Yet another impact of climate change

Decades ago, we banned the use of DDT as a pesticide, and freed from the substance’s ability to thin shells, many raptor species’ populations rebounded. Now we have a new problem. Newly healthy populations of Peregrine Falcons are now expanding their range as upper latitudes warm. And we are learning that the cold-adapted Gyrfalcons have nowhere to go and can’t compete with the faster Peregrines.

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Healthy skepticism

We all read the news. Sometimes it’s science news. But how often do we track down the original scientific paper to confirm that the results match the findings reported in the article? Perhaps not often enough, perhaps we are too trusting of secondhand information, as reported in this study. I wonder if there’s an original scientific paper I should track down on this subject.

More tick predators

Concerned about ticks and the diseases they cause? Me too! My first field season ended with many tick bites and a Lyme Disease treatment. I previously mentioned Black-billed Magpies’ services as tick consumers, but did you know opossums and quail also eat ticks? Yet another reason to live in harmony with wildlife that live in our yards and forests.

Darwin, revisited

Today, a book by my friend, Rebecca Stefoff, is being published. It is an adaptation of Darwin’s Origin of Species for young readers. Having once been a younger person who attempted to tackle this dry tome, I can appreciate the need for her work. Even as an adult biologist, I can appreciate it. Filled with lovely illustrations, it is both pleasing to the eye and illuminating.

Observation affects reality

A nighthawk female defends her nest from me.

That which we study is inevitably affected by our presence. This is something that I considered when setting my nest check protocol. The typical interval for checks is 3-5 days. However, nighthawk rooftop nests are visited frequently by maintenance workers, construction workers, window washers and helicopters. So, instead I opted for the 6-7 day interval and left nest cameras to monitor the time between my visits.

This concept, that observation affects reality, is nothing new. Physics has a long history of addressing this.