The bolder bird gets (and keeps) the girl

. In a paper published today in Royal Society Biology Letters, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) demonstrate a clear connection between personality in wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) and the likelihood of divorce. Though the link between personality and relationship outcomes in humans is well-established, this is the first study to do so with animals.

Ecological tipping point: 5+ El Niño events per century controls coastal biotic communities

Along with implications for the future, the findings illuminate important moments in our past, including human migration into the Americas, the variable human use of coastal and interior habitats and the extinction of the flightless duck Chendytes.

New Course Helps Awaken Curiosity About Nature

Adults who want to connect kids with nature now have some expert guidance, thanks to a new online course from Bird Academy, the e-learning arm of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Let’s Go Outside: How to Connect Kids with Birds and Nature,” contains six lessons with dozens of field-tested activities to reduce screen time for kids and boost their curiosity about the natural world.

Designed to identify wildlife by sound, the BirdNET app opens new avenues for citizen science

The BirdNET app, a free machine-learning powered tool that can identify more than 3,000 birds by sound alone, generates reliable scientific data and makes it easier for people to contribute citizen-science data on birds by simply recording sounds. Results of tests to measure the app’s accuracy are published in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

Global Bird Populations Steadily Declining

Staggering declines in bird populations are taking place around the world. So concludes a study from scientists at multiple institutions, published today in the journal Annual Review of Environment and Resources. Loss and degradation of natural habitats and direct overexploitation of many species are cited as the key threats to avian biodiversity. Climate change is identified as an emerging driver of bird population declines.

Nationwide maps of bird species can help protect biodiversity

New, highly detailed and rigorous maps of bird biodiversity could help protect rare or threatened species. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison developed the maps at a fine-enough resolution to help conservation managers focus their efforts where they are most likely to help birds — in individual counties or forests, rather than across whole states or regions.

Air pollution from wildfires impacts ability to observe birds

Researchers from the University of Washington provide a first look at the probability of observing common birds as air pollution worsens during wildfire seasons. They found that smoke affected the ability to detect more than a third of the bird species studied in Washington state over a four-year period. Sometimes smoke made it harder to observe birds, while other species were actually easier to detect when smoke was present.

UNC Biological Education Doctoral Candidate Awarded $20,000 Award

Karina Sanchez, a Biological Education Ph.D. candidate at the University of Northern Colorado, has been awarded a $20,000 American Dissertation Fellowship award from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), an organization that promotes education and equity for women and girls. Her dissertation involves researching how noise and light pollution and landscape composition in urban settings affects American robins, specifically their bird song.

Iconic bird makes its home on campus

With its tree-laden campus and adjacent protected natural reserves, UCI enjoys being home to a great variety of bird species. One particular raptor continues to capture the attention of the many avid birders in Orange County: the white-tailed kite. This iconic bird of Orange County – named for its ability to hover in the air while hunting –nearly went extinct throughout California in the early 1900s due to human-related threats.

The Wave Beneath Their Wings

It’s a common sight: pelicans gliding along the waves, right by the shore. These birds make this kind of surfing look effortless, but actually the physics involved that give them a big boost are not simple. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have recently developed a theoretical model that describes how the ocean, the wind and the birds in flight interact in a recent paper in Movement Ecology.

Warming climate slows tropical birds’ population growth rates

Monte Neate-Clegg and colleagues tracked the demographics of 21 bird species over 30 years of observations from a mountain forest in Tanzania. For at least six of the species, their population declined over 30 years could be most attributable to rising temperatures – an effect of a warming world. Smaller birds, as well as those that live at the lower part of their elevation range, were at higher risk for slowed population growth.

Male Lyrebirds Create an “Acoustic Illusion” to Snare Potential Mates

Famous for their uncanny ability to imitate other birds and even mechanical devices, researchers find that Australia’s Superb Lyrebird also uses that skill in a totally unexpected way. Lyrebirds imitate the panicked alarm calls of a mixed-species flock of birds while males are courting and even while mating with a female.

As climate change cranks up the heat in the Mojave Desert, not all species are equally affected

A new study shows how climate change is having a much greater impact on birds than small mammals in the Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States. The study could inform conservation practices and shed new light on how climate change affects various species differently. The research drew on cutting-edge computer modeling as well as survey data from more than 100 years ago.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Record Year for Bald Eagles in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 13, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick ecologist Michael C. Allen is available for interviews on the record year for bald eagles in New Jersey. “The resounding return of bald eagles in North America has been especially strong…

Holiday Gifts That Give Back to Birds and Nature

There’s been a huge bump in the number of people connecting with birds and nature as people stuck close to home during this past year, and the trend is continuing. The perfect gift for new—and veteran—birdwatchers is the gift of knowledge. There’s so much to learn about birds! Below are holiday gift ideas that are meaningful and environmentally friendly—and your purchase supports the nonprofit conservation work at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Study: Clean Air Act Saved 1.5 Billion Birds

U.S. pollution regulations meant to protect humans from dirty air are also saving birds. So concludes a new continentwide study published today in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Study authors found that improved air quality under a federal program to reduce ozone pollution may have averted the loss of 1.5 billion birds during the past 40 years.