Previous Wildlife News

Canary in the Climate Mine: Arctic Seabird’s Future Is on Thin Ice 11-8-17

Alone on a remote northern Alaska island, biologist George Divoky has been monitoring a population of sea ice-dependent black guillemots for four decades. Now he fears he’s watching the colony in a slow-motion collapse as temperatures rise and its prey disappears. Read more at News Deeply

Urban Refuge: How Cities Can Help Rebuild Declining Bee Populations 11-9-17

With bees threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change, researchers are finding that planting flower patches in urban gardens and green spaces can help restore these essential pollinators. The results are already being seen in cities from Chicago to London to Melbourne. Read more at Yale Environment 360

To See How Oil Drilling Would Transform the Arctic Refuge, Look Next Door to Prudhoe Bay 10-18-17

If you want to experience what North America was like before industrial development, you couldn’t do much better than a visit to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A fully intact ecosystem, the refuge’s 19 million acres host mountains, rivers, forest, and coastal tundra—a primeval wilderness in the northeastern corner of Alaska protected by the federal government. Read more at Audubon

Squam Lake’s loons are suffering, and unexpected pollution part of the problem 09-04-17

Somewhere in the woods of Holderness or Sandwich, at the northern end of the lovely lake that inspired On Golden Pond, it’s likely that an abandoned barrel of unintended consequences is slowly killing loons.

And on the western side of the lake, along a dirt road named after a quaint local farm, a different set of unintended consequences is adding to the toll. Read more at Concord Monitor

As Seas Warm, Whales Face New Dangers 10-2-17

At least twice a day, beginning shortly after dawn, researchers climb steps and ladders and crawl through a modest glass doorway to scan the surrounding sea, looking for the distinctive spout of a whale. Read more at The New York Times

Small Pests, Big Problems: The Global Spread of Bark Beetles 9-26-17

Warming temperatures are fueling the expansion of pine and spruce beetle outbreaks across North America, Europe, and Siberia, ravaging tens of thousands of square miles of woodlands. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Trump’s border wall would slice through wildlife refuges and cut off U.S. territory in Texas 08-07-17

On dusty land in Mission, Tex., near the Mexican border, Marianna Trevino Wright recently took a walk with a contractor. She was showing off her effort to turn the earth surrounding the National Butterfly Center into “an oasis for butterflies,” she said — with 10,000 native milkweed plants that a dwindling number of monarch butterflies use as habitat in their arduous and yearly migration from Mexico and across the United States to Canada. Read more at The Washington Post

A Mystery of Seabirds, Blown Off Course and Starving 07-14-17

Joe Okoniewski has seen this before, just not on this scale. Each year Mr. Okoniewski, a wildlife pathologist with the New York State Department of Conservation, performs necropsies on small numbers of seabird specimens that wash up dead along the coastal parts of the state. The birds are usually lone adults or juveniles that strayed too close to shore.

“The birds are extremely thin and anemic,” Mr. Okoniewski said. “The big mystery is: Why are they thin? On the surface it looks like you know what happened: They starved. But when you ask why, it becomes much more of a mystery.” Read more at The New York Times

Decline in hummingbird population linked to insecticide 07-09-17

Some species of North American hummingbirds are in severe decline and a British Columbia research scientist says one possible cause might be the same insecticide affecting honey bees.

Christine Bishop with Environment and Climate Change Canada said researchers started looking at a variety of factors that may be responsible, ranging from habitat loss to changes when plants bloom.

To try and find some answers, researchers began collecting urine and feces from the birds for testing. Read more at the Times-Colonist

How Listening to Trees Can Help Reveal Nature’s Connections 08-24-17

In his latest book, David George Haskell focused on 12 individual trees across the globe, from the Amazon to the streets of Manhattan. It gave him, he says in a Yale e360 interview, a profound sense of the complex networks that sustain life. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Climate change is messing with all your favorite birds 05-16-17

Climate change is making it harder for birds to get it right. Spring is arriving earlier in the eastern states and later in the west, disrupting the timing of dozens of songbird species, a new study found. Read more at Mashable

U.S. Population Reaches New Milestone 05-15-17

In the past 50 years, as the global human population has doubled, wildlife populations have been halved. During that same period, the U.S. grew by more than 100 million people. Read more at EcoWatch

