Rare birds in North America update


This video is called Birds of Western Canada – Ducks, Geese & Coots.

From the American Birding Association:

Rare Bird Alert: September 5, 2014

By , on September 5, 2014

This week could reightly be called the week that Alaska exploded. Granted, this time of year means that there are groups of birders on two of the ABA’s most noted vagrant traps, Gambell and St. Paul Island, dedicated to finding Asian strays, but even by the exceptional standards that birders on those islands set year after year, this last week has been extraordinary.

We may as well get used to starting with Alaska this week, because I get the feeling we’ll be starting with Alaska regularly for the next few. On Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, birders seemed to hit the jackpot over and over again. The most notable find so far is likely the ABA’s 4th record of Tree Pipit (ABA Code 5), an accommodating individual present at least through the writing of the post. Also at Gambell one and likely two Brown Shrikes (4) have been hanging around, as well as a Eurasian Hobby (4) and a Yellow-browed Warbler (4) as recently as yesterday. Coming close to matching Gambell’s truckload of rarities, on St. Paul birders found a Jack Snipe (4) and a Siberian Rubythroat (4) . Lest you think all the action is on the islands, a Long-billed Murrelet (3) was photographed in Homer.

One first record this week, a report that went public only a few hours before this post published. In British Columbia, a Green Violetear, a first provincial record and the third for Canada, was photographed at Port Alberni. More on this as it develops. Also in the province, a Little Stint (3) was well-photographed in Sidney, a Ruff (3) was seen at Ladner, and a Lark Bunting at Port Hardy.

Washington also had a Ruff (3), this one at Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor.

Vagrant shorebirds in Oregon took the form of a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (3) in Coos. Meanwhile, an Indigo Bunting was seen inDouglas.

Excellent for Idaho was a young Sabine’s Gull in Valley.

A pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visited two separate feeders on opposite sides of California this week. One was in San Luis Obispo and the second in Eureka. These are the 13th and 14th records for the state.

A nice find in Nevada was a Lark Bunting in Washoe.

Vagrants in Utah this week include an American Redstart in Weber, an Ovenbird and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in Davis, and aClay-colored Sparrow in Salt Lake.

Colorado also had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, this one in Phillips, and an Eastern Towhee was found in Logan.

Arizona’s recurring Sinaloa Wren (5) has made its appearance for the third straight year at Fort Huachuca in Cochise.

In Texas, a Greater Pewee was seen in Houston, where it has spent the last 5 winters.

A Crested Caracara in Barber, Kansas, is that state’s 7th.

A Little Gull was seen this week on Yankton Reservoir, which straddles Nebraska and South Dakota, and the bird was seen on both sides of the line. Unique to Nebraska, however, was a Long-tailed Jaeger found in Lincoln.

A Long-tailed Jaeger was also seen in Marion, Iowa, this week, along with a Red Phalarope near Saylorville.

A Mottled Duck in Mason, Illinois, is around that state’s 10th record. A Ruff(3) was also seen in Chatauqua.

In Ohio, a Reddish Egret in Delaware is a remarkable record, and only that state’s 2nd.

Always a nice bird inland, a Great Black-backed Gull was photographed in Hamilton, Tennessee.

Infrequent in recent years, birders on a trip out of Hatteras, North Carolina, were surprised to get great looks at the enigmatic Bermuda Petrel (3).

In Virginia, a Wood Stork has spent the better part of two weeks in Clarke.

Less notable as the years wain, a White-winged Dove was seen in Cape May, New Jersey.

An apparent Brown Booby (3) was photographed in Queens, New York.

In Ontario, a Glossy Ibis was found near Hamilton.

Great for Quebec, a Lark Bunting was photographed at Côte-Nord.

Rare for Connecticut, a Parasitic Jaeger was spotted in the Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound.

And yet another Brown Booby (3) stopped off on a fishing boat on the Grand Banks, Newfoundland, that province’s 3rd record.

Grizzly bear orphan returns to the wild in Canada


This video says about itself:

Grizzly Bear Encounters

Of all the species I have filmed in the wild I have to admit nothing can quite compare to the Grizzly! They are a powerful and majestic mammal that in one glance takes us back to the time of the last ice age when mega fauna roamed the earth. Like all bears, they are a curious and intelligent species. This footage was taken during the spring and these bears were busy looking for food after a long winter.

Close Grizzly bear encounters happen usually when people roam into the territory of the bear and as you’ll see in this film, sometimes people tend to get much closer then they should.

