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10 important news stories about birds from the last two weeks

Piping Plover at Barnegat Light, New Jersey, March 21, 2015, by Harry Collins.
Piping Plover at Barnegat Light, New Jersey, March 21, 2015, by Harry Collins.

Here’s a recap of the most important stories that we tweeted and retweeted over the past two weeks:

1. Spring migrants all over: Tundra Swans were photographed in Port Rowan, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie (March 21). Wilson’s Warbler (below) was reported back in Tilden Park, in the San Francisco Bay area (March 21). Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, reported along the Gulf coast in early March, started moving northward (March 17). Ospreys Tom and Audrey started building a nest on Kent Island, Maryland (March 17). Tree Swallows appeared in New York City (March 15). And the first Piping Plovers were seen in Rhode Island (March 14).

2. No mittens needed: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s reported that global temperatures for December through February were the warmest on record. The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.42°F above the 20th-century average, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.05 degrees. March 20

3. Flamingos in Florida: The Audubon Society of the Everglades and the South Florida Water Management District announced that they would be conducting special tours in March and April at a stormwater-treatment area west of Boca Raton to look for American Flamingos. The area is open to hunters a few days in fall and winter but is otherwise closed to the public. March 19

4. And a great birding opportunity in Wisconsin: Registration opened for a special field trip in central Wisconsin to see two of the continent’s most endangered bird species: Kirtland’s Warbler and Whooping Crane. The trip is a fundraiser for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. March 18

5. Poison in the arctic: Feather analysis showed that mercury pollution in the endangered Ivory Gull has risen nearly 50-fold over 130 years. Biologists at the University of Saskatchewan who discovered the increase say it could harm the bird’s ability to reproduce and raise chicks in the future. March 18

6. A cause for rejoicing: The spectacular Blue-bearded Helmetcrest — a hummingbird that was last seen in 1946 and had been feared extinct — was photographed in Colombia. The bird is found only on the world’s highest coastal mountain range, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. March 17

7. Snowfall: As many as 2,000 migrating Snow Geese fell dead from the sky in eastern Idaho. The birds were thought to have succumbed to avian cholera. March 17

8. More cranes in Texas: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that aerial surveys had revealed that as few as 267 or as many as 350 Whooping Cranes overwintered on the Gulf coast of Texas this year. The statistical midpoint of the population range, 314, was slightly higher than last year’s midpoint (310). Which is good news. We think. March 16

9. One day wonder: A Hooded Oriole, a pretty bird native to the Southwest and Pacific coast, stayed long enough to be photographed at a backyard feeder in North Carolina. March 5

10. A reprieve for Mute Swans: In response to public pressure, New York released a revised plan to reduce its population of invasive Mute Swans. A proposal issued early last year had called for the abolition of almost all of the state’s 2,200 swans. The new plan shifts the focus from destroying the swans to reducing their negative impact. March 9

Originally Published

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