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.
There are many species impacted by the loss of grassland. Many have instead adapted to hay fields. But, there are new perils to their adopted habitat, and now those who cultivate hay are urged to follow new guidelines.
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.
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.
Over the past decade, we have lost millions of bats to White nose Syndrome, a disease spread by a fungus. Often humans have been the culprit as we travel from cave to cave. But there are things we can do!
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.
These days, what with climate change, it’s worth noting that animals at the poles are at a special risk of extinction. Simply put, they have no where to go when their habitats warm beyond their ability to cope. Take for example, penguins.
I wrote in previous posts about “lazy gardening” for the benefit of biodiversity. Here’s another post on the subject. Perhaps leaving a few weeds behind is good for the soil.
Phenology mismatch means that migrating animals are missing the window of abundance for their food. This is due to climate change that is making springs come early for plants and insects, and the animals that consume them that are migrating from the south are unaware. Now we know that this is affecting populations of birds.
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.