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10 important news stories about birds from the last weeks of May

Orange-bellied Parrot, male, Melaleuca, Southwest Conservation Area, Tasmania, Australia, by JJ Harrison (Wikimedia Commons).
Orange-bellied Parrot, male, Melaleuca, Southwest Conservation Area, Tasmania, Australia, by JJ Harrison (Wikimedia Commons).

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

1. Whoopin’ it up: Operation Migration said that 27 different pairs of Whooping Cranes had attempted 37 nests, a record, this year. Eight nests failed, eight had eggs removed as part of a re-nesting experiment, and four nests were incubated past full term on nonviable eggs. Thirteen chicks have hatched from nine nests so far. Two nests still have a second egg that could hatch, and eight nests are currently active. June 1

2. Trouble down under: Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner confirmed that deadly beak and feather disease had broken out in the only wild population of Orange-bellied Parrots, one of the world’s rarest and most endangered species. Its wild population is believed to be as few as 50 birds, although a ­further 345 are in a captive breeding program. May 31

See photos of parrots.

3. Oiled wildlife, again: More than 20,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the ocean off Santa Barbara, California, on May 19. As of May 31, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network had rescued 52 live birds, including 40 Brown Pelicans, and 36 live marine mammals.

4. Beautiful Kenai: A $9.3 million LEEDS-certified visitor center opened at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, near Soldotna, Alaska. Our August 2015 issue will carry a feature article by Jim Williams about birding on the Kenai Peninsula. May 30

5. Must read: In an op-ed in the New York Times published on Friday, ornithologist and author Scott Weidensaul and Boreal Songbird Initiative science and policy director Jeffrey V. Wells argued persuasively that at least half of the boreal forest should be kept free of industrial development and its fragmenting impacts. May 29

Leading bird groups unite to urge greater protection of boreal forest.

6. But does it do enough? The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service announced their final environmental reviews for proposed plans to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse. A new multi-state plan could include conservation measures to protect more than 50 million acres of BLM land that provides critical habitat for the species. May 28

7. Too cool to not share: The world’s whitest bunting and a species near the top of our want-to-see list, McKay’s Bunting, was photographed beautifully during a recent Biotope birding adventure in Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island. May 21-24.

8. All in a day’s work: Two teams of expert birders found 219 bird species in 24 hours in Wisconsin during the 2015 Great Wisconsin Birdathon sponsored by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. May 20

9. Hope takes flight: One hundred and fifty bats that had been successfully treated for the deadly White-Nose Syndrome were released back into the wild outside the historic Mark Twain Cave Complex in Hannibal, Missouri. The bats were part of the first field trials of a novel way to protect bats from WNS. “While more research is needed before we know if our current discovery in an effective and environmentally safe treatment for White-nose Syndrome, we are very encouraged,” said a Forest Service director. May 20

10. Ramsar wetland: The Door Peninsula Coastal Wetlands in northern Door County, Wisconsin, has been recognized as globally significant for protection under the Ramsar Convention. More than 150 species of birds that use the site for nesting or as staging areas during autumn and spring migrations.

18 citizen-science projects you can join in June and July.

Read about fun events taking place in June.

  Originally Published

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