Bird News Roundup: Week of 12/16/18

With so much news and the busy holiday season, it can be difficult to keep up with bird conservation stories. Here's a roundup of some of the top articles that recently piqued our interest and relate to work ABC is doing.

Male Indigo Buntings_Bonnie Taylor Barry, Shutterstock

Vermilion Flycatcher. Photo by John D. White

1. "Exploring the Ecosystem of the U.S.–Mexico Border," Scientific American

Scientific American reports: “Scientists are united in their assessment that a 30-foot-high solid wall across the nearly 2,000-mile expanse of the border, along with the new lighting, roads and Border Patrol base camps that would accompany it, would threaten plant life as well as animals in this fragile and biodiverse place.” We agree. In November, ABC joined a coalition of more than 170 organizations by co-signing a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security expressing serious concern about the proposed wall's impact on biodiversity and birdlife. Read Scientific American's revealing piece about a border wall's potential ecological impacts.

2. "World's Oldest Wild Bird Returns to Midway!" USFWS

Do you know the world's oldest known banded bird? Meet Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, who is at least 68 years old! She's returned once again to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge to hatch and raise young with her mate Akeakamai. Spending 90 percent of her life at sea, her return is never guaranteed. Seabirds like Wisdom face a gauntlet of threats on land and water. And we're delighted that she's back. Read more about this seafaring wanderer.

Inspired to help seabirds? Take action.

3. "City Hall Looks at Measures to Prevent Bird Deaths," Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Saskatoon, Canada could be the next city to help protect birds by implementing measures on a large scale to help reduce collisions with building windows. A new project that could include construction of the tallest building in the province of Saskatchewan sparked concern over its potential impact on birds. ABC commends the city council for considering bird-friendly glass designs and solutions. Read the full article.

If you live in the U.S., you can support the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act, and do your part to stop birds from colliding with glass. Take action.

Male Indigo Buntings_Bonnie Taylor Barry, Shutterstock

Photo by Natalia Fedosova/Shutterstock

4. "Yes, You Should Walk Your Cat," New York Times

“How do we honor cats, while protecting them from the world — and the world from them?” David Grimm poses this challenging question in a recent New York Times article. Could walking your cat on a leash be the answer? ABC's Director of Invasive Species Grant Sizemore says, "Safe cat containment – via leashescatios, or other solutions – is a responsible choice to protect pets and at-risk wildlife. It's no longer acceptable to think of cats as disposable pets. It's time to treat cats with the same respect, care, and control that we treat dogs.” Read the article.

5. ‘BirdSavers' Aim to Prevent Birds Colliding with Windows of Buildings," The Lafayette

Art is a great way to make a statement, reflect on an issue, and in some cases help birds too. A student at Lafayette College took it upon herself to make 150 paper cranes and place them vertically by a two-story window of the Skillman Library on campus. This art installation represents the documented bird deaths caused by collisions with the buildings. Vertical strings have also been put up on the windows to help make the glass more visible to birds, thus reducing collisions. This alone would have been impressive and great news. However, the student took it a step further and conducted a survey of her peers to learn what they thought. Of those who replied and noticed the installation, the overwhelming majority (over 75 percent) were supportive of it after learning the reason and the positive impact it had on birds. Read the full article.

Sign up for ABC's eNews to learn how you can help protect birds.

6. Butterfly Sanctuary Expected to be Plowed Over for Border Wall, CBS News

Protected butterfly habitat along the Rio Grande River is expected to be plowed over when border wall construction begins near Mission, Texas, in February 2019. Marianna Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center, told CBS News that hundreds of thousands of butterflies will be in jeopardy after about 70 percent of the center's land winds up on the other side of the border wall. Read CBS's report to find out more.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl. Photo by Dennis Donohue/Shutterstock

7. "This Owl Has Had It With the Cold," The Weather Network

Seeing an owl in your backyard is always a treat. But having an owl fly into your window is something we all want to avoid. A homeowner in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada recently captured a Barred Owl on video doing just that. Luckily, the owl appears to be okay, but this raises the important issue of birds colliding with glass. Window collisions are a threat to birds around the globe. Learn more about how to make your home safer for birds on the ABC website. Read the article and watch the video.

8. "Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update," International Crane Foundation

Where is the eastern population of North America's tallest bird, the Whooping Crane? The current estimated population size is 101, and you can check out a map showing where each of these Endangered birds has "checked-in" on its journey south.

9. Current U.S. Administration Plans to Weaken Protections for Sage Grouse, The Guardian

A renewed push for oil drilling in sage grouse territory reflects "a deep denial about both the dire condition of sage grouse populations and climate change,” says ABC's Steve Holmer. Read the latest on the administration's plans that would impact sage grouse habitat.

You can help Greater Sage-Grouse by taking action today.

10. "'Cause for Celebration': Fledged Chick Marks Major Milestone for Endangered California Condors," SF GATE

Great news for California Condors, which had a "record-breaking" nesting season in 2018. Read more about this great conservation success story.