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Birds in the news: The 10 most important stories from the beginning of April

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, in August, by Laure Wilson Neish.

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

1. Visit a national park for free! In celebration of National Park Week, admission to all National Park Service sites that normally charge an entrance fee will be free until Sunday. The service turns 100 years old this year. April 16-24

2. England’s last Golden Eagle: England’s last remaining Golden Eagle has apparently died. Wildlife experts say that the bird, usually observed at Riggindale near Haweswater in Cumbria, has not been seen since November. More than 400 pairs of Golden Eagles still breed in the U.K., most of them in the moorlands and mountains of Scotland. April 15

Cuban Pewee at Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, by mayhaga.
Cuban Pewee at Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba, by mayhaga.

3. Cuba species list: BirdWatching magazine announced that birders on its recent bird survey in Cuba spotted 143 bird species, including 21 of Cuba’s 26 endemic species, 17 of the 22 species that are endemic to the West Indies and inhabit the Cuban archipelago, and three endangered species — Blue-headed Quail-Dove, Zapata Wren, and Zapata Sparrow. April 14

Itinerary and details of our February 2016 Cuba bird survey.

4. A milestone for Whooping Cranes: A Whooping Crane chick hatched in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, the first in the state in more than 75 years. “This is something we’ve been looking forward to and anticipating since the reintroduction began in 2011,” said the biologist who leads the Louisiana Whooping Crane project. April 12

5. Garden company nixes neonics: Ortho, a division of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., announced that it will phase out neonicotinoids by 2021 in eight products used to control garden pests and diseases. The chemicals are widely believed to be the reason honeybee populations have plummeted. April 12


Study: Insect-eating birds decline where bee-killing neonicotinoids are present.

6. Refuge giveaway: Congressman Robert Bishop (R-Utah) introduced legislation by that would permit the transfer of some 3,000 acres of Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which may consider opening the land up to private development. About 190 bird species, including three endemics (Adelaide’s Warbler, Puerto Rican Woodpecker, and Puerto Rican Flycatcher), have been reported on Vieques. April 11

7. Loon succumbs to tropical disease: It was determined that a Common Loon found dead in Lake Umbagog, on the border of Maine and New Hampshire, last summer had died of avian malaria. According to researchers, it was the first known case of a loon dying of the tropical disease. April 8

8. Second oldest eagle: Officials at the Teton Raptor Center, in Wilson, Wyoming, announced that they were caring for a female Bald Eagle that had been banded as a nestling in 1982. Their patient is the second oldest wild Bald Eagle on record in North America. April 6


See reader photos of Bald Eagle.

9. Thriving Ospreys: A U.S. Geological Survey study concluded that close to 10,000 pairs of Osprey are nesting in the Chesapeake Bay. The population had dwindled to fewer than 1,500 nesting pairs but has rebounded since the pesticide DDT was banned in 1972. April 4

10. Bat disease reaches Washington: A government lab said that an ailing bat found in March east of Seattle died of white nose syndrome. It was the first time the disease had been found west of the Rockies. The disease has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern United States. April 1

Birds in the news: 10 important stories from the end of March.


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