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Puerto Rico y el Conteo de Aves del Patio 2013

Puerto Rico y el Conteo de Aves del Patio 2013
Date: February 21, 2013

Por primera vez este año, el Fideicomiso de Conservación promovió el Conteo de Aves del Patio 2013, un evento anual liderado por el Laboratorio de Ornitología Cornell y la National Audubon Society.

Ahora en su decimosexto año, el programa incluyó participantes de más de cien países. Puerto Rico se unió al reporte de observaciones de aves durante el fin de semana del evento, celebrado entre el 15 y el 18 de febrero, llegando en noveno lugar en la cantidad de reportes sometidos, superando a países como España y Belice.

¡Esto es un gran logro si consideramos el tamaño de Puerto Rico! El Fideicomiso agradece a todos los colaboradores que participaron en el conteo de aves ese fin de semana y les invita a continuar observando aves y reportando sus avistamientos en la página web del programa eBird: www.ebird.org/pr.

Fill in the gaps–bird the road less traveled (August 2012)
Fill in the gaps--bird the road less traveled (August 2012)
Image: Tom Auer
Author: Team eBird
Date: August 1, 2012

In an ideal world eBird would have very densely-spaced data points being sampled repeatedly across the landscape. But we know birders aren’t evenly distributed out there, and getting off the beaten path can be a challenge. We hope these maps help show you where eBird needs more data, and where your birding effort can make a bigger impact on our ability to model birds in your county.

Bird distribution changes with the seasons, and at eBird we like to have data distributed throughout the year to track the ebb and flow of bird populations. With this in mind, we plan to update these maps each month so that eBirders will have a better idea about how the data volume changes in each state and county. Check back to see the maps for August around the 1st of the month.

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Taxonomic update — August 2012
Taxonomic update -- August 2012
Photo: Brian Sullivan
Date: August 20, 2012

These taxonomic updates involve three major elements. First, we must change the common name, scientific name, family, order, sort order, and several other elements everywhere that the name is used in our database. Second, we must add in a number of entirely new taxa, including newly described species, new hybrids that eBirders would like to report, or new groups that may someday become species.

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Tundra Trek
article spread
Photo: Gerrit Vyn
Author: Gerrit Vyn

Energized and excited by the activity around me, I drove on and stopped to explore an icy stream. There I watched a pair of Harlequin Ducks swim against the cold current of the thawing landscape and a pair of Wandering Tattlers probing quietly along the rocky shore. A bit higher, near the pass, several Northern Wheatears and American Pipits sang overhead in flight, and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, Snow Buntings, and Baird’s Sandpipers shared a recently thawed hillside with two bachelor Dall sheep chewing their cud.

After crossing Atigun Pass, the road descends through a long glacial valley to the North Slope. The gently rolling landscape is carpeted in dry tussock tundra, interspersed with small lakes, streams, and wide braided rivers. Smith’s Longspurs run among the…

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Those of you with an eye for hurricane birding are probably aware that Tropical Storm Isaac is forecast to become a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Landfall is projected in southeastern Louisiana during the early hours of Wednesday morning. The Mississippi River delta appears to be square in the cross hairs of this storm, its movement forecast to continue inland up the Mississippi River valley as a Tropical Storm through Thursday before becoming a Tropical depression by Friday in Arkansas and eventually moving up toward the Great Lakes region on Saturday.

Birding interests in the New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana region should probably seek shelter or evacuate rather than considering birding, given what looks like a nasty and perhaps dangerous mess, …

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The Downside of Dams: Is the Environmental Price of Hydroelectric Power Too High?
dams, rivers
Photo: iStockPhoto/ThinkStock
Author: Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
Date: September 18, 2012

Dear EarthTalk: How is it that dams actually hurt rivers?—Missy Davenport, Boulder, Colo.

Dams are a symbol of human ingenuity and engineering prowess—controlling the flow of a wild rushing river is no small feat. But in this day and age of environmental awareness, more and more people are questioning whether generating a little hydroelectric power is worth destroying riparian ecosystems from their headwaters in the mountains to their mouths at the ocean and beyond.

According to the non-profit American Rivers, over 1,000 dams across the U.S. have been removed to date. And the biggest dam removal project in history in now well underway in Olympic National Park in Washington State where two century-old dams along the Elwha River…

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MetOp-B Launches with NASA Goddard-Developed Instruments
MetOp-B conceptual image
Image: ESA/Eumetstat
Author: Cynthia O’Carroll
Date: September 17, 2012

A new European meteorological satellite soared into space today, Sept. 17, with five environmental instruments aboard that were developed by the Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. These instruments were developed under a reimbursable agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“This launch is exciting not only because of the engineering accomplishment of building and launching complex instruments and satellites, but equally rewarding for the multinational cooperation and teamwork that got us there,” remarked Karen Halterman, POES Project manager at Goddard.

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Discovering the Ozone Hole: Q&A With Pawan Bhartia
Pawan Bhartia in front of Earth on a Sphere exhibit
Photo: NASA
Author: Kathryn Hansen
Date: September 17, 2012

On Sept. 16, 1987, representatives from nations around the world drafted a landmark treaty known as the Montreal Protocol. This step marked the beginning of the international agreement to phase out substances that deplete Earth’s protective ozone layer. Now, 25 years later, NASA satellites continue to provide clear snapshots of a generally stabilized Antarctic ozone hole as it cycles toward its annual maximum depth by late September or early October.

The protocol is hailed as an international policy success story. That success, however, rests on the ingenuity of numerous scientists involved with the initial discovery and analysis of the then-mysterious atmospheric phenomenon.

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How Dangerous Is Pesticide Drift?
peticide drift
Photo: iStock/Thinkstock
Authors: Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss
Date: September 17, 2012

Dear EarthTalk: What is “pesticide drift,” and should I be worried about it?—Nicole Kehoe, Burlington, Vt.

If you live near a big farm or an otherwise frequently manicured landscape, “pesticide drift”—drifting spray and dust from pesticide applications—could be an issue for you and yours. Indeed, pesticide drift is an insidious threat to human health as well as to wildlife and ecosystems in and around agricultural and even residential areas where harsh chemicals are used to ward off pests. The biggest risk from pesticide drift is to those living, working or attending school near larger farms which employ elevated spraying equipment or crop duster planes to apply chemicals to crops…

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Bird Seed Poisons Wild Birds
Photo: Ali Taylor
Author: David Biello
Date: September 16, 2012

Birds face many man-made mortal threats: windows, cats, habitat destruction, even climate change. And now, there’s poison—in their bird seed.

You see the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company had been in the habit of applying banned pesticides to its wild bird food products. In particular, the company applied a chemical known as Storcide II to its bird food despite a warning label for that product that reads “Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.”

Why add a compound toxic to birds to food meant to be eaten by birds? Because Scott didn’t want bugs infesting its bird food during storage.

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