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
From keeping birds warm to assisting them in flight, feathers have a wide variety of functions. But the evolution of this miracle trait—one of birds’ most unique and beautiful characteristics—has long-eluded ornithologists and paleontologists alike. But a new study of the four-winged dinosaur Microraptor suggests the trait could have also developed to attract mates.!--/end tags-->
Today, 10 states (including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia) will hold Republican primaries and caucuses, putting a total 437 total delegates at stake—just under 20 percent of the total delegates. But before you attend a caucus or vote in a primary, take a look at the four remaining Republican presidential candidates with regards to Mother Earth. Who stacks up?!--/end tags-->
Urban environments are home to a plethora of birds: Our own Michele Wilson Berger wouldn’t be able to keep up with Bird-A-Day in Manhattan without them. From the rock dove begging for crumbs to the library nests of red-tailed hawks, many city birds adapt to their urban environment. Scientists believe that some urban songbirds—including sparrows, blackbirds, and the great tit—sing at a higher pitch to escape low-frequency city noise, but a new study suggests birds alter their song to account for the physical structure of the urban jungle, too.!--/end tags-->
Every year during the spring migration, the Red Knot travels a staggering 9,300 miles between its wintering grounds in the south to Delaware Bay and the Arctic. Though North America’s largest “peep” will usually spend the winter months along the coasts of southern Chile and Argentina, a small portion of Red Knots wait out the cold in Florida, where they must rest before the long journey north. In light of this shorebird’s declining numbers, one Florida professor studied whether symbolic fencing, signs, and designating beaches as “protected” helped birds like the Red Knot by deceasing human disturbance. Turns out Red Knots not only prefer protected beaches, but bird stewards—volunteers with a passion for our feathered friends—increase the effectiveness of these areas to the benefit of all birds.!--/end tags-->
New Study Shows No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination From Fracking, But Doesn’t Quite Let Shale Gas Off the Hook
Despite claims of polluted drinking water from fracking throughout the United States, a new study shows little or no evidence of groundwater contamination from the gas extraction method. The study, released Feb. 16 by the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, found that many concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing (such as groundwater contamination) are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations.!--/end tags-->
From lovebirds to doves, our feathered friends are everywhere on Valentine’s Day. But associating birds with this romantic tradition began long before Hallmark: A few scholars suggest that its February date is associated with birds’ mating seasons and some cultures even used birds to predict their marital future. In this vain, Audubon explores the origins of birds and Valentine’s Day, offering our own bird-inspired love predictions as well.!--/end tags-->
From the common loon to the misunderstood blue jay, it’s no secret that Audubon and its readers welcome the sight of birds (whether they’re in our backyards or on textiles). But we can’t help but notice that our winged friends are popular with the non-birding crowd: Walk into any Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie and you’re sure to find a dozen products adorned with birds. With this trend in mind, Portlandia, a comedy on the Independent Film Channel, gave us “Put A Bird On It”, a hilarious sketch about Bryce Shivers and Lisa Eversman, who put birds on things to “make it pretty.”!--/end tags-->
Albinos are hard to come by: Only one in 17,000 humans are believed to have albinism, and there are seven billion of us. Which is why getting pictures of an albino ruby-throated hummingbird – a tough bird to photograph as it is – can be difficult.
But Kevin Shank and his eldest four sons managed to do just that last August, capturing an array of beautiful pictures of the unique creature.!--/end tags-->
Whether he was searching for fame or just wanted to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign, a Laysan Albatross somehow made his way to sunny Los Angeles, CA. After his weekend trip (catching some rays, hopefully) with members of International Bird Rescue, the Albatross was brought a half mile by boat from the California shoreline and released back into its Pacific Ocean home.!--/end tags-->