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Blog Birding #388

The 2018 elections were in many ways a referendum on the environment, with a great many public lands and and environmentally conscious ballot initiatives seeing passage. At 10,000 Birds, Angela Minor breaks them down.

Voters in several states had the opportunity to express their support (or condemnation) of various environmental (or anti-environmental) issues respectively in the recent election cycle. Results from November 2018 ballots indicate a large and dedicated block of voters who are concerned about the health of ecosystems, as well as the preservation of complex wilderness areas. Below are highlights from across the country where conservation and stewardship won the day!

Researchers in the UK discovered that early stress on fledgling birds impacts the complexity of their songs as adults in a number of passerine species. The stusy is summarized at 

Magoolagan adds: ” Song complexity and singing frequency in male birds are shaped by female choice; they signal male quality because song is costly to develop and produce. The timing of song learning and development of the brain structures involved occur at a time nestlings are exposed to a number of potential stressors. Our results provide some of the first evidence from a wild bird of how the conditions experience during early life impact adult song.”

The ornithological world was rocked last week by the discovery of a triple hybrid warbler. Ryan Mandelbaum at Gizmodo has more.

Natural hybrids can be of conservation concern, since animals mating with the wrong species can give birth to sterile offspring or birds that no one wants to mate with. But one hybrid warbler seems to have found love, albeit with a bird from a completely different genus, leading to the strange results.

Ron Dudley of Feathered Photography shares the secrets of flight shots, specifically the lessons learned from failure.

I do it because analyzing and understanding mistakes I made and/or what I could have done better given my equipment and skill set might turn the next similar situation into a raging success. But it’s also important to realize that getting a mediocre shot or no shot at all doesn’t necessarily mean photographer error or lack of skills. Birds are tough and notoriously uncooperative subjects, particularly during takeoff or in flight, and much of the time even the most skilled photographer couldn’t make a silk purse out of that pig’s ear.

At The HIstory of Ornithology Blog, Tim Birkhead tells the story of Erwin Stresemann, the author of the first comprehensive history of bird study.

I suspect that rather few birders or ornithologists have heard of, or know much about, Erwin Stresemann. Among his many accomplishments Stresemann wrote the first and most comprehensive history of ornithology, published originally in German in 1951 (Die Entwicklung Der Ornithologie von Aristotles bis zur Gegenwart) and then (thankfully for me) in English in 1974 as Ornithology: from Aristotle to the Present.

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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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