All grizzlies are technically called “Brown Bears” and they are omnivores like their Black Bear cousins. Unlike the Black Bear, a Grizzly female will protect her young very aggressively instead of sitting by while the cubs climb a tree as a Black bear would. In fact they will even stand up to a larger male grizzly if that’s what it takes to protect her cubs. If you ever do run across the cubs in the wild keep your distance, mama bear is sure to be close by and she wont appreciate the company. Please remember that these beautiful bears need clean and healthy habitat to continue to allow us to have amazing Grizzly Bear Encounters!

I’m Mark Fraser and to read up on future wildlife adventures and how you can protect help wildlife habitat, visit my web page.

From Wildlife Extra:

Grizzly orphan returns to the wild in British Columbia

A one-year-old orphan grizzly cub, called Littlefoot, has been released back into the wild near Cranbrook in British Columbia, after being found in the spring severely underweight. It is believed he was orphaned last autumn.

During this time he has been cared for by the Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS) and gone from a scrawny 12.7kg to a far more respectable 48kg.

Lightfoot is part of a project, run by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, and the British Columbia Ministries of Environment, and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, that monitors whether orphaned grizzlies can survive when released back in the wild.

Lightfoot is the sixth release since the pilot project began in 2008, and is the first one-year-old that NLWS has prepared for release. He has been fitted with a satellite collar and will be monitored for the next 18 months.

“When he came in, Littlefoot was older than most of the bears we receive for care,” said Angelika Langen of NLWS. “Because he had lost his mother last fall and hibernated by himself, he was in bad condition.

“Thankfully, the Ministry of the Environment allowed this bear into our care for a limited time period to give him a chance to gain weight so he could look after himself.

“We’ve picked a great release site for him away from people with a good berry crop out there, and I think he has a good chance of survival.”

“We were thrilled to see the approval for a yearling cub to enter the rehabilitation process,” said Kelly Donithan, Animal Rescue Officer at IFAW. “Our wildlife rescue and rehabilitation pilot projects around the world have been providing evidence that animals can be rehabilitated from a young age and, upon release, not only survive but thrive in their natural habitat.

“We are excited to see how Littlefoot navigates his new lease on life and becomes a fully functioning wild bear.”

Leach’s storm-petrel migration tracked using geolocators


This video is called Klykstjärtad stormsvala Leach’s Storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa).

From the Journal of Field ornithology:

Migratory movements and wintering areas of Leach’s Storm-Petrels tracked using geolocators

Volume 85, Issue 3, pages 321–328, September 2014

ABSTRACT

Accumulating evidence suggests that Atlantic populations of Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) are experiencing significant declines. To better understand possible causes of these declines, we used geolocators to document movements of these small (∼50-g) pelagic seabirds during migration and the non-breeding period. During 2012 and 2013, movement tracks were obtained from two birds that traveled in a clock-wise direction from two breeding colonies in eastern Canada (Bon Portage Island, Nova Scotia, and Gull Island, Newfoundland) to winter in tropical waters.

The bird from Bon Portage Island started its migration towards Cape Verde in October, arrived at its wintering area off the coast of eastern Brazil in January, and started migration back to Nova Scotia in April. The bird from Gull Island staged off Newfoundland in November and then again off Cape Verde in January before its geolocator stopped working. Movements of Leach’s Storm-Petrels in our study and those of several other procellariiforms during the non-breeding period are likely facilitated by the prevailing easterly trade winds and the Antilles and Gulf Stream currents. Although staging and wintering areas used by Leach’s Storm-Petrels in our study were characterized by low productivity, the West Africa and northeastern Brazilian waters are actively used by fisheries and discards can attract Leach’s Storm-Petrels.

Our results provide an initial step towards understanding movements of Leach’s Storm-Petrels during the non-breeding period, but further tracking is required to confirm generality of their migratory routes, staging areas, and wintering ranges.

Canadian semipalmated sandpiper migration, new study


This video from Canada says about itself:

11 July 2014

Manomet Shorebird Biologist Brad Winn holds a Semipalmated Sandpiper that has flown more than 10,000 miles over the past year. Our researchers recovered a geolocator from this bird in June on subarctic Coats Island. The geolocator tracked the bird’s migration and revealed that it had made a remarkable six day, 3,300-mile nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

This study is the first ever effort to use geolocators on Semipalmated Sandpipers to track their migrations.

