According to a report that I missed back in June, many species of birds that migrate along the east coast of the United States are arriving earlier than they have in the past. The interesting part: it’s short-distance migrants only. Birds like the Red Knot or the Great-crested Flycatcher, which migrate from South America, are . . . → Read More: Birds migrating earlier
From the staff at the GFBT (and thanks to Cynthia for forwarding!):
Greetings from the Great Florida Birding Trail!
We are spreading the word about our good news! We are very excited to inform you that the Great Florida Birding Trail (GFBT) newsletter will be back this fall! It was last printed in 2005, but . . . → Read More: Great Florida Birding Trail Newsletter
Quote of the day, as reported by the Times’ Damien Cave: Alfonos Fanjul, CEO of Florida Crystals: “We really want to be as green as we possibly can be,” to which J. Pepe Fanjul replies “You have to have a balance between the environment and economic development. Something has to be done for the humans, . . . → Read More: NYT on US Sugar buy-out
It’s green, obviously. As in green energy, the cash cow that the Florida Public Service Commission finally slaughtered yesterday (July 29). For years, Florida Power and Light has been able to divert money ($9.75/month) collected from nearly 39,000 eco-minded customers (like me) in Florida to research and marketing at an energy contractor in Texas by . . . → Read More: PSC orders FPL’s Sunshine Energy program halted
Below is the (lightly edited for typos) press release from the lawyers for the Miccosukee tribe and Friends of the Everglades.
Miccosukee Tribe and Friends of the Everglades Win Everglades Forever Act Amendments and Phosphorus Rule Case.
In a landmark 101-page decision ending four years of litigation, Federal District Court Judge Alan Gold sided with . . . → Read More: Phosphorus rule enjoined
GEER 2008 is this week. GEER is the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Planning, Policy and Science Meeting For Everglades Restoration 2050 – Advancing the Science to Achieve Success July 28-August 1, 2008, Naples, FL
The webcast is available here beginning Tuesday, July 29, at 1:30 p.m.
. . . → Read More: Everglades Restoration sessions webcast
David Luneau, of the University of Arkansas, will speak at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 7, about his personal experience of the controversial search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas’ Cache River National Wildlife Refuge.
Because seating is limited, advance registration is required. Please call Linda Finch at (561) 744-6668 X101 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org . . . → Read More: Ivory-billed Woodpecker Presentation at Blowing Rocks Preserve
The federal government is seeking input from state agencies about conservation lands needed to protect endangered species for fiscal year 2009. If you know of currently unprotected lands with documented occurrences of federally protected species (Snail Kite, etc.), now is the time
. . . → Read More: Feds seek proposals for Endangered Species Land Conservation
Jeff Wells, writing on www.borealbirds.org, has good reason to be thankful. And so have we. This week, the province of Ontario put millions of acres of boreal forest, the nesting grounds for billions of “our” migratory and wintering songbirds, under protection.
. . . → Read More: Ontario, Canada, protects boreal forests
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has formed a working group to study the declines in many south Florida butterfly species, including the Miami Blue.
. . . → Read More: FWC forms butterfly study group
The new management plan for Babcock Ranch (remember Jeb’s “biggest conservation purchase ever,” just a couple of years ago?) is now available online. This is a lovely site over on the west coast of Florida, which we’ve visited from time to time. Birding on site and in the area is pretty good, but really requires . . . → Read More: Babcock Ranch Management Plan
From Audubon of Florida’s Action Alert notification:
NASA had proposed two locations for a private spacecraft launch site which would have resulted in significant habitat destruction on and near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
. . . → Read More: NASA to develop launch site on Air Force lands, not Merritt Island
According to today’s press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, numbers of breeding ducks in the prairie regions of the United States were down in 2008 compared to 2007. The report covers 58 years (1955-2008) and is available on the FWS website here as a PDF file.
. . . → Read More: Ducks Overflying Midwest; Breeding Farther North in 2008
Now that the news has had a chance to settle in, and we’ve had editorials from all the area’s newspapers (Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel), the Saint Petersburg Times, the New York Times, and more, here are my thoughts about Governor Crist’s proposal for a buyout of U.S. Sugar’s land around Lake . . . → Read More: Governor Crist Proposes Buy-out of U.S. Sugar
According to a press release this week from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, some of the tiniest birds in North America can help answer some of the largest questions in the biological sciences: how do species evolve? In a new study, Density-dependent diversification in North American wood warblers, Dan Rabosky and Irby Lovette examined 25 . . . → Read More: Warbler Study Asks Fundamental Questions
What looks like a typo in the title of this entry is actually not. If you’re familiar with phylogenetics, now’s the time to get ready for phylogenomics. That’s right; a taxonomy of the genome, not just the gene. An article published in last month’s Science makes the recent revises to avian taxonomy . . . → Read More: Avian Phylogenomics
The Redbird, most early American settlers and explorers, like Mark Catesby (one of the earliest ornithologists to explore “La Florida”) called it. John James Audubon called it Cardinal Grosbeak. And there’s no denying it has a large beak. Cardinalis cardinalis, or Northern Cardinal, is the nom de plume assigned by modern taxonomists. But why northern? . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, March 2008: Northern Cardinal
The Common Loon (Gavia immer), a member of the family Gaviidae, has only recently been removed by the American Ornithological Union from its long-standing place at the beginning of our field guides, to be replaced by the Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans). Nevertheless, it is still a regular winter visitor to Palm Beach County. Anyone who . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, January 2008: Common Loon
Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor) The Florida race (D. discolor paludicola) of this familiar little bird is a year-round resident of mangrove forests and coastal strand, while its numbers are augmented by wintering birds.
According to Stevenson and Anderson, it is distributed “throughout the state except interior of Panhandle, increasing from very rare northward to fairly . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, October 2007: Prairie Warbler
Spotted Sandpiper by Steven d'Amato
The Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia) is one of the most widespread breeding birds in the United States. This 7–8 long bird has pale yellow or pink legs and feet, orange bill with a black tip, and will rarely be seen in Florida with its namesake spots, being a winter . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, October 2006: Spotted Sandpiper
Seiurus aurocapilla, the Ovenbird (L 5.75 in.) gets its name from the fact that its nests look like little dome-shaped ovens on the forest floor. Palm Beach County residents know it best as the skulking leafkicker with the loud voice. This stocky warbler looks more like a miniature thrush with an orange mohawk than its . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, September 2006: Ovenbird
Calidris himantopus, L 8–9.25” W 17.25–18.75” Long legs, long, fine, slightly drooped bill. Pete Dunne describes this bird as “a structural and behavioral hybrid between a Lesser Yellowlegs and a dowitcher.” It has longer legs and is taller than a dowitcher, but it has a smaller head and body, and a shorter, darker, finer-tipped bill. . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, August 2006: Stilt Sandpiper
Least Tern by Steven d'Amato
Sterna antillarum. L 9” W 20” White forehead, thin and long orange-yellow bill in breeding season (and not seen in winter in Palm Beach county or in the state, for that matter). Dunne (2006) calls it shortbodied, short-tailed, and longwinged: “all angles and energy.” The flight is “buoyant and . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, July 2006: Least Tern
University of Miami alumnus Dennis Paulson’s tongue-in-cheek name for the long-legged elegant members of the stilt family is the “slenderellas.” The genus Himantopus (Greek for “strap-foot,” according to Choate’s
Dictionary of American Bird Names, or “spindle legged” according to Holloway’s Dictionary of Birds of the United States) has several members worldwide—Himantopus himantopus in Asia, the . . . → Read More: Bird of the Month, June 2006: Black-necked Stilt