Christmas Bird Count in North America starts


This video from the USA says about itself:

21 December 2012

Short film about the National Audubon Society‘s annual Christmas Bird Count: its history, present day extent, and lessons learned from more than 100 years of data.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

National Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count Starts This Sunday— And It’s Easy To Get Involved!

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 by eNature

With thousands of birders joining forces all over the continent, the single biggest nature event of the year is upon us: the annual Christmas Bird Count.

The tradition started in 1900 when ornithologist Frank Chapman proposed an alternative to the recreational hunting of birds that usually occurred on Christmas Day. He enlisted the help of twenty-seven conservationists in twenty-five different areas. Rather than kill birds, the group simply counted them.

It’s a novel way for birders to spend their time. Most pursue the hobby individually or with a handful of friends. As January approaches, though, these separate efforts instead become channeled toward a single goal.

Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, Christmas Bird Counts now take place in every Canadian province and every state in the Union. In smaller states like Massachusetts, the combination of modest size and intense interest in birds means that practically every inch of the state is covered. In larger states, however, a birder may have to travel a bit to find a count, but the effort is well worth it.

The way Christmas Bird Counts work is that each group of birders adopts a circular piece of land with an area of about 177 square miles. Often the birders cover the same area year after year. In fact, many of the same count circles have survived for decades.

On a chosen day during the final two weeks of December ( Sunday the 14th this year), the birders then venture out and count as many birds as possible within their circle. The birders usually regroup at the end of the day and spend the evening eating, drinking, and comparing their observations. For many participants it can be the social highlight of the birding year.

The Christmas Bird Count is not over, though, until the National Audubon Society publishes the results of the count in a yearly volume that birders and ornithological researchers alike prize.

This year’s Christmas Bird Count Starts December 14th, click here to get involved.

More details about wildlife counts: here.

New dinosaur species discovery in Canadian museum


This video from Canada is called New dinosaur species found in museum collection.

Haaretz daily in Israel writes about this:

New dinosaur discovered – in Ottowa museum

Pentaceratops aquilonius, five-horned cousin to Triceratops, was rather small and may have been endemic to the Alberta region in Canada.

By Ruth Schuster and Jim Drury

Nov. 30, 2014 | 12:09 PM

A new dinosaur species has been discovered – in Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Nature, where the fossil remains had been moldering for three quarters of a century. Pentaceratops aquilonius is a rather small species of Pentaceratops, a cousin of the better known Triceratops.

The difference between the two is that triceratops had three horns on its bony face while Pentaceratops has five.

The discovery of Pentaceratops aquilonius was made by University of Bath palaentologist Dr Nick Longrich. While studying fossils in the museum storage, he noticed that a certain one resembled other Pentaceratops remains found from the American Southwest – but was different.

In a paper published in Science Direct this month, Longrich postulates that the newly-recognized titchy Pentaceratops may have been endemic to the region now known as Alberta. Since there are other dinosaur species that were widespread in North America, he writes, dinosaur distribution was evidently not constrained by geographic barriers, climate, or flora: therefore, dinosaur endemism may have been due to competitive exclusion of immigrants by established populations, that had adapted to local environmental conditions.

Longrich expects his findings to be the tip of the palaeontological iceberg.

“In recent years the pace of dinosaur discoveries has actually increased and the implication there is that we’re not even close to the total number of dinosaur species that we could potentially discover,” Longrich told Reuters. “My guess is that as we go back into the museum collection and revise things, and go out into the field, we’re going to find hundreds of new dinosaur species in coming years.”

There could be thousands of unknown species of dinosaurs to be found, he postulates – many lurking in dusty museum storage rooms.

Pentaceratops aquilonius was around the size of a buffalo and like its triceratops cousin, was a herbivore. It lived 75 million years ago close to an area now known as the Canadian province of Alberta. The first to be found was Pentaceratops sternbergii, found in 1921.

Some pentaceratopses were a lot bigger than the presently-found one (or perhaps it just wasn’t fully-grown).

One massive skeleton in particular led paleontologists to squabble over whether it was a distinct species or just a particularly beefy individual. In any case, in 2011 it was classified as a different species, named Titanoceratops: just its skull was buffalo-sized, at 2.65 meters, which warranted it an entry for “longest skull” in the Guinness Book of World Records The whole Titanoceratops measured some 9 meters in length, roughly as long as a city bus.

Canadian squirrel steals camera and films


This video is called A squirrel nabbed my GoPro and carried it up a tree (and then dropped it).

From the Daily Telegraph in Britain about this video:

Cheeky squirrel steals a GoPro camera

Footage of an inquisitive squirrel stealing a GoPro camera and dragging it up a tree has gone viral online

17 Nov 2014

You don’t always need the high-production values of David Attenborough‘s Life Story, a team of experienced wildlife cameramen and the patience of a saint to put together an impressive animal video.

As the clip above demonstrates, sometimes you just need a GoPro camera and a slice of bread.

Montreal resident David Freiheit left his camera, with bait attached, at the base of a tree and stood nearby as an inquisitive squirrel approached.

The cheeky animal then dragged the camera up the tree, inadvertently filming Mr Freiheit in the process. Upon realising that the GoPro was not particularly tasty, the squirrel then jettisoned the camera onto the pavement below.

After being published on YouTube, Mr Freiheit’s footage has been viewed over 600,000 times. Completely nuts.