Tuesday, July 28, 2009

research on seabirds and climate change at PRBO

The Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) has done research on bird populations for more than 40 years. See information on their most recent work on seabirds at this link, which includes a link to an NPR story and other research results on other species and species groups.

Friday, July 24, 2009

species accounts online: more information than you find in a field guide

There is a fairly wide variety of online species accounts that give information on identification, life history, ecology, population, habitat preference, conservation of avian species. Here are links to just a sampling.

Here in Wisconsin, (of course ours are the best! - are you kidding me?), you can find the WBCI All-Bird Conservation Plan species accounts - just go to this link. Not all species are yet posted, but the Priority Species are.

The Western Great Lakes Bird Conservation site still has some excellent links to species accounts here. The links in the last column on that page no longer appear to be working, however. More, on a related site ("Forest Birds of the Western Great Lakes") can be found here.

The Cornell Lab of course has their All About Birds page, and the USGS Patuxent Wildlife
center has these grassland birds species accounts.

Somewhat more simplified (limited to identification, similar topics) species accounts from the online Sibley guide can be found at this eNature site.

NatureServe Explorer has excellent information - go to this link and fill in a species name in the search box. Click on the link to the species name that results, and there is a table of detailed fields.

You can find Wisconsin DNR accounts to the "Working List" species here.

This Smithsonian page on the Sedge Wren is not a species account in the same sense that the others are, but still worthwhile reading.

There are many more - quite a few states and provinces have their own.

Friday, July 17, 2009

recent news on birds and collisions


News from a Temple University study on birds and collisions is available here - thanks to Noel Cutright for sharing this. See the links page on birds and collisions at the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative website for more resources on this topic. This WBCI collisions & birds page is due for updating this summer and fall - check back in a few months for more information. Sue Foote-Martin and I are discussing and planning some changes and additions.

The above now-famous photo, take by WBCI's Andy Paulios, dramatically illustrates the effect of a brief period of tower collisions on migrating passerines. This photo has been used internationally to educate people about this subject.

Communications tower collisions and window collisions (although having somewhat different causes and effects) both take a huge toll on birds. An excellent resource for PREVENTION of collisions at private residences and businesses is found at the two matching pages on the Wisconsin Humane Society website.

Do a bit of online searching and you'll find a number of groups who continue to deny that towerkills of birds are a problem. Hmmm....I'll just carefully suggest that you draw your own conclusions.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What is Leah doing these days?

In addition to some gardening (and when Leah does gardening with her sister Marian, they are SERIOUS about it!), Leah is working on a variety of projects this summer. More below....

Leah is working on her studio again. If you follow this blog, you may remember she and I and her brothers and nephews are restoring an old building on their family's farm. Last August, we poured a new foundation, then in September we moved the building to its new location, and raised the building 2 feet (that is, it is 2 feet taller than it once was). That's a lot easier to say than to do! Now we're removing old siding, preparing to put insulation in the roof and knee-wall, and removing other sections which will be replaced. If you'd like to see video from last summer of the building being moved, go to this link.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

more alternative ornithological (and other) news

See updates from the Boreal Bird Initiative at this link - you'll find a lot of worthwhile reading, there.

NABCI, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, has published its summer newsletter; see a copy of it here.

Ecology and Society, the excellent online journal, has a recent issue - you'll find it linked here.

The Chicago Park District is now including bird-safe design in its building planning. See more about that.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has some bird-related news online here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

following an ethical path when bird-finding in the nesting season

Remembering that some species can be sensitive to playing tapes, please refrain from tape use when seeking rare, endangered or threatened bird species during the nesting season. While there is certainly a lot of disagreement about this topic, I highly recommend reading the WBCI Issues Committee ethics paper, found here. This paper may be re-done in the future, because there is always much discussion and re-thinking on ethical matters in birding. Some aspects of that paper will eventually be revisited. General rules can be provided, but not every situation is the same. You may be with a professionally-guided tour group, for example, and the leader might make use of the tape. If that is done in a judicious manner, it may be completely acceptable, and do no harm to nesting birds. On the other hand, a string of individuals visiting a site and each playing a recording may be confusing and disrupting to nesting birds. Why not "take the high road" on this? Protecting nesting birds is important for the future of the species, AND for future birders and birding opportunities as well. I always suggest thinking deeply about any valuable or important activity; you might be surprised by your conclusions!