Birds in Paradise

Posted by ardeidae on January 05, 2005

Kuldia, India is an avian utopia. For generations, residents of the West Bengal Midnapore district village have been providing a bird sanctuary, dedicating land to growing peas, grain, and grams specifically for their feathered friends. The birds eat crop-threatening pests and provide natural fertilizer, saving farmers money and providing a more organic harvest.

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A Bird in the Blog…

Posted by ardeidae on January 02, 2005

The egg has hatched! For the past few months, I’ve been working on getting a website together dedicated to informing, educating, and (hopefully) entertaining those interested in the avian species. And now it’s finally live! It may seem a bit strange that the post announcing the launch of the blog isn’t the first one, but the bird brains at home (not to be confused with a more common definition) determined that news and information still happens even though the site is still in development, and that a first-time blogger like me could use some practice. Indeed.

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Hawks Evicted from Central Park

Posted by ardeidae on December 08, 2004

A family of Red-Tailed Hawks has lost their nest after a decade of residing on a 12th-floor ledge of a co-op apartment building overlooking Central Park.  The building’s engineer advised that it be removed, citing health and safety violations. The male, known as Pale Male because of his plumage, has resided there since 1993 and has fathered about two dozen chicks.

For the past nine years, people have gathered to watch Pale Male and his mates. The hawks gained fame through the book “Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park” as well as numerous documentaries such as NPR’s “The Birdman of Central Park” and the award-winning “Pale Male” narrated by Joanne Woodward.

December 23, 2004: After lots of controversy and protests by Pale Male’s and Lola’s fans (including Mary Tyler Moore), the National Audubon Society successfully convinced building management to reinstate the hawk’s nesting structure.

December 29, 2004: It seems Pale Male and Lola have been checking out the new structure and may be considering moving back in.

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The Chicken’s Egg is Cracked

Posted by ardeidae on December 08, 2004

Scientists led by the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis have cracked the genetic code of the chicken. The first bird to be deciphered, it is discovered that there are an estimated 20 to 23 thousand genes, sharing about 60 percent of them with humans as well as a common ancestor that lived over 310 million years ago.

This is great news, as it may provide answers to curing some human diseases. It also means Humpty Dumpty will finally be put together again.

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Aloha Po’ouli

Posted by ardeidae on December 01, 2004

Despite recovery efforts, one of the most endangered birds, Hawaii’s Po’ouli is feared extinct. One of the last three known birds has died of avian malaria less than three months after its capture.

After capturing the male in a last ditch effort, scientists had hoped to capture one of the two remaining females in hopes of breeding them. In 1998, NPR had a Radio Expedition(Real Audio) reporting on the efforts to save this rare species.

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EU’s Birds in Danger

Posted by ardeidae on November 10, 2004

BirdLife International’s in-depth study, Birds in Europe, revealed that 226 species (43 percent) of birds occurring regularly in Europe are in peril, facing an uncertain future due to intensive agriculture and climate change. Some are so threatened, they may completely disappear soon.

Government officials and envrionmental groups from 25 European Union members, plus three candidate states and Turkey met at a conference this week in the Netherlands and agreed to expand protected bird territories.  Although it awaits approval by the EU’s environment bodies, recommendations include expanding Europe’s protected areas from the current 8% to 10-15% of the continent’s territory as well as extending protected areas at sea to include all of the continental shelf’s coastal areas.

The Eurasian griffon and the white-tailed eagle have shown recovery since Europe’s conservation efforts under the Bird Directive, adopted 25 years ago. Let’s hope a new plan can help save the rest of them.

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Lost and Found

Posted by ardeidae on October 28, 2004

What do you do if you find a helpless baby bird away from it’s nest? Lore tells us that the smell of a human on a baby bird causes the parents to reject it. Snopes calls this “hogwash,” explains why, and details the best way to aid in different situations.

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Mapping the Skies

Posted by ardeidae on October 22, 2004 interviews Yossi Leshem, an Israeli ornithologist who maps bird migration patterns in the Middle East. He has saved the Israeli Air Force over half a billion dollars, while making peace along the way. His website contains a flock of information including a migration survey, radar pictures, and video of Lesser Kestrel and Common Kestrel nests.

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