North American bird feeder webcams


This video from the USA is called Project FeederWatch Introduction.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Two FeederWatch Cams Now Online

As we near the beginning of the 2013 Project FeederWatch season, we’re excited to announce the re-launch of last year’s successful FeederWatch Cam in Manitouwadge, Ontario (watch now) alongside a brand new cam focused on the feeder birds here in Sapsucker Woods (view now). Both cams give you up-close and personal views of a diversity of birds. The Ontario cam features many winter finches that are difficult to see elsewhere like Pine Grosbeaks, Common and Hoary Redpolls, and Evening Grosbeaks, while the Sapsucker Woods cam includes birds of the Eastern deciduous forest like titmice, goldfinches, and woodpeckers (not to mention the ducks and geese cruising through the background on the pond). You can explore the most common species at each cam site by clicking on the “Species Info” tab beneath the livestream.

There’s still time to sign up for Project FeederWatch as well! Check out their new website with all the details about how you can play an important role in helping scientists learn about the habits of winter birds.

Canadian garden birds webcam


This video says about itself:

Bird feeder in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Small birds in HD.

May 2010, house finch, black capped chickadee, nuthatch, sparrow.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

New FeederWatch Cam

Our newest Bird Cam takes you to the well-stocked feeders of Tammie and Ben Hache in chilly Manitouwadge, Ontario, Canada, over 40 miles north of Lake Superior. The Haches invite you to look in on their rotating ensemble of winter birds, including redpolls, grosbeaks, nuthatches, jays, and even the occasional Ruffed Grouse. Each week the cam host posts her Project FeederWatch counts for the week and you can see whether she’s spotted something you missed. The cam is offline during the night (generally 7:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M.)

Enjoy this addition to our Bird Cams, and marvel at the resilience of these winter birds, which seem to shrug off frigid temperatures. There’s also still time to sign up for this year’s Project FeederWatch season and start making your bird watching “count”! Watch the cam anytime between the hours of 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. Eastern time.

American ratsnakes and climate change


This video from the USA is called 6ft Black Rat Snake.

From ScienceDaily:

Global Warming Beneficial to Ratsnakes

Jan. 8, 2013 — Speculation about how animals will respond to climate change due to global warming led University of Illinois researcher Patrick Weatherhead and his students to conduct a study of ratsnakes at three different latitudesOntario, Illinois, and Texas. His findings suggest that ratsnakes will be able to adapt to the higher temperatures by becoming more active at night.

Saving Canadian turtles’ lives


The Sticky Tongue Project in Canada writes about this video:

New Video: Reptile Fencing: Reducing Road Mortality

Long Point Provincial Park (Ontario, Canada) is home to 19 species of turtles and snakes, of which 12 are listed as being Species at Risk. These reptiles frequently cross the road or bask on it for warmth within the park. Unfortunately, this puts them in danger and many are killed. The Long Point Basin Land Trust and Long Point Provincial Park worked together to make the park safer for these animals.

Reptile fencing has been installed in priority areas (750 meters on both sides of the road) where the highest levels of mortality were recorded. The fencing acts as a physical barrier to prevent reptiles from moving onto the roads and potentially being struck by vehicles.

Since the park is closed and vehicle entry is blocked for much of the year, park staff are able to create openings to let animals through from October through until May each year to allow seasonal movements. They are also exploring the possibility of creating a more permanent solution which could include underpasses.

Another very successful wildlife barrier, complete with underpasses has also been installed at Big Creek Mark by the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project. The installation of a third culvert is now underway.

Canadian bird-killing buildings on trial


This video is called Canada Warbler.

From the American Bird Conservancy:

Decisions Imminent in Landmark Trials Over Toronto’s Worst Bird Killing Buildings

(Washington, D.C., November 9, 2012) Many of the 48 million Americans who enjoy bird watching will have a strong interest in the pending verdicts in two unprecedented lawsuits in Toronto, Canada. One of the deadliest threats to birds worldwide – building collisions – has, in a sense, been put on trial.

A verdict in the first trial, which began in April, 2011, is expected from Justice of the Peace William Turtle on November 14.  It pits the owners of three adjoining glass office buildings – Consilium Place Towers – against two environmental groups – Ecojustice and Ontario Nature.

Those groups claim that the buildings, whose exterior faces are almost entirely glass, are responsible the deaths of about 7,000 birds in the last decade, making them likely the most deadly in the entire Greater Toronto area.

