From innovative efforts to save Wood Thrush habitat in Nicaragua to the adoption of bird-friendly building design at the Johnson Space Center in Texas, BirdCalls Blog took a deep dive into the issues that drove bird conservation in 2018. We're sharing our five favorite bird stories of the last 12 months. Enjoy!
Indigo Buntings are frequent victims of window collisions. Photo by Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock
1. A Push to Make Windows Safer for Birds
Window collisions kill up to one billion birds each year. But a growing number of people and organizations are taking action to reduce bird deaths, including Birkenstock and NASA. In June, science writer Meredith Swett Walker profiled five notable buildings that are changing the landscape for birds through bird-friendly design and technology. Read more.
2. Last of Her Kind
In August, we published Thomas Pawlick's poignant profile of Richard Fluke, perhaps the last person to have seen Martha, the world's last Passenger Pigeon. As a boy, Fluke visited Martha often at the Cincinnati Zoo, where she was housed in a pagoda-like aviary during the last years of her life. When she passed away in 1914, the world marked her loss in the abstract, as the tragic end of a species. For Fluke, however, the loss was personal, and he carried her memory until the end of his life. Read more.
Bald Eagles embody the Endangered Species Act's success. Photo by Abhijay Wilkinson/Shutterstock
3. The Ultimate Endangered Species Act Story
Bald Eagles aren't just the United States' national bird. They are the stars of one of our most famous and successful real-life wildlife rescue tales. For many, that story ended in 2007, when the Bald Eagle was removed from the list of endangered species. But the dramatic journey to full recovery isn't over yet. In May, environmental writer Rebecca Heisman brought readers up to date with a look at how Bald Eagles have fared during the last ten years. Read more.
4. Aliens Invade Seabirds' Island Strongholds
Invasive species take a heavy toll on many birds, but seabirds — which evolved on remote islands free of predators — suffer more than most. Conservationists are working hard to even the odds for Hawaiian seabirds by creating safe “island within island” refuges, shielding them from invasive predators such as mice, rats, and mongooses. In March, we explored the devastating impact of invasive species and highlighted several promising conservation initiatives giving seabirds a second chance. Read more.
Wood Thrush numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years. Paul Reeves Photography/Shutterstock
5. A Quest to Save Wood Thrushes (And Jaguars) in Nicaragua's Largest Remaining Forest
Nicaragua's Bosawas Biosphere Reserve doesn't only provide essential wintering grounds for the Wood Thrush. The region's shrinking jaguar population also relies upon this indispensable protected area. However, it's also now home to half a million people, many of them farmers. As a result, Bosawas — the second-largest forest in Central America — is rapidly disappearing. A potential solution, however, is in sight. As staff writer Libby Sander wrote in June, ABC is teaming up with the Wildlife Conservation Society and local conservationists to help farmers adopt silviculture techniques that keep trees in place where crops grow, forming win-win partnerships for people, birds, and jaguars. Read more.
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