:: More news and studies about neonicotinoid pesticides — not surprisingly, researchers have found that in areas where water contained high concentrations of imidacloprid, insectivorous bird populations tended to decline, by an annual average of 3.5 percent.
:: The flooding in southern Manitoba this summer has been exacerbated by the loss of many ponds and wetlands in the province as farmers have used drainage to increase arable land; and the organization Ducks Unlimited agrees.
:: A new species, Pelagornis sandersi, which lived around 25 million years ago, may be the largest flying bird ever to live, with a wingspan of 20 to 24 feet, twice as long as the biggest birds alive today. Almost as interesting, the fossilized remains, found in South Carolina in 1983, were stored in a drawer at the Charleston Museum for 30 years.
:: Two real estate development trade groups are citing DNA evidence in their bid to have the California Gnatcatcher removed from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, but one expert on bird genetics says their case is based on questionable science.
:: India’s new government may be prioritizing national security over the environment, and the first victim might be the Narcondam Hornbill, as India plans to build a radar station on Narcondam Island, a project rejected by the previous government in 2012, mainly because of concerns about the hornbill.
:: According to some newspaper reports, the Greater Sage Grouse might determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the US Senate in the November elections, because Republicans need to gain six seats for majority control of the Senate. Two Republican congressmen running for the Senate, in Montana and Colorado, are co-sponsoring legislation to stop the federal government from listing the bird next year as an endangered species for a decade, as long as states try to protect it.
:: When it comes to climate change affecting bird adaptation, precipitation might be a greater factor than rising temperatures.
:: A US Air Force helicopter crash this past January in Norfolk, England, which killed four men was caused by bird strikes, including geese flying through the aircraft’s windshield, knocking the pilot and co-pilot unconscious; residents in the area have long been concerned about low-flying helicopters over the marsh, which is a Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve.
Great post in birding blogs this week: