Birds have been dying as insects retreat from the cold

Bird watchers say a cold snap in late spring left many birds without their usual food source, resulting in the deaths of many baby birds. “Baby birds and nesting birds rely on insects and other invertebrates to feed their young and as a high source of protein for nesting birds. During cold temperatures like that, the bugs go dormant, they retreat under barks of trees, they just become harder to find,” said Dawn Hewitt, editor of Bird Watcher's Digest. Lacking a proper food source, many adult birds and especially baby birds became malnourished.

Decline in magpies and kookaburras rings alarm bells in Australia

BirdLife Australia data shows that Australian magpies declined by 31 per cent in the East Coast region — including Sydney and Brisbane — between 1998 and 2013. "They declined by roughly 20 per cent in the South East Mainland Region, which includes Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide [for the same period]," Sean Dooley, BirdLife Australia's national public affairs manager, said. The data also reflected a dramatic decline in kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae) and birds of prey, suggesting carnivores were potentially more vulnerable to these unknown environmental changes.

Binnen een week zijn 20.000 ernstig zieke of dode pimpelmezen geregistreerd in Duitsland

De zangvogel met kobaltblauwe kruin lijkt te kampen met een besmettelijke ziekte. De Duitse natuurorganisatie Nabu heeft daarom Duitsers opgeroepen om gevallen te melden en dode vogels op te sturen voor onderzoek. Wat opvalt is dat vooralsnog weinig gevallen bekend zijn van vergelijkbare besmettingen bij andere vogelsoorten. Volgens Nabu passen de symptomen niet bij een bekende vogelziekte maar het lijkt te gaan om „een bacteriële infectie die onschadelijk is voor mensen”.

The wood thrush has been disappearing from the D.C. region

There’s something truly mysterious about the wood thrush. It’s small, tinier than its robin cousin. Its cinnamon brown color provides camouflage in the branches and shrubs that the bird calls home. And the wood thrush’s call, made to defend territory and attract mates, sounds as if it emanates from a big, complex instrument rather than this delicate creature. Although the bird’s range is large, reaching from Canada to Minnesota to Mexico, it is particularly beloved in the D.C. region.

The endangered Taita birds of Kenya

Across the expansive Taita Plains in Southern Eastern Kenya, rises a majestic densely forested hilly outcrops straddling the skyline near the historic town of Voi. These hilly outcrops, famously known as the Taita Hills occupy an area of about 250 square kilometers. In addition to being an important biodiversity hotspot and water tower, the densely forested hills form an important ecosystem consisting of a number of forests, home to various animals and rare bird species.

Capercaillie broods in pristine boreal forest in northwestern Russia: the importance of insects and cover in habitat selection

Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L., 1758), the largest and most size-dimorphic species of grouse, is decreasing in number throughout its man-modified range in the boreal forests of the Palaearctic. Poor reproduction owing to direct and indirect effects of commercial forestry is considered a main cause of the decline. We studied brood habitats in a pristine forest in northwestern Russia to identify key elements in habitat selection in the natural environment of this species.

Dramatischer Rückgang der Auerhuhnpopulation im Schwarzwald

Das Auerhuhn (Tetrao urogallus) gilt als Indikator artenreicher, lichter, von Nadelbäumen dominierter Wälder und besiedelt weltweit noch ein großes Areal. In West- und Mitteleuropa sind allerdings viele Verbreitungsgebiete isoliert und meist auf (Mittel-) Gebirgszüge begrenzt, viele Populationen sind bereits verschwunden oder stark zurückgegangen. Im Schwarzwald, Südwest-Deutschland, wurde die Auerhuhn-Population erstmals 1971 mittels flächendeckender Balzplatzzählungen geschätzt. Seit 1983 wurden diese Zählungen jährlich durchgeführt und dokumentiert.

Not all smiles on annual bird count in Starved Rock State Park

Steve Gillam, Starved Rock volunteer Tom Williams and Starved Rock State Park natural resource coordinator Lisa Sons exchanged jokes and friendly chitchat as they trudged over a muddy path along a field edge, wetland and woods at Matthiessen State Park. They were not seeing many birds, despite sunny, breezy conditions and diverse habitat, during their after-lunch hike over their territory in the Starved Rock Audubon Society Christmas bird count. And they said they had not seen many birds in the morning among the oak trees and canyons in the Matthiessen Dells area.