Posted on July 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Steep downward trend poses threats to marine ecosystems
Pelagic bird populations are declining at an alarming rate. @bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Researchers with the University of British Columbia say that global seabird populations — including penguins, albatrosses, petrels and pelicans — have declined by 70 percent since the 1950s — a clear sign that marine ecosystems are in trouble.
The findings are based on an analysis of more than 500 seabird populations , representing about 19 per cent of the global seabird population. The 70 percent decline is equivalent to the loss of about 230 million birds in 60 years, said Michelle Paleczny, a UBC master’s student and researcher with the Sea Around Us project.
“Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems,” said Paleczny. “When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems. It gives us an idea of the overall impact we’re having.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Environment, pelagic, seabird decline, seabirds, wildlife | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Some birds won’t nest at all during drought years.
Some Sonoran Desert species skip breeding entirely during extreme drought
FRISCO — Drought-driven delayed nesting by some southwestern bird species may lead to crashing populations, scientists said in a new study that looked closely at Sonoran Desert bird species, such as Black-tailed Gnatcatchers and Verdins.
The research suggests drought conditions are delaying nesting by two weeks or more for some species. Despite recent rainfall, drought conditions persist in much of the Southwest, making life tough even for species adapted to a dry environment.
Delayed nesting makes the birds more vulnerable to nest predators and parasites, according to the scientists with Point Blue Conservation Science and the U.S. Geological Survey finds that increased drought frequency in southwestern North America results in increased instances of delayed nesting. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Birds, climate change, drought, extreme weather, Southwest | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species’
Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines over the past 30 years, with the majority of losses from the most common species, according to a new study from the University of Exeter (UK).
The study documented a decrease of 421 million individual birds over 30 years. About 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, bird conservation, bird population declines, Birds, Environment, sustainability, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 8, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Whooping crane chicks, hatched and raised by their parents at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, were released on Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
Project aims to restore migratory flock in eastern U.S.
FRISCO — Efforts to boost a self-sustaining flock of migratory whooping cranes in the eastern U.S. got a boost last month with the release of four chicks that were raised in captivity at a U.S. Geological Survey research center in Maryland. The crane chicks were released on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the six-month-old birds are part ofan experimental rearing and release method referred to as “parent-rearing.” The parent-reared whooping crane chicks were hatched and raised by captive adult whooping cranes. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, endangered species, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, whooping cranes, wildlife restoration | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Report shows that even many common species are dwindling
Global warming threatens ptarmigan habitat in the mountains of the West.
FRISCO — Bird populations are dwindling all over North America, especially in the Southwest, where some species have declined by as much as 48 percent since the late 1960s, according to the 2014 State of the Birds report released last week.
In Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, habitat loss and fragmentation due to development are the largest threats. These are also significant threats in the nation’s grasslands, where breeding birds like the eastern meadowlark and the bobolink have declined by 40 percent since 1968, with the steepest declines coming before 1990, when stakeholders started investing in grassland bird conservation.
And experts say it’s not just rare birds that are vanishing. The report includes a list of 33 common species in steep decline, losing ore than half their global populations over the past four decades — a clear warning sign that birds can undergo a massive population collapse with surprising rapidity. For example, passenger pigeon populations crashed from 2 to 3 billion birds to none in the wild in just 40 years. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: 2014 state of the birds, biodiversity, Birds, conservation, Environment | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds map critical habitat for yellow-billed cuckoo
Will yellow-billed cuckoos make a comeback in Colorado?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The long endangered species odyssey of the yellow-billed cuckoo may be one step closer to resolution, as federal wildlife officials this week proposed designating more than half a million acres of critical habitat for the birds, sometimes known as rain crows for their habit of singing before a storm.
The bird was once common along most rivers and streams in the West, but the decline of the species, eyed for protection since 1986, shows how much human activities have degraded riparian riverside habitat. Yellow-billed cuckoos are neotropical migrants that winter in South America and nest along rivers and streams in western North America. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, riparian habitat, rivers, yellow-billed cuckoo | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Systemic neocotinoid pesticides are starting to affect bird populations, according to research.
Neonicotinoid use linked with decline in bird populations
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Populations of some insect-eating bird species are declining in areas where scientists measured high concentrations of a widely used neonicotinoid pesticide.
In some cases, bird numbers are dwindling by as much as 3.5 percent annually, according to the new study by researchers with Radboud University in Nijmegen and the Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology and Birdlife Netherlands. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Birds, Environment, neonicotinoids, pesticides, Silent Spring | Leave a comment »