Menkes Consilium Inc., Menkes Developments Ltd., and Menkes Property Management Services Ltd., along with three other companies, have been charged under Canada’s Environmental Protection Act with discharging a contaminant – light reflected from the glass – that causes harm to animals. In addition to possible fines under that law, the companies also face a maximum fine of $60,000 under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for causing birds to be in distress. The lawsuit followed lengthy, failed attempts to negotiate a settlement between the parties.

The verdict in the second trial, which began in April  2012, is expected from Judge Melvyn Green on December 4, 2012. Cadillac Fairview Corporation, the owner of three office buildings in the city, has been charged with violating Canada’s Species at Risk Act. The charges are being brought in a private prosecution by Ecojustice.

The Toronto-based non-profit Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), which works to document and prevent bird collisions with buildings and rescue birds that survive, estimates that the complex is among the most lethal in the city. The charges allege that at least 800 birds were killed at the complex in 2010 including ten birds listed as Threatened under the Canadian Species at Risk Registry. Those ten birds were from two species, the Canada Warbler and Olive-sided Flycatcher.

FLAP estimates that between 1 and 9 million birds are killed in such collisions annually in Toronto – the majority during spring and fall migrations. Toronto is located in a major migratory bird corridor, and as of January, 2010, designs for new construction and significant renovation in Toronto must be bird-friendly.

Six months ago, Consilium Place was sold to a real estate investment company who has been installing window treatments on untreated elevations of 100 and 200 Consilium with a film designed to reduce bird collisions. Yonge Corporate Centre has also installed the same film to the north elevation of their 4120 Yonge Street building  — the most deadly to birds — as a test for effectiveness.  In both cases, volunteers have observed a significant reduction in the overall collision rate for both structures.

Concern over bird collision deaths and the need for mitigation measures is gaining in importance in the United States as well.

“Builders and architects in the U.S. are showing increasing interest in bird friendly construction. Cost-effective technology now exists to greatly reduce these unnecessary bird deaths. San Francisco has passed a law mandating bird-friendly construction for certain buildings; so has Minnesota, and other local governments are considering them as well,” said Dr. Christine Sheppard, Bird Collisions Program Manager at American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a leading bird conservation organization in the United States and the only U.S. organization with a national bird collisions program.

A study from 2006 estimated that 100 million to a billion birds were killed by collisions annually, in the United States alone. However, the amount of glass in the built environment has been rapidly increasing, as new technologies make huge sheets of glass available for applications from home picture windows to skyscrapers, meaning that it now seems likely the one billion figure may now be an underestimate.

Birds are killed when they try to fly to apparent sky, trees or structures reflected in the glass’ mirror-like surface, to plants or food seen through glass or when they try to fly through what they perceive to be a tunnel through a building. Even small areas of glass, such as those in home windows, can cause bird fatalities. Light emanating from a building or its landscaping at night attracts birds, further exacerbating the problem.

“Many of us have, at one time or another, walked into a glass door, so we know how jarring that is to our bodies just at walking speed. Try to imagine hitting that same pane at 30 miles per hour, thirty or more feet off the ground. It’s not surprising that so many bird collisions prove fatal,” Sheppard said.

As part of a national-level program to reduce the massive and growing number of bird deaths resulting from building collisions in the United States, ABC has released American Bird Conservancy’s Bird-Friendly Building Designs. The 58-page guide, downloadable at collisions.abcbirds.org,is especially helpful to architects, planners, building owners, and regulators, and contains over 100 photographs and illustrations. It focuses on both the causes of collisions and the solutions, with a comprehensive appendix on the biological science behind the issue.

In cooperation with Carnegie Museum’s Powdermill Avian Research Center in Pa., ABC operates a research program  which tests glass or glass treatments to determine what products demonstrate a lower incidence of bird collisions.  ABC has also helped establish classes eligible for American Institute of Architects’ sustainable design continuing education credit, to instruct architects on how to design beautiful buildings that are also safe for birds.

Dec. 19, 2012 — Although climate change may alter the distributions of many species, changes in land use may compound these effects. Now, a new study by PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) researcher Dennis Jongsomjit and colleagues suggests that the effects of future housing development may be as great or greater than those of climate change for many bird species. In fact, some species projected to expand their distributions with climate change may actually lose ground when future development is brought into the picture: here.

