Tuesday, July 27, 2010

new paper on birds and collisions

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) Issues Committee has a new Issues Paper on Birds and Collisions on the WBCI website; find it at this link .

This paper summarizes much current information on this topic.

Work continues on additional Issues Papers - visit the site periodically to see others as they become available. Other Issues Papers can be found here. Previously-published papers are being updated with current information.

Monday, July 26, 2010

new article on birds and pesticides

A recent article on the effects of pesticides on birds can be found linked here - along with other news from BirdWatch Canada, here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

perfect day in the grasslands

Today was one of those incredible days in the grasslands in Carter County, Montana. A wonderful array of clouds and cool temperatures in the low 60s started things off. Shortgrass plains with sagebrush, prickly pear, and many wildflowers were the backdrop for pronghorns, white-tailed jackrabbit, and a group of spectacular grassland birds. They included Ferruginous and Swainson's Hawks, Marbled Godwit and Upland Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope and Yellow-headed Blackbird, Lark Bunting, Grasshopper Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark.

One of the ultimate prairie grassland bird species provided my peak musical experience from the natural world this year. High above the ground, three successive male Sprague's Pipits sang their silvery notes while performing their aerial displays. Sprague's Pipit does one of the the longest combined flight and song displays in the avian world - it can last up to three hours. I will never forget this experience.

The day heated up into the low 80s, with an intermittent breeze out of the north. Grassland birds continued to sing all around us.

But that was not all - not even close. After noon, a sudden powerful storm came up, and because we were more than three miles from the road and our vehicles, there was nowhere to hide. The storm started with dark cumulonimbus clouds and wind, then large raindrops. Soon this turned into hail, with many hailstones greater than 30mm in size. This lasted for approximately 25-35 minutes, during which time it was actually painful to be pelted hundreds of times by this large-diameter hail. Most of us have many welts on our arms, necks, and shoulders. Because we were working, we had hardhats on - indeed it is the only time I can truthfully say I was glad to be wearing a hardhat!

Soon the hail abated, and more rain fell, soaking us all. In another hour, the sun emerged again, and Western Meadowlarks showed once more that singing is a good response to the events of any summer day in these grasslands.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

news of Maine's seabird islands

Go to this link to read news of nesting bird surveys on Maine's seabird islands.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

badlands birds

In addition to a few large bull bison, my choice for "pick of the day" yesterday in Theodore Roosevelt National Park were a number of spectacular Lazuli Buntings. I also found many Lark Sparrows, and a number of Yellow-breasted Chats, among many other species. But the landscape itself is beyond gorgeous.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

reporting banded shorebirds

Southbound migrant shorebirds will soon be appearing - read about reporting banded shorebirds at this link.