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Blog Birding #404

At Avian Hybrids, Jente Ottenburghs documents how populations of Red-necked Phalaropes who breed quite close to each other winter on opposites sides of the world.

An international team of scientists equipped several Red-necked Phalaropes from different populations with geolocators. The results showed two distinct migrations routes. Birds breeding in Scotland, Iceland and Greenland migrated to the west and wintered in the Pacific. Birds from Scandinavia, Finland and Russia, on the other hand, flew to the Arabian Sea in the east.

Linda at Philly Bird Nerd wraps up her thoughts on last weekend’s World Series of Birding in New Jersey.

Doing the full state competition is really tough. You start up north in the Great Swamp at midnight and bird all night and day and end up in the south at Stipson’s Island marsh at 10 PM or later. We put hundreds of miles on Harvey’s mini van and counted 180 bird species in total. Don’t confuse this contest with “birding”. It isn’t birding. It is identifying and checking off bird species. We rarely stopped to look at any birds. We mainly listened for their call or caught a glimpse of them before moving on to our next target and destination.

At 10,000 Birds, Jason Crotty introduced birders to the concept of “conservation banks”, and how it applies to the Endangered Species status of the Golden-cheeked Warbler.

In some areas, conservation banks have been created to facilitate “off-site mitigation.” These banks are touted as market-based solutions with advantages for both developers and imperiled species. For example, rather than numerous small piecemeal mitigation efforts spread across many parcels, a conservation bank can preserve large contiguous parcels and specifically manage them for an endangered species. Moreover, larger sites are better for wildlife and are easier and less expensive to manage. For developers, a one-time transaction permanently satisfies its obligations and provides regulatory certainty.

There are more wild parrots in the US than there may have ever been, Ryan Mandelbaum at Gizmodo explores their impact on native birds.

A team of scientists, led by Cornell graduate student Jennifer Uehling, reviewed parrot observations from 15 years of community science observations—specifically, the annual Christmas Bird Count and Cornell University’s ubiquitous eBird database. Birders log their sightings along with comments, and reviewers confirm any rarities with more details, further observations, and photos. The researchers determined that a bird population was “established” if birdwatchers had observed the species 25 or more times (a purposely high but relatively arbitrary number) and if records included observations of breeding.

At Birdwatching Daily, David Sibley explains what birders can learn from a bird’s wing feathers.

When the wing is folded, the greater coverts form a roughly diagonal patch around the middle of the folded wing. Only the long flight feathers extend behind them. The smaller coverts, arranged in front, are often hidden under fluffy body feathers. One thing that helps to distinguish the coverts from the body feathers is their texture. Body feathers are loose, fluffy, broad and curved, while coverts are stiff, narrow, and flat. Even as the feathers on the rest of the bird move around, the arrangement of wing feathers stays more or less the same.

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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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