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Blog Birding #344

One of the best known hybrids in North America, Brewster’s Warbler has a long history seen even in some individual birds, as Jente Ottenburghs of Avian Hybrids points out.

The remainder of the paper is a year by year description (running from 1922 to 1927) of the adventures of their Brewster’s Warbler in New Jersey. A fine piece of natural history. I could quote different sections from the paper, but I advice you to read the whole paper. Preferably close to a fire place with a hot beverage.

Looking at intergrade Yellow-rumped Warblers in western Canada has led to some interesting discoveries, including the genetic explanation for that critical yellow throat field mark, as explained at Phys.org.

Now University of British Columbia (UBC) research might have pinpointed some of the genetic machinery responsible for the plumage colouration in Audubon’s and myrtle warblers, related but distinctly feathered North American songbirds.

“Audubon’s and myrtle warblers interbreed in a narrow band across British Columbia and Alberta,” says David Toews, co-author of a new Proceedings of the Royal Society paper exploring the birds’ colouration.

“Those hybrid warblers, while considered oddities to some birders, were key for this study because their plumage traits and genes are all jumbled and mixed, allowing us to link their differing colours to genetic markers and hopefully the genes responsible.”

At Methods Blog, Emily Cohen shares a post explaining migratory connectivity, or how individuals of a species stick together throughout the year.

Our article ‘Quantifying the strength of migratory connectivity’ is about the strength of migratory connectivity, the distributions of populations between seasons. So, for example, strong (or high or tight) connectivity occurs when populations remain together between seasons. Weak (or low or diffuse) migratory connectivity occurs when populations don’t remain together between seasons. And, of course, in the real world we see all kinds of variation between those two extremes.

At the AOU-COS Pubs Blog, a summary of new research that seeks to explain why penguins in one habitat might sound different than those in another, even when those animals are the same species.

A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances examines differences in the calls of Little Penguins from four colonies in Australia—nocturnal birds for whom vocalizations are more important that visual signals—and finds that disparities in habitat, rather than geographic isolation or other factors, seem to be the key driver of variation in the sounds these birds use to communicate.

It’s time to once again turn our eyes towards the big year of Yve Morell, who is coming down to the last six weeks of 2018 with an impressive total. She checks in from Hawaii from her blog, The Dancing Birder.

Yesterday we spent the day in the Waikamoi Preserve, on a guided tour with the Nature Conservancy and arranged by our tour group, Wildside Nature Tours. Our goal, of course, was to see the endangered forest birds of Maui. The Preserve is only open a few days per month.

Waikamoi gets 300″ of precipitation per year. Yesterday was no exception.
The rainfall gives this cloud rainforest an other-worldly lushness. The ground is completely covered in Ferns. The trail goes from about 7000′ down to 6100, ending in an elevated, narrow boardwalk. The climb back up is strenuous but beautiful.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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