Brianna recently graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Journalism. She worked as a field technician for Audubon North Carolina this past summer, monitoring hundreds of Least Tern and Black Skimmer nests, where she quickly fell in love with colonial nesting birds. Brianna is happy to be back at Audubon and is currently one of Audubon Magazine’s spring editorial interns. She hopes to combine both of her interests in science and writing with this internship that will help prepare her for a career in science journalism.
Brianna Elliott's blog
Lead Poisoning Continues to Hinder California Condor Population Recovery, and Harm Other Bird Species
Since December, seven California condors, the largest and most endangered land bird in North America, have died around the Grand Canyon, the Center for Biological Diversity reports. The culprit in three of the cases—and suspected in the other four deaths—is poisoning from ingesting lead ammunition. Condors are scavengers that feed on carcasses and gut piles of elk, deer, and other animals; when those creatures have been shot by hunters who use lead ammunition, the birds ingest metal fragments with their meal.!--/end tags-->
Tiny crustaceans have a big impact on marine ecosystem health, new research shows.
The shrimp-like herbivores, called mesograzers, are smaller than a thumbtack, but gobble up substantial amounts of algae. Keeping the plants in check makes for clearer waters, which gives seagrass beds access to light and oxygen, researchers report in Ecology. The wee arthropods, in turn, serve as a meal for small fish, which are eaten by larger fish and birds, and on up the food chain.!--/end tags-->
China has the world’s largest human population, coming in at 1.2 billion, and boasts some of the globe’s most progressive technologies and industries. It’s no surprise then that the country created one of the grandest fisheries fleets at the turn of the 21st century, one that included specialized bottom trawlers, squid jiggers, and mother ships that delivered catches to advanced ports.!--/end tags-->
Like most North American birds, the Gunnison sage-grouse is gearing up for breeding and nesting season. These birds, though, kick things off with a bit more zest than many other species, with a courtship display that is elaborate, unique, and extravagant. The males attract females by calling and strutting around while flapping their wings. But what they’re best known for is inflating two yellow air sacs on their white breasts and making a popping sound. It is one of the bird world’s great spectacles a true sight to be seen but it may not exist for long.!--/end tags-->
Cliff swallows could be the Evel Knievels of the bird world. They have an affinity for living in extreme places—cliffs, buildings, under bridges, in the crevasses of railroad tracks—and they appear to be getting better at cheating death.!--/end tags-->
Tensions are heating up between environmentalists and energy proponents as governor Andrew M. Cuomo prepares to release a decision on whether the Empire State will regulate the drilling technology known as hydrofracking. If it does, New York will join a handful of other states allowing some level of “fracking,” including Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and several Midwestern states.!--/end tags-->
Neon glowing fish, dolphins with prosthetic limbs, and computer-controlled beetles as military spies are just a few of the peculiar creatures that Emily Anthes highlights in her intriguing new book, Frankenstein’s Cat. As the title implies, Anthes, science journalist, explores the vast ways in which scientists have used biotechnology to alter some of our non-human cohabitants of this planet. We’ve come a long way since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996, she shows in her fast-paced book, but the ethical issues surrounding bioengineering are no less complicated today.
A new exhibit offers viewers an unprecedented opportunity to experience John James Audubon’s incredible bird paintings, including the famous watercolors featured in The Birds of America as well as some of the artist’s earlier works.!--/end tags-->
In Europe, legend has it that white storks, those long-distance migrants, deliver babies. Turns out, that’s not true—and not just the part about the babies. Large numbers of the birds are sticking closer to their breeding grounds thanks to a plentiful food supply in the form of heaps of garbage.!--/end tags-->
One Kentucky town has been doused with white stuff this winter—but it’s not snow. Millions of blackbirds have descended on Hopkinsville, overwhelming residents with noise and bird excrement since they arrived in November.!--/end tags-->