Seeing 5,000 bird species in one year?


This is called 30 Amazing Bird Species in 1 Video. It says about itself:

Watch peafowl, birds of paradise and many more interesting birds and see their magnetic nature.

From the Portland Tribune in the USA:

Put a bird on it – or maybe 5,000 of them

Thursday, 13 November 2014 06:00

Written by Jennifer Anderson

Man aiming for species-spotting record part of Wild Arts Fest

Noah Strycker has lived for months at a time in some of the most remote places on Earth — Antarctica, Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, the volcano fields of Hawaii, the Amazonian Ecuador, the Australian Outback and the Farallon Islands — doing nothing but studying birds.

He’s seen thousands of species — penguins, finches, fairy-wrens, bowerbirds, mockingbirds, pelicans, albatross, hawks, crows and even the endangered Hawaiian nene.

He figures he’s observed about 2,500 species of birds on six continents, a fifth of the world’s bird species.

And he’s just getting started.

The 28-year-old Oregonian is a professional “birder at large,” a photographer, public speaker and author of two books about birding and his travels.

In January he’ll embark on an epic quest to see 5,000 species of birds by the end of the calendar year. The current, official record is 4,341, set by a British couple in 2008.

Strycker expects he’ll have no trouble crushing the record, with a plan to visit about 35 countries on all seven continents on a continuous around-the-world birding trip.

“The idea is to connect with local birders in each place to highlight stories of bird conservation and to see a ton of birds,” he says. “Nobody has even come close to 5,000 in a year before, but nobody has really tried.”

Strycker, who keeps an updated blog with bird photos from each place he’s traveled (noahstrycker.com), says he’ll keep a daily blog of his big birding year on the National Audubon Society’s main Web page (audubon.org).

After the big year, he has a book deal with Houghton Mifflin to write about the adventure.

In the meantime, Strycker will be one of the local bird-centric artists whose work will be showcased next week at the Audubon Society of Portland’s 34th annual Wild Arts Festival, a creative celebration of all things feathered.

The 70 artists and 35 authors will gather in the light-filled space at the Montgomery Park building in Northwest Portland to share their like-minded passion for birds.

All feature nature or wildlife as a subject, use natural materials as a medium, and use their art to promote environmental sustainability.

As in past years, there will be novelists, photographers, poets, children’s authors, nonfiction writers and visual art of all kinds.

The annual 6×6 Wild Art Project is a compilation of bird-themed paintings done by 200 artists on a 6-inch square canvas. The project’s theme this year is “yard birds.”

Each canvas will be available for sale.

Strycker will be promoting his second and latest book, “The Thing With Feathers,” published in March, detailing the secret lives of birds and their connection to humanity.

His first book, “Among Penguins,” 2011, documents his time living with 300,000 penguins in Antarctica at the age of 24.

Wandering the hills

One of the most famous authors at the Wild Arts Festival, meanwhile, will be Ursula Le Guin, the 85-year-old science fiction novelist who lives in Portland.

Le Guin this week will be receiving a National Book Association award considered one of literature’s most prestigious honors.

She’s being honored with a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional impact on the country’s literary heritage.

Raised in Napa Valley in the 1930s and ‘40s, Le Guin says she was especially influenced by her summers of solitude and silence, “a teenager wandering the hills on my own, no company, ‘nothing to do,’ were very important to me. I think I started making my soul then.”

Her stories — set in imaginary “subworlds” — grew out of her experiences, Le Guin says.

For example her first trip to the Eastern Oregon desert led to “The Tombs of Atuan.”

She checks her science facts, but “most of my research is into the geography of my own imagination,” she says. Le Guin says she started writing when she was 5 years old and never stopped.

‘Study ourselves’

For Strycker, he started watching birds at age 10 and never stopped. He recalls when his fifth-grade teacher suction-cupped a bird feeder on their classroom window.

“The other kids in my class thought birds were pretty dumb,” Strycker says. But he was hooked. “You never know where that spark will come from,” he says.

He’s been able to make a full-time living of his pursuits, funding most of his traveling through the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

In Antarctica, he worked as a seasonal guide on an expedition cruise ship. He now earns an income through his writing, speaking, expeditions and other bird-related projects.

