Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Here are a few sites I want to gush about, as educational resources, as entertainment, and as serious technical and scientific resources. Not only can they be used in the classroom, or browsed for the sheer enchantment of discovery, but they are pure gold for for professionals in the environmental fields as well.

NatureServe Explorer

A huge online database of species, NatureServe Explorer is a collaboration between natural heritage programs and conservation data centers operating in all 50 U.S. states, 11 Canadian provinces and territories, and 20 member programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. The database provides information on the conservation status of species throughout the territory covered, their vulnerability, ecology and life history, etc., and provides techinal references to learn more.


The visual tool Lifemapper is the work of a University of Kansas team with support from all over the world. It uses an advanced geographical database to display where species are found and documented, and to predict where we might expect to find them. This tool also allows users to create Google Earth maps with the data. Note: You need to supply the scientific (Latin) name of the species to search.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System, or ITIS, provides taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world. ITIS is a cooperatice project between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. Hey, here is a good place to look up scientific names so you can query Lifemapper!

PLANTS Database

Created and maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the PLANTS national database contains life history, range, and taxonomic information, photos, native/non-native status, and much more. It can be searched using either common names or scientific names.


Another product of international scientific cooperation, the FishBase information system provides images, life history, distribution, taxonomic status, and much more for over 31,000 fish species. It can be searched using either common names or scientific names.


Much more subdued, regional, and low-tech, BirdWeb is nonetheless a work of love and excellence, offering carefully gathered information and on-the-ground observations. It’s the work of the Seattle branch of the Audubon Society, and the information it contains is useful for a large part of our ecoregion.


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GodwitGodwit Days will be upon us April 16 to 22 — a week of birding and art in and around Arcata.

The marbled godwits arrived a little while ago already, along with American avocets, black oystercatchers, willets, several kind of plovers, etc. Birding has been good at the Arcata Marsh and along the shores of Humboldt County.

The 14th annual Godwit Days event offers over 110 bird-viewing activities regionally, many of them free and many more very inexpensive, as well as an Art Fair in Arcata.

I’ve met people who come from all over the country, paying a pretty penny despite not being rich, to fly here and see these birds for a few days. And we get to see them so often we take them for granted.

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According to the recently released U.S State of the Birds 2009 report, a study prepared under the Bush administration by 13 major agencies and conservation organizations, almost one third of the 800 species of birds found in the US are “endangered, threatened or in significant decline”, particularly due to the influence of human activity, loss of habitat, and global climate change. The problem is particularly acute in Hawaii.

“At least 39% of the U.S. birds restricted to ocean habitats are declining,” the report says. But there are some good news, as wetland birds are rapidly recovering in places where habitat has been restored.

Links of interest:

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Marbled godwit

Photo by Dennis Paulson

A tossed salad of environmental topics from the Times-Standard:

  1. Report: Wave energy begins in rough waters — A white paper, prepared for the California Energy Commission and the Ocean Protection Council to evaluate the possible socioeconomic and environmental effects of harnessing wave energy, showed mixed blessings from these energy project.  The report suggests that commercial and sport fisheries might be impacted and that projects could affect habitat for species from the high tide line out to the continental shelf.   On the plus side,  new projects would yield construction and operations jobs for nearby communities.
  2. Jam-packed agenda for county supervisors — The agenda for the next meeting of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors tomorrow night is very busy, as everyone tries to push for some decisions before then end of the year, and contains some items sure to be closely followed.
  3. Every dune needs a friend — An overview of Friends of the Dune, the Humboldt nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve the natural diversity of coastal environments through community-supported education and stewardship programs.  The article talks a bit about the group’s new Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, set to open in 2010 in Manila.
  4. Registration begins for Godwit Days activities — The 14th annual Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival will be held April 17 to 19 at the Arcata Community Center, 321 Community Park Way; pre- and post-festival events will be offered April 16, 20, 21 and 22, and registration is now available.  Godwit Days is, ahem, a hoot.  (Wrong bird!)

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