Here’s a roundup of the latest bird news. In chronological order below are the 10 most important stories that we followed over the past two weeks. Follow us on Twitter.
1. Five accentors in Britain: Siberian Accentor was spotted in the UK five times in eight days: in Shetland (October 9), East Yorkshire (October 13-15), Saltburn (October 15), Sunderland (October 17), and Holy Island, Northumberland (October 18). The number of accentors displacing westward into Europe is “going through the roof,” wrote one observer.
2. United against climate change: Nearly 200 nations agreed to fight climate change by cutting back on greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners. The distinguished senior fellow at the World Resources Institute called the pact “the single most important measure the global community could take to limit global warming in the short term.” October 15
3. Cuban rum and cigars: President Obama issued a sweeping directive formalizing the government’s two-year-old shift toward normalization of relations with Cuba, and he loosened sanctions, lifting the $100 limit on Cuban rum and cigars brought into the United States. October 14
4. Wild birds and bird flu: Researchers who studied the genetic code of flu viruses in birds from 16 countries infected during the 2014 outbreak said migrating birds carried the H5N8 virus from Asia to Europe and North America. “Our findings show that with good surveillance, rapid data sharing and collaboration, we can track how infections spread across continents,” said the lead researcher. October 13
5. Red flicker feathers: According to a new study, the berries of exotic honeysuckle plants are the reason aberrant red feathers have been appearing on eastern “yellow-shafted” Northern Flickers. Contributing Editor Julie Craves was a co-author. She helped the lead author and three other researchers determine how feather replacement in flickers coincided with the availability of honeysuckle fruits in various regions. October 12
6. Wales’s first crane: In August, a Common Crane fledged in Wales for the first time in around 400 years. The bird’s parents originated from the Great Crane Project, which released 93 hand-reared cranes between 2010 and 2014. The UK’s wild crane population now stands at about 160 birds. October 11
7. Pinnacles’ first condor: For the first time in a century, a wild-hatched California Condor fledged from a nest in Pinnacles National Park, south of San Jose, California. The condor, a female, hatched in April. October 11
8. A new name for Barrow: Voters in Barrow, the northernmost community in Alaska and one of the state’s top 10 birding hotspots, approved an ordinance setting in motion the process of changing the community’s name from the English “Barrow” back to the Inupiaq “Utqiagvik.” October 10
9. San Francisco Bay collapse: Scientists at the Bay Institute announced that so little water is flowing from rivers that feed San Francisco Bay and its estuary that its ecosystem is collapsing. The findings underline conclusions already reached by state regulators and argue in favor of drastic water restrictions in San Francisco and among farmers in the northern San Joaquin Valley. October 8
10. Autumn crane update: The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership announced that no more than 109 Whooping Cranes were in the Eastern Migratory Population. As of October 4, at least 100 cranes were confirmed in Wisconsin, one was in Michigan, and four were in Illinois. October 4
— Chuck Hagner, Editor
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