U.K. Seabirds Sound Climate Warning

Photo by Iriskh (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Photo by Iriskh (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Several familiar British birds are now showing drastic declines in numbers as the reality of climate change strikes home even at these temperate latitudes.

Scientists believe climate change is the driving force behind a crash in the numbers of kittiwakes, a seabird species which used to thrive in northern Scotland. The birds are doing so badly that there are fears some colonies could disappear entirely. Continue reading

House sparrow most spotted bird in Lancashire

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

HOUSE sparrows are now the most spotted bird in Lancashire, a study involving thousands of residents found.

Almost 10,000 participants of the Birdwatch survey in Lancashire discovered starlings were no longer the most widely spotted bird in the county – with house sparrows knocking them off the top spot. Continue reading

Galveston Oil Spill Threatening Crucial Bird Refuge

An oil containment boom cuts across a sandbar covered with birds on Pelican Island near Galveston, Texas. PHOTOGRAPH BY SMILEY N. POOL, HOUSTON CHRONICLE VIA AP

An oil containment boom cuts across a sandbar covered with birds on Pelican Island near Galveston, Texas.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SMILEY N. POOL, HOUSTON CHRONICLE VIA AP

A barge that spilled 168,000 gallons (635,000 liters) of oil Saturday into Galveston Bay is threatening a refuge that’s crucial habitat for thousands of birds, experts say.

The spill occurred when the barge collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel near Texas City, on the western coast of Galveston Bay.

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DNA evidence suggests humans hunted moa to extinction

 Giant Haast's eagle attacking New Zealand moa. Artwork: John Megahan. Copyright: PLoS Biology. Via Wikipedia.

Giant Haast’s eagle attacking New Zealand moa. Artwork: John Megahan. Copyright: PLoS Biology. Via Wikipedia.

A new study conducted by an international team of researchers points to humans as the cause of the sudden extinction of all species of moa in New Zealand approximately 600 years ago. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes DNA testing they carried out, along with archeological evidence, which they claim, proves that humans were the cause of the demise of the large flightless birds. Continue reading

Smelly cuckoos protect hosts’ chicks from predators

Cuckoos have a bad reputation as home-wreckers, taking over the nests of other birds and killing their chicks. But one species benefits its hosts by producing a smelly fluid that repels predators.

“Cuckoos are not always the villains we think they are,” says Ros Gloag of the University of Sydney, who was not involved in the study. Continue reading