Bald eagle nest in New York City, first in 100 years


This BBC video is called Bald Eagle catches salmon.

From Mother Nature Network in the USA:

Bald eagles starting a family in New York City

The majestic pair have what’s believed to be the first active nest in 100 years

By: Ali Berman

Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 01:19 PM

In Alaska, seeing a bald eagle swooping overhead is magical, if not relatively common. In New York City, it’s a minor miracle.

An elated New York City Audubon announced that a pair of bald eagles has been spotted with what appears to be an active nest on the South Shore of Staten Island, making them the first of the species to incubate eggs in the Big Apple in 100 years.

“The eagles are engaging in brooding behavior typical of nesting birds incubating their eggs,” explained Tod Winston, communications manager and research assistant for NYC Audubon. “Due to the height and location of the nest, it is not possible to actually see into it from the ground.”

The world won’t have to wait too long to see if the birds have successfully started a family. A normal incubation period for the bald eagle is between 34 and 36 days. Both male and female will take turns sitting on the eggs. If the eggs hatch, for the first two weeks of life, at least one parent will stay with the newborns. The one not watching the babies will hunt for prey to feed the family. To see the juveniles fly, we’ll have to wait between 10 and 12 weeks.

Tourists won’t be visiting the nest of this mating pair anytime soon. New York City does not reveal the exact location of bald eagles to help protect them from large crowds and poachers.

The Audubon reports that it is excited about the bald eagles that are establishing roots in the United States’ most populated city, speculating that there are two reasons for the birds’ change of behavior. The local ecosystem is less polluted than it once was, making it a friendlier habitat, and the bald eagle population has rebounded so well that some birds are moving out of more rural areas and into the city.

In 1963, the bald eagle hit its lowest numbers in the U.S. with only 417 documented mating pairs in the lower 48 states, according to NPR. DDT, a pesticide commonly used in the ’40s, contaminated lakes, streams and eventually fish, the eagles’ preferred food. DDT was found to weaken the eggshells. The pesticide, in combination with deforestation and illegal shooting, led to the near extinction of the species.

Due to the low numbers, the bald eagle was declared an endangered species in 1967, even before the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973. In what is considered a great success story, the birds were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, having rebounded to nearly 10,000 mating pairs.

In the wild a bald eagle can live between 15 and 25 years. Many couples mate for life, often returning to the same nest year after year. The birds don’t acquire that telltale white feathered head until they reach 4 or 5 years of age. Before that, the juveniles are mostly brown, and because of their coloring, can be confused with the golden eagle.

Rihanna’s new music video and Eric Garner


This music video from the USA says about itself:

16 April 2015

American Oxygen” from Rihanna’s upcoming eighth studio album.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Is Rihanna’s American Oxygen an anthem for Eric Garner?

With lyrics “breathe out/breathe in”, Rihanna gets serious, while the music video collates the most emotional moments of US history. But does it work?

New York City rare birds update


This video from the USA says about itself:

Crested Caracaras in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas
30 apr. 2013

Crested Caracaras at Martin Refuge. Meat scraps from roadkill, taxidermists or chicken from the grocery store is put out to bring in caracaras for people to photograph.

From The City Birder blog in New York City in the USA:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 10, 2015

– RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 10, 2015
* NYNY1504.10

– Birds mentioned

CRESTED CARACARA+ (Orange County)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Snowy Egret
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
NORTHERN GOSHAWK
Broad-winged Hawk
Lesser Yellowlegs
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
SNOWY OWL
Chimney Swift
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Eastern Towhee
Boat-tailed Grackle

– Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form …

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin – Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, April 10th 2015 at 7pm. The highlights of today’s tape are an Orange County CRESTED CARACARA, SNOWY OWL, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, HARLEQUIN DUCK, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER plus other Spring migrants.

This morning a CRESTED CARACARA was found in Montgomery, Orange County. The bird was seen on the west side of River Road about a mile north of Route 17K frequenting the field near two ponds. Issues to be addressed of course would be the bird’s provenance and whether it is a northern or southern Caracara. The northern would presumably be the expected species. The bird did disappear later in the day.

Otherwise with the Spring season somewhat delayed the March doldrums have been pushed back into April but once the weather breaks for good migrants should begin streaming rather than trickling in.

Most of the rarities have a Winter flavor including SNOWY OWL Monday to Wednesday in the marshes off Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet near Tiana Beach. Fortunately this owl seems to be staying far enough out to discourage pursuit. The immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK was reported again at Jones Beach West End on Thursday and a pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS continue around Point Lookout seen Thursday off Lido Beach. In Brooklyn both GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS continue to be seen around Gravesend Bay including near the Caesar’s Bay shopping mall. Other single GLAUCOUS GULLS were noted at Shinnecock Inlet Monday and Orient Point Thursday. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Jones Beach field 6 Thursday and a few RED-NECKED GREBES also remain along the Brooklyn and Staten Island shoreline.