In addition to his literary work — as associate editor of Birding magazine and contributor to about a dozen different bird-related publications — he is a five-time marathoner and completed the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in four months in 2011.

There’s a reason, Stycker and other artists say, that they are driven to put a bird on it.

“I think that, by studying birds, we also study ourselves,” says Strycker, who lives in Creswell, just outside of Eugene. “Directly, there are many parallels between bird and human behavior (perhaps more than we like to admit). More than that, for me, birds are an entry point to the outdoors and all kinds of adventures. They take us to places we’d never go otherwise.”

American bald eagle recovered


This video from the USA is called Eagle eating fish; Willamette River; Jennings Lodge, Oregon 8/9/13.

From OregonLive.com in the USA:

Rehabilitated bald eagle spotted alive and well along Willamette River four years after release

By Justin Runquist

January 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM

A bald eagle that was found injured in Lake Oswego has recently been spotted along the Willamette River alive and well nearly four years after being released into the wild.

Wildlife photographer Steve Berliner recently moved to the Milwaukie area, where he began seeing the eagle – a male estimated to be about 9 or 10 years old – over the summer flying by with a female companion and young offspring of their own. Berliner believes the birds have settled on nearby Elk Rock Island.

“On average, we probably see them fly by once a week,” he said. “Its appearances are very sporadic, and that’s why I think it’s from further up the river.”

Berliner managed to get clear enough photos to reveal the identification number on the bird’s tag. He’s also captured videos of the bird, one [above] showing it perched on a tree branch and tearing apart a fish.

Berliner later confirmed it was the right eagle with the Audubon Society of Portland, which nursed the bird back to health before releasing it in April 2010.

Deb Sheaffer, who manages the organization’s Wildlife Care Center, said the eagle suffered a number of puncture wounds to one of its knees in March 2010, most likely in a territorial fight with another eagle. Neighbors were alarmed to hear the screaming bird outside their homes.

“We were able to see there was a little fracture in there,” Sheaffer said. “Probably the large talon from the other bird went right into the knee.”

Previously injured birds are hardly ever spotted again once they are released, she said.

“This is what we do all the time; we do rehabilitation on these birds and release them but we hardly know what happens to them,” she said. “We rarely get that information, because very few birds are banded.”

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Bald eagles in the USA, where to see them


This video is called American Bald Eagle.

From Discovery News in the USA:

Endangered Species

Bald Eagle Spotting: Top Spots

Dec 27, 2013 12:43 PM ET // by Tim Wall

Forty years ago, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The act’s authors sought to protect animals, plants and other wildlife from extinction caused by “economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation,” in the words of the Act.

One symbol of the United States, the bald eagle, provides an example of how a change to the economy saved an icon of North America.

DDT, or dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, weakened eagle and other bird egg shells so much that the eggs would collapse under the mother. The chemical was introduced in the 1940s and already had decimated bird populations by the early 1960s.

NEWS: Bald Eagle Nestlings Contaminated by Chemicals

In 1972, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide. The removal of DDT from the market allowed eagle eggs to regain their strength, and the raptors began a recovery.

Bald eagles soared off of the Endangered Species List in 2007. Although off the list, the birds are still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

LIST: Animals Back From the Brink

An eagle-watching trip could be a thrilling way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and the success of bald eagles.

From coast to coast, National Wildlife Refuges offer winter-long opportunities to observe the raptors, along with special events.

The USFWS presents a cross-country list of these eagle adventures in Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, California, Oregon and Washington. Here are a few highlights:

Maryland: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Festival March 15, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival is a free way to see more than 200 eagles overwintering in the refuge, the largest population on the East Coast, north of Florida.

Illinois: Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Watch Jan. 18-19, 25-26 at  8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are required for this guided van trip to see eagle nests.

Missouri: Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge Open all winter. A 1.5-mile trail offers views of hundreds of eagles.

Oregon: Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls Feb. 13-16. Sessions on bald eagles and other raptors are featured events at this avian extravaganza.

The Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of 99% of the more than 2,140 species it currently protects: here.

West Nile Virus Behind Utah Bald Eagle Deaths: here.

