From the field

    Hi, I'm Dan Baldassarre! I'm an #AOSMember and an Assistant Professor of Zoology at SUNY Oswego in upstate New York. I study the behavioral ecology of birds and am especially interested in mating behavior and sexual signaling. Watch this space this week to learn more about my research and teaching! All photos mine. #birds #ornithology #science #wildlifeA recent paper in The Auk described how advances in genetic sequencing techniques are helping scientists figure out how genes determine the plumage patterns of birds such as this hybrid Lawrence's Warbler (the recessive hybrid of Blue-winged and Golden-winged warblers). Among other things, we're learning that the genes that control specific patches of plumage color (for example, throat color and cheek color) appear to operate independently of each other, meaning they could theoretically be recombined in novel ways during reproduction! Read more in the authors' blog post, linked in our profile. Photo by B.N. Singh. #science #biology #genetics #ornithology #birds #wildlife #feathersStressful conditions during winter can Imagine living in a grassland landscape with an almost constant low-frequency hum from spinning wind turbine blades. The humming is distracting, so what do you do? New research published in The Condor shows that Greater Prairie-Chickens actually care more about land cover than wind turbine noise during their breeding season, avoiding row crops and patches of trees even if that means spending time closer to wind turbines. Photo by Cara Whalen. #ornithology #science #birds #wildlife #conservation #prairiechickensSongbirds like this Song Sparrow can be an indicator of the success of river restoration! New research published in The Condor shows that Song Sparrows, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Yellow Warblers are all breeding successfully in areas along California's Trinity River where riparian vegetation was removed and then replanted a decade ago as part of the process of restoring instream habitat. From the authors' post on the AOS blog: Finally, I’m so pleased to share with the AOS community the newest @audubonsociety report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink. Five years in the making, this report finds that 389 of 604 species evaluated are highly vulnerable to climate change. We compared the effects of a business-as-usual emissions trajectory (3.0 C average warming) to a scenario of drastic emissions reductions (1.5 C warming). The good news is risk to 76% of these birds can be reduced by emissions mitigation, and Audubon will be mobilizing its broad base to #ActOnClimate now.
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In a changing climate, birds are coping with disruptions in food, shelter, competition, extreme weather events. Looking at a combination of climate and vegetation predictor variables, we project spatial patterns of net loss and gain across continental Canada, U.S., and Mexico under 3.0 C of warming (figure 2). The boreal forest may see concerning rates of species loss in summer, and the Midwest and mountainous west may also see losses.
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As we know, climate change encompasses more than just long-term changes in average precipitation, temperature, and vegetation. In a novel analysis, we mapped nine acute climate-related threats (like fire risk, extreme heat, sea level rise) across the contiguous 48 states for which data were available. Risk (figure 3) is the product of the number of threats, the number of bird species under future conditions, and the number of vulnerable species under future climate—showing areas of high conservation priority.
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This can seem like a dreary message, but Audubon has a long history of achieving policy solutions that protect birds and better the environment; this effort is no exception. Reduce your energy use at home, ask your elected officials to expand clean energy development, advocate for natural coastlines and rivers to help with climate adaptation, or simply tell your elected officials that climate and conservation are election issues for you. Thank you for following me this week and let’s create a better future starting with climate.audubon.org! #BirdsTellUs #birds #wildlife #conservation #science #ornithology #climatechange
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[Thanks for a great week, Joanna!]@audubonsociety is also a powerful voice for environmental advocacy. Our work has led to the banning of lead ammunition in California, the proposed listing of Tricolored Blackbirds under the Endangered Species Act, and the defense of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to name a few. In photo 1, a group of us are lobbying for the protection of California's public lands. Learning about issues surrounding women in the workplace is another personal passion of mine, and at the #AudubonConvention earlier this year, I was lucky to be among like-minded colleagues on a panel for women about making our voices heard (photo 2, by Hannah Waters). #birdstellus #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #environmentaladvocacy #science #ornithology
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]
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