Tag: Birds

New report shows how global warming will affect birds and reptiles in the Southwest.

 red-tailed hawk
Global warming will take a toll on reptiles and birds in the Southwest. @bberwyn photo.

Many bird species could lose between 78 and 85 percent of their existing habitat

Staff Report

Birds and reptiles in the Southwest that live in fragmented habitat will be hit hardest by global warming in the decades ahead, according to a new study by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Northern Arizona University.

The researchers took a close look at about 30 different animals, including well-known species such as the Gila monster, horned lizard, chuckwalla, Sonoran desert tortoise, pinyon jay, pygmy nuthatch, sage thrasher and black-throated sparrow.

A few species could see their habitat expand as the climate warms, but many others will be hit hard by global warming. Most climate models project temperatures to increase by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit in the Southwest in the next century, while precipitation is expected to decline by between 5 and 20 percent. Continue reading “New report shows how global warming will affect birds and reptiles in the Southwest.”

Biodiversity: Spotted owl populations in steep decline

Spotted owl.
Spotted owl. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Climate change may bolster spotted owl survival in the future

Staff Report

Northern spotted owl populations continue to decline across the Pacific Northwest, researchers said in a new study showing that competition from barred owls, along with habitat destruction and climate change are all factors in population trends.

According to the research, published in The Condor, spotted owls are in decline across all of their range. The findings are based on data from 11 study areas Washington, Oregon and northern California, with a rangewide decline of nearly 4 percent per year between 1985 to 2013. Continue reading “Biodiversity: Spotted owl populations in steep decline”

U.S. puts rare macaws on endangered species list

"Ara militaris -Zoológico Los Coyotes -three-8a" by Gary Denness - originally posted to Flickr as Squawk No Evil. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ara_militaris_-Zool%C3%B3gico_Los_Coyotes_-three-8a.jpg#/media/File:Ara_militaris_-Zool%C3%B3gico_Los_Coyotes_-three-8a.jpg
“Ara militaris -Zoológico Los Coyotes -three-8a” by Gary Denness – originally posted to Flickr as Squawk No Evil. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via the Creative Commons.

Decades of poaching, habitat destruction take toll on birds

Staff Report

Two rare bird species in Central and South America will get protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week. Under the listing, military and great green macaws can’t be imported into, or exported out of, the U.S.

Permits to handle the birds will only be issued for scientific purposes that benefit the species in the wild, or to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, including habitat restoration and research. Continue reading “U.S. puts rare macaws on endangered species list”

Bluebirds ‘shout’ to be heard above noise pollution

Western bluebird
A mountain bluebird in Dillon, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.

Biologists say noise impacts should be part of wildlife conservation planning

Staff Report

FRISCO — Outside a few remote wilderness areas, human-caused noise pollution is so common that birds have started to “shout” in order to communicate with each other.

Biologists with the University of Exeter took a close look at how bluebirds alter their songs in response to increases in nearby background noise caused, in many cases, by human activities such as traffic. Continue reading “Bluebirds ‘shout’ to be heard above noise pollution”

Biodiversity: New study finds that seabird populations have dropped 70 percent since the 1950s

Steep downward trend poses threats to marine ecosystems

Pelagic bird populations are declining at an alarming rate. @bberwyn photo.
A Florida pelican. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

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 “Biodiversity: New study finds that seabird populations have dropped 70 percent since the 1950s”

Climate: Extended droughts spell trouble for Southwest birds

Western bluebird
Some birds won’t nest at all during drought years.

Some Sonoran Desert species skip breeding entirely during extreme drought

Staff Report

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 “Climate: Extended droughts spell trouble for Southwest birds”

Study finds big decline in common European birds

Sapphire Point is also a great spot to get up close and personal with some local wildlife.
A common jay in Colorado. bberwyn photo.

‘It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species’

Staff Report

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 “Study finds big decline in common European birds”