Golden eagle, Scotland’s favourite animal


This video from the USA says about itself:

21 Apr 2011

The first of a three segment video revealing the life of nesting Golden Eagles located within Whychus Canyon near Sisters, Oregon. The camera is attached to a telescope and is position about a quarter of a mile from the nest. The eagles are completely unaware of the camera. The nest is on a sheer cliff within a reserve managed by Wolftree, a non-profit, science education organization.

And here is segment #2.

And here is segment #3.

From Scottish Natural Heritage, Tuesday 5th November 2013:

Golden Eagle soars high as Scotland‘s number one

The Golden Eagle has overwhelmingly topped the vote in a campaign to find the Scotland’s favourite wild animal. The impressive bird of prey was competing against the Red Deer, Red Squirrel, Harbour Seal and Otter. Thousands of votes were recorded online following the campaign launch in spring this year and voting closed on 31st October. With almost 40 per cent of the vote, the eagle was well ahead of its counterparts. The next closest was the Red Squirrel with 20 per cent, then the Red Deer and the Otter, with the Harbour Seal in last place.

The campaign was run jointly by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and VisitScotland as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 celebrations. Environment and Climate Change Minister and PAW Scotland Chairman Paul Wheelhouse said: “While we can be enormously proud of all our native wildlife, it is fitting that the magnificent Golden Eagle has topped this poll of Scotland’s ‘Big 5′ species.”

The Golden Eagle has overwhelmingly topped the vote in a campaign to find the Scotland’s favourite wild animal. The impressive bird of prey was competing against the Red Deer, Red Squirrel, Harbour Seal and Otter. Thousands of votes were recorded online following the campaign launch in spring this year and voting closed on 31st October. With almost 40 per cent of the vote, the eagle was well ahead of its counterparts. The next closest was the Red Squirrel with 20 per cent, then the Red Deer and the Otter, with the Harbour Seal in last place.

The campaign was run jointly by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and VisitScotland as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 celebrations. Environment and Climate Change Minister and PAW Scotland Chairman Paul Wheelhouse said: “While we can be enormously proud of all our native wildlife, it is fitting that the magnificent Golden Eagle has topped this poll of Scotland’s ‘Big 5′ species.”

“At present Scotland is home to all of the UK’s breeding pairs of these eagles, and the species has done well to recover after almost being wiped out in the last two centuries. However, recent incidents have shown that the [species] is still threatened by illegal persecution in some areas. We have a responsibility to protect this wonderful bird so that future generations can continue to enjoy its presence in our skies.”

Scotland’s Big 5 were selected because they were all high-profile species, widely associated with Scotland, and with a broad geographical spread. Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive said: “The response to the campaign has been brilliant. Thousands of people have voted for their favourite from Scotland’s Big 5 list. There have been several alternative lists put forward for seabirds, game animals, trees and plants, and support for rarer species like the Pine Marten and Wildcat. It has got people thinking about and talking about wildlife, and showing how much affection and pride people have, not just for the five species on the list, but for Scottish wildlife generally.”

Through the partnership with SNH, VisitScotland promoted the campaign to millions of potential visitors and where best to see them in their natural environments. This saw all of Scotland’s Big 5 championed through a series of billboard advertisements in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Alongside this, TV personality Neil Oliver lent his voice to an extensive radio campaign, with written press and online content specially developed throughout the year. Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, added: “We’ve been absolutely delighted with the response that Scotland’s Big 5 campaign has received, and it has been a cornerstone of our celebrations for the Year of Natural Scotland 2013. One of the key pillars of the year was to get as many people here at home out seeing parts of Scotland that they may not have been to before, and the Big 5 campaign has given us a fantastic opportunity to promote even the most remote areas of our wonderful country.”

April 2014: Two golden eagles have been tagged in a new satellite project run by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) so there can be greater understanding about the birds’ behaviour: here.

United States people sick from salmonella during government shutdown


This video from the USA says about itself:

Raw Chicken Responsible in Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak; Foster Farms Implicated

15 Feb 2013

An outbreak of salmonella in 12 states, but mostly Oregon and Washington, has been linked to Foster Farms, a major player in the chicken industry.

By James Brewer in the USA:

US shutdown cripples investigation of salmonella outbreak

11 October 2013

An outbreak of Salmonella poisoning had sickened 278 Americans in 18 states, mostly centered in California, as of October 7. The source of the bacteria has been traced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to three Foster Farms chicken plants in California, Oregon and Washington. In the face of this, the government agencies responsible for conducting inspections and investigations into foodborne diseases are prohibited from conducting their work—or even entering their offices—as a result of the shutdown of the US government.