Florida’s building boom threatens wildlife-rich lagoon 05-04-17

The most biologically diverse waterway in America is seriously ill. Read more at Lancaster Online

How Satellite Imagery Is Transforming Conservation Science 06-22-17

High-resolution earth imagery has provided ecologists and conservationists with a dynamic new tool that is enabling everything from more accurate counting of wildlife populations and other changes in the landscape. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Baltimore’s Birding Scene Is on the Rise 06-14-17

The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber startles us as it howls through the cloudless sky. It also scares up a Yellow-billed Cuckoo from a shrub at the river’s edge, followed by a gold-tipped Northern Flicker. Read more at Audubon

The New Migration Science 04-11-17

Dawn on the Alabama Coast; the Chuck-will’s-widows are calling in the last of the twilight, but already I can sense a tension in the forest that’s been missing for the past few warm—and essentially birdless—April days at Fort Morgan. Read more at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Challenging Mainstream Thought About Beauty’s Big Hand in Evolution 05-29-17

Not long ago, a physicist at Stanford posed a rhetorical question that took me by surprise.

“Why is there so much beauty?” he asked. Read more at The New York Times

Bird Brains: They’re More Complicated Than You Think 05-30-17

The stereotype is true: Bird brains are much smaller than their human counterparts. And yet they still pack a proportional punch. Many birds have craniums that are big for their body size—an important and costly evolutionary trait.  Read more at Audubon

Domino Effect: The Myriad Impacts of Warming on an East Coast Estuary 05-17-17

Delaware Bay is a case study in how climate change is impacting estuaries around the world. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Inside the Effort to Kill Protections for Endangered Animals 05-23-17

The U.S. Endangered Species Act has saved more than 200 species from extinction—but business and political interests want to scuttle it. Read more at National Geographic

Cook Inlet Gas Leak Remains Unmonitored as Danger to Marine Life Is Feared 03-10-17

Ice cover prevents pipeline company from monitoring the environmental impacts of the leak, as scientists fear for the health of endangered belugas and other species. Read more at Inside Climate News

Hundreds of North American bee species face extinction: study 03-01-17

More than 700 of the 4,000 native bee species in North America and Hawaii are believed to be inching toward extinction due to increased pesticide use leading to habitat loss, a scientific study showed on Wednesday. Read more at Reuters

These creatures faced extinction. The Endangered Species Act saved them. 03-11-17

The federal Endangered Species Act has been called the world’s gold standard for environmental protection. Passed in 1973, it strengthened earlier federal protections for animals that had been nearly wiped out by humans, including bald eagles, humpback whales and California condors. Read more at The Washington Post

Seeds of Commerce: Saving Native Plants in the Heart of Appalachia 03-02-17

In S. Appalachia, botanist Joe-Ann McCoy is collecting the seeds of thousands of native plant species threatened by climate change. Read more at Yale Environment 360

A systematic status review of North American and Hawaiian native bees 02-27-17

While the decline of European honeybees in the United States and beyond has been well publicized in recent years, the more than 4,000 species of native bees in North America and Hawaii have been much less documented. For full PDF report click here

70,000 New York City Birds Sacrificed for Air Travel 01-17-17

In last eight years, nearly 70,000 birds have been killed in the New York City area to make the skies safer for air travel. Read more on EcoWatch

New Life Along Washington State’s Elwha River 12-26-16

It’s been only two years since the removal of the last of the dams that obstructed the Elwha River, in Washington State, but already species are returning. Read more on The New Yorker

Avocados Imperil Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Home in Mexico 11-17-16

The green volcanic hills that tower above Apútzio de Juárez have begun to fill with swarms of monarch butterflies, which return each year for the winter stretch of their celebrated — and imperiled — migration. Read more on The New York Times

Sam’s Field Notes: The Monarch Migration 10-31-16

During a recent early morning walk along the shores of Bogue Banks, the spreading rays of the rising sun pushed the remaining darkness below the horizon and released a brilliant blue sky. A restless cool northwest wind had all the beach grasses, little blue stem, sea oats and the dune shrub branches of yaupon and wax myrtle dancing and swinging. Read more on Coastal Review

Feds to Scale Back Red Wolf Recovery Area 9-14-16

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday it will begin to dramatically scale back its controversial red wolf recovery program.

