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Blog Birding #295

Monday, October 31, 2016 6:22
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Birds and large-scale advertising campaigns are often a train wreck of epic proportions. Nick Lund, The Birdist, explores a new crime against ornithology from Volkswagen.

Volkswagen is coming out with a new Golf with some thing called Alltrack that I guess makes it better for driving outside or something, and they’re promoting it with a bunch of commercials with terrible crap about wildlife.

Here’s the first one, where a guy tried to murder a frog.

At Audubon, Kenn Kaufman explores the curious case of the Fulvous Whistling-Duck, formerly a common vagrant across much of the US but no longer.

The early record is sketchy, but in the area that’s now the United States, Fulvous Whistling-Ducks apparently didn’t arrive until the mid-1800s. For the last century they’ve been present most consistently in coastal Texas, expanding into southwestern Louisiana in the 1930s. In Texas and Louisiana they live mainly in rice-growing country. Their numbers dropped sharply in the 1960s, probably because of pesticides applied to the rice, but populations recovered somewhat in the 1970s and have fluctuated ever since.

Goshawks are charismatic and foreboding, and Birdchick Sharon Stiteler had an incredible encounter with one in Maine.

While I was at the festival I heard a rumor about a northern goshawk nest that had been located thanks to a high school cross country team that was running on the paths in a woods next to the school. They were dive bombed relentlessly by the female. I’ve worked with goshawks both in captivity and bird banding. I love the northern goshawk, it is my favorite raptor. As an adult it’s gorgeous with it’s soft gray feathers and maniacal red eyes. It acts before it thinks–something I can relate to.

With Malheur and the Standing Rock Sioux in the news of late, Laura Erickson considers how birds maneuver through out political world.

Malheur is home to 320 species of birds which are vulnerable to habitat degradation and befouled water where cattle are too numerous. And keeping this habitat in good shape benefits us human Americans, too. During hunting season in years when the water level is optimal, well over 300,000 ducks and geese spend time there. The Bundy clan was distressed that they can’t graze their huge herds of cattle for free on this land, despite the legal grazing fees being so small compared to how much they’d pay to graze their cattle on private land, and a jury of their liberty-loving peers acquitted them.

Mining operations in the Canadian boreal forest leave a huge trace, but the impact is rarely felt by those of us who do not spend time in this particular wilderness. Sharon McInnes, of Bird Canada, offers her thoughts on this awful combination.

You make the journey every year because that forest is your breeding ground. Migration, built into your genes like the colour of your eyes, is physically exhausting and hazardous. Along the way you’re exposed to storms and predators and hunters. You can’t take a bag lunch with you or stop at a restaurant to eat or at a roadside inn for shelter or sleep. You scan the earth below for stopovers where you can rest and be safe, eat, and gear up for the next leg of your journey.

Now you’re flying over the Peace-Athabasca Delta. You’re tired.

Now you’re almost at the southern edge of the Boreal Forest.

Join the American Birding Association at www.aba.org!

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