Saturday, January 30, 2010

birds and cold weather

If you 're occasionally wondering how birds survive intense cold as well as other weather events, here are some valuable resources:

Romero, L. M., J. M. Reed, and J. C Wingfield. 2000. Effects of weather on cortocosteroid responses in wild free-living passerine birds. General and Comparative Endocrinology 118:113–122. [Online] Available: Accessed 30 January 2010.

See many sections in one of my favorite ornithological reference books: Newton, I. 2008. The migration ecology of birds. Academic Press. New York. (especially sections on cold weather effects on birds).

Calder, W.A., J.R. King 1974. Thermal and caloric relations of birds. In Avian Biology, Vol. 4, D.S. Farner, J.R. King, and K.C. Parkes, Eds. : 259-413. Academic Press. New York.

And, don't forget to include reading any of the papers on this topic done by Wisconsin's own Professor Bill Brooks, who taught for many years at Ripon College. Prof. Brooks worked on cold weather adaptations in redpolls. See especially: Brooks, W. S. 1968. Comparative adaptations of the Alaskan redpolls to the arctic environment. Wilson Bulleton, Vol. 80 (3): 253-280. [Online] Available: Accessed 30 January 2010.

Last but surely not least is the excellent book: Marchand, P. J. 1996. Life in the cold: an introduction to winter ecology. Third edition. University Press of New England. Hanover, NH.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

world bird list online, other online checklists

Dr. John Penhallurick of Australia manages World Bird Info, a database with taxonomy/nomenclature of all of the known world avifauna in English, French, German, and Spanish. It has excellent search capability. See it here. Look for the tabs at the top to use the search function, or see metadata, other links, and more. One can also link there to Peters, Sibley-Monroe, or Gill 2nd Edition Family lists.

For those interested more specifically in North America, see the American Ornithologist's Union Check-List here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

late autumn BCA bird conservation presentations now online

On November 12th of 2009, members of the Bird Conservation Alliance (the policy arm of the American Bird Conservancy) met in Washington D.C.. A number of excellent presentations were given at that meeting, and they can now be accessed online. Each one is a rather large file and would be difficult to access for those still possessing a dial-up e-mail account. The presentations can be found at this link.

Friday, January 1, 2010

come back around to these core truths once again

On this the first day of the new year, I once again recommend this set of publications:
Sustaining Life - How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity
Edited by Eric Chivian and Aaron Bernstein

See more at this link.

The online Executive Summary that matches and summarizes this publication is available here.

Here is a brief section from the introduction:

"E.O.Wilson once said about ants 'we need them to survive, but they don’t need us at all.' The same, in fact, could be said about countless other insects, bacteria, fungi, plankton, plants, and other organisms. This central truth, however, is largely lost to most of us. Rather, we act as if we were totally independent of Nature, as if it were an infinite source of products and services for our use alone, and an infinite sink for our wastes. During the past 50 years, for example, we have squandered one fourth of the world’s topsoil, one fifth of its agricultural land, and one third of its forests, while at the same time needing these resources more than ever, having increased our population from 2.5 billion to over 6.1 billion. We have dumped many millions of tons of toxic chemicals onto soils and into fresh water, the oceans, and the air, while knowing very little about the effects these chemicals have on other species, or, in fact, on ourselves. We have changed the composition of the atmosphere, thinning the ozone layer that filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation, toxic to all living things on land and in surface waters, and increasing the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide to levels not present on Earth for more than 420,000 years."