Two somewhat out of place species were a female BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE spotted on the east side of the landfill at Croton Point Park last Sunday and single PILEATED WOODPECKERS in a Bethpage yard last Sunday and at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island at least through Thursday.

Two BLACK VULTURES spotted over Central Park Monday afternoon were subsequently seen continuing north over Inwood Hill Park.

Among the landbirds certainly the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Valley Stream State Park was the most unusual this bird found March 30th still frequenting the same area at least to Wednesday at the south end of the park and sometimes just across Hendrickson Avenue. Another YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was back at Connetquot River State Park in Oakdale as of Tuesday. Please keep any disturbance of the nesting Connetquot birds to an absolute minimum.

A few new arrivals and an increasing number of those appearing a little earlier. Besides the PINE and PALM WARBLERS and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES scattered about a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER appeared in Prospect Park Sunday. Other reported passerines have included BANK, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and CLIFF SWALLOWS, HOUSE WREN, WOOD THRUSH, some BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS as of Monday, EASTERN TOWHEE and various sparrows.

Among the arriving non-passerines have been SNOWY EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, BROAD-WINGED HAWK and CHIMNEY SWIFT.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or during the day except Sunday call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

Blackpoll warbler migration in America, new research


This video from New York City says about itself:

Several male blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) are shown in Central Park on their migration to their northern breeding grounds. The blackpoll warbler spends the winter in northern South America and migrates to Alaska, Canada, and small portions of the northeastern United States to breed. It is a common species, and it is assessed as being of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

This video was recorded on May 13, 14, and 17, 2014 in Central Park, New York City.

From Science Daily:

Tiny songbird discovered to migrate non-stop, 1,500 miles over the Atlantic

Date: March 31, 2015

Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Summary: For the first time biologists report ‘irrefutable evidence’ that tiny blackpoll warblers complete a nonstop flight from about 1,410 to 1,721 miles (2,270 to 2,770 km) in just two to three days. For this work the scientists fitted geolocator packs on 20 birds in Vermont and 20 more in Nova Scotia. They were able to recapture three birds from the Vermont group and two from the Nova Scotia group for analyses.

For more than 50 years, scientists had tantalizing clues suggesting that a tiny, boreal forest songbird known as the blackpoll warbler departs each fall from New England and eastern Canada to migrate nonstop in a direct line over the Atlantic Ocean toward South America, but proof was hard to come by.

Now, for the first time an international team of biologists report “irrefutable evidence” that the birds complete a nonstop flight ranging from about 1,410 to 1,721 miles (2,270 to 2,770 km) in just two to three days, making landfall somewhere in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the islands known as the Greater Antilles, from there going on to northern Venezuela and Columbia. Details of their study, which used light-level, or solar, geolocators, appear in the current issue of Biology Letters.

First author Bill DeLuca, an environmental conservation research fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with colleagues at the University of Guelph, Ontario, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and other institutions, says, “For small songbirds, we are only just now beginning to understand the migratory routes that connect temperate breeding grounds to tropical wintering areas. We’re really excited to report that this is one of the longest nonstop overwater flights ever recorded for a songbird, and finally confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet.”

While other birds, such as albatrosses, sandpipers and gulls are known for trans-oceanic flights, the blackpoll warbler is a forest dweller that migrates boldly where few of its relatives dare to travel. Most migratory songbirds that winter in South America take a less risky, continental route south through Mexico and Central America, the authors note. A water landing would be fatal to a warbler.

In the recent past, DeLuca explains, geolocators have been too large and heavy for use in studying songbird migration and the tiny blackpoll warbler, at around half an ounce (12 grams) or about as much as 12 business cards, was too small to carry even the smallest of traditional tracking instruments. Scientists had only ground observations and radar as tools.

But with recent advances in geolocator technology, they have become lighter and smaller. For this work, the researchers harnessed miniaturized geolocators about the size of a dime and weighing only 0.5g to the birds’ lower backs like a tiny backpack. By retrieving these when the warblers returned to Canada and Vermont the following spring, then analyzing the data, DeLuca and colleagues could trace their migration routes.

For this work the scientists fitted geolocator packs on 20 birds in Vermont and 20 more in Nova Scotia. They were able to recapture three birds from the Vermont group and two from the Nova Scotia group for analyses.

