I went out for my traditional New Year’s Day bird walk at Sandy Hook National Recreation Area, located at the entrance of New York Harbor and not far from where I live. Skies were clear and sunny with temperatures in the upper 40s. Winds were breezy out of the northwest.
The usual cast of characters were flying around the peninsula on this mild winter’s day. There were scoters, gannets and loons out in the ocean, buffleheads, brants, cormorants, and mergansers swimming in the bay, and snow buntings, sparrows and one and two peregrine falcons and harriers flying high above the earth.
When I reached the North Beach parking lot, I was shocked to see something out of the ordinary. A lone Lark Sparrow perched silently near the parking lot on a bare bayberry branch in a brushy area.
I couldn’t believe my eyes at first. Usually Lark Sparrows are common in the open country out west. They often summer in much of the central and western United States and spend the winter in the extreme southern parts of the United States and into Mexico.
From: Central Ornithology Publication Office via EurekAlert!
Published December 28, 2016 10:04 AM
Traffic noise reduces birds' response to alarm calls
Pollution can take many forms--including noise. Excess noise in the environment from sources such as traffic can have negative effects on animals that rely on sound to communicate and get information about their surroundings. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that traffic noise makes birds less responsive to alarm calls that would otherwise alert them to dangers such as predators.
Megan Gall and Jacob Damsky of New York's Vassar College tested how traffic noise affected the reactions of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice to titmouse alarm calls, which warn birds that a predator is nearby. Using speakers set up near feeding platforms baited with bird seed, they recorded the birds' responses to three different recordings--alarm calls alone, traffic noise alone, and a combination of the two. The traffic noise didn't deter the birds from feeding, but five times as many birds approached speakers when the researchers played alarm calls on their own compared with when traffic sounds were added.
Which animal has saved the most human lives?Evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod answers your wild question.
November 16, 2016
The award for ‘most lives saved’ must go to the Atlantic horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus.
In the 1950s, scientists isolated from its bright-blue blood a clotting agent, coagulogen, that binds to fungi and endotoxins.
This led to a simple, reliable method for detecting impurities in medical equipment and pharmaceutical drugs.
Oxygenated blood is harvested from the pericardium of wild-caught crabs, which are then returned to the sea.
The product is used to test drugs and medical instruments, saving pretty much anyone who has ever received any medical attention.
Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine
Fish Seek Cooler Waters, Leaving Some Fishermen’s Nets EmptyBy ERICA GOODE
DEC. 30, 2016
The New York Times
"The center of the black sea bass population, for example, is now in New Jersey, hundreds of miles north of where it was in the 1990s, providing the basis for regulators to distribute shares of the catch to the Atlantic states."
POINT JUDITH, R.I. — There was a time when whiting were plentiful in the waters of Rhode Island Sound, and Christopher Brown pulled the fish into his long stern trawler by the bucketful.
“We used to come right here and catch two, three, four thousand pounds a day, sometimes 10,” he said, sitting at the wheel of the Proud Mary — a 44-footer named, he said, after his wife, not the Creedence Clearwater Revival song — as it cruised out to sea.
But like many other fish on the Atlantic Coast, whiting have moved north, seeking cooler waters as ocean temperatures have risen, and they are now filling the nets of fishermen farther up the coast.
Studies have found that two-thirds of marine species in the Northeast United States have shifted or extended their range as a result of ocean warming, migrating northward or outward into deeper and cooler water.
Lobster, once a staple in southern New England, have decamped to Maine. Black sea bass, scup, yellowtail flounder, mackerel, herring and monkfish, to name just a few species, have all moved to accommodate changing temperatures.
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell