Red-tailed hawks’ nest update from Cornell, USA


This video from Cornell, USA says about itself:

25 April 2013

Ezra stays in nest to protect Big Red and brood from hail and rain in Ithaca.

From the Cornell Lab or Ornithology in the USA, today:

The nestling Red-tailed Hawks high above Cornell’s campus continue to grow on a steady supply of rodents, rabbits, and snakes delivered by Big Red and Ezra. Although the young hawks are still cloaked in down, these feathers will soon give way to their juvenile plumage and they’ll be left alone for longer periods at the nest site. If last year’s fledge interval is any indication of when these young hawks will fledge, we can expect a first flight sometime around June 9. Watch the webcam here.

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Bowerbird bowers inspire artist


This video is called Life – The Vogelkop Bowerbird: Nature’s Great Seducer – BBC One.

From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

Incredibly Elaborate Homes of Bowerbirds Inspire New Art Exhibit

Janelle Iglesias reimagines the birds’ creations with a mix of locally sourced natural and recycled materials.

Todd Petty

Published: 03/26/2014

The male Vogelkop bowerbird goes to incredible lengths to attract a mate. With the creativity of an artist and the industry of an architect, he collects both natural and manmade materials found nearby to create an elaborate nest. He’ll incorporate everything from twigs and grasses to bottle caps and string into his masterpiece, all in the hopes of wooing a lady. Now, art is imitating this incredible behavior seen in life.

The remarkable bird inspired New York-based artist Janelle Iglesias’s new exhibit, In High Feather, at the University at Buffalo. The immersive, two-story bower in the style of the Vogelkop bowerbird, isn’t intended to be an exact replica of the bird’s home, Iglesias says, but rather an artistic reimagining.

Iglesias recently visited the Arfak Mountains in Indonesia in search of what she calls “the most advanced avian architecture on earth.” Her trip was made possible with the help of a Jerome Foundation travel and study grant.

Iglesias says that the kinship she felt for the Vogelkop bowerbird extends beyond an appreciation for their constructions. She and the birds use locally sourced material, often repurposing discarded items, she says. “I felt like I needed to make some decisions about my practice that would align my [environmental and political] philosophies,” she explains.

The bowerbird uses the space they create for seduction, luring females to visit and check out what they’ve created, in much the same way an artist seeks an audience. In fact, Iglesias invited the public to watch her build the exhibit, which opened February 27.

The two-story installation in the Lightwell Gallery will also include images and field recordings from her trip, as well as discarded items she picked up, including Christmas trees and cereal boxes. Just like the bowerbirds’ creations, her invention is a wonder to behold.

In High Feather runs until May 10.

This video says about itself:

Documentation of Janelle Iglesias’ installation at BCA Firehouse Gallery, “Draw Back the Bow (or Kill Your Darlings),” 2010. Video & music by Jin Kim.

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Ornithologist interviewed, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Careers with Birds: Interview with Kim Bostwick

10 Jan 2014

Kim Bostwick’s ground-breaking research on manakins has been featured in National Geographic Magazine and she’s currently the curator of the Bird and Mammal collections at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s Museum of Vertebrates. Kim started as a young animal lover in rural Vermont and has since spent her life studying birds. Visit the Young Birders Network website (www.youngbirdersnetwork.net) to read more about careers in ornithology.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology writes about Ms Bostwick:

How a Bird Sings With Its Wings: Dr. Kim Bostwick’s field research centers on the Club-winged Manakin, a bird that makes a remarkable, high-pitched hum in one of the strangest ways imaginable. She discovered the secret over the course of many years, using experiments and high-speed video, and her website tells the story in fascinating detail and great video.

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Young Birders Event in the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Young Birders Event 2013

28 jan 2014

A group of the brightest young birders gathers for one weekend each summer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to explore their shared passions for science, nature, and birds.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology writes about this event in 2014:

Apply by March 15 for Young Birders Event

Our annual Young Birders Event is one long weekend of total immersion in the world of birds and science at the Cornell Lab. Attendees go birding, take classes from our scientists, explore our collections, discover careers, and make friends. The event is open to rising high school sophomores through seniors; 16 young people are chosen. Enrollment is competitive, but the experience will be unforgettable. This year’s event is July 10–13; thanks to Zeiss for making this event possible. Learn more and apply by March 15.

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Bird lovers in 2013, thank you video


This video is called Science Nation – Birds, Climate Change, and Citizen Science.

A video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA which used to be on YouTube, used to say about itself:

Thank You for Inspiring a New Generation of Bird Lovers

26 dec 2013

This heartfelt footage filmed at one of our collaborative organizations in the Yucatan‘s Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve reminds us of how people all over the world come together every day to help birds and inspire the next generation of conservationists. Thank you for everything you do to share your passion and inspire more people to take an interest in birds.

