23 April 2015 – Lincoln’s Sparrow

Tim O'Connell:

End of the line for a healthy Lincoln’s Sparrow

Originally posted on Avian Window Kills:

This was an interesting case. I received a message late morning yesterday (thank you, OSU undergrad Cassandra Rodenbaugh) that there was a dead Lincoln’s Sparrow at the Noble Research Center in a highly conspicuous location. The bird was not there when I conducted my daily survey around 7:30 am, so it must have flown in since then. Normally, I might have dropped what I was doing to go collect the bird, but I wanted to check first with Scott Loss who, with his PhD student Corey Riding, are using data from the Noble Research Center for a more expansive study of window-collision mortality.  One of their current objectives is to check buildings for collision victims at different times during the day to address biases associated with survey time.  They have also been engaged in calculating scavenger removal rates and identifying scavengers using camera traps.

We decided that the best…

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Birds Alive newsletter of the Handbook of the Birds of the World

Birds Alive!

I could spend hours a day combing through the HBW website.  In the latest Birds Alive newsletter, the team has summarized latest news and developments in ornithology, as well as provided information on functionalities of the site.  It is not to be missed and to make sure I’ve caught your eye, check out this tody as the photograph of the month:

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eBird News and the Global Big Day

Among other interesting stories, the latest eBird news announces a new line of eBird merch and a Global Big Day on May 9th!

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Woodpecker feeding sign and Project Coyote

I was introduced this week to Project Coyote, an ongoing research effort to confirm the existence of Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana (or on earth, if you prefer). The team has found feeding sign, recorded double-knocks, claimed visual encounters, and obtained trailcam photos, all of which they interpret as suggestive that Ivorybills still fly freely at their study site.

Of course, suggestive is in the eye of the beholder: I see some items on the website that are very difficult to separate from other more likely explanations and others that strike me as intriguing.  (This page of photos would be a great place to start if you’d like to see for yourself.) Of all of the information Project Coyote presents, I am most interested in a few of their photographs of woodpecker feeding sign, especially this smaller tree that looks like something went at it with with a chisel or small hatchet. I have seen other trees scaled like many of the photos on their website, but I’ve never seen anything like the sign on that tree.  If I had I would have photographed it because it’s quite distinctive.

Here’s an example.  In March of 2012, I took a walk and came upon some trees here in central Oklahoma that had been very heavily worked by local woodpeckers in search of, presumably, some kind of tasty wood-boring insect larvae.  In forests in this area, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpecker are abundant; Northern Flicker is pretty common in winter and as migrants, with a few sticking around to breed; Hairy and Pileated are here but uncommon; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker winters with us; and Red-headed Woodpecker is very patchy in distribution, with none in this immediate vicinity at that time.   Given the size of the work on these trees, I can only assume that it was one (or more) of the larger species responsible, i.e., Pileated, Hairy, Red-bellied. Flickers are possible I suppose, but they tend to forage on the ground much more often than I’ve seen them working trees.

My objective in sharing these photos is simply to illustrate for the Project Coyote team an unusual example of woodpecker excavation that I’m 100% confident was NOT from Ivory-billed Woodpecker.  If these photos provide information that can be applied to their interpretations, great.  Otherwise, I wish them well in their search.  Though I’m not optimistic about it, I certainly hope that they are successful in finding and confirming the continued existence of the magnificent Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

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American Birding Association – Birder’s Guides

Looking for the latest information on birding gear, birding travel, or pretty much anything else of interest to the hard-core birder?  Then please do check out the ABA’s Birder’s Guides series, available online, for FREE.  I dare you not to want to go bird Taiwan after seeing the latest issue . . .

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Center for Conservation Biology, Jan–Mar 2015 eNewsletter

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I always find something really cool in this newsletter from Bryan Watts and his colleagues at the Center for Conservation Biology.  You will too.  Here’s a taste:

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BirdWatch Ireland eWings #66 – March 2015

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Irish Birds Volume 10, Number 1: out now
The new issue of Irish Birds, BirdWatch Ireland’s annual scientific journal, is out now. This issue contains papers on the breeding waders of the Shannon Callows, a census of Barnacle Geese and papers on Little Tern nest movements and Buzzards re-colonising Co. Cork, as well as regular features, including common breeding bird trends, the 2013 Rare Breeding Birds in Ireland Report, the 2013 Rare Bird Report and the 2013 Ringing Report, plus notes and reviews.
Buy your copy of Irish Birds from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop for €20, plus P&P

Irish Hen Harrier Survey 2015
Regular eWings readers will be aware of the pressures facing Ireland’s Hen Harriers. These enigmatic birds of prey are protected under Annex 1 of the EU Birds Directive and, as such, monitoring, research and protected areas are vital components of their conservation. BirdWatch Ireland, The Golden Eagle Trust and the Irish Raptor Study Group are collectively co-ordinating the 2015 Irish Hen Harrier Survey on behalf of NPWS: please visit the survey website for updates and to submit your own Hen Harrier sightings. (Illustration: female (top) and male (bottom) Hen Harriers by Robert Vaughan)

Spring Alive: tell us when you see a Swallow, Swift or Cuckoo
Spring is here, which means that our returning migrant birds are well on their way. We need all of you to keep an eye out for your first Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos of the year, and then log them via our Spring Alive website. Continue reading

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