Of the 12,825 employees of the CDC, 8,754 have been furloughed. In a remarkable comment, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden posted a statement on his twitter feed: “CDC had to furlough 8,754 people. They protected you yesterday, can’t tomorrow. Microbes/other threats didn’t shut down. We are less safe.”

Frieden stated that the pause in the CDC’s work is causing potentially permanent damage to research and crippling the CDC’s ability to track foodborne diseases and other infectious illnesses. “If an experiment was set up in the lab, a project was started, it may be that it could be stopped and resumed, but it may also be that there’s real damage to that.”

A CDC staffer told Maryn McKenna of Wired on Monday, “I know that we will not be conducting multi-state outbreak investigations. States may continue to find outbreaks, but we won’t be doing the cross-state consultation and laboratory work to link outbreaks that might cross state borders.”

McKenna added: “That means that the lab work and molecular detection that can link far-apart cases and define the size and seriousness of outbreaks are not happening. At the CDC, which operates the national foodborne-detection services FoodNet and PulseNet, scientists couldn’t work on this if they wanted to; they have been locked out of their offices, labs and emails. (At a conference I attended last week, 10 percent of the speakers did not show up because they were CDC personnel and risked being fired if they traveled even voluntarily.)”

On Monday, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a “notice of intended enforcement” to the CEO of Foster Farms chicken producers. The notice threatened to remove FSIS inspectors from the three plants, which would mean the plants would be required by law to close.

Foster Farms’ response was a press release claiming to be working with the FSIS and the CDC “to reduce incidence of Salmonella Heidelberg on raw chicken products” from the three factories. The company claims that it “has instituted a number of additional food safety practices, processes and technology throughout company facilities that have already proven effective in controlling Salmonella in its Pacific Northwest operations earlier this year.”

Despite the public health alert issued by the FSIS “due to concerns that illness caused by Salmonella Heidelberg is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California,” no recall has been put into effect.

The company is conducting a cynical public relations campaign to enable it to conduct business as usual with impunity. It claims that despite the health alert and the FSIS “notice of intended enforcement,” the agency has publicly assured the safety of Foster Farms chicken. It adds, “Foster Farms chicken is safe to eat but, as with all raw chicken, consumers must use proper preparation, handling and cooking practices.”

Salmonella Heidelberg is an aggressive strain of antibiotic-resistant salmonella, which is responsible for outbreaks in 2004, 2012 and earlier this year. The disease can have lifelong consequences ranging from arthritis to kidney trouble to heart disease.

According to Monday’s alert, “On July 1, 2013, FSIS was notified of a Salmonella Heidelberg cluster with Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern JF6X01.0258. Since that time, CDC has defined the outbreak to include six additional patterns … as part of the case outbreak definition.”

It is widely known that the rampant overuse of antibiotics has contributed to strengthening the strain of Salmonella Heidelberg against antibiotics such as ceftriaxone as well as ampicillin and ciproflaxin, all important for treating young children against salmonella infections.

The CDC, like many other government agencies, has been operating under “minimal support,” and until Tuesday had only two of 80 foodborne pathogen-analyzing staff on duty, according to a report by ABC News.

As a last-minute measure, 30 CDC staff members were brought back on the job Wednesday to work on the case. The CDC gives investigatory backup to the FSIS, but as Director Frieden says, “We don’t have the systems up. We don’t have early warning systems as robust as they should be or could be.”

Since the shutdown, some research and reference labs have gone from staffs of 80 to as little as two. The CDC’s hospital-acquired infections phone line—which Frieden says receives about 100 calls a day—has also been shuttered. FSIS inspection staff is also crippled as a result of the shutdown, functioning at only 87 percent capacity.

On October 7, the CDC issued a report entitled, “Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken,” explaining the outbreak and that the investigation is ongoing. It is of concern that incidents occurring after September 1 may not yet be reported due to the two- to three-week timeline for reporting the illness. Clearly the shutdown of the investigatory body can have deadly consequences.