Bird Photography in Yucatan: here.

Snowy owls, as far as Bermuda


This video from the USA is called NATURE “Magic of the Snowy Owl“.

Recently, there have been/still are northern-hawk owls much further south than usually, in Zwolle in the Netherlands, and in Germany.

This video is about a northern hawk-owl in Gristede, Germany, on 15 November 2013.

There were/are reports on a great grey owl, and on a pygmy owl, in the Netherlands in 2011, and also in December 2013. Both species also much more to the south than one might expect.

Now, across the Atlantic. From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

Notes from a Snowy Owl Invasion

The majestic birds of the far north are traveling as far south as Bermuda.

By Kenn Kaufman

Published: 12/04/2013

Long before it caught the attention of Harry Potter fans, the snowy owl already represented its own kind of magic for fans of the outdoors. This powerful white owl is emblematic of the far north, spending the summer from treeline north to the northernmost land of Canada, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Even in winter, most snowy owls in North America stay near the Arctic Circle, with only a few drifting to southern Canada and the northern United States.

At least, that’s what happens in an average year. About one winter in every four, the numbers of snowy owls moving south in early winter are noticeably increased. Then the ghostly birds are spotted in dozens of locations south of the Canadian border, creating excitement among the local birders.

We had seen a big flight just two years ago, in winter 2011-2012, with owls from coast to coast and many in the interior south to Kansas and Missouri. The following winter, 2012-2013, had seen a smaller “echo” flight develop. So we assumed that numbers would be much lower this year, in a return to “normal.”

We were wrong.

During the last week of November and first days of December 2013, it’s become apparent that something is going on with snowy owls. Even people who pay close attention to bird records were taken by surprise because it developed so rapidly.

Along the short coastline of New Hampshire, it’s not too unusual for one or two snowies to show up. This year one was found as early as November 22. But by the 30th, at least 12 were on or near the New Hampshire coast, with up to five visible from one spot. Just to the south, in Massachusetts, a few snowy owls appear every winter. This year on December 3, observers counted at least eight in the immediate Boston area, plus five visible from one spot in Salisbury, 13 visible from one vantage point in Rowley, and others at scattered sites on the coast. In Maine, compilers struggled to keep up with all the sightings of multiple birds along the coast, including several well offshore at Monhegan Island.

The birds are going south, too. Multiples are scattered around New Jersey. In Delaware, the last previous record had involved a single bird in 2005, but by the beginning of December the state had at least five, possibly seven. Two had reached Virginia. One on the Outer Banks of North Carolina provided one of very few records for that state, but then a second bird was found inland.

The numbers of snowy owls, their sudden arrival, and the southward extent of the flight all have been noteworthy. But what really stands out about this year’s invasion, so far, is the fact that it is focused so far east. There have been some good counts around the eastern Great Lakes (such as eight along the Lake Erie shoreline at Cleveland, Ohio, and four at the airport at Syracuse, New York), but the majority of the birds have been found along the Atlantic Coast–or even off the coast.

Newfoundland is the easternmost part of Canada, a very large island at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s not unusual for snowy owls to arrive there in winter. This year, three were found on November 15 in the Cape Race area, but their numbers increased rapidly. Bruce Mactavish and friends found 42 birds there on November 30, a number that Mactavish regarded as “staggering.” But the very next day, the same group of observers scoured the same area again and counted 138 snowy owls! These were all in the general vicinity of Cape Race, at the extreme southeastern tip of Newfoundland. If an owl were to fly south from there, it wouldn’t see land again until it reached Bermuda.

The island group of Bermuda lies about 600 miles off the coast of the southeastern United States and 1,200 miles south of Newfoundland. With its subtropical climate, it hardly seems like habitat for snowy owls, but there have been a couple of past records. This fall, at least two and probably three have arrived there. For multiples to have reached this isolated bit of land, we can only imagine how many of the owls must be out flying over the open waters of the Atlantic.

So–why is this happening? So far, we don’t have a complete explanation. The majority of the invading owls are heavily marked young birds, hatched this year, so evidently snowy owls had very good breeding success this year in the eastern Canadian Arctic. And evidently there isn’t enough food in the Arctic now to sustain them, so they are moving south. But are there exceptional conditions in the Arctic right now–unusual weather, unusual lack of sea ice–that would be affecting the owls’ movements? We are still working on that question.

This video is about a snowy owl, in Monroe County, New York, USA.

Snowy owls ruffling feathers at N.Y.-area airports: here.

New York decides that shooting snowy owls probably isn’t the best idea after all: here.