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Blog Birding #367

At Surfbirds, Andy Birch has created a primer comparing two tough Chaetura swifts, Chimney and Vaux’s/

Los Angeles is one of the unique locations in the country where both Vaux’s and Chimney Swifts occur with some regularity. Vaux’s is a common spring and fall migrant, often in large numbers, whereas Chimney Swift is a rare summer visitor and possible breeder (usually at a time when there are no Vaux’s around to muddle things). Chimney Swift sightings, however, have decreased over the past 10-20 years and indeed there haven’t been any for a few summers now.

At 10,000 Birds, Jason Crotty discusses the controversial use of poison to eradicate invasive rodents on seabird nesting islands in Hawaii.

But FWS cannot just go out and spread poison on a critically important seabird nesting island.  Before it does so, it must jump through a series of legal hoops. Perhaps most significantly, any federal project with a significant environmental impact must complete an environmental impact statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Because Midway is home to endangered species (e.g., Laysan Duck, Hawaiian Monk Seal), FWS must also comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Midway’s birds are also protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

We think of waterthrushes are fairly straightforward, but as Rick Wright explains at Birding New Jersey and Beyond, it hasn’t always been that way.

I’d assumed that European science knew only one before 1807, when Vieillot formally described the Louisiana waterthrush (from specimens taken in Kentucky!). In fact, though, it is evident that even those natural historians who recognized only one waterthrush species actually had access to specimens of both.

At Yale Climate Connections, Sarah Kennedy share research showing that birds in the Adirondacks are moving upslope in response to climate change.

Average daily high temperatures on the mountain have increased more than three degrees Fahrenheit over the past forty years. Kirchman suspects the birds are moving higher to find a more suitable climate.

For now, he says birds are still flourishing on Whiteface. But he’s concerned about species such as the Bicknell’s thrush that require high altitudes.

It looks like another exceptional year for Dickcissels throughout the continent, as Allen Woodliffe shares at Nature Nuggets.

So far Dickcissels have been reported in several places where they were known to have nested the previous year. This includes places in Lambton and Middlesex as well as several places in Chatham-Kent. For example the Campbell Line Pasture just northeast of Blenheim had as many as 19 birds in 2017. So far only one or two birds have been reported this year, but I am not aware of anyone doing a thorough check of this large site. Observations have been from the road only, and that is probably due in part to the presence of large numbers of Wood Ticks. Even if you stay on the grassy laneway, you can encounter a couple of dozen ticks or more in just a few dozen metres or so.

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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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