Among the many critically important services that have been devastated by the ongoing federal government shutdown, closure of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one that is likely to have severe long-term effects: here.

Saving Canada’s seabirds


This video from the USA says about itself:

The marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a small Pacific seabird listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in California, Oregon and Washington. Rarely seen by humans, they spend the majority of their lives at sea forage, rest, and mate. For years, ornithologists did not know where this mysterious bird nested. It wasn’t until 1974 that the first marbled murrelet nest was discovered in North America. Generally, they nest in coastal old-growth forests, characterized by large trees with multiple canopy layers and moderate to high canopy closure.

From BirdLife:

Parks Canada aims to make seabird island IBAs rat-free

Fri, Sep 20, 2013

Following a pilot eradication on two smaller islets, Parks Canada staff are clearing invasive rats from two important seabird breeding islands in the north of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site on the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, a dense chain of islands in the Pacific off the coast of British Columbia.

Rat bait containing a rodenticide is being dropped on the islands by helicopter, a technique first developed in New Zealand, and also used by BirdLife to restore seabird breeding islands in the South Pacific.

The Haida Gwaii archipelago includes many Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) recognised for their populations of breeding seabirds. Parts or all of nine IBAs are protected by the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.

“Half the world population of Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus breed on Haida Gwaii, and approximately half of these breed within the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve”, said Laurie Wein, the project’s manager at Parks Canada.

One of the two target islands, Murchison, lies within the Ramsay and Northern Juan Perez Sound Islands IBA, which also meets IBA criteria for its population of Cassin’s Auklet Ptychoramphus aleuticus.

The Ancient Murrelet population is decreasing in North America. The global population is also suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species, especially rats.

Parks Canada is carrying out the eradication work in conjunction with the Haida Nation.

“The introduction of rats to many of the forested islands of Haida Gwaii has meant the demise of several historic seabird nesting colonies,” said Haida Nation president Peter Lantin. “Of particular interest is the Ancient Murrelet, a species at risk. Also known as SGin Xaana or Night Bird, this was once an important food source for our people.”

Parks Canada representatives attended the 2013 BirdLife World Congress in Ottawa, Canada, to speak about their work in the islands.

“Nature Canada applauds the leadership of Parks Canada in the restoration of these globally important bird areas,“ said Stephen Hazell, Senior Conservationist at BirdLife co-Partner Nature Canada. “The coastal areas around Haida Gwaii are a global hotspot for marine breeding birds, and efforts to rid the islands of rats are a first step towards restoring the ecological integrity of these islands.”

The rats, which were brought by ships in the 18th and 19th centuries, eat eggs and chicks, and attack adult murrelets and other ground- and hole-nesting species. Ramsay Island, the largest and most important seabird breeding island in the Ramsay and Northern Juan Perez Sound Islands IBA, is currently rat-free. But as long as rats remain within the group, there is the ever-present danger that they could be accidentally introduced from nearby islands.

“Introduced predators are a major threat to colonial ground-nesting seabird species, including murrelets and storm petrels,” said Jon McCracken, Director of National Programs for Bird Studies Canada (BirdLife co-partner) and co-chair of the birds subcommittee for COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. “Bird Studies Canada is strongly supportive of efforts by Parks Canada and the Haida Nation to protect seabirds by eliminating rats from islands in the Haida Gwaii.”

Populations of Endangered Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus, Leach’s [Petrel] Oceanodroma leucorhoa and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel O. furcata, and Black Oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani are also expected to recover once the rats are gone.

Nearly half a million seabirds die in gillnets every year, but solutions exist: here.

Polar bear’s collar camera view, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Aug 2, 2013

A collar camera attached to a Polar bear at Oregon Zoo is providing a unique insight into the species. Whenever Tasul plays, swims, eats and sleeps a specially-designed collar tracks her movements, however slight.

It has an accelerometer attached to it which traces Tasul’s steps in three dimensions.

The research project is in collaboration with the US Geological Survey.

Research wildlife biologist, Anthony Pagano, said: “It records changes [in position] along three different axes: up and down, back and forth, and side to side.”

The technology works in a similar way in which the phone is tipped upside down.

Scientists hope the data that is collected can help them understand how polar bears in the wild are coping with changes in their environment, primarily because of climate change. Report by Ashley Fudge.