Journal archives for December 2017

December 06, 2017

Timing of migration is changing for songbirds on the Pacific coast.

Changes in the timing of birds' migration can have serious negative effects if, for example, they throw the birds out of sync with the food resources they depend on. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications uses a long-term dataset from the Pacific coast and shows that the timing of bird migration in the region has shifted by more than two days in both spring and fall over the past two decades.

Posted on December 06, 2017 07:52 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 09, 2017

Wildfire threatens sensitive California condor population.

Federal biologists were concerned Friday that a wildfire that has already consumed 143,000 acres was marching toward a California condor nest where a turkey-sized fledgling was close to taking its first flight.

“There are limited opportunities to protect that nest, which is in a cave on a hillside,” said Kirk Gilligan, deputy project leader of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hopper Mountain California Condor Recovery Program. “But, if necessary, aerial water drops could cool things down.

Posted on December 09, 2017 07:05 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 07, 2017

Decades-past logging still threatens spotted owls in national forests.

Logging of the largest trees in the Sierra Nevada's national forests ended in the early 1990s after agreements were struck to protect species' habitat. But new research by ecologists shows that spotted owls, one of the iconic species logging restrictions were meant to protect, have continued to experience population declines in the forests.

Posted on December 07, 2017 14:08 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Letter of Recommendation: iNaturalist.

This past May, a couple of months before I discovered iNaturalist, my partner, Ryan, and I went hiking with my family in the hills west of San Jose, where clumps of trees and chaparral mottle pillows of golden grass. As we walked, Ryan and I tried to identify what we saw: over there, a cabbage white butterfly; this was definitely some kind of oak; a Western scrub jay — or was that a Steller’s? Bemused, perhaps slightly annoyed, my father interjected: “Why is it so important to know the names?”

Posted on December 07, 2017 13:51 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 12, 2017

Seeking Sandhill Cranes.

Ah, sandhill cranes. More than 30,000 of these celebrated, 4-foot-tall, slate-gray birds with a bustle of drooping feathers over their rumps and crimson crowns are back in the Sacramento region for fall and winter. In September, they migrate to the Central Valley’s Delta and floodplains from Alaska, Oregon and California’s Sierra valleys for better climate and food supply during the colder months. They’ll stay through February, thrilling people of all ages with a captivating, easygoing outdoor adventure in our region’s backyard.

Posted on December 12, 2017 02:47 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Sandhill cranes are relying us to provide their wintering habitat.

The Sandhill cranes start out as black strands on the horizon — just silhouettes against a hazy pink sky. They drift down into the flooded fields at sunset with their feet below them, like parachutists.
They stand in the water the same as they did thousands, even millions, of years ago. Only the vineyards weren’t there, or the houses, the road, the freeway, the cyclists or dairy farms. The water was full of life in their untouched habitat. The sky was clear all the way to Mount Diablo.

Posted on December 12, 2017 12:24 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 02, 2017

Wildlife experts hope plan to relocate Oakland herons will fly.

The more than 250 herons that flock to Oakland every year to breed are in store for a feather-ruffling surprise when they return to their favorite downtown nesting spot in February.

Posted on December 02, 2017 08:54 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 08, 2017

Beep, beep. What was a roadrunner doing in Livermore?

Roadrunners are most associated with the desert Southwest, but their range extends through much of California.

Posted on December 08, 2017 03:59 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 19, 2017

At the Pond: Try a wildlife staycation this month.

I'll wager that 90 percent of people who read this column have never visited the Yolo Basin Wildlife Area east of Davis. Now is the time, with gazillions of birds there. In 2018, you will need a daily or yearly permit purchased in advance from California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Posted on December 19, 2017 03:14 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 15, 2017

Volunteers undertake Christmas bird count.

Before the turn of the 20th century, hunters in North America used to do what was known as the “Christmas Side Hunt,” according to the National Audubon Society, which is based in New York City.

“He was protesting the annual slaughter of ducks on the Chesapeake Bay,” Umland said Thursday. “He decided to go out and count ducks instead of shooting them. Since then it has morphed into the largest citizen science project in the world.”

This December there will be about 2,500 Christmas bird counts around the world, Umland said. Most of them will be in North America.

Posted on December 15, 2017 09:23 by biohexx1 biohexx1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment