Birding News #33

(Apologies for the delay — Non-Birding Elves are working overtime behind the scenes while Charlotte remains internet-less at Long Point. The Elves assume that no news is good news, and that mist nets, migration monitoring, and research projects are keeping everyone at The Tip busy and happy…)

:: Vietnam’s rapidly growing middle class is hungry for the delicacy of birds’ nests, known as the “caviar of the East”, helping to create in Asia a global market with annual revenue as high as $5 billion

:: Artificial cavities (aka woodpecker condos) in South Carolina are a success in helping to sustain populations of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker: “the woodpecker’s population has rebounded to approximately 439 active clusters with about 426 confirmed potential breeding groups, exceeding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife recovery plan goal for the forest of 350 potential breeding groups.”

:: According to new research, the giant “terror bird” (Gastomis), which lived in Europe around 50 million years ago, was apparently not a fearsome carnivorous predator snapping the necks of its prey with its huge beak, but likely a gentle herbivore

:: With a publication date of September 10th (though apparently already available at, Dr. Peter Doherty’s Their Fate Is Our Fate: How Birds Foretell Threats to Our Health and Our World will be at a bookseller near you this month, about how “birds are vital to cutting-edge scientific research”.

Dr. Doherty is Laureate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, and won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1996 with Rolf Zinkernagel for their pioneering immunology research. He is also on Twitter! And if you are in San Francisco later this month, you can hear Dr. Doherty speak on “Disease in a Borderless World” at the World Affairs Council of Northern California.

:: The Washington, DC Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Dr. Nico Dauphine, convicted in 2011 of attempting to poison cats; at the time of her conviction, Dr. Dauphine worked at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and had published research on the impact of feral cats on wild bird populations. She originally received a 180-day suspended sentence on attempted animal cruelty charges, as well as a year of supervised probation, 120 hours of community service, and an order to stay away from cats.

:: A cafe in Tel Aviv may have been poisoning sparrows, and Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister has ordered an investigation into the claims.

:: Ottawa is making use of drones to get rid of Canada Geese at Petrie Island beaches (according to the same article, “The city spends about $75,000 a year on raptor assassins to keep the gull populations down at the Trail Road landfill”).

:: In other goose news, in Victoria, BC, a Capital Regional District working group is considering a Canada Goose cull to deal with crop damage, water pollution, and droppings on public and private parks.

:: MyAvibase has just hatched, in connection with the Avibase website (hosted by Bird Studies Canada and managed by BSC senior scientist Dr. Denis Lepage). MyAvibase is a new tool for birders and eBird users, letting birders maintain several lifelists (world, country, annual, and so on), and to link them together so new observations are automatically added where they need to be. MyAvibase has tools to import existing lifelists from a text format or directly from eBird with just the click of a button, and can generate reports and maps showing how many new species one can expect in different parts of the world, and at different times of year, to help plan birding trip.

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