So-called light-level geolocators use solar geolocation, a method used for centuries by mariners and explorers. It is based on the fact that day length varies with latitude while time of solar noon varies with longitude. So all the instrument needs to do is record the date and length of daylight, from which daily locations can then be inferred once the geolocator is recaptured. “When we accessed the locators, we saw the blackpolls’ journey was indeed directly over the Atlantic. The distances travelled ranged from 2,270 to 2,770 kilometers,” DeLuca says.

To prepare for the flight, the birds build up their fat stores, explains Canadian team leader Ryan Norris of the University of Guelph. “They eat as much as possible, in some cases doubling their body mass in fat so they can fly without needing food or water. For blackpolls, they don’t have the option of failing or coming up a bit short. It’s a fly-or-die journey that requires so much energy.”

He adds, “These birds come back every spring very close to the same place they used in the previous breeding season, so with any luck you can catch them again. Of course there is high mortality among migrating songbirds on such a long journey, we believe only about half return.”

Chris Rimmer, an ornithologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies notes, “We’ve only sampled this tiny part of their breeding range. We don’t know what birds from Alaska do, for example. This may be one of the most abundant warblers in North America, but little is known about its distribution or ecology on the wintering grounds in Venezuela and the Amazon. However, there is no longer any doubt that the blackpoll undertakes one of the most audacious migrations of any bird on earth.”

DeLuca says, “It was pretty thrilling to get the return birds back, because their migratory feat in itself is on the brink of impossibility. We worried that stacking one more tiny card against their success might result in them being unable to complete the migration. Many migratory songbirds, blackpolls included, are experiencing alarming population declines for a variety of reasons, if we can learn more about where these birds spend their time, particularly during the nonbreeding season, we can begin to examine and address what might be causing the declines.”

As for why the blackpoll undertakes such a perilous journey while other species follow a longer but safer coastal route, the authors say that because migration is the most perilous part of a songbird’s year, it may make sense to get it over with as quickly as possible. However, this and other questions remain to be studied.

Other researchers on the team besides those from UMass Amherst, the University of Guelph and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, were from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Acadia University, Bird Studies Canada and the University of Exeter, U.K. Each contributed to funding the study.

Mumia Abu-Jamal in prison hospital


This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

Mumia Supporters Challenge Wall Street Journal

28 February 2014

Supporters of wrongfully imprisoned Mumia Abu-Jamal try to deliver letter to Wall Street Journal Editorial Features Editor, Mark Lasswell, correcting their published opinion article by Pat Toomey, Republican senator from Pennsylvania, and Rufus Seth Williams, Philadelphia district attorney, that attacked Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile as Justice Department’s top civil rights official, claiming he defended “a notorious cop killer” when as chief of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund he helped get Mumia off Death Row.

Clearly, Mumia did not kill a cop! Mumia tried to offer assistance to police officer Daniel Faulkner, who had already been shot and downed, who responded by shooting him. The WSJ piece repeats the DA’s bogus claim that 3 cops heard Mumia from his hospital bed confess to the killing when both the attending physician and policeman assigned to watch Mumia as he laid in critical condition maintained he said nothing, AND the 3 cops didn’t come up with that story until 60 days later!

After being advised by building security they could not enter the building to present their letter to the OpEd editor unless they first make an appointment, they try to make an appointment with a cel phone, and when that fails they are directed to the messenger entrance around the corner to deliver their letter, where they first read the letter aloud. Along the way they develop a friendly relationship with NYPD Community Affairs Officer Michael Dugan who agrees to watch a pro-Mumia video with an open mind if they send him one. That suggests the possibility New York City’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio and his new Police Chief Bratton might help get pro-Mumia videos shown at NYC Police Stations. The videos thoroughly set the record straight that Mumia was framed and mistried for a crime he did not commit.

Video by Joe Friendly.

From the International Action Center in the USA today:

Mumia in the hospital! Call prison to demand that his family see him!!

At 1 PM today, Mumia Abu-Jamal had a medical emergency and was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, PA. He is in the ICU. Mumia‘s spouse is not being allowed to see him. The only information we are receiving now is that he’s receiving an insulin drip for his diabetes.

YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED NOW!

Call these numbers now to demand hospital visitation rights for Mumia‘s family, including his brother Keith:

Richard Ellers
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
rellers@pa.gov
(717) 728-5311

John Wetzel
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
(717) 728-4109
Schuylkill Medical Center
420 S Jackson St, Pottsville, PA
(570) 621-4000

SCI Mahanoy
Superindendent John Kerestes
(570) 773-2158 x8102

Say you are calling about prisoner WESLEY COOK, #AM8335.

More alerts will follow as we receive them.

THIS MAN WRONGLY SERVED ON DEATH ROW FOR 30 YEARS And a judge ruled he should not receive any restitution. [Kim Bellware, HuffPost]