February 2014: A recent American study has found that up to 988 million birds are killed in the US each year as a result of collisions with buildings. It provides quantitative evidence to support the conclusion that building collisions are second only to cats as the greatest source of direct human-caused mortality for US birds. (estimated to kill as many as 3 billion birds each year): here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

North American birds in winter


This video from the USA is called Bird Feeding in Winter.

From eBird:

Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast 2012-2013

September 20, 2012

Team eBird is pleased to once again host Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast. While the focus of this piece is on Ontario, we believe it has interest to a wider audience. From Ron: This winter’s theme is that a fair number of species–especially Red and White-winged Crossbills, redpolls, Pine Grosbeaks, and Evening Grosbeaks–are likely to be on the move this year due to widespread crop failure of fruiting and cone-bearing trees in Canada. Three irruptive non-finch passerines are also discussed.

First, please read the Red Crossbill section and click the map link. This species is on the move throughout the US, with Red Crossbills reaching the Central California Coast, Kansas, Maryland, and New England. Many of these are proving to be Type 3 (from California to New England!), suggesting that their particular ecological niche–primarily Western Hemlock forest in the Pacific Northwest–is undergoing very hard times this year. As always with Red Crossbills, audio-recording their calls is invaluable. The below section gives instructions on reporting Red Crossbill sounds. Look for Matt Young’s guide to Red Crossbill types to come out on eBird next week

Meanwhile, it is on the Internet there

and please do report any Red crossbills that you can audio record to the specific type on eBird. Matt Young (may6 AT cornell.edu) is even willing to help identify any recordings you are able to get, even cell phone recordings! Here‘s a Red Crossbill (Type 3) map from eBird.

Second, Red-breasted Nuthatches are all over right now and are on the move in all provinces and all 48 states. Please make sure to report them to eBird too so we can to continue to document this invasion.

Finally, although not mentioned in the finch report below, Boreal Owls are expected to move south this year. Think about good owl groves, or consider doing nighttime surveys in good evergreen areas near you to try to detect one. When Boreal Owls move, it is often just the lucky birders who detect them. But concerted effort might pay off, as there are surely always more out there than are seen.

Without further ado, here is Ron Pittway’s forecast:

WINTER FINCH FORECAST 2012-2013

After each FeederWatch season, Cornell Lab scientists analyze the data submitted by FeederWatch participants. Starting in 2005, the findings were published in Winter Bird Highlights. Click on the links below to see a PDF of each publication.

White-winged crossbill: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Silurian fossils found in Canada


This video is about the Silurian.

From ScienceDaily:

Petrified Velvet Worms From 425 Million Years Ago Reveal True Ecology Of Distant Past

(Nov. 26, 2007) — University of Leicester Geologist Dr Mark Purnell, with Canadian colleagues, reported, in the journal Geology, a new, exceptionally preserved deposit of fossils in 425 million year old Silurian rocks in Ontario.

The fossils include complete fish (only the second place on Earth where whole fish of this age have been found), various shrimp and worm like creatures, including velvet-worms, which look (in Dr Purnell’s words) “rather like a dozen headless Michelin men dancing a conga.”

The velvet worms were deflated slightly by a little early rotting, but within days of dying these animals had been transformed to the mineral calcium phosphate. This preserved them as beautiful petrified fossils, showing the wonderful detail of their bodies, including coloured stripes.

This Canadian deposit is unusual even for sites of exceptional preservation because it also includes normal shelly fossils. From this it is possible to be sure that the conditions in which all the animals were living were not much different to normal nearshore seas of the Silurian period.

Dr Purnell commented: “It provides us with our best view of what lived together in such environments 425 million years ago, and our best information for understanding how life on Earth at that time was different to today.

“If people think of a fossil, they will undoubtedly be thinking of something with a hard skeleton or shell of some sort, and it is true that the vast majority of fossil are what in today’s world we call sea shells. But imagine trying to understand the biodiversity and ecology of a submarine seaside ecosystem with only the remains of sea shells to go on.

“All the variety of worms that crawl over and into the sand would be unknown, as would all the shrimpy things that scurry over the surface. We would have only a very partial view of the real biological picture.

“This is what palaeontologists are faced with when they try to reconstruct the history and past ecology of life on Earth, because everything without a shell very quickly, within hours or days, rots away to nothing, leaving no trace that it ever existed.”

Fortunately, there are a few special rock deposits scattered around the world that preserve fossilised traces of those things that normally rot away.