Mysterious Bird Deaths and How We Can Help

Screenshot of Audubon's report on the songbird epidemic. Image shows a gloved hand holding a small bird with its eye crusted shut and the headline "Scientists Still Searching for the Pathogen Behind the East's Songbird Epidemic."
Screenshot of Audubon’s report on the songbird epidemic.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

Many photographers have backyard bird feeders and enjoy photographing their avian visitors. Beginning in May, though, wildlife managers in a number of mid-Atlantic states, from New Jersey through Florida and as far west as Indiana, began seeing sick and dying birds. Audubon, Science and a number of other media outlets have reported that the distressed birds had swollen, crusty eyes and some neurological symptoms. Because birds are at increased risk of transmitting diseases when congregating at feeders, authorities in the eleven affected states (NJ, DE, PA, KY, WV, MD, VA, IN, OH, TN, FL) and the District of Columbia are recommending that people stop feeding birds altogether. And, if you are in or around the affected states and encounter sick or dead birds, wildlife managers urge you to contact your state or district wildlife conservation agency for instructions and to help them track this outbreak.

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The Things We Do for Love featuring “The Grebe Whisperer” Krisztina Scheeff

The Nature Photographer episode #12 on Wild & Exposed podcast

Krisztina Scheeff is known as “The Grebe Whisperer” around her home base of Lake Hodges in San Diego County, California, where she’s been studying and photographing Western and Clark’s grebes’ elaborate courtship rituals that include “rushing” or walking on water. Krisztina offers Dawn, Mark, and Michael insight into bird behavior, how workshops have changed since COVID 19, and how she chooses destinations for her photography tours—like her regular trips to rural Scotland and Ireland for dramatic landscapes, puffins, and, admittedly, the local pubs. She’s also got some packing advice, including why she travels with a tarp to lay on when working around birds. 

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Weekly Wow! Week of September 30, 2019

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Sea Urchin , Newton, Massachusetts" © Hope Schreiber.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Sea Urchin , Newton, Massachusetts” © Hope Schreiber.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, September 30, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.  Continue reading

Dramatic Decline in Bird Numbers in North America

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's new study documents widespread decline in bird numbers.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s new study documents widespread decline in bird numbers.

“If you were alive in 1970, more than one in four birds have disappeared in your lifetime.”  So begins a Cornell Chronicle article about a new study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  That loss represents about three billion birds, across the US and Canada and across all biomes. Researchers examined decades of data on 529 species and found massive declines (53% loss) in the numbers of grasslands birds as well as big drops (37%) in shorebirds. As Ken Rosenberg, lead author of the study said, “It’s a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife. And that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.”

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Weekly Wow! Week of September 23, 2019

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Warthog Chase, Etosha National Park, Namibia” © Patrick Pevey.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, September 23, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. 

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Showcase 2019 Winner Profile – Laura M Eppig

Showcase 2019 Birds, Judges' Choice: Ruby-throated Hummingbird Catching Gnat © Laura M. Eppig.

Showcase 2019 Birds, Judges’ Choice: Ruby-throated Hummingbird Catching Gnat © Laura M. Eppig.

Bio:

Laura M. Eppig is a mostly self taught Nature Photographer who learned on slide film in the late ’80’s. She was invited to join a Camera Club in order to learn Bird Photography and was mentored by 3 of the founding members.  While Laura shoots the majority of her images close to home, she has been known to travel far afield in search of certain elusive subjects, specifically Owls.

Laura finds that she can combine most of her interests through photography. Hiking and bird watching are two of her passions that nature photography encompasses. Macro photography is one of her special interests, especially shooting insects and spiders.  Library Exhibits, as well as other types of displays, and Photography Classes keep her busy in addition to photographing whenever possible.

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How I Got the Shot: Gilded Flicker and Bees Pollinating Saguaro Cactus Blooms

Gilded Flicker and Bees Pollinating Saguaro Cactus Blooms

Gilded Flicker and Bees Pollinating Saguaro Cactus Blooms

Story and photo by Wendy Kaveney

The Giant Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus) is indigenous to the Desert Southwest and blooms in the spring.  Saguaro flowers bloom for less than 24 hours, allowing only a little time to be pollinated. During the flower’s short life, it provides food for bees and birds during the day, and for bats during the night. They, in turn, pollinate the flowers.

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Bicycle Birding

A reddish egret dances across the water while pursuing a fish.

A reddish egret dances across the water while pursuing a fish.

Story and Photos by Budd Titlow

If you are a bird photography aficionado, I have some great news!

The proliferation of “Rails-to-Trails” conversion projects throughout our nation has created a fantastic new modus operandi for practicing your passion. Plus, it also benefits your health by providing daily exercise. I call this activity bicycle birding and here’s how it works for me.

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America’s Better Idea: National Wildlife Refuges

The National Wildlife Refuges were created to manage, conserve and restore fish, wildlife and plants and the ecosystems that sustain them.

The National Wildlife Refuges were created to manage, conserve and restore fish, wildlife and plants and the ecosystems that sustain them.

Story and photographs by Jeff Parker

The National Parks have famously been called “America’s best idea”.  I have visited many of our National Parks and they ARE awesome.  However, I tend to think that our National Wildlife Refuges are “America’s Better Idea”.

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