Here’s a roundup of the latest bird news. In chronological order below are the 10 most important stories that we followed in the over the past two weeks. Follow us on Twitter.
1. BOU chooses the IOC list: The British Ornithologists’ Union announced that it will adopt the IOC World Bird List for all its ornithological needs, including the authoritative British list, starting in 2018. The BOU reached its decision after reviewing four recognized taxonomic groups: eBird/Clements, HBW/BirdLife, Howard & Moore, and IOC World Bird List. January 20
2. Champions for Turkey: The organizers of the annual Champions of the Flyway bird race announced that proceeds from the 2017 event will be used to combat the illegal hunting and trapping of songbirds in Turkey. Last year’s race raised over $80,000 for projects tackling illegal killing in Greece. The 2017 race will take place on March 28. January 20
3. A swift’s amazing migration: Researchers who equipped 31 Common Swifts in Beijing with light-level geolocators have discovered that the birds fly a great distance each year. The tagged swifts flew west-northwest from the capital into Mongolia, then through Iran and central Arabia to Namibia and South Africa. The birds followed a similar route on their return journey, completing a round trip of more than 26,000 kilometers, or 16,156 miles. January 19
4. Feds to phase out lead ammo: The Obama Administration acted on January 19 to phase out lead ammunition and fishing tackle from federal lands. According to Director’s Order No. 219, by January 2022 it will be the policy of the Fish and Wildlife Service to “require the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service lands, waters, and facilities.” January 19
5. Long-eared Owls invade: Birders in Chicago reported an unusually high number of Long-eared Owls this winter. According to Field Museum ornithologist Josh Engel, an abundance of small rodents in the owls’ breeding grounds farther north may have led to a bumper crop of young birds, or more food may have made the Chicago area especially desirable. January 19
6. Warmest year ever: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 2016 was the warmest year on record, edging out 2015, the previous record holder, by 0.07°F. It was the third year in a row that the global average surface temperature set a new record, and the fifth time that the record had been broken since the start of the 21st century. January 17
7. Birds killed near airports: An analysis of federal data revealed that nearly 70,000 birds have been killed in the New York City area since the 2009 accident in which a jetliner landed in the Hudson River after striking birds. Despite the killing, the average annual number of bird strikes reported at La Guardia and Newark airports increased from 158 in the five years before the accident to 299 in the six years after it. January 14
8. Corkscrew’s storks nesting again: Audubon officials announced that Wood Storks are nesting again at Corkscrew Swamp, in Naples, Florida, after a two-year absence. The storks have had only two successful breeding seasons at the preserve in the last decade. This winter, however, water levels are neither too high nor too low for the birds to find food for their chicks. An aerial survey showed 40-50 active nests. January 13
9. Falcons kill California Ross’s Gull: A pair of Peregrine Falcons killed a Ross’s Gull that had delighted birders at Half Moon Bay, in San Mateo County, California. The sighting of the small Arctic gull was the second ever reported in the state. (The species had also been reported at Salton Sea in 2006.) January 14
10. Bird flu is spreading: The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported that avian influenza is spreading rapidly throughout Europe. The first case was found at the end of October in Hungary. Since then, cases have been found in both migrating birds and commercial flocks in 17 countries, including Germany, Holland, France, a number of eastern countries, and, lately, in most parts of Great Britain and in Ireland. January 11
This news roundup was prepared by Editor Chuck Hagner.
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