Researchers in the Czech Republic and Germany have been looking through bird data from their countries around the fall of Communism.
Most of the factors appeared to affect bird populations similarly in the three regions. But brain size apparently made a big difference in the former communist nations: Birds with bigger brains tended to show a slight uptick in populations sizes in East Germany, and even bigger gains in the Czech Republic. The “increases of species with large brains suggest that species with good cognitive abilities might have been better able to adapt to rapid socioeconomic change and make use of novel opportunities after the end of communism,” the authors write.
The population gains might not be caused by brain size, but there’s at least a correlation there.
From Conservation Magazine, via The Morning News.
By Ben Newman, from Grain Edit.
A new study in The Journal of Ornithology on the mortality of baby gray catbirds in the Washington suburbs found that cats were the No. 1 killer in the area, by a large margin.
The American Bird Conservancy estimates that up to 500 million birds are killed each year by cats — about half by pets and half by feral felines. “I hope we can now stop minimizing and trivializing the impacts that outdoor cats have on the environment and start addressing the serious problem of cat predation,” said Darin Schroeder, the group’s vice president for conservation advocacy.
By contrast, 440,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year
From The New York Times, Via The Slatest.
Anderson Cooper brought religious doofus Kirk Cameron on to his show to talk about the mass bird deaths in Arkansas. Is this a sign of the End Times as foretold by the Bible? No, says Cameron. That’s ridiculous. Bird deaths are more of a Pagan thing.
Worth considering if you think the toll on wildlife is a major reason to reduce our oil consumption. From PolitiFact:
The American Bird Conservancy estimated in 2003 that between 10,000 and 40,000 birds were killed each year at wind farms across the country, about 80 percent of which were songbirds and 10 percent birds of prey.
“With the increased capacity over the last seven years, we now estimate that 100,000 – 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year,” said Conservancy spokesman Robert Johns.
By our math, that comes to 274 to 822 birds a day killed by wind farms across the country.
Via Andrew Sullivan