Anna SandersDuring a childhood trip to Cornwall's scenic Land's End in England, a seagull lunged itself at Anna's ice cream cone, getting away with almost an entire scoop of vanilla. Despite that fated meeting, Anna has learned to love the earth's winged creatures, and enjoys cooing at pigeons in Washington Square Park between classes at New York University, where she is a journalism and environmental studies major. As an intern for Audubon, Anna writes about birds and the environment while avoiding any more food altercations.
Anna Sanders's blog
In the classic fable, the tortoise taught us that “slow and steady wins the race.” Unfortunately for many of the earth’s endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles, time is running out: Over half of the group’s approximately 330 species are threatened with extinction from habitat loss, illegal trade, and hunting. Unless swift action is taken, many species will go extinct in the next decade, a 2011 report by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Turtle Conservation Coalition says. Taking their own advice to heart, the Wildlife Conservation Society launched an international effort to save some of the world’s most endangered turtles this week, utilizing the organization’s zoos, aquarium, and global programs.!--/end tags-->
Woodpeckers’ Cranial Bone Structures Help the Bird Avoid Injury and May Help Development of Human Headgear
Tap, tap, tap. Woodpeckers will repeatedly drum their beaks into dead or decaying tree trunks while building nests or searching for food and, to the casual observer, this incessant pecking might seem a little reckless. But evolution has afforded woodpeckers some safeguards. While scientists have predicted the birds avoid injury through large brain cases, strong muscles, and special feathers covering their nostrils to protect them from flying debris, researchers in China have found that the woodpecker’s macro/micro morphology has also plays a role in resisting head impact injury. The research could mean more effective protective gear for humans exposed at risk for head injury.!--/end tags-->
It happens every Easter Sunday: Cuddled next to the chocolate bunnies, egg-shaped jelly beans, and green plastic grass in their basket of goodies, many children will find live, fluffy — and sometimes colored — baby chicks. While lawmakers in Florida recently repealed a ban on the controversial practice of dyeing these little critters vibrant colors, it is what happens after Easter, when the chicks’ novelty wears off, that most concerns animal rights groups.!--/end tags-->
In the late 19th Century, many Impressionist artists like Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro painted prolific scenes of the environment, ranging from “Water Lilies” to an “Orchard in Bloom.” Perhaps one of the most appreciated post-Impressionists, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), also portrayed nature in many of his paintings. While Impressionists and post-Impressionists did not aim to realistically represent nature in their work, scientists at the University of Georgia suggest the distinctive bands of yellow “double flowers” in van Gogh’s series of sunflower paintings accurately depict a genetic mutation of the plant.!--/end tags-->
Twelve stories above New York City’s Washington Square Park, Rosie, a red-tailed hawk, diligently sits in a nest, warming two small eggs and surveying the air around her. A soft breeze ruffles Rosie’s feathers and the dull hum of tourists reaches her spot on the ledge outside New York University President John Sexton’s office in Bobst Library. Unbeknownst to Rosie, over 400 people are watching this moment, enraptured with the expectant raptor.
The livestream of Rosie’s nest, set up by The New York Times’ City Room blog last year, is a collaboration between the Times and NYU, aimed at giving viewers an up-close glimpse of nature. Since it began, the cam has inspired a supportive community and an appreciation for city wildlife. For its second year, the live Hawk Cam returned with a more educational focus, partnering with New York City Audubon.!--/end tags-->
Last night, actor and water-safety crusader Mark Ruffalo appeared on “The Colbert Report” to discuss hydro-fracking and launch Water Defense’s “Natural Gas Exxposed” campaign, which will “tell the stories of Americans whose lives have been shattered by gas drilling.” Stephen Colbert — the show’s faux republican host — didn’t give him much of a chance to plug the campaign, but Ruffalo was able to talk about his “beef with our energy industry.”!--/end tags-->
This weekend, the film adaptation of the first book in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling Hunger Games Trilogy flew into theaters with tremendous success, making $155 million in three short days. Though the movie was almost completely true to The Hunger Games, the filmmakers chose to omit the history of the mockingjay, the bird donning the trilogy’s covers and an important symbol of defiance throughout the series. Here, we provide the history of the mockingjay and its predecessors: the (fictional) jabberjay and the mockingbird.!--/end tags-->
Breeding Cycles of Penguins in the Western Antarctic Peninsula Affected By Global Warming, For Better or Worse
Higher global temperatures from climate change, despite their appeal to the human population, have chilling affects for some penguin species that breed in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. While gentoos are able to adapt to the region’s rapidly warming climate, adélie and chinstrap penguin populations are dwindling, according to research published in Polar Biology, Ecology, and Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS).!--/end tags-->
Despite its powerful 30-foot stance, the pinyon pine is paralyzed, relying heavily on birds and other mammals to help it reproduce. When its seeds drop from cones, birds, along with other creatures, collect and bury them. Though most seeds are eaten, those left behind take root and eventually sprout. This system has helped the pinyon pine populate a wide range in the American west, but an invisible threat could affect the dispersal and future of the tree and other plants: sound.
A growing body of research has shown that even the invisible waves of manmade noise alter animal behavior. In the last few decades, scientists found that low-frequency pitched larger birds are less likely to settle in cities among the din of traffic and that some songbirds will sing louder and longer in noisy surroundings. A new study suggests that the effects of such manmade noise on birds and other animals impacts plants that rely on those species for seed dispersal and pollination.!--/end tags-->
Each year, 19 bird species inhabit the small 110-acre Shamrock Island Preserve in Corpus Christi Bay on Texas’ southeastern coast. Among the 24,000 birds nesting on the small island and state Important Bird Area each year include the reddish egret and white-faced ibis. But, because of soil erosion from winter storms, Shamrock Island is in poor condition and the Nature Conservancy is going to help—with the assistance of the largest oil and gas companies in the world.!--/end tags-->