Video by Manomet Shorebird Biologist Shiloh Schulte. Map and data analysis by Ron Porter. Thanks to the many partners who have worked so hard on this project.

Learn more about this Semipalmated Sandpiper’s incredible journey and view a map of his migration on our dedicated shorebird science research blog.

From Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences:

First Ever Geolocator Results for a Semipalmated Sandpiper Show Remarkable Year-long Odyssey

Data that Manomet scientists recovered from a Semipalmated Sandpiper on sub-Arctic Coats Island in June revealed that the bird flew a total distance of over 10,000 miles in the past year, including a remarkable six day, 3,300-mile nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

The shorebird was equipped with a geolocator by a Manomet research team in 2013 as part of a first time effort to use the devices to understand the migration of Semipalmated Sandpipers.

Manomet researchers Brad Winn and Shiloh Schulte returned from eastern Canada’s Coats Island last week with the first two geolocators for the Semipalmated Sandpiper migration study, which was designed to solve one of the most pressing mysteries in shorebird conservation.

“Surveys conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service and New Jersey Audubon Society have shown an 80 percent decline over the past 20 years in Semipalmated Sandpiper numbers within the core wintering range in northern South America,” said Manomet Shorebird Recovery Program Director Stephen Brown. “At the same time, data from the Arctic show that breeding populations are apparently stable at some sites, especially in the western part of the Arctic breeding range in Alaska. We need to understand the migratory pathways of the species in order to know where the decline is occurring, and what can be done to reverse it.”

The geolocators weigh only two hundredths of an ounce and are equipped with light sensors that use day length and the time of day to track each bird’s migration. The use of this cutting-edge technology has helped revolutionize scientists’ understanding of shorebird migration. However, the devices had never been used on Semipalmated Sandpipers before this project.

Retired engineer Ron Porter is working with Manomet to analyze the data from the geolocators as they are returned from field sites across the Arctic. Using data from the first geolocator recovered at Coats Island, Porter produced the map below, which shows the first ever annual migration of a Semipalmated Sandpiper breeding in the eastern Arctic. For this group of birds, the population decline may be particularly severe.

Semipalmated sandpiper map

This first geotagged bird, a male, left his breeding grounds on Coats Island last summer and made his incredible nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean from James Bay to South America before moving on to his wintering area in Brazil.

The second geolocator recovered at Coats Island had lost battery power, so it had to be sent back to the company that manufactured it in England for the data to be downloaded.

During the 2013 field season, researchers placed 192 geolocators on Semipalmated Sandpipers at eight Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network field sites. At least 35 additional geolocators have been recovered so far at sites in Alaska.

“We will learn an enormous amount from the geolocators recovered in Alaska as well,” Brown said. “In particular, we will learn whether the western Arctic birds also winter in the same areas in South America where aerial surveys have shown the dramatic decline.”

The geolocator project is a partnership between Manomet and many other organizations, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Jersey Audubon, Kansas State University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Simon Fraser University, the Government of Nunavut, Université de Moncton, and Environment Canada.

“The data from each geolocator gives us a glimpse into a previously unknown world: the timing and flight path of an entire year in the life of a Semipalmated Sandpiper,” Brown said. “Understanding the migratory journey of each of these birds will help us better understand the population trends and wintering habits of this species so that we can help its populations recover.”

- Stephen Brown and Haley Jordan

Highlights from the Geotagged Semipalmated Sandpiper’s Journey:

23 June, 2013: The geolocator is placed on the bird by Brad Winn, a member of a Manomet and Environment Canada shorebird science research team, at Coats Island, Nunavut, Canada.

21 July, 2013: Arrives in James Bay, where it fattens up for its upcoming long flight to South America.

22 August, 2013: Leaves James Bay for a six day nonstop flight to South America.

28 August, 2013: Arrives at the Orinoco Delta, on the border of Venezuela and Guyana.

10 September, 2013: Leaves for a relatively leisurely 11 day flight along the coast to Brazil.

21 September, 2013: Arrives in Brazil for the winter (northern winter, but summer in Brazil).

3 May, 2014: Leaves Brazil for a series of flights north, including stops in Cuba (May 6), Florida (May 10), Georgia (May 11), North Carolina (May 14), and Delaware Bay (May 21).

2 June, 2014: Arrives back in James Bay for the last stopover on its return journey.

10 June, 2014: Leaves James Bay for the final leg of its return journey.

11 June, 2014: Arrives back at its Coats Island breeding site.

Birds of Prince Edward Island, Canada, new blogger


This video from Canada is called Birds of Prince Edward Island.

