Endangered Bermuda petrel couple caress each other

This video from Bermuda says about itself:

Tender Preening as Male Returns to the Burrow on the Bermuda Cahow Cam

The male petrel returned to the burrow for the first time tonight (January 15, 2017) and greeted the female after being away for possibly two months. The two will spend from a few hours to a day or two together in the burrow courting and reaffirming their bond before she leaves for about the next 30 days to forage and replenish her reserves.

The CahowCam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nonsuch Expeditions. You can watch the cam live here.

And learn more about Nonsuch Island‘s environs (including the cahow) here.

Endangered Bermuda petrel nest webcam

This video says about itself:

Female Bermuda Cahow Returns and Lays Egg, January 11, 2017

On January 11, 2017 the female (banded E0197) returned to the same nesting burrow she has used for the last 6 years, and within an hour or so of arriving she laid a single egg that will be the singular focus of the pair’s efforts for the next 5-6 months.

The CahowCam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nonsuch Expeditions. You can watch the cam live here, and learn more about Nonsuch Island‘s environs (including the cahow) here.

We’re excited to share a brand new live viewing experience featuring the critically endangered Bermuda Cahow, a kind of gadfly-petrel that nests nowhere in the world except rocky islets off the coast of Bermuda. In the early 1600s, this once-numerous seabird was thought to have gone extinct, driven out of existence by the invasive animals and habitat changes associated with the settlement of the island. In 1951, after nearly 300 years, a single bird was rediscovered, and since then the species has been part of a government-led conservation effort to revive the species.

Much of this conservation work by the Bermuda Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has centered on the creation of manmade burrows to increase nesting habitat, and to create new colonies on larger islands that are more robust to the increasing threats of hurricanes. The Cornell Lab entered into a partnership with the innovative Nonsuch Expeditions, a multimedia and outreach effort centered on Nonsuch Island that is committed to raising awareness and conserving the unique animals and environments on and around Bermuda. They have successfully broadcasted from a cahow burrow in past years, and this year we are working together to create an experience that will blend both live footage from a new camera as well as interaction with DENR Senior Terrestrial Conservation Officer Jeremy Madeiros during his weekly nest checks throughout the nesting season.

This on-camera pair has been together since 2009, using this same burrow each of those years, and has fledged successfully for the last three years. During the nesting season, the cahows only visit and court under the cover of night, then head out to sea during daylight hours. The pair returned to the island in mid-November to court and mate, then disappeared out to sea for the month of December. Last night (January 11), the female returned, and within an hour or so of arriving she laid a single egg that will be the singular focus of the pair’s efforts for the next 5-6 months. Sometime during the night of January 12 or 13th, the male should return to take over incubation duties for the next month while the female heads out to sea, and hatch won’t be for another 52-55 days—likely around the end of the first week of March.

There’s no external mic at this point (we’ll be adding one in the coming weeks), but if you turn up the sound or listen through headphones you can hear the rhythmic crash of the surf on the island. You can follow updates and ask questions via the cahow cam’s Twitter feed —we look forward to learning about this cryptic species alongside you.

Bermudian woman against United States police brutality

Bermudian Kaurie Daniels in Bermuda T-shirt in protest against the death of Eric Garner

This photo from the USA shows Bermudian Kaurie Daniels in a Bermuda T-shirt in a protest against the death of Eric Garner.


From the Royal Gazette in Bermuda:

Bermudian fights US police brutality

By Nadia Arandjelovic

Published Feb 24, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 24, 2015 at 2:32 am)

A year ago, Kaurie Daniels would never have imagined herself leading protests against police brutality in the US.

The 28-year-old Bermudian had just moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Her dream was a successful acting career.

And then Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, caught her attention. …

“The way it affected me and many others is what forced me to get involved,” she said of the incident which gained international press last August. “There hasn’t been another movement like this in the US since the Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s.”

Atlanta knows Ms Daniels as “Queen K”.

This video says about itself:

14 December 2014

Queen K speaks to protest participants in South Atlanta.

