In the spirit of spring migration, we’re in the middle of our own personal migration, moving across town in San Francisco. While not nearly as long or arduous as the twice-annual migration of, say, the Arctic Tern, it has cut into my blogging time this week (and our birding time this month), so I thought I’d just point out a few interesting stories that have caught my eye over the past couple of weeks.
Speaking of eyes, Tioga Jenny sent me this fascinating story of a possible new bird species distinguished from its closest relations only by the color of its eyes. With DNA advances, the discovery of new species happens more often than you might think, but the sobering point at the end of this story is that many such species (which have such small populations) are on the brink of extinction.
In Southern California, Bald Eagles are breeding again on the Channel Islands, and you can check out three nests on these web cams set up by the Institute of Wildlife Studies on the islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina. In an interesting example of the interconnectedness of ecosystems, the return of the Bald Eagles (through a long reintroduction program) has been beneficial to the native Channel Island fox. For decades, with the Bald Eagle population plummeting because of DDT, the foxes were impacted with predation by Golden Eagles who moved in to take the place of the Bald Eagles (which are primarily fish eaters). So, with the recovery and reintroduction of the Bald Eagles to the Channel Islands, and the elimination of overgrazing, the fox is hopefully on the road to recovery too.
On the topic of breeding raptors, you’ve probably heard of Pale Male and the famous Red-tailed Hawks of Central Park in New York City, but did you know that in the past decade or so, hawks have been nesting all over the city? On his wonderful The City Birder blog, Rob Jett does a great job of trying to keep track of all of the nests in various city parks, and he’s starting to muse about whether they’re following him on his travels around the city.
And, finally, in an “only in New York” kind of a story, a female coyote was captured in a Tribeca parking garage in downtown Manhattan this week, after evading capture for a few days. Interestingly, according to the New York Times, the law requires that she be released within the five boroughs of the city, which fortunately does have more open space than you might think (especially in the northern reaches of the city). You might remember that there was a coyote in Central Park earlier this year, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled the next time you venture out in the big city.
On that note, back to dealing with our move, and fighting with the cable company. Writing about birds and coyotes is much less stressful!
A coyote in a more usual habitat, Mt. Diablo, CA. Photo by Phil Eager.
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Phil started birding in Cape May, N.J. and Central Park in
New York City more than 10 years ago. Since then, his birding adventures
(with his wife, Mimi Calter) have included trips to Alaska, Belize, and
mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, along with a bunch of other
hotspots in the continental U.S., including Florida, Texas, and
Arizona). Phil was included in Chris Santella's book "Fifty Places to Go
Birding Before You Die: Birding Experts Share the World's Greatest
Destinations," in which Phil talked about Pt. Reyes, CA. Birdwatchers --
head on over and join the Birdwatchers group on