A wing and a prayer

Many bird species are flourishing in Massachusetts — but the news isn’t all good

Declining: Brown thrashers disappeared entirely from the Lower Berkshire Hills.

Declining: Brown thrashers disappeared entirely from the Lower Berkshire Hills.

Now that Joan Walsh has mapped out the bird species in Massachusetts, the question is what to make of the aviary she’s revealed. She is the director of bird monitoring at Mass Audubon, which this month released “The State of the Birds 2013” and the “Massachusetts Bird Breeding Atlas 2.” Taken together, the studies tell a story that calls for simultaneous celebration and concern. Continue reading

Australian endangered species: Orange-bellied Parrot

 Somehow the Orange-bellied Parrot is always getting into trouble. Fatih Sam

Somehow the Orange-bellied Parrot is always getting into trouble. Fatih Sam

If you had to ask an average Australian the name of a threatened bird in this country, many would nominate the Orange-bellied Parrot. Critically endangered, and with fewer than 50 left in the wild, it is justifiably one of Australia’s most well-known endangered species. Continue reading

Flights of fancy: Bird migration in Israel’s Hula Valley

Migration season brings millions of soaring and squawking birds to Israel to the delight of camera-clicking spectators.

To enter the expanse known as the Hula Valley, with its vast plains encased by the steep, sloping mountains of Israel’s Upper Galilee, is to experience nature’s own theater-in-the-round. It is a breathtaking sensory production, a symphony of sight and sound, as the migration season’s show-stealer – Eurasian cranes numbering in the tens of thousands – soar and squawk to the delight of camera-clicking Israeli spectators, tourists, and bird watchers. Continue reading

Climate threatens Galápagos bird

The unique flightless cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi).

The unique flightless cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi).

The effects of climate change in the Galápagos Islands are posing a severe threat to one of the world’s rarest seabirds, a decade-long historical study led by a University of Queensland researcher has revealed.

The unique flightless cormorant, Phalacrocorax harrisi, is found only on the coasts of two Islands in the Galápagos archipelago and relies on cold, nutrient-rich water provided by the Equatorial Undercurrent.
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‘Extinct’ South Island kokako could still be alive

The South Island kokako. - Source: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

The South Island kokako. – Source: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

A native New Zealand bird previously declared extinct could still be alive after a sighting was confirmed near Reefton.

Len Turner and Peter Rudolf claimed to have seen the South Island kokako near Reefton in 2007.

The sighting has been accepted by the Ornithological Society’s Record Appraisal Committee, which monitors the status of rare and endangered birds. Continue reading

Bangalore: Habitat destruction makes rare birds rarer

1925698Development is taking its toll on birds, and it is getting worse every year. Fifteen bird species that are found in India have been declared ‘Critically Endangered’ in the just released IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

If that’s not all, three other bird species now face greater danger than before. These have been uplisted to Near Threatened (NT) and Vulnerable (VU) categories. Earlier, these were better off and classified under the Least Concern (LC) category by IUCN.

Four of these birds can be found in various parts of Karnataka: great Indian bustard, Indian vulture, red-headed vulture and white-backed vulture. Continue reading