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Friday, February 24, 2012

This week in birds - #10

Overwintering female Rufous Hummingbird at one of my feeders this week.

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The little American Kestrel, smallest and prettiest of all our native hawks, is declining in numbers in some parts of its range. One reason may be an increase in Cooper's Hawk populations. The Cooper's preys on the kestrel.

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This is Leap Year and so we have an extra day coming up next week. Amphibian Ark suggests that we spend that extra Leap Day celebrating frogs. Seems appropriate, doesn't it? 

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The American Bird Conservancy is advocating the use of a newly-developed translucent adhesive tape on large windows to warn birds away from them. It is believed that this could significantly reduce bird deaths from crashing into those windows.

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A recent study shows that tree cover has declined in 17 of 20 urban centers surveyed in the United States. The three urban areas with the most decline, according to the study, were Houston, New Orleans, and Albuquerque. Cities with the greatest annual increase in "impervious covering" - AKA concrete - were Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Houston. Thus, Houston made its way onto two negative lists.

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The state of New Jersey has recently updated its endangered and threatened lists. This has resulted in the addition of three birds to the endangered list: Black Rail, Golden-winged Warbler, and Red Knot

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Swallows usually fly south for the winter, but in recent years, a flock of Northern Rough-winged Swallows has been wintering at a sewage plant in Philadelphia and they have become a magnet for birders. The draw for the birds seems to be that there are plenty of flying insects in the area on which they can feed.

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A new species of blind wingless insect, discovered living in complete darkness in a deep cave near the Black Sea in the Caucasus, may be the deepest dwelling animal on the planet. 

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Increasing temperatures due to climate change are causing migratory birds in eastern North America to migrate earlier and earlier. This is confirmed by analysis of data from eBird. I can offer some anecdotal evidence in support of that, since American Goldfinches have left my yard en masse earlier than ever before this winter.

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The increase in Red-tailed Hawks may be pushing Rough-legged Hawks out of some areas where they were previously found. David Sibley ponders in his blog whether the two species coexist in any areas.

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The UK Ministry of Defense will declassify some of its data gathered by submarines so that it can be utilized by scientists doing research on the climate.  

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Here is a photo gallery of extinct birds with information about the reasons for their extinction.

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Around the backyard: We've had small flocks of Cedar Waxwings in the yard all winter but this week the numbers have gone up dramatically. Yesterday, I saw a big flock of more than 200 in my trees. I think they may be "staging," getting ready to head north, although waxwings usually stick around until pretty late in the spring. Maybe they are one of those species that are migrating earlier because of global warming.

Such pretty and entertaining birds. I will be sorry to see them go.

2 comments:

  1. Great pics. I haven't seen a single Cedar Waxwing this year.

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  2. You should come to my yard, Steph!

    ReplyDelete