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Blog Birding #415

Quite a bit has been written about the decline in insect numbers and diversity, but less about what it might mean for birds. At the American Bird Conservancy, Howard Youth considers the fallout.

The clues in this mystery include large-scale disappearance of insects, dipping bird populations, and a line-up of potential culprits including pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change. What’s likely on the horizon is a choice: Do we ignore insect declines to our detriment, or change some of our most destructive day-to-day routines, which seem to be modifying our world into a more sterile place?

The passage of Dorian has caused enormous human suffering, but also puts pressure on habitats and species that, even in the best of times, have small populations on small islands. Ryan Mandelbaum at Earther writes about the Bahama Nuthatch.

“It is obviously a humanitarian disaster for people living in these northern islands, and the extent is as yet unknown, but we hope that international medical and infrastructure aid will arrive rapidly and generously,” Diana Bell, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, told Earther. “It is also highly likely to have also been an ecological disaster affecting the already fragmented areas of Caribbean pine forest which support endemic avifauna.”

In more positive news, breeding success of Roseate Terns is up this year but the endangered seabird is not out of the woods. Learn more at BirdWatching Daily. 

A new threat is also growing: Offshore wind energy development may provide a collision or displacement hazard to the terns and other seabirds. While the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island currently is the only offshore wind facility operating in the U.S., several other areas have already been leased for development in southern New England, including sites in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Long Island, New York.

Bruce Mactavish shares the delightfully bizarre tale of a Brown Booby in Newfoundland, riding a ship right into the harbor.

This morning I was pishing in the alders on the southern edge of the Avalon Peninsula at Trepassey. Was hoping to duplicate something along the lines of the male Prothonotary Warbler present on nearby Powle”s Head. The phone rang. It was Cliff.  When Cliff phones it means something. He said “someone on Facebook posted about a strange bird sitting on the mast of a boat at Pier 7.  It looks like one of them Brown Boobies”. I was only 5 minutes from Cliffs house in Trepassey. Cliff showed me the picture on computer. It was indeed a Brown Booby! It was at Pier 7 in St.John’s, right behind Jack Astor’s and it was NOW.  I posted the news to the local Whatsapp group.
Every wondered whaty it takes to produce a magazine like Bird Watcher’s Digest? At Out There With The Birds, Bruce Wunderlich shows the industrial side of magazine production.

These flats were then brought to the platemaker (that was my job), who exposed these paginated negatives onto an aluminum plate that was coated with a light-sensitive material. After being exposed, they were developed by hand by applying a lacquer-like substance that stuck only to the areas that were exposed to the light. These plates were then loaded onto the cylinder of a sheet-fed offset press for printing.

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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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