submitting more than 93,600 checklists during the four-day event, held February 16-19. Participants also identified 619 species and sent in thousands of stunning bird images for the GBBC photo contest. The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.View full post
Populations of some bat species have plummeted more than 90 percent in Northeast caves impacted by “White Nose Syndrome,” according to an extensive investigation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.
Surveying 23 caves at the epicenter of the bat die-off in early 2009, researchers found an alarming decline – 91 percent on average — in the number of hibernating bats. The study included 18 caves in eastern New York, four in western Massachusetts and one in Vermont.
“These steep declines are alarming and disheartening,” Commissioner Grannis said. “Researchers from around the country are focusing on the bat die-off and DEC will continue to work with a wide range of partners to try to get to the heart of the problem.”
The study showed that not all species have reacted the same to White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Species that prefer warmer, wetter roosting spots than other bats have been impacted most severely. For example, the Little Brown bat has declined by an average of 93 percent (Little Browns account for 85 percent of all the bats that hibernate in the Northeast).
A separate survey of the endangered Indiana bat showed it declined 53 percent on average. DEC bat specialist Alan Hicks said roost conditions may explain part but not all of the difference — Indiana bats prefer a colder, dryer hibernating spot than others.
Also, the survey of Indiana bats found stark contrasts between sites. For example, two former mines in Ulster County showed Indiana bat declines of 97 and 29 percent, respectively, with no obvious physical differences other than humidity.View full post
Amazing nest box camera video of a female Blue Tit assisting a chick to hatch by nibbling away at the shell and even lifting the whole egg and chick out of the nest cup.
She removes the bottom half first then returns to remove the top of the shell that is stuck to the chick’s head. These tiny eggs are only 16mm long.
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The rule implements federal protections provided by the ESA for the Cantabrian capercaillie, Marquesan imperial pigeon, Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler, greater adjutant, Jerdon’s courser, and slender-billed curlew.
If the pair’s breeding effort is successful at Midway Atoll Refuge, it would mark the first confirmed hatching of a short-tailed albatross outside of Japan in modern history.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a report recommending closing human access to caves and mines where bats with white-nose syndrome are hibernating in an area more than 250 miles from other WNS-affected caves and mines.
The oldest known U.S. wild bird – a coyly conservative 60 — is a new mother. The bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, was …
Damage to bat wings from the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome (WNS) may cause catastrophic imbalance in life-support processes, according to newly published research. …
Researchers found that deforestation in the New England area at that time produced significant soil erosion, increasing sediment delivery rates — the natural flow of sand and soil in water systems. The large amounts of sediment traveling in rivers and streams to the coastline spurred a significant period of wetland growth, leading to marshes lining the coast of New England that today are abnormally large.