The agency said in a news release it will begin implementing a series of actions based on scientific information and divided public opinions gathered during the past 21 months. The plan is to limit the area that the endangered wolves are able to roam freely to a federal wildlife refuge and adjacent land in Dare County by the end of 2017. Read more on Coastal Review Online

Science in the Wild: The Legacy of the U.S. National Park System 8-24-16

As the National Park Service marks its centennial this month, the parks are being celebrated for their natural beauty and priceless recreational opportunities. But they also provide a less recognized benefit: the parks serve as a living laboratory for critical scientific research. Read more on YALE environment 360

Obama creates whole new national monument to celebrate National Park System’s 100th birthday 8-24-16

President Obama marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service a day early by protecting 87,500 acres in north-central Maine on Wednesday. Read more on Grist

Birds sing to their unborn chicks to warn them about hot weather 8-18-16

Are they singing The Heat is On? When it’s hot outside, zebra finches sing a special song to their eggs.

That song appears to keep the chicks from growing too large after they hatch if the weather is toasty – and it even affects the number of baby birds in the next generation, though researchers aren’t sure exactly why. Read more on New Scientist

Seals help show how melting ice shelves in East Antarctica affect deep ocean 8-23-16

A group of elephant seals in Antarctica has helped show how freshwater from melting ice shelves affects a key part of the engine that drives the circulation of the world’s oceans. Read more on Australian Broadcasting Corporation

How sea otters help save the planet 7-10-16

New research into the complex links of the food chain suggest that the lovable mammals play a key role in managing carbon dioxide levels

Charles Darwin once mused on the impacts that predators could have on the landscapes around them. In particular, he wondered – in On the Origin of Species – how neighbourhood cats might affect the abundance of flowers in the fields near his house at Downe in Kent. He concluded the animals’ potential to change local flora was considerable. Read more on The Guardian

As Gulf of Maine Warms, Puffins Recast as Canaries in a Coal Mine 10-26-15

Puffins were virtually wiped out in Maine in the mid-19th century by hungry fisherman, who threw nets over their hideaways to catch them by the 1000s. Restored to midcoasts islands by scientists, they have a threatened status in Maine and were recently listed as endangered in Europe. A new threat from rising ocean temperatures now threatens much of the prey they rely on …Full article This is part 2 of a series. To read the full series click here

To Save Bees, Some States Take Aim at Pesticides 7-29-15

The orange groves in Fort Myers, Florida, have turned to poison for David Mendes’ honeybees. The one time winter havens for bees have been treated with a popular pesticides that he says kills his livelihood …Full article and interactive bee loss map

Mercury Pollution Threat to Arctic Bird 3-18-15

Mercury pollution has risen nearly 50-fold in the feathers of the endangered Ivory gull over the past 130 years, say scientists. Mercury levels are going up in other Arctic birds, fish and mammals due to atmospheric pollution. Mercury in the atmosphere comes from natural sources such as volcanoes, as well as human activities such as coal burning. Air currents can transport mercury to the Arctic from mid-latitudes in just a few days …Full article

Cascadian Farm ‘Bee Friendlier’ Effort Enlists Public to Help Protect Insects 1-26-15
Alarm has grown in recent years over the widespread loss of bee colonies, not just because of the canary-in-the-coal-mine implications about how factors like pesticides and parasites might be to blame, but also for a more direct reason: Bees pollinate an estimated 75% of food crops …Full article

Serious About Saving the Bees? Time to rethink agriculture 10-15-14

There is much more to “saving the bees” than spring flowers and a golden mascot. We need mulitcultural pollinator communities if we want to keep eating our favorite foods …Full article

President Obama Takes Action to Protect Bristol Bay, Alaska 12-16-14

The President’s action places a national treasure—and one of the nation’s most productive fisheries—off limits for oil and gas leasing. Alaskans have been fighting to preserve Bristol Bay for decades …Full article

President Obama Seeks Wilderness Designation for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1-26-14

The Department of the Interior announced the release of a conservation plan that recommends additional protections for the Refuge that asks Congress to designate core areas the highest level of protection available to public lands.

If passed by Congress, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would become the largest ever wilderness designation since Congress passed the Wilderness Act more than 50 years ago.

The recommendation covers 12.28 million acres including four rivers which would ensure the land and water would remain unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has the most diverse wildlife in the arctic including caribou, polar bears, gray wolves, muskoxen, more than 200 species of birds, 37 species of mammals and 42 species of fish …full article