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Oregon state investigators look into death of 25,000 bumblebees

WHAS-TV   Audubon Outdoors

It's a mystery that has prompted an investigation by the state of Oregon. Thousands of dead bumblebees are blanketing a parking lot in Wilsonville. The plaza has about 65 European Linden trees. Since the weekend, dead bumblebees have been falling from the trees. Experts estimate there have been more than 25,000 dead bees. On Sunday, the bees started falling from the trees until shoppers reported them to the various stores.  LEARN MORE

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1 in 8 bird species threatened with extinction

CBC   Audubon Outdoors

One in eight bird species worldwide faces the threat of extinction, according to a report released by Birdlife International. And it isn't just rare birds that are declining. Familiar species such as the barn swallow and purple martin are disappearing at an astonishing rate. In the case of those two birds, 80 to 90 percent of the population was wiped out in the last 20 years.  LEARN MORE

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Montana court: Bison transfer legal

The Associated Press via Billings Gazette   Audubon Outdoors

The Montana Supreme Court ruled that Yellowstone National Park bison can be relocated to tribal lands in Montana, reviving a conservation initiative. Bison once numbered in the tens of millions in North America but were nearly driven to extinction by hunters. Government-sponsored conservation efforts in Montana might eventually return the animals to parts of their historic range.  LEARN MORE

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Wyoming moose study focuses on large herd south of Grand Teton

Yellowstone Gate   Audubon Outdoors

A study on Wyoming's largest moose herd could guide management decisions about oil and gas leasing in the Wyoming Range, south of Grand Teton National Park. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit recently expanded a moose project in the Northern Wyoming Range between Jackson and Pinedale. Researchers collared 65 moose and fitted the animals with satellite tracking collars.  LEARN MORE

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Research on Montana wildlife crossings nearly complete

The Associated Press via Great Falls Tribune   Audubon Outdoors

Wildlife manager Dale Becker still can't believe how many motorists miss seeing the wildlife overpass arcing over U.S. Highway 93 in Montana. "Maybe we camouflaged it a little too well," Becker joked. And if people don't notice the big grass-topped "Animal's Bridge," how will they realize another 40 underground animal crossings riddle the roadway between Evaro and Polson?  LEARN MORE

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Critter of the Season - The Ruby Throated Hummingbird and Bird Migration

By: Ron Dodson

HummingbirdThe Ruby-throated Hummingbird is by far the most common species that breeds in the eastern half of North America, although most states have sporadic Rufous Hummingbird sightings.

Ruby-throats are intensely inquisitive and thus easily attracted to feeders, where males in particular typically display aggressive territoriality toward rival hummers, other birds, and even insects such as bees, butterflies, and sphinx moths. They quickly become accustomed to human presence, and will swoop down to investigate red articles of clothing, possibly as potential food sources. Feeders hung at windows attract as many visitors as ones farther from structures, and the bird that claims a feeder as its territory may spend much of the day perched nearby, guarding the food source against intruders. Many hummingbird watchers find "Hummer Wars" endlessly entertaining, although the chases are obviously serious business to the hungry birds. For a short period immediately after fledging, a female will tolerate the presence of her own young at the feeder, but they are soon treated the same as other adult birds - as rivals in pursuit of the food necessary to prepare for the fall migration.

Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. These however are usually irregular or in only one direction and are termed variously as nomadism, invasions, dispersal or irruptions. Migration is marked by its annual seasonality. In contrast, birds that are non-migratory are said to be resident or sedentary. Approximately 1800 of world's 10,000 bird species are long-distance migrants.

Many bird populations migrate long distances along a flyway. The most common pattern involves flying north in the spring to breed in the temperate or Arctic summer and returning in the fall to wintering grounds in warmer regions to the south.

The primary advantage of migration is conservation of energy. The longer days of the northern summer provide greater opportunities for breeding birds to feed their young. The extended daylight hours allow diurnal birds to produce larger clutches than those of related non-migratory species that remain in the tropics year round. As the days shorten in autumn, the birds return to warmer regions where the available food supply varies little with the season.

Most migrations begin with the birds starting off in a broad front. In some cases the migration may involve narrow belts of migration that are established as traditional routes termed flyways. These routes typically follow mountain ranges or coastlines, and may take advantage of updrafts and other wind patterns or avoid geographical barriers such as large stretches of open water. The specific routes may be genetically programmed or learned to varying degrees. The routes taken on forward and return migration are often different.

Many of the larger birds fly in flocks. Flying in flocks helps in reducing the energy needed. Many large birds fly in a V-formation, which helps individuals save 12–20 % of the energy they would need to fly alone.

Birds fly at varying altitudes during migration. An expedition to Mt. Everest found skeletons of Pintail and Black-tailed Godwit at 16,400 ft on the Khumbu Glacier. Bar Headed Geese have been seen flying over the highest peaks of the Himalayas above 29000 ft even when low passes of 10000 ft were nearby. Seabirds fly low over water but gain altitude when crossing land and the reverse pattern is seen in land birds. However most bird migration is in the range of 500 ft to 2000 ft. Bird-hit aviation records from the United States show most collisions occur below 2000 ft and almost none above 6000 ft.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds breed throughout eastern to Midwestern North America, from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Most winter in Mexico, Central America, and on Caribbean islands, although a few remain in the Gulf States and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Most researchers accept a remarkable non-stop crossing of the Gulf of Mexico, taking 18-20 hours. They arrive at the coast in late February or early March, and follow the development of spring flowers northward. Males migrate earlier than females, in both directions; some adult males start south as early as July. By mid-November the fall migration is essentially completed throughout North America.

Many people only think about providing habitat for birds during the nesting season, but providing safe areas for birds during the fall and spring migration season may be just as important.  Even small areas can provide safe haven for the long distance migrants as they wing their way south in the fall and back north again in the spring. 

Ron Dodson is President of The Dodson Group, LLC and Chairman of the International Sustainability Council, Inc. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

EnergyStar
www.energystar.gov/

The Business Alliance for Living Economies
www.livingeconomies.org

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

Sustainable Golf & Development 
www.sustainablegolfdevelopment.com

The PGA Golf Club
www.pgavillage.com

Urbana University
www.urbana.edu

   

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

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