Penguin Personalities Cause Birds to Adapt to Climate Change

Scientists have taken a closer look at penguins and have found that a bird's individual personality may be among the factors that could improve its chances at successfully coping with environmental stressors. (Photo : John F. Cockrem, PhD)

Scientists have taken a closer look at penguins and have found that a bird’s individual personality may be among the factors that could improve its chances at successfully coping with environmental stressors. (Photo : John F. Cockrem, PhD)

The climate continues to change, causing animals to change their lifestyles in turn. Currently, the ability of many animal species to adapt is being put to the test. Now, though, researchers have taken a closer look at penguins and have found that a bird’s individual personality may be among the factors that could improve its chances at successfully coping with environmental stressors.

According to the Audubon Society, nearly half of all North American bird species are severely threatened by shifts in climate. Not only that, but this threat reaches beyond just North America and could have similar effects on global bird populations. Continue reading

How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings

Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went from straight to bent and hyperflexible, allowing birds to fold their wings neatly against their bodies when not flying.

How this happened has been the subject of much debate, with substantial disagreement between developmental biologists, who study how the wings of modern birds develop in the growing embryo, and palaeontologists who study the bones of dinosaurs and early birds. A resolution to this impasse is now provided by an exciting new study publishing on September 30 in PLOS Biology. Continue reading

Warblers and turtle doves join RSPB list of birds at risk of dying out

The turtle dove could be extinct in the UK within a decade. Photograph: Alamy

The turtle dove could be extinct in the UK within a decade. Photograph: Alamy

Any true love who wants to give their significant other two turtle doves to celebrate the second day of the 12 Days of Christmas may soon be looking for an alternative gift.

In a move that will dismay ornithologists and poets alike, the bird, immortalised in verse by Shakespeare and Wordsworth, could shortly find itself on the near 100-strong list of the rarest birds in the UK as compiled by the RSPB’s rare breeding birds panel – a sign that its numbers are plummeting by such a degree that there are fears it could become extinct in the UK within a decade. Continue reading

Chemical Pollution and Climate Change Threatening 1,300 Species of Birds

 Queensland stakeholders welcome feds inquiry on Wild Rivers Act


Queensland stakeholders welcome feds inquiry on Wild Rivers Act

More than 1,300 species of birds are threatened with extinction, with chemical pollution and climate change two major culprits. Because of these and other dangers, the status of most of the endangered species is deteriorating, according to BirdLife International.

In the majority of cases, the blame lies with humans, with loss of habitat and chemical contamination of the environment posing a serious threat to birds. The destruction of wetlands, forests and plains has also diminished birds’ food supply, according to Environmental Health News. Continue reading

NZ battles pests to save native birds

New Zealand’s largest pest control programme has been given the go ahead to protect native wildlife from a plague of rats and stoats, Conservation Minister Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith outlined the “battle for our birds” programme in January. The final programme has now been determined.

Some new areas have been added, such as D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, some expanded like in the Kahurangi National Park, and some may not proceed due to pest count numbers not yet reaching thresholds. Continue reading

Could Rare Bird on Tiny Island Be India’s Ecological Canary?

There are just 350 to 400 Narcondam hornbills left, in a range of under 2.7 square miles (7 square kilometers).

There are just 350 to 400 Narcondam hornbills left, in a range of under 2.7 square miles (7 square kilometers).

A little over a month after India’s new government came to power, conservationists have begun worrying that the administration may be less than committed to protecting some of the country’s environmental treasures.

Within days of the election, the government granted clearances to several defense projects that had been pending for years due to potential environmental impacts. The environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, also declared that projects relating to national security would be given expedited clearances. Continue reading