Natural history web site offers everything in one place 


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Google, and more than 1,000 other partner institutions have opened a web site giving access to thousands of pages of wildlife photos and information. A major participant is the American Museum of Natural History. It’s a cool site, with video and sound, albeit some of the YouTube episodes are more entertainment than science. Nonetheless: This morning my opening page began with the sound, very loud sound, and sight, of a dinosaur walking: pound, pound pound. It was both informative and entertaining. Dinosaurs walking through museum galleries are unusual. The address:


Habitat for migrating birds to be examined


Stopover habitat is where migrating birds find rest and food. Those two elements are vital to the successful movement of birds from breeding to wintering habitat. We often hear about the need to preserve those two habitats, but rarely consider the points between. 


In early October, bird conservation partners will meet in Milwaukee to discuss acquiring and restoring stopover habitat in the Great Lakes area. This includes Minnesota. The map shows the area (green) to be discussed. It extends north from Duluth to and beyond the Canadian border, and substantial inland area.


Participants will: 1) identify where work is needed most; 2) define who works in those regions; 3) how they can best collaborate, and 4) how to fill the stopover habitat protection needs.


Snowy Owls do just fine wintering in the Arctic


A study has shown that some of the Snowy Owls over-wintering on Arctic habitat actually gain weight in that season. All Snowy Owls are not challenged by winter hunting conditions, nor do all move south for that season. Female owls, captured and weighed, are bigger than males, the usual case for raptors. Larger size gives females a hunting edge. Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan found that adult females were in better condition that males, and that adults of both sexes tended to be in better condition than juveniles. The birds by nature can sustain severe winters, plus, for females there is no distraction by the demands of reproduction. The birds can build reserves of fat to be carried into breeding season.


Sea birds stranded in desert near Tucson


Hundreds of seabirds of various species were blown into the Arizona desert south of Tucson by Tropical Storm Newton. Heavy rain and strong winds carried the birds into trouble. Seabirds aren’t going to find food on the desert, and they can’t drink fresh water. Volunteers from the Tucson Wildlife Center collected birds they could found, packaging them for quick return to wildlife agencies on the coast. More information at


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