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10 important news stories about birds from early November

Cave Swallow at Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Dauphin Island, Alabama, by Angie Carn.

Here are the 10 most important news stories that we tweeted or retweeted over the past two weeks.

1. Franklin’s Gulls and Cave Swallows move east: A pair of western species surprised and delighted birders across the eastern half of the continent. Franklin’s Gull, a resident of the northern Great Plains, and Cave Swallow, a bird from Texas and southern New Mexico, showed up from Quebec City to Miami, and in big numbers in places. The birds are thought to have been whisked eastward by strong winds associated with a storm that swept across the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes. November 13

2. More monarchs in Mexico: Authorities announced that the number of monarch butterflies that will reach winter grounds in central Mexico this season may be three to four times greater than last year. The overwintering butterflies covered about 2.79 acres in 2014. They once blanketed as much as 44 acres. November 12

3. The worst ever on Lake Erie: The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory announced that the algal bloom in western Lake Erie was the most severe since tracking began in 2002. “Over a 40-day period from late July to the end of August,” write the scientists, “the biomass detected from satellite exceeded that of any other time period we have monitored.” November 10

Ash-throated Flycatcher by vmiller.
Ash-throated Flycatcher by vmiller.

4. A first for British Columbia? An Oriental Greenfinch was photographed in Victoria, British Columbia. It represents the third time the species has been seen in the province. None of the previous records was accepted, since it couldn’t be established whether each bird was wild or captive. There are no accepted North American records for the species outside Alaska. November 9


5. The best ever in Wisconsin: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that Kirtland’s Warblers in Wisconsin had their most successful breeding season ever. The endangered birds attempted 16 nests in the state, and 13 were successful. Between 36 and 53 young were fledged. The percentage of successful nests and the estimated number of fledglings were the highest on record. November 9

6. Great flycatcher by a Great Lake: An Ash-throated Flycatcher was spotted at the Waterbird Watch maintained by the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. The secretive flycatcher is common in brushy and lightly wooded habitats in the Southwest. November 7

7. Obama says no: President Obama rejected the Keystone XL project, a 1,200-mile pipeline intended to transport Canadian crude to the Gulf. The announcement came weeks ahead of a UN summit on climate change in Paris, where Obama is expected to press nations to adopt stronger measures to slow global warming. November 6


8. Petrels tracked from above: For the first time ever, endangered Black-capped Petrels were tracked by satellite. According to researchers, the petrels used marine habitats in the southern Caribbean Sea during chick rearing. After breeding, the seabirds used waters west of the Gulf Stream offshore of the mid- and southern Atlantic coasts as well as Gulf Stream waters and deeper pelagic waters east of the Gulf Stream. Black-capped Petrel breeds only in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. November 5

9. Protections for boreal birds: Three important steps were taken to preserve 11 million acres of boreal forest. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve, Canada’s largest national park on the Atlantic Coast, was created in July. A few weeks earlier, in Quebec, the Broadback River watershed was safeguarded. And in the Northwest Territories, negotiators reached agreement on the boundaries of a proposed Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve, which would cover 6.4 million acres. November 4

10. Ontario says no: The Invasive Species Act received Royal Assent on November 3, making Ontario the only jurisdiction in Canada to enact standalone invasive-species legislation. The measure contains provisions not only to keep invasive species from entering the province but also to eradicate invasives already in the region. November 3


10 important news stories about birds from the end of October.

10 stories about birds in the news in mid-October.

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