10 important news stories about birds from the end of October

Common Redpoll at Lorain Impoundment, on the Lake Erie shore in Ohio, January 17, 2015, by Joshua Clark.
Common Redpoll at Lorain Impoundment, on the shore of Lake Erie in Ohio, January 17, 2015, by Joshua Clark.

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

1. eBird gets richer: The geniuses who run eBird, the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, announced that birders can now drag-and-drop rich media — photos and audio — into their checklists. The goal is a long-term, open-data resource that would be searchable by birders and scientists alike — a real-time, digital, natural-history collection. November 3

2. Redpoll record: Tadoussac Bird Observatory, on the St. Lawrence River about 150 miles northeast of Quebec City in Canada, recorded an astounding number of Common Redpolls during the last week of October — more than 125,000. Over 33,000 were counted on Tuesday, October 27, and more than 55,000 were spotted on Saturday, October 31. According to Kenn Kaufman, the Saturday total probably represents a one-day world record. November 2

Follow Kenn Kaufman on Twitter.

3. Petrels on a helicopter: Ten endangered Hawaiian Petrel chicks were flown by helicopter to a new colony protected by predator-proof fencing at Kilauea Point NWR, on the northwestern coast of the island of Kauaʻi, on Monday. “Petrels, like many other native Hawaiian species, are facing tremendous challenges with shrinking habitat and the onslaught of invasive species,” said the project leader. Translocating the birds, he explained, “ensures that this colony of birds will be protected for our children and our children’s children.” November 2

Common Crane at the Hula Nature Preserve, Israel, by Eyal Kaplan.
Common Crane at the Hula Nature Preserve, Israel, by Eyal Kaplan.

4. The huge toll of a tiny virus: Scientists attempting to document the demographic impacts of the West Virus virus announced that it has had a much larger impact on North American bird populations than anyone knew. About half of the 49 species studied experienced large-scale declines, the investigators found. November 2

5. A first for British Columbia: A Field Sparrow was found at Furry Creek, Oliver’s Landing, in British Columbia. The sighting was a first record for the province. October 3

6. Cranes on the move: Between 60,000 and 140,000 migrating Common Cranes gathered at Lac du Der, in France’s Champagne region, about 120 miles east of Paris. The cranes can typically be seen there from mid-October to mid-March, and in huge numbers in late February. Writer Mark Hedden described the site in an article about Paris’s Peregrine Falcons in our December 2014 issue. October 30

7. A first for Oregon: A Great Crested Flycatcher was found near Toledo, in coastal Oregon. The sighting was a first record for the state. October 29

8. Old turbines shut down: The wind company Altamont Winds announced that it would shut down hundreds of its old wind turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, between San Francisco and Stockton, California. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the company’s turbines there have been associated with the death or injury of 67 Golden Eagles between 2004 and 2014. October 29

9. An updated Red List: The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, publishers of the IUCN Red List, announced that 40 bird species are now considered a step closer to extinction. Species judged to be at higher risk include six of Africa’s 11 vultures, eight shorebirds, and such iconic species as Helmeted Hornbill, Swift Parrot, Atlantic Puffin, and European Turtle-dove. Overall, about 13 percent of all birds are now listed as vulnerable to extinction. October 28

See photos of Atlantic Puffin.

10. Another first for British Columbia: A Wood Thrush was photographed in a backyard in the village of Trout Creek, between Summerland and Penticton, in British Columbia. The sighting was a first record for the province. October 25

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

10 stories about birds that made headlines in early October.

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