2012 in Birds: Highlights from the Year
Photo: Michael Rosenbaum
2012 was a big year—and not just because the world almost ended twice. We experienced scientific breakthroughs, tragedies, and victories…for birds, of course! Check out some of the past year’s big avian-related news stories.
Power Plants, Go on a Carbon Diet! (Audubon Magazine, March 2012) For the first time in United States history, the federal government set carbon emissions limits on power plants, the largest source of planet-warming carbon-dioxide. The new EPA-created regulations, aim mostly at coal, which provided 42% of America’s electricity in 2011
Woodpeckers Could Protect Us from Concussions (Audubon Magazine, April 2012) Woodpeckers, who tap incessantly at trees to obtain food, have developed bones that so well protect their heads from impact injury that scientists are looking at replicating this cranial bone structure in human headgear.
Long-Lasting BP Damage for Baby White Pelicans (Audubon Magazine, May 2012) Minnesota’s
white pelicans still feel the damage from the BP oil spill—and recent testing shows they are passing on residues to their eggs.
Managing All of Alaska’s Resources (Audubon Magazine, June 2012) For the first time ever, the U.S. government developed a management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska that includes provisions for both the area’s oil and wildlife.
Dry Days for Birds (Audubon Magazine, August 2012) Last year’s horrible drought killed thousands of animals, including birds, fish, mussels, and deer and created ideal conditions for invasive species.
Birdwatching Still a Popular American Pastime (Audubon Magazine, August 2012) More than 46 million Americans consider themselves birdwatchers, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. Many take this to mean that efforts to get people outside are working.
The Hidden Bird Killer: Windows (University of Alberta, September 2012) More than 22 million birds die in Canada every year from hitting windows, according to a new study. One common fatality cause: placing birdfeeders too close to houses and buildings.
Sandy Creates Roadblocks for Migratory Birds (Audubon Magazine, November 2012) Hurricane Sandy affected native and migratory birds, displacing many in the latter group and even pushing them offshore.
BP Owns Up (Audubon Magazine, November 2012) After two years, BP agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and pay $4.5 billion in fines.
Between Dinosaurs and Birds (Discovery News, Nov. 21, 2012) Evidence is mounting that modern birds descended from non-avian dinosaurs that had feathers and could glide.
So that was last year—a good year for birds, truly, but we still have a long way to go. In 2013, be sure to stop by our blog often, check out our magazine, and get involved! Click here to find your local chapter of the National Audubon Society. Let’s make 2013 the best year for birds yet!!--/end tags-->