Three tiny chicks, rescued before hatching from the first piping plover nest found in Illinois in 30 years, were recently released, at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, representing new hope for the recovery of this endangered shorebird..
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources confirmed that a pair of piping plovers constructed a nest and tended four eggs this summer on a remote stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline in northern Illinois. This is the first piping plover nest found in Illinois since 1979.View full post
For bird watchers and backyard birders, recognizing and identifying wild birds is easier when focusing on the four keys to bird identification – Size & Shape, Color Pattern, Behavior and Habitat.
Bird Identification – Bird Behavior
The way a bird acts is a big clue to what kind of bird it is. Unlike it’s plumage, a bird’s behavior is consistent throughout the year. Recognizing how a bird moves, flies and forages will provide many clues to its identification. Notice the posture of the bird. Does it stand more upright or horizontal while perched in a tree? How does the bird forage for food? Does its’ body repeatedly bounce up and down as it hunts for food? Also, study the flight style of the bird. Does it have a quick wing beat? Does it hover or fly directly to its destination? Along with the other three keys to identification, these behaviors will help to identify the bird.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created an excellent video series to help the beginning birder develop their wild bird identification skills. Below, is the fourth and last in the series – Recognizing Birds – Bird Behavior. Other videos in the series include – Size & Shape, Color Pattern and Habitat.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
Because of their strikingly beautiful black and orange or yellow plumage, their distinctive whistle, spring songs, and their amazing suspended nest, Orioles are quickly becoming one of Americas favorite birds.
While over eight species of Orioles can regularly be seen in the United States, we’ll deal mainly in this flyer with three species-Baltimore, Bullocks, and Orchard. All United States Orioles show variation on the theme of black with yellow or orange plumage.
Except for in the Southeast, all Orioles are tropical migrants. While migrations vary from year-to-year, Orioles generally arrive in the South in early spring, Midwest in early May, and further North soon afterward.
Fruit Feeder from recycled materials
Fruit Feeder from recycled materials
It is very important that you have Oriole feeders up and ready, or often they will pass you by for better feeding grounds. It is equally important to have nesting materials out and ready to help encourage Orioles to nest in your yard. Long frayed natural fibers are a favorite.View full post
If your hummingbird feeder just doesn’t get you close enough to the action, Humboldt County Inventor Doyle has the solution – a wearable hummingbird feeder mask.
Doyle developed the hummingbird mask feeders in 2008 (see video below) and sells them at his website for $79.95. He also offers a great deal of production information that would be useful for anyone who wanted to build their own mask feeder.
Doyle has posted several videos of the mask feeder in action, including this one of his nephew using the mask.View full post
White nose syndrome (WNS) is a poorly understood disease associated with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of bats in the northeast. The condition, named for a distinctive ring of fungal growth around the muzzles, and on the wings of many affected animals, was first identified in a cave in Schoharie County, New York in February 2006, and started showing up in the news after January 2007. It spread to other New York caves and into Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut in 2008. In early 2009 it was confirmed in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The condition has been found in over 25 caves and mines in the northeastern U.S.View full post
The Australian Rifle bird is one of four birds-of-paradise indigenous to Australia. Its diet is mainly fruit, insects and spiders, and it often searches bark or decaying wood with its long arched bill. Bird watchers primarily know the Rifle Bird for its enchanting, and almost “tango-like” mating dance.
In its breeding season from September to February, males attract females by raising up their rounded wings, swaying from side to side and bobbing up and down. While they do this, they flick their head from the edge of one wing to the edge of the other. They also make a loud single and explosive ‘yah’ call. When they open their bill, their brilliant yellow mouth interior can be seen.
This National Geographic video provides an up close view of the amazing mating dance of the Australian Rifle Bird.View full post
Truth be told, squirrel proof is a misnomer. When on a mission, there is no stopping a squirrel – only frustrating them. Squirrels are brazen and cunning thieves, singularly focused on gorging their fuzzy bellies with pilfered bird seed.
Squirrels are tenacious, problem-solving acrobats who will jump through hoops, again and again to reach a nut (see squirrel obstacle course video). Squirrels can be a lot of fun to watch, becoming a much anticipated and welcomed backyard visitor. They also can become major nuisances, occupying soffit and attic interiors, chewing through wires, and digging up flower bulbs.
Deterring squirrels from raiding bird feeders requires placing barriers between them and the bird seed. Bird feeder placement is a big determinant of squirrel resistance.
Tip #1: Consider Bird Feeder Location
Place your bird feeder out of the squirrels reach. Squirrels can jump up to 4 feet high, and can launch themselves from a tree or roof to a target as far as six feet away. A bird feeder placed on a five foot or taller pole and at least 7-8 feet from any structure will provide the best chance of deterring squirrels.
Metal poles are difficult to grab onto, and will cause squirrels to slide down when they try to climb it. Wooden 4×4 posts are easy for squirrels to latch onto, and therefore not a good deterrent by themselves.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.