First of seven videos from the National Wildlife Federation about establishing a Certified Wildlife Habitat at your home or school. Naturalist David Mizejewski discusses the four components of establishing a wild bird habitat (food, water, cover, and place to raise young), as well as the importance of planting native plants.View full post
According to traditional wisdom, they shouldn’t have been there at all. So much for traditional wisdom. They were there in droves.
Dozens of American robins visited my yard over the weekend. Their visits, unfortunately, were short-lived. First they gathered in the trees in the backyard. Then they dispersed, some going to the birdbath and others hopping along the garden or driveway.
It was nice to see the robins again, especially so many of them at once. Even in the summer when robins are commonplace, I never see that many together. Like many types of birds, robins form large flocks in the winter.
I was happy to see the robins in February, however I was not shocked or even the least bit surprised. Robins may be thought of as signs of spring, but each year many of them stay with us here in New England throughout the winter. In fact, some remain as far north as southern Canada.
They are often hard to find in the winter, but they are around somewhere — and usually in large groups.
With their feathers and down, robins are able to withstand bitter cold temperatures and extreme weather conditions, just like our other “winter” birds such as chickadees and kinglets.
Andy Thompson of “Bird Watcher’s Digest” shows Harry Smith of the CBS Morning News, some of the great new products available for backyard birders including the water wiggler, audubon nesting boxes, and the Identiflyer. Great video for backyard birding basics, including a segment on field guides, bird feeders and squirrel proofing.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
Second of seven videos from the National Wildlife Federation about establishing a Certified Wildlife Habitat at your home or school. Naturalist David Mizejewski discusses the benefit native plants offer in providing seed, berries, nectar and pollen for wild birds. Native plants also attract and support insect populations, a key for any wildlife habitat.View full post
The next time you hear a familiar “chick a dee dee dee”, listen closely, because a chickadee’s call can tell you a lot. Biologists have discovered that the more “dees” there are in a Black-capped Chickadee’s warning call, the more dangerous the predator.
One very threatening predator is the pygmy owl. Its prey is often small birds, and they are able to maneuver swiftly enough to capture a chickadee. When scientists tethered these birds close to chickadees in a test environment, they caused the chickadees to add as many as 23 “dees” to their warning calls!
Larger predators that don’t maneuver well and don’t cause much of a threat to chickadees only warranted an additional 3 or 4 “dees!” Chickadees also have a quiet “seet” call, which is believed to warn others of flying raptors. In fact, biologists have actually recognized more than 30 variations in chickadee songs and calls.
There are seven species of chickadees found in North America. The Black Capped Chickadee of the north was once called the Appalachian Chickadee, while the Mountain Chickadee of the Rockies and west was once called Bailey’s Chickadee–and the Chestnut-sided or Chestnut-backed Chickadee of the northwest coast was once named Barlow’s. Chickadees are in the same family as the Tits of Europe and Africa and the well known American Titmouse.View full post
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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.