This Is For The Birds

This Is For The Birds

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tracking a Snowy Owl

We Followed a Snowy Owl from Maryland to Ontario
               by Adam Cole
May 25, 2016
Brinker and fellow bird biologist Scott Weidensaul knew if they could follow the movements of these wide-ranging owls as the birds returned to the frozen north, the scientists could learn a lot about their hunting patterns, breeding behavior and migration routes. So the two men launched Project Snowstorn.

They trapped visiting owls and fitted them with solar-powered GPS transmitters.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rescued Snowy Owl

Watch a Snowy Owl Recoup from Surgery at an NYC Wildlife Rehab Center
By Purbita Saha
February 5, 2016

Meet Hedwig, an aptly named Snowy Owl who flew all the way from the Arctic tundra to the Big Apple to enjoy a milder winter (and also probably a #pizzarat or two). That is, until she was shot near an NYC airport—likely the result of a legal loophole that allows airports to use lethal means to clear owls and other birds off their tarmacs.

But Hedwig is a lucky one: She was found and rescued two weekends ago, right before a record blizzard hit the city. A Queens resident found her struggling to fly a mile away from LaGuardia Airport,

A Gunshot Wound Couldn’t Break this Snowy Owl’s Spirit
by Hilary Hanson
February 11, 2016

A lot of birds are afraid when they wind up at the Wild Bird Fund—a wildlife rehabilitation center in New York City—but not Hedwig.

A man brought in the young female snowy owl with what rehabbers believe was a gunshot wound in her shoulder in January, as first reported by the National Audubon Society.

But while many birds become timid and frightened in the unfamiliar environment of the rehab center, Hedwig was defiant.

“She did not retreat,” Rita McMahon, Wild Bird Fund director, told The Huffington Post. “I think she felt … she didn’t see anything that was contender. She was lord and mistress.”

Iceberg Threatens Colony of Penguins

I’m having a problem with the real title of this article; not because it is ten miles long, but because of the words have been killed. I would use the words have died instead.

[150,000 Penguins Killed]
by May Bulman
February 13. 2016

An estimated 150,000 penguins of Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay have been killed since the iceberg measuring 1,120 square miles - larger than Luxemberg - forced them to trek 70 miles for food.

The penguins used to live near a large body of open water, but the arrival of the iceberg in East Antarctica and fast ice expansion has dramatically increased the distance they must travel to feed.

The colony of 160,000 has shrunk to just 10,000 since 2011, according to research carried out by the Climate Change Research Centre at Australia’s University of New South Wales.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Wisdom, the Albatross, Gives Birth at Sixty-five

Wisdom Hatches a Healthy Chick at 65+ Years Old
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
February 8, 2016

The oldest known bird in the wild, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom – at least 65 years old – is a mother again at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, part of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The chick was observed still coming out of its shell on February 1, 2016 and days later was named Kūkini, which is a Hawaiian word for messenger. Wisdom’s mate had been on the nest since January 20 when he took over incubation duties while Wisdom headed out to sea. Wisdom returned just as the Super Bowl ended yesterday with her belly full. Shortly after Wisdom arrived, Wisdom’s mate was on the march towards the shoreline and immediately took flight in search of food.

Since I found Wisdom:

64-year-old Laysan Albatross Returns, Spotted with Mate
by Maui Now
November 25, 2015

Oldest Known Wild Bird Hatches Chick at 62
by Christine Dell’Amore
February 22, 2013

Sunday, January 31, 2016

U.S. Court Upholds Airports’ Right to Kill Birds

U.S. Court Upholds Airports’ Right to Kill Birds

U.S. Court Upholds Airports’ Right to Legally Kill Snowy Owls and Other Birds
by Xander Zellner
January 29, 2016

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey now has the legal right to kill almost any bird on its property—as long as they declare it an emergency.


The only birds that are exempt are Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, and other endangered or threatened species.

So does this mean Snowy Owls and other favorite species have to learn to steer clear of these properties? Maybe not. Susan Elbin, director of conservation and science at New York City Audubon, says that despite the court's ruling, she's confident the Port Authority will try to avoid killing birds. "I know for a fact that they'll only use lethal control as a last resort. They spend days and days meeting about this subject and catching these birds," she says. In fact, the Port Authority often consults with NYC Audubon about methods for handling wildlife. "It’s unfortunate when wildlife and humans come into this conflict situation where they’re trying to share space—and that’s often what happens with airports—but I know that the Port Authority is doing their best to trap and relocate them."

I hope Susan’s confidence doesn’t become compromised. Airplane safety should be the paramount concern, but we all know it’s cheaper and easier to shoot birds than to pay for what it takes to capture and relocate them.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Northern Hawk Owl Killed to Stop People from Coming to Take Pictures of It

After Attracting Birders, Rare Hawk Owl Killed Near Okanogan
by Rich Landers
January 16, 2016

Other birders who had brought the bird to his attention had mentioned to him that the property owner did not want anyone taking photos of anything on his property.


The Schrevens were among the steady stream of birders that visited the area. They saw the bird alive about 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 9. A Man came out of a home along the road and appeared to be writing down their license number as they drove away, Sandy Schreven said.


A blue pickup was in the road as they drove past and the man appeared to be writing down their license plate number, she said.

While they were having lunch by the river a half mile away, Herman Schreven said he heard a gunshot, but he didn’t think much of it.

When the couple returned to the site about 2 p.m., they found the bird hanging dead from a tree,
by Becca Cudmore
January 22, 2016

But as the visitors gathered throughout the week—some even checking in from Oregon—a nearby resident grew increasingly annoyed, telling them that scopes and binoculars were “okay,” but that they couldn't take photos of his property. On January 9, birders noticed that the neighbor had posted a sign: “No photos allowed.” Later that day, the owl was photographed hanging dead by one foot from a tree branch. Presumably, it had been shot. The case is currently under investigation by the Colville Native American Tribe, which owns the land.

The answer to the question, “are birders to blame? is no, birders are not to blame. The person who killed the owl is to blame.

The birders were not on the person’s property, it’s probably been too cool and cloudy for naked sun bathing or skinny dipping; so was the perpetrator already some kind of a pervert with some disgusting secret to hide, was this person one of America’s most wanted, did the perpetrator not want others to see an ugly spouse, was it a fear of losing land, was it resentment and hatred for a certain race of people? I’d really like to know.

Notwithstanding, personal moral values forbid me from stating how I really, really feel about the person who did this:

Photo by Christy Nielsen