In Denmark, Immigrant Birds May Have To Pay Their Own Way

 As the climate changes, birds of a feather no longer necessarily flock together. (PLOS ONE)

As the climate changes, birds of a feather no longer necessarily flock together. (PLOS ONE)

Climate change is driving a parade of species to find new homes (including Homo sapiens). But how deep will the public dig to aid and conserve recent (and future) animal refugees? In Denmark, not very. A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE reports that country’s citizens are willing to pay far more in taxes to protect native birds than incoming ones—even when the natives themselves have one bony foot out the door. Continue reading

New study shows that migration flyways and winter destinations of sparrows are unique to each bird

 

A new paper by Dr. Jeremy Ross from the University of Oklahoma describes the use of tiny devices strapped to birds’ backs called geolocators, which capture the individual migration routes of lark sparrows in North America. By sensing the light levels, these backpacks can pinpoint the location of a bird anywhere in the world, even if retrieving the data-logger can sometimes pose a major problem.

This study, published in the online journal Animal Migration, mapped for the first time the routes traveled by three lark sparrows after they left their breeding grounds in Ohio. When the birds returned to the site the following year, Dr. Ross and colleagues retrieved their loggers and mapped where they had gone in the interim. Continue reading

Birds That Use Quantum Mechanics to Migrate

2014.06.28-Bird-migration-quantum-mechanics

Researchers in the budding field of quantum biology hypothesize that birds are capable of using properties of quantum mechanics to help them make their extraordinary annual migrations. In particular researchers speculate that quantum entanglement can influence light-sensitive molecules within the eyes of birds and help them to “see” the Earth’s magnetic fields. Some experts predict that if true, this would mean that birds are capable of maintaining quantum entanglement for periods of time longer than those that can be detected using the most current and sensitive scientific instrumentation. Continue reading

Tracking migration of songbirds is difficult but enlightening

Calories are precious when tiny songbirds, many species weighing an ounce or less, migrate thousands of miles from (and to) Central and South America.

Scientists once assumed, sans evidence of another answer, that songbirds followed a migratory path similar to the flyways of ducks and geese.But terrestrial birds aren’t reliant on the same habitats.

“There really isn’t a relatively narrow migration path for them, and they aren’t necessarily in the same place in spring and fall,” said Frank La Sorte, a Cornell Lab of Ornithology researcher and lead author of a paper in the Journal of Biogeography. Continue reading

Chris Packham: Malta is a bird hell

BBC nature presenter Chris Packham. Photograph: Steve Meddle/ITV/REX

When Chris Packham announced he was heading to Malta to report on the island’s annual spring bird shoot as if he was a war correspondent covering a conflict, even his admirers probably thought he was guilty of hyperbole.

But after a week in which the naturalist has detained by police for five hours, shoved to the ground by gunmen and witnessed the illegal killing of dozens of endangered birds, his mission to raise awareness of the annual slaughter of migratory birds has been more like a battle than he imagined. Continue reading

Solar Panels Frying Birds Along Major Migration Path

solar-plant-afp-640x480Some animal rights activists are wondering just how many birds green energy may unintentionally kill as more and more birds turn up dead at solar energy facilities throughout California.

A recent article by Vice author Lex Berko notes that dead birds are being found with “singed wings” around several California solar energy facilities.

It happens that many of California’s solar plants are, the article claims, in the path of “the four major north-to-south trajectories for migratory birds” called “the Pacific Flyway.” Continue reading