“Stop The Violence, We Want Healing & Peace” march and rally at Baby Grand Piano Bar (5328 Old National Highway) #ItsBiggerThanYou

The Royal Gazette article continues:

She’s organised and led protest rallies and been Maced for those efforts. She’s also been nominated for a Courageous Woman Award 2015, handed out by the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation. The charity is named after an African-American teenager who was killed in the 1950s because he allegedly flirted with a white woman.

Everything changed for the former Berkeley Institute student after Michael Brown was shot.

She heard about a town-hall meeting in her area to discuss police shootings and brutality against African-Americans and decided to get involved.

The first rally they organised attracted nearly 200 people. More than 5,000 showed up for a second protest at the CNN Center.

“That was definitely a humbling experience and it was from that point forward that we realised we had a responsibility because people were angry and wanted to see change,” Ms Daniels said.

“From that day forward I got more involved. I’ve been to Ferguson, Missouri four times since and one of those times I saw the racism first-hand.

“We were Maced, there was tear gas and some of the friends I went with were hit with batons by police officers.

“The police, they followed us everywhere we went in helicopters and some even put their middle fingers up to us as we were walking. So racism is still a very real thing there and very prevalent.”

Her team encouraged thousands of shoppers to patronise black-owned businesses at Christmas instead of Atlanta’s massive shopping centre, the Lenox Mall. They also managed to block part of the Atlanta highway to send the message to everyday commuters that black lives matter.

Ms Daniels’ work has also garnered attention from BET host Big Tigger, rapper Big Mike and singer Angie Stone, who shot an honorary video featuring scenes from the protests.

“It’s a huge deal to even know that people are watching and recognise what we do,” Ms Daniels said of being nominated for the Courageous Woman Award 2015. “The only reason why people today know about Emmett Till is because of his mother.

“She was extremely brave, especially in those days, to have an open casket funeral after they told her she had to keep it closed. She constantly talked about it and pursued justice for her son, which in those days was almost suicidal. So to be nominated for an award in her honour is huge for me.”

Although it might seem to some like the rallying against Ferguson has quieted down, Ms Daniels insists there are many people still fighting for change.

“The news doesn’t capture everything that has happened,” she said. “There may be those no longer following it or people who don’t know what’s going on who think it died out, but people are still doing things every day.”

She said she was always interested in activism but wasn’t able to act on that passion until a student at North Carolina’s A & T State University. There she joined an organisation called STAND, which aimed to raise awareness about genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

“That was the first time I was able to actually do something rather than just talk about it,” she said.

She and a friend Natalia Hall, recently started The CommUNITY of Atlanta Inc. It focuses on developing educational, social and economic programmes to empower people from disadvantaged communities. Members will also go into schools to teach young people about black history prior to slavery.

“We want to perform drama productions starting in the summer or fall so that children understand there were heroes around that looked just like them,” Ms Daniels said. “There is such a rich history which we are trying to highlight.”

Ms Daniels is known to wear a sweatshirt with Bermuda emblazoned across it, at protests and rally events.

She plans to bring her activism efforts back to the Island one day, but feels her efforts are needed in the US right now.

“There is this one area in Atlanta with a row of houses where all the stores there are all black-owned, but it’s all boarded up and barely running,” she said. “There are people standing on the side of the street just hanging out and not doing much. Once it starts to look different and those businesses and houses are cleaned up and those residents are empowered then that’s when I’ll know Atlanta is moving into a positive direction. That’s when I intend to bring my force back to Bermuda.”

This video from Georgia in the USA says about itself:

Queen K Speaks at Ebenezer (Its Bigger Than You)

8 December 2014

Doctor Raphael Warnock hosted another Community Forum Monday night (12/8/14) at Ebenezer Baptist Church to tackle questions about police brutality and accountability.

The Department of Justice will not file charges against George Zimmerman for the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, ABC News and CBS News reported Tuesday: here.

On Monday, the US Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) released a report revealing that over the past eight years, Philadelphia Police Department officers were involved in 394 shootings, amounting to about one per week: here.