From Bird Canada:

Welcome to Prince Edward Island Birding!

Posted on August 5, 2014 by Pat Bumstead

Welcome new Bird Canada author Ron Arvidson from Prince Edward Island who will be posting the 5th of each month. It’s wonderful to have the Atlantic birds now represented on the blog!

Ron was born and raised in Manitoba, and growing up had ranged freely through the wood and eastern slope of Riding Mountain National Park. In doing so, he always had an interest of the flora and fauna of the area. Since graduating University of Regina, he has lived and visited across Canada from Horsefly Lake, BC to Cape St. Mary’s, NL. Today, he lives in rural PEI, where as an Artist and Educator, he chases birds on PEI. He is co-administrator of the Birding on PEI Faceboook page and also contributes to the blog http://preservecompany.com/blogs/we-are-for-the-birds.

Shorebirds on the Move

At this time in Prince Edward Island, our focus begins to change from our warblers and breeding birds to the birds of the shore. For the past few weeks shorebirds have been appearing in numbers on our beaches. One of the areas I am most familiar with is along the south shore.

One of the areas that I frequently visit is that of the Bedeque Bay Important Bird Area. Recently, I have visited and have been able to find Semipalmated Plover and Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstones, Short-billed Dowitchers and both Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs. A Ruff was sighted in the area earlier this year and Godwits are also frequently seen. One can also see Black-bellied Plover and Dunlin later in the season.

Grizzly bear ‘highway’ discovery in Canada


This video from the USA is called Grizzly Bears and Wolves of Yellowstone (Full Documentary).

From The Star in Canada:

Grizzly bear ‘highway’ found on West Coast

First Nations researchers find centuries-old paw prints that show bears are very predictable in both the times of day they’re active and the routes they take

By: , Star Reporter,

Published on Fri Jul 25 2014

First Nations researchers have discovered what they believe is a grizzly-bear highway of sorts: centuries-old paw prints worn deep into the mossy floor of the Pacific Coast rain forest.

“I suspect that these grizzly bear paths have been here as long as grizzly bears have been here,” said William Housty, director of Coastwatch, a scientific initiative led by the Heiltsuk First Nation.

The Heiltsuk people have been in the area for 9,000 years and Housty believes the grizzly bear roadways along the waterways go back generations.

“Grizzly bears are very similar to humans in the way that they nurture their young, and raise them to know the territory around them,” Housty said in an email from the woods.

Heiltsuk people have shared and maintained the same roadways over generations, creating a lasting connection between the Heiltsuk and grizzly bears, Housty said.

The society set up to stop the logging that threatened to clear cut the area and hurt salmon spawning spots along the Koeye River in the late 1990s.

Healthy salmon stock means the grizzly and black bears, wolves, mink, marten and bald eagles have a food supply.

When the logging stopped, the bear populations rebounded, he said.

Grizzly bears can weigh 363 kilograms (800 lbs.) and stand 2.4 meters (eight feet) on their hind legs, but Housty insists the grizzly bear study isn’t dangerous, as long as it’s done with respect and good sense.

“We do spend a lot of time in the wild, on foot with these bears, and have never once had a negative encounter with any of them,” Housty says.

“We have the greatest respect for the bears, and always make sure to let them know when we are in the area, and there seems to be a mutual respect from them as well. Never have we ever carried a fire arm when doing this study, however we did carry bear spray. But overall, I do not consider the study to be dangerous.”

He’s one of three technicians working on the study, but there are also youth and family camp programs operating in the same study area, meaning there can be from 40 to 60 people in the Koeye watershed at one time during the summer months.

He said his group are currently working with the neighbouring Kitasoo, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv First Nations, as well as with academic institutions such as the University of Victoria and Raincoast Conservation Society to take a more regional approach to this study.

In the study, individual grizzly bears were identified through DNA analysis of hair samples, obtained by putting salmon-scented bait inside wire snares to catch the grizzly hair.

As they got to know the grizzly bears, Housty said it became clear they have routines, much like humans.

“There are certain areas where grizzlies go to feed on salmon and berries, and if you spend enough time, you can pinpoint an exact time when they go to feed at the same time every day — usually at dusk and dawn,” Housty said. “They also do the same when it comes to berries. They work in cycles, and move to and fro within the watershed chasing berries and trickles of salmon that are coming in. It is very easy to predict when bears will be out and about.”