Internet Naturalist – March 17, 2014

  • A Plan To Eliminate Wild Mute Swans Draws Vocal Opposition : NPR 031114
    A plan in New York state to has drawn protests and petitions on all sides. While some see elegant white birds gliding across the water, others see a dangerous aggressor destroying the local ecosystem. | According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the swans — which don’t honk but make hoarse, frog-like grunts — are not native, and they destroy and attack native species. Amanda Rodewald, director of conservation science at Cornell University, says they’ve threatened loons and least terns. | "We are worried about them in New York because of the black tern population that we have," Rodewald says. Black terns there, she says, have only a few nesting colonies remaining. | The swans eat and pull out large amounts of submerged aquatic vegetation, destroying food sources for other birds. But what makes a nonnative species invasive? | Adam Welz, an ornithologist and filmmaker who lives in Brooklyn, says that when European songbirds were introduced in America, they failed to take. But in 1890, when a group of Shakespeare enthusiasts released 60 European starlings in Central Park, they multiplied into the millions.
  • Home | Project SNOWstorm
    Project SNOWstorm* is a collaborative research effort by Project Owlnet, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art and many independent researchers, agency and organizational partners. We are working together to learn more about the historic snowy owl irruption of 2013-14. [*SNOW is the four-letter code that bird banders and birders use for the Snowy Owl.]
  • Trapping And Tracking The Mysterious Snowy Owl : NPR 031114
    Snowy owls are among the largest birds in North America, but scientists know very little about their behavior. The owls spend most of their days far from humans, hunting rodents and birds in the flat expanses of the Arctic Circle. In the winter, the owls move south, but they don’t usually reach the United States. Most years, only a few are spotted in the northernmost states — a rare treat for birders. But this winter was different. | Owls started to appear all over the United States right around Thanksgiving — in Nebraska, in Kentucky — even as far south as Georgia. , a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, was shocked when he saw not one but two snowy owls on a small stretch of Maryland beach. | Something huge is going on," Brinker told his colleagues. "We won’t see something like this for a long time — probably for the rest of our lifetimes." | This rapid population boom — called an "irruption" by ecologists — is the largest the East Coast has seen in 40 or 50 years.
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One Response to Internet Naturalist – March 17, 2014

  1. Rebecca says:

    I am a swan fan. I am a hunter also. But to destroy the swan population is unthinkable. All along the eastern seaboard there are egg shaking programs to shake swan eggs and I understand about keeping different species under control to preserve wetlands and control disease among the animals, etc. According to the newspaper article I read this morning in The Buffalo News there are 5000 Mute Swans living in NYS but mostly along Long Island and the NYC area. If it hasn’t been done, egg shaking would be a good deterrence to the increasing population or capture and relocate. I think the DEC would be better off bringing Moose, bears, and other animals that used to be native back to NYS, put more effort into poaching, anything but killing the beautiful majestic birds.

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