California Condors and other birds were back in the news over the past two weeks. Here’s a recap of what Managing Editor Matt Mendenhall and I tweeted about at @BirdWatchDaily on Twitter:
Wisdom, the world’s oldest Laysan Albatross, laid an egg. Two California Condor chicks left their nests successfully in northern Arizona. And Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds officially opened. The much-anticipated dedication ceremony capped a year’s good work by American Bird Conservancy, with help from Victor Emanuel Nature Tours and Tucson Audubon Society, to purchase the famous Paton residence and transfer the property to TAS for long-term stewardship.
— American Bird Conservancy (@ABCbirds) December 11, 2014
The 2014 class of Whooping Cranes arrived at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, bringing to an end a 61-day migration from Wisconsin. Tests confirmed that a pesticide commonly used to control nuisance birds caused the recent death of dozens of crows in downtown parks in Portland, Oregon. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed a subspecies of Red Knot as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The service had proposed listing the bird in September, nearly a decade after conservationists first asked the federal government to protect the rufa subspecies.
— American Bird Conservancy (@ABCbirds) December 9, 2014
A new genetic map of nearly all living birds shook the avian evolutionary tree. Bernd Heinrich published a paper in Northeastern Naturalist in which he argued that Common Redpolls in western Maine appear to burrow in the snow for the fun of it. When one starts, others join in.
President Obama signed both the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 and the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act into law. The Duck Stamp law increases the price of the stamp from $15 to $25. And it was announced that I will give two talks at the upcoming Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in Florida: about great bird photography, and about preventing bird-window collisions.
Finally, it has to be noted that was a great couple weeks for bird photography: A Rustic Bunting, an Asian species, was photographed in San Francisco. A Cassin’s Kingbird, a western species, was photographed in Brooklyn. A Snowy Owl was photographed at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. And this incredible mostly white Pileated Woodpecker was photographed we-don’t-know-where.
Merry Christmas, everyone. — Chuck Hagner, Editor