We’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on our October issue, due on newsstands in early September, but had to pause to call attention to these important bird-related stories:
1. We almost missed him! For the eleventh straight year, a way out-of-range Red-billed Tropicbird has returned to Seal Island, about 10 miles south of Vinalhaven Island, Maine. Editor Chuck Hagner included the tropical visitor in a recent article about birding by schooner. July 27
2. An offshore first: Three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, work began on North America’s first offshore wind farm. The project, named Deepwater Wind (most likely because the name Deepwater Horizon was already taken), will include five turbines and take more than a year to build. July 27
3. Still in the woods: Twenty-four Whooping Crane chicks, a record number, hatched from 37 nests in Wisconsin this year, but only three of the chicks have survived to mid-July. The result threatens the development of a self-sustaining population. “I would have hoped that 10 or 12 of them would have survived,” said George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. “We’re not out of the woods.” July 26
4. Whoopsie heads east: The International Crane Foundation also announced that Whoopsie, the Sandhill x Whooping Crane chick that hatched this year at Wisconsin’s Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, will be transferred to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, in Laurel, Maryland. July 26
5. A plover state of mind: Piping Plovers returned to a Lake Ontario beach in New York for the first time in over 30 years. A record 73 pairs now nest on the shores of the Great Lakes, mostly on Lake Michigan. At the shorebird’s lowest point, in 1990, only 12 nesting pairs were in the whole region. July 22
6. Climate changes in paradise: According to researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, climate change will allow disease-carrying mosquitoes in Hawaii not only to increase in number but also to move upslope into refuges in high-elevation forests, where threatened or endangered native birds survive. July 17
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