Bermuda coral reefs research, video

This video says about itself:

11 August 2014

2014 Bermuda Deep Reef Expedition

California Academy of Sciences
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Ocean Support Foundation

Initial Characterization of Bermudian
Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems:
Visual Census of Mesophotic Biodiversity
Impact Assessment and Culling of Invasive Lionfish

Hudson Pinheiro
Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley
Elliott Jessup
Alex Chequer

Equipment Support:
Hollis Gear

Elliott Jessup

Small crab’s journey from Bermuda to England

This video from England says about itself:

27 Jan 2014

Columbus Crab, Planes minutus, Gulf weed Crab, washed up on long line buoy, Broad bench, Kimmeridge, Dorset, UK, January 2014.

From daily The Guardian in Britain, with photo there:

Columbus crab crosses the Atlantic – big picture

A tiny crab from Bermuda washes up on Dorset beach after an epic voyage hitching a ride on marine litter carried by the Gulf Stream

Thursday 30 January 2014 10.56 GMT

This Columbus crab (Planes minutus), just 10mm long, was found among common goose barnacles on a longline buoy last week, washed ashore on the Chesil beach, a natural catchment area for marine litter in Dorset. Native to the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, it drifted away along the Gulf Stream and ended with many objects from the American and Canadian fishing industry on British shores.

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Bermuda bluebirds in trouble

This video from Maine in the USa is called Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebird.

From the University of Chicago in the USA today:

Bluebirds struggle to find happiness on island paradise

55 minutes ago

Island plants and animals are often different from their mainland relatives. In general, the lack of top predators and large herbivores on isolated oceanic islands influences traits of island organisms. Consider, for example, the dodo: this island-dwelling, flightless bird was so fearless that it was hunted to extinction by humans within 200 years of first contact. Human interaction is just one threat to conservation. Differences in the threats posed by pathogens and parasites may also be important for conservation of today’s extinction-prone island populations.

Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) are familiar to many people living in the eastern United States, and also to residents and tourists in Bermuda, an archipelago with a total area of about 54 square kilometers that lies in the North Atlantic about 1,100 km off the East Coast of the United States. Although the current outlook for the bluebirds in the U.S. is good, their Bermuda relatives have been designated as threatened and vulnerable.

Comparisons of island and continental bird populations can offer new insights to people interested in conserving island birds. We compared island (Bermuda) and continental (Ohio, U.S.) populations of the Eastern bluebird, studying these birds from egg to adult. We investigated how nestlings and adults differed in growth, size and shape, immune function, numbers of eggs and nestlings that pairs produce, and how frequently parents deliver food to their young. We also attempted to identify differences between continental and island birds that, either individually or as part of a broader phenomenon, might intensify the risks of decline typically associated with small and geographically isolated populations, such as the Bermuda bluebirds.

Our study showed that bluebirds in Bermuda differed in a variety of ways from bluebirds in Ohio. For example, adults in Bermuda were lighter weight and had longer wings than the Ohio birds. These differences contrast with the usual changes associated with small animals living on isolated islands. Parents fed their nestlings at equal rates throughout the season in both locations. However, island nestlings grew slower and, as the breeding season progressed, more chicks died in their nests in Bermuda, though no similar seasonal pattern was observed in Ohio. Overall, our results suggest that the Bermuda bluebirds may be adjusted to certain aspects of the island environment but not to others.

Efforts to conserve Bermuda bluebirds may be improved by focusing on the intraseasonal patterns in nestling mortality and, more generally, the survival rates of birds of all ages. Furthermore, conservation planners in Bermuda may benefit by considering the consequences of (1) introduced mammalian and avian predators and competitors and their removal and (2) human-driven changes in populations of the insects that bluebirds eat and feed their chicks. These factors may not only affect survival and mortality rates but may also shape bluebird physiology and reproduction. Ultimately, our study highlights the value of considering the match between an organism, its environment, and its evolutionary history on a population-specific scale. Without this context, identifying detrimental trends is a more challenging proposition.

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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.