Posted on December 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Annual survey helps track population trends, potential threats
A red-tailed hawk perches on a snag in the Williams Fork Range in Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Experienced birders and novices alike are invited to join in one of the longest-running citizen science surveys in the world — the 114th annual Christmas Bird Count, set this year for Dec. 14 through Jan. 5, 2014.
This year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is hosting an event at the State Forest State Park, near Gould. The 71,000-acre park includes alpine lakes, forests and peaks along the west side of the Medicine Bow Mountains and into the north end of the Never Summer Range. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, bird-watching, Birds, Christmas Bird Count, Colorado, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Bird populations are declining at Loch Neagh, in Northern Ireland. Photo courtesy NASA Landsat.
Warmer temps in northeastern Europe shifting bird migration patterns
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Biologists studying wildlife at Lough Neagh say the number of overwintering birds at the largest lake in the British Isles has dropped dramatically in just a few decades.
The decline is due to a quirky combination of improved water quality and global warming, according to researchers at Queen’s University Belfast. Cutting nutrient pollution has suppressed algae in the lake, which means less food for snails and aquatic bugs, and in turn, less food for diving birds.
And, warmer temperatures across northeastern Europe means the birds don’t have to fly all the way to Northern Ireland to find a place to spend the cold season.
The study by Quercus, Northern Ireland’s Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, found the number of diving ducks migrating to the lake for the winter months has dropped from 100,000 to less than 21,000 in the space of a decade. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Birds, climate change, enviroment, global warming, Loch Neagh, migratory birds | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Broad-tailed hummingbirds may have a hard time finding food during the short breeding season as temperatures in the Colorado Rocky Mountains continue to warm steadily. bberwyn photo.
Earlier nesting and breeding observed in some species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Some birds are nesting and hatching earlier because of steadily increasing global temperatures, and that may be driving earlier migration in some species according to scientists with the University of East Anglia.
Changes in migration timing has already been linked with a biological disconnect between some species and their primary food sources, for example hummingbirds that fly to the southern Rocky Mountains, as well as purple martins that fly from South America to eastern North America. Both species arrival is increasingly out of synch with key food sources.
“We have known that birds are migrating earlier and earlier each year … particularly those that migrate over shorter distances,” said Lead researcher Dr. Jenny Gill from UEA’s school of Biological Sciences. “But the reason why has puzzled bird experts for years. It’s a particularly important question because the species which are not migrating earlier are declining in numbers.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Iceland | Tagged: Birds, Environment, global warming, migration, phenology | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Native bird has nearly been extirpated from the West
Yellow-billed cuckoos are only found in a few isolated locations in Colorado.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The yellow-billed cuckoo, once common along streams throughout the West, may finally get some protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the brids, following a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757 imperiled species nationwide.
The flashy bird, with a long tail and white markings on it wings, has long been listed as a species of concern by Colorado wildlife biologists, as their numbers have dropped drastically since the early 20th century. Click here to read a Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory report on yellow-billed cuckoos in Colorado. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado River, endangered species, riparian habitat, yellow-billed cuckoo | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Fire suppression, other forest practices may be contributing to decline of forest-interior species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Efforts to protect forest-interior birds in the Northeast may be partly misguided, a new U.S. Forest Service study suggests.
Currently, most of those conservation efforts focus on preserving mature forests where birds breed, but the new research shows younger forest habitat may be vital in the weeks leading up to migration.
“Humans have really changed the nature of mature forests in the Northeast,” said Scott Stoleson, a research wildlife biologist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. “Natural processes that once created open spaces even within mature forests, such as fire, are largely controlled, diminishing the availability of quality habitat.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, US Forest Service | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, conservation, fire suppression, forests, United States Forest Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The warmup …
Even from a quarter mile away, the nesting bald eagle at Dillon Reservoir is pretty impressive, seen against the backdrop of Grays and Torreys peaks, two 14,000-foot peaks along the Continental Divide in Summit County, Colorado.
FRISCO — Saturday may have started a bit chilly and gray, but by early afternoon, you could just about smell summer on the wind. In the early afternoon, we headed back out to check on the bald eagles nesting near Dillon Reservoir and grabbed a few mountain snaps at the same time, thinking about how some of super-bright scenes might look rendered in black an white, with a high sun angle helping to reveal details that often escape during more traditional photography times. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Morning photo, photography, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: bald eagles, Birds, Colorado, Dillon Reservoir, Summit County Colorado, Summit County photography | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Magnificant hawks are back for the summer
FRISCO — Along with the well-known osprey nest along Highway 9 in Silverthorne, the majestic hawks have also set up housekeeping at several spots along the shoreline of Dillon Reservoir, building sturdy stick nests atop fragile looking beetle-killed lodgepole pines. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Morning photo, photography | Tagged: Birds, Dillon Reservoir, osprey, raptors, Summit County photography, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
May is prime-time for our fine-feathered friends
Itinerant shorebirds sometimes wind up at Dillon Reservoir, in Summit County, Colorado, for a short stop-over. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’ve been hearing a lot of chirping and twittering in the great outdoors these days, it’s because the birds are back. More specifically, dozens of species of migratory birds are on the move, headed for nesting grounds in North America from non-breeding areas in South and Central America, and the Caribbean.
That’s why birders are gearing up for International Migratory Bird Day, held each year on the second Saturday in May as a way to recognize the winged wonders that travel the globe each spring and fall, migrating thousands of miles from their wintering grounds to nesting grounds and back again. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, Dillon Reservoir, seasons, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: biodiversity, Bird migration, Birds, birdwatching, Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, International Migratory Bird Day, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates want to phase out lead ammunition
Majestic California condors are dying of lead poisoning on a regular basis.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With another three endangered California condors dead from lead poisoning in Arizona, conservation advocates are ramping up their call to phase out the use of lead ammunition.
Three condors may not sound like many, but that’s nearly 5 percent of the entire Arizona-Utah population, which numbers only about 80 birds. Seven of the birds have died since December, and three of the deaths are definitively linked with lead poisoning, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Since condors eat carrion, they ingest spent lead ammunition fragments as part of their diet. Lead poisoning is also suspected in the other four deaths. At least 38 condors have been killed by lead poisoning in Arizona and Utah. Lead poisoning recently killed the female of Utah’s only breeding pair of condors. Each year, up to half of the wild Grand Canyon condors must be given life-saving, emergency blood treatment for lead poisoning. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Birds, California condor, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, Grand Canyon, lead ammunition, Lead poisoning | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
San Luis Valley a spring hotspot for birders
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — In one of North America’s great migrations, thousands of sandhill cranes are making their way north from winter habitat in New Mexico, en route summer nesting and breeding grounds in northern Idaho, western Wyoming and northwest Colorado.
Along the way, they stop in the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado to refuel, and to begin a seasonal courtship ritual, an annual ritual celebrated each year with the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, March 8-10.
“Everyone who lives in Colorado should see this migration stopover at least once,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the San Luis Valley. “The sights and sounds are truly amazing,” he said, explaining that state and federal biologists team up each year with the local community to provide viewing and interpretive opportunities for visitors. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Environment, Monte Vista Crane Festival, sandhill cranes, Travel, wildlife | Leave a Comment »