POPULATION: Estimates vary widely, from 190 to 260 million
HABITAT: Breeds in high-elevation conifer and mixed woods. Winters in fields, parks, and yard.
All Dark-eyed Juncos have some features in common: white outer tail feathers that are especially conspicuous when the bird takes flight; darker upperparts contrasting a lighter belly; and a pale bill. But this bird can vary drastically in appearance depending on where one sees it. Some juncos have more reddish-brown on the back and sides, some sport a contrasting dark hood over the head and neck, and others show a gray-tinged belly or white bars on the wings.
Although initially lumped with the rest of the Dark-eyed group, the endemic Guadalupe Junco was again split into a distinct species in 2016. Another closely related species, the Yellow-eyed Junco, is resident in pine-oak highlands from southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico south through Mexican highlands to Guatemala.
More and more people within and outside of thetuna industryare finally realizing that their business depends on sustaining fish populations. To truly transform an industry riddled with ocean destruction and labor abuse,Thai Unionand its global brands likeChicken of the Seamust stand up and fight for real reform in the industry.
They must stop using poorly regulated and destructive fishing methods that needlessly kill vulnerable marine wildlife. No one wants to buy tuna with a side of sea turtle or shark.
PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLDhas over 1,400 members and over 94,000 photos and videos.
BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Passerina cyanea
POPULATION: 78 million
HABITAT: Shrubby areas such as old fields, hedgerows, and forest edges.
A male Indigo Bunting in breeding plumage is a glorious symphony of shimmering blues, turquoises, and purples. But these beautiful colors are illusory.
Bunting owes its glorious appearance to an optical trick — the diffraction of light through its feathers. In poor lighting, the bunting’s glorious colors disappear and it becomes a plain, dark-colored finch.
But Indigo Buntings are more than a treat for the eyes — this species also helped reveal some important secrets about how birds migrate.
POPULATION: Estimates vary widely, from less than 1 million to more than 5 million.
IUCN STATUS: Vulnerable
HABITAT: Breeds where boreal forest meets wetland. Winters in wooded wetlands.
Rusty Blackbird lost between 85 and 95 percent of its population, making it one of the fastest declining North American landbirds. The only North American blackbird more troubled is the Tricolored Blackbird, a localized and declining bird of West Coast wetlands.
At first blush, the Rusty Blackbird’s growing scarcity makes no sense. After all, much of the bird’s breeding range in the boreal forest is remote and roadless, so human impact seems a less likely factor than in areas with cities and suburbs.
For now, scientists strongly suspect a few factors at play in the bird’s decline:
Climate change, which may cause wetlands to dry up more frequently, and also may throw off peak times for aquatic and other insects, affecting blackbird breeding.
Destruction of wetlands for agriculture in the United States wintering range, combined with degradation of remaining habitat.
A combination of these and other threats, including the poisoning of blackbird flocks and infiltration of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles into degraded habitats, where these birds likely compete with Rusty Blackbirds.