Today, we're starting a new feature here at Birdcouple. There are many times when we have bits and pieces of bird- and birding- and nature- and environment- and wildlife- related news that we want to share with our visitors, bits and pieces that don't necessarily add up to a whole.
They're a vibrant, colorful, interesting mix that doesn't quite go together, just like a mixed feeding flock of migrant birds. They are streaks of color and noise without a theme.
But without a theme doesn't mean unimportant. Below, for example, you'll find links to stories about a major biological find in Mozambique; and a reminder about this month's Rusty Blackbird hotspot blitz.
And we want to give full intellectual credit to our fellow blogger John over at A D.C. Birding Blog, whose feature, Loose Feathers, we have admired for several years now. (John, sorry we missed you on your recent trip back to the Washington area). Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.
So here goes:
_ The good folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology emailed us this week to remind us about the upcoming Rusty Blackbird Blitz, which takes place between Feb. 7 and Feb. 15. As many of you know, Rusty Blackbirds have suffered one of the most precipitous declines of any North American landbird, with population losses estimated at 85 to 99 percent over the last four decades. Truly catastrophic. Report your RUBL sightings via eBird. The blitz is being coordinated by the International Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group. part of the Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center.
_ A continent away, there is happier news. Our dear friend Paul Baicich passes on this great story from BirdLife international about how scientists discovered an uncharted forest in the African county of Mozambique using the free GoogleEarth software. And what did they find there? It still amazes us that this is possible, but they found new species of butterfly, a new species of snake, and important populations of seven threatened bird species. Wow!
_ Finally, don't forget that Feb. 13-16 is the Great Backyard Bird Count!!
That's it for Mixed Feeding Lock, #1.