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10 important news stories about birds from late November

Wisdom (left) with her mate at Midway Atoll, November 21, 2015. Photo by Kiah Walker/USFWS.
Wisdom (left) with her mate at Midway Atoll, November 21, 2015. Photo by Kiah Walker/USFWS.

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

1. Winter finches outside Chicago: Common Redpolls, small finches from the Arctic tundra and boreal forests, were sighted in DuPage County, Illinois, just west of Chicago. November 29

See photos of Common Redpoll.

2. Disappearing even faster: Satellite data for the 12 months through the end of July showed that the destruction of Brazil’s Amazon forest, the world’s largest intact rainforest, increased by 16 percent in 2015 from a year ago. An area half the size of Puerto Rico, 2,251 square miles (5,831 square km), was cleared. November 26

3. Monarchs in Mexico: Officials confirmed that migrating monarch butterflies arrived at their winter sanctuaries. During field trips November 6-8, clusters were found in the Piedra Herrada, El Rosario, and Sierra Chincua sanctuaries. November 24

Red-breasted Merganser in Cleveland, Ohio, by Joshua Clark.
Red-breasted Merganser in Cleveland, Ohio, by Joshua Clark.

4. 5,353 birds and still counting: In Lore Lindu National Park, in Sulawesi, author and birder Noah Strycker on November 22 recorded 36 species, bringing his Big Year list to 5,353. The outing came on Day 326 of his 365-day, globe-encircling quest. November 23

5. Game changer: After years of turning a deaf ear to concerns about climate change, the Canadian province of Alberta announced an aggressive plan that not only sets emission limits for the oil sands but also begins a transition from coal to renewable sources of electricity. The director of ForestEthics Canada, called the plan “a game changer for Alberta and Canada.” November 22

6. Let’s call it Lake Merganser: Waterbird watchers on the western shore of Lake Michigan in southeastern Wisconsin tallied almost 165,000 birds between September and the end of November. The total included an eye-popping 100,658 Red-breasted Mergansers. The Waterbird Watch is operated in spring and autumn by the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. November 22

See photos of Red-breasted Merganser.

7. Wisdom has returned again: The Laysan Albatross known as Wisdom, the oldest known banded bird in the wild, returned to the colony on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. She was spotted with her mate on November 19, almost a year to the date she returned last year. The photo above was taken on November 21. November 19

8. Bird-Smart products: American Bird Conservancy published a list of products that it and its partners have verified as Bird-Smart. That is, the products not only have been proved effective at minimizing the frequency of bird-window collisions but also are affordable and aesthetically pleasing. November 19

9. Help for rare parrot: A friends group in western Australia announced that experts will attempt to breed a small population of Western Ground Parrots for release back into the wild. The critically endangered parrot is one of Australia’s rarest bird species. Over a decade ago, fewer than 140 birds were thought to exist. November 17

10. A first for South Dakota: Three Great Kiskadees, large, noisy, and brightly colored flycatchers considered endemic to South Texas, were discovered enjoying the hospitality of a residence in South Dakota. The sightings represented the state’s first official record. At least one of the birds had been seen for at least three months. November 13

10 important news stories about birds from early November.

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

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