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Blog Birding #394

A great many ecologists have decided to be much more forceful in their denunciations of outdoor cats. At Birdwatching Daily, the ABC has more.

An open-access study published in December by leading scientists rebuts unfounded criticisms and reaffirms the need for effective control of outdoor cats. According to researchers, coordinated critics have mounted a “misinformation campaign designed to purposefully fabricate doubt regarding the harmful impacts of outdoor cats and stymie policies that would remove outdoor cats from the landscape.”

A new chapter in the saga of the Maine Great Black Hawk was written this week when the bird was taken in by rehabbers. Ericka Zambella tells the tale at 10,000 Birds. 

Even standing beneath its shadow, I found it difficult not to feel sorry for the hawk. Temperatures already dipped into single digits during the time the bird had been in Maine, far from conditions the species is normally adapted to. While the group I stood with was calm and kept a safe distance, I heard other stories about idiots climbing the tree to try to take a picture with a cell phone, or chasing the bird when it alighted. In fact, some suspect the chase caused the poor bird to fly directly into a window. I could write an entire essay on the foolish ways people approach nature and wildlife… but I won’t.

The potential for new nesting populations of two species of endangered seabirds on Oahu offers hope for their declining populations. Learn more at The AOS News Blog. 

Pacific Rim Conservation’s Lindsay Young and her colleagues used a spatial model based on elevation, forest cover, and illumination to identify potential suitable breeding habitat for both species on Oahu, then deployed automated acoustic recording units at 16 sites on the island to listen for the birds’ calls in 2016 and 2017, accessing remote mountain locations via helicopter. To their surprise, they detected petrels at one site and shearwaters at two sites.

Nick Bonomo of The Shorebirder writes about the discovery of a rare “Kamchatka” Common Gull in Connecticut.

The identification of this bird to kamchatschensis is pretty straightforward to the trained eye. Notable features of this form include its large body size, pear-shaped head, strong bill (for a Mew Gull), amber iris, mid-gray upperparts, heavily streaked “shawl,” and coarse breast markings.
This is the state’s third occurrence of Kam Gull, but second individual (the first two sightings, two years apart, were of the same individual)…and its 8th or so record of the Mew Gull [super]species.

At The Insight Blog, Conor Curtis writes about research being done on the Newfoundland subspecies of Gray-cheeked Thrush.

The Newfoundland Gray-cheeked Thrush is a songbird found breeding across the island, part of the broader breeding range of the Gray-cheeked Thrush which extends across North America along the northern fringes of the boreal forest, and even into Siberia. These island birds have a story which stretches from Gros Morne National Park all the way to Sierra de Perijá National Park in Venezuela, where some spend the winter near the border with Columbia. But their story has not been so happy since the 1980’s, when thrush numbers began to decline on the island – unlike their mainland cousins who seem to be doing okay.

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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.