The Chesapeake Bay is host to the largest breeding population of osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in the world. They tell us when spring is here and give us clues about the bay's health. Now, as osprey begin their annual migration to Central and South America, biologists say there’s been a decline in population during the last few years.
The population of endemic babblers at the Mount Kanlaon Natural Park on Negros Island continues to drop owing to habitat loss and human-induced air pollution, a study published recently in the Sylvatrop Journal of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
It was only in 2015 that the US Geological Survey first studied whether neonicotinoid residue shows up in streams (it does), and new research from the University of Iowa is the first to find it in drinking water. This new study tested water from drinking taps throughout Iowa City for neonicotinoid presence. Iowa City is on the smaller side, with an estimated population of fewer than 75,000, but its presence in a largely agricultural state makes it well-placed to see how nearby pesticide use can affect an urban area.
Sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chicken hunters can again this year voluntarily submit samples for study by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Ongoing DNR research is assessing prairie grouse exposure to chemicals called neonicotinoids. These are pesticides that, once applied, can move throughout a plant. Neonicotinoids are commonly applied to seeds before planting.
“We’re into our third year of this study assessing whether prairie grouse have been exposed to neonicotinoids by eating treated seeds or other ways,” said Charlotte Roy, DNR grouse project leader.
Neonicotinoid pesticides pose severe threats to ecosystems worldwide, according to new information contained in an update to the world’s most comprehensive scientific review of the ecological impacts of systemic pesticides. The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (TFSP) released the second edition of its Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems today in Ottawa, Canada. It synthesizes more than 500 studies since 2014, including some industry-sponsored studies.
Bempton Cliffs bird reserve was in fine fettle last week. The last of its population of puffins (Fratercula arctica) had departed for the winter a few weeks earlier, while its thousands of young gannets (Morus bassanus) were still being cared for by their parents on the chalk cliffs of the East Yorkshire nature site. For good measure, kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) and fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) were also bathing in the sunshine.
The Living Planet Report Canada, published today, is the most comprehensive synthesis of Canadian wildlife population trends ever conducted. It shows that on average from 1970 to 2014, half of monitored vertebrate wildlife species in the study suffered population declines. Of those, average decline is 83 per cent since 1970. The picture is also worrisome for Canada’s federally protected species. Since 2002, when the Species at Risk Act became law, federally listed at-risk wildlife populations declined by 28 per cent, the report shows.
R.J. Gross is upland game management biologist for North Dakota Game and Fish, and said a roadside pheasant survey shows that total pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) observed per 100 miles are down 61 percent from last year. Brood observations, meanwhile, were down 63 percent and average brood size was down 19 percent. The survey is based on 279 survey runs made along 103 brood routes across North Dakota.
“Brood data suggests very poor production this spring when compared to 2016, which results in less young birds added to the fall population,” Gross said.
The monarch butterfly populations in western North America have declined dramatically and face a greater risk of extinction, a new study shows. Scientists at Washington State University found that the decline in western monarch butterfly populations was significantly more than previously believed and greater than eastern monarchs. “Western monarchs are faring worse than their eastern counterparts,” Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver, said in a press release. “In the 1980s, 10 million monarchs spent the winter in coastal California.
Cambodia's vultures are facing a high risk of extinction and have seen a 50 percent decline in number since 2003, conservationist groups said in a joint statement on Monday. "Only 121 of the birds were recorded in this year's national census, the lowest number on record since 2003," said the joint statement released by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), BirdLife International, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity. "Recent reviews indicate that poisoning is the major threat to the vulture population in Cambodia," the statement said.