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Charting climate change and local loss of flora from Thoreau's journals

From 1851 to 1858, Henry David Thoreau noted a number of natural occurrences in detail, including the first flowering dates for over 500 species of wildflowers in Concord. Additionally, Alfred Hosmer, a botanist in the same area, had recorded the flowering dates of over 600 species of wild plants in 1878 and from 1888 to 1902. With that data, Richard Primack, a biology professor at Boston University, and fellow researcher Abraham Miller-Rushing spent years aligning old plant names with current names to study the change flowering patterns from the recorded past to present. Their phenological study concluded that plants in Concord, on average, are now flowering 10 days earlier than they were in Thoreau's time (full article for the journal BioScience). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 25, 2014 - 3 comments

 

"We had an office full of people sitting with our jaws on the table..."

"I had heard about this film through various channels off and on through the years. It had gotten to the point where it was almost apocryphal in my mind.... Nobody knew where it was, nobody had ever seen it, but I was aware it existed. It was like the holy grail." said Wayne Petersen, director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas program for Mass. Audubon on the archival footage of the extinct heath hen discovered, restored and premiering at the Mass Audubon Birders Meeting this month. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Mar 12, 2014 - 20 comments

“I love animals, but he drove me to it.”

Must cats die so birds can live?
posted by xowie on Jun 13, 2013 - 276 comments

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Next weekend, February 17-20, is the 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab for Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada. [more inside]
posted by elsietheeel on Feb 8, 2012 - 17 comments

"There IS a thing called competitive birdwatching..." The decade-long buzz of The Big Year

In 1998 three birders--Sandy Komito, Al Levantin and Greg Miller--had their big year attempt chronicled in 2004 in a book of the same name by Mark Obmascik. Due to a few fortuitous circumstances including some spectacular fallout on Attu, a remote Alaskan Island, Komito's 1998 record of 745 species has never been surpassed. Their friendly yearlong rivalry is being documented further in a motion picture featuring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black coming out later this year. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 5, 2011 - 16 comments

All hawks, all the time.

The Franklin Institute Hawk Cam is giving viewers a close up look into the lives of a family of red tailed hawks who built a nest on an Institute window sill. Even better, there are babies! [more inside]
posted by The Straightener on Apr 22, 2010 - 28 comments

Cross-eye protection not included

It's a hummingbird feeder that you wear on your face.
posted by mudpuppie on Apr 20, 2010 - 67 comments

An irruption! Of owls!

"[Irruption] is the term birders use to describe an unusual mass movement of birds into an area. But even that big word fails to capture what happened last winter when thousands of owls descended on northern Minnesota." [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Oct 16, 2009 - 70 comments

The Biggest Twitch

Suppression is the act of concealing news of a rare bird from other twitchers. Other twitchers take the more open approach - Sean Dooley broke the Australian record for most birds seen in a year, and inspired by his example, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller gave up their jobs and embarked on a quest to see "over 3,662 different species of birds in twelve months, from 1st January to 31st December 2008." On October 31st, they achieved their goal.
posted by awfurby on Nov 3, 2008 - 13 comments

For the birders

Stephen Burch's Birding Website is full of fine photos of feathered friends.
posted by owhydididoit on May 30, 2008 - 13 comments

The Lady Birds Can't Resist

The male Superb Bird of Paradise has an unusual courtship routine. First he sings. Then he hops. Finally, he busts out a spectacular finishing move, which the female finds attractive and/or totally scary. [more inside]
posted by brain_drain on Nov 8, 2007 - 29 comments

The Birds

Bird Watchers Guide on Flickr. "Linked list of species submitted; find all photos of a species here".
posted by nthdegx on Jun 5, 2005 - 11 comments

Birdsong Evolution

How A Young Bird Learns its Song [+]
posted by dfowler on Apr 27, 2005 - 15 comments

Warblers and Wahabis

A National Guard soldier in Iraq blogs about the birds and the local ecology. Here's an audio interview with "John" from today's Weekend Edition. Follow along with this Middle East Birding Guide (Arabic language .pdf in 10 separate chapters, lots of pretty pictures).
[Note: Iraq is home to many threatened and endangered species].
posted by moonbird on Jan 22, 2005 - 4 comments

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