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10 stories about birds that made headlines in early October

Eurasian Dotterel, juvenile, by Mark Jobling (Wikimedia Commons).
Eurasian Dotterel, juvenile, by Mark Jobling (Wikimedia Commons).

Here are ten important news stories that we tweeted or retweeted over the past two weeks.

1. Almost a million: Observers at the Batumi Raptor Count, on the far eastern shore of the Black Sea in Georgia, reported that they had counted more than 975,000 migrating birds of prey since the middle of August. As of October 3, the total included 129,298 Black Kites, 165,355 Steppe Buzzards, and 588,654 Honey Buzzards. October 3

2. A first for the East: Birder Michael Butler photographed a first-year Eurasian Dotterel along Lake Huron in Bruce County, Ontario. It was the first time the shorebird had been spotted not only in the province but also in the eastern half of the ABA Area. The species had been recorded in fall before, but only on the other side of the continent — in California, Washington, and British Columbia. October 3

3. Atlas makes history: The organizers of the second Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas announced that 700 observers surveyed 2,600 blocks during season one. Atlassers submitted 23,900 checklists, documenting 1.7 million birds and adding eight species not found in the first Atlas: Bufflehead, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-eyed Vireo, Great Tit, Kirtland’s Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Whooping Crane, and European Goldfinch. September 30

Pine Grosbeak in Saskatchewan, Canada, by nicksaundersnature.
Pine Grosbeak in Saskatchewan, Canada, by nicksaundersnature.

4. And they’re off! The Whooping Crane Class of 2015 began their aircraft-guided migration to Florida from the White River Marsh SWA in Wisconsin. According to lead pilot Joe Duff, the six cranes flew their first migration stop without a hitch, landed as a group, and soon started chasing grasshoppers. September 30

5. Return to the wild: Conservationists at San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program announced that, after years of work, they had built up a large enough — and genetically diverse enough — population of ‘alalā, or Hawaiian Crow, to permit chicks to be released into the wild in 2016. The crow has been extinct in the wild since 2002. September 29

6. Watch for grosbeaks: Ron Pittaway, in his annual winter finch forecast, made the following predictions: that spruce-seed specialists such as White-winged Crossbills and Pine Siskins would concentrate in eastern and western North America, that Common Redpolls may move into southern Ontario, that a small flight of Evening Grosbeaks is expected in the East, and that Pine Grosbeaks should move south. September 28

7. Shell gives up: Royal Dutch Shell ended its expensive and fruitless nine-year effort to explore for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, a sign that the industry is trimming its ambitions in the wake of collapsing oil prices. Environmentalists hailed the announcement as a major victory. Shell had spent more than $7 billion on the effort. September 28

Read about Important Bird Areas in the Chukchi Sea.

8. Contributing editor honored: Craves’s Giant Barn Owl (Tyto cravesae), a new species of owl, was described by ornithologists William Suárez and Storrs Olson in the most recent issue of the journal Zootaxa. The researchers named the owl “after Julie Craves, of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, for her dedication to avian conservation and her boundless appreciation of Cuban friends and birds.” September 23

9. Released in Arizona: The number of free-flying California Condors increased by three when Condors No. 618, 731, and 735 were released into the wild at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, in northern Arizona. Each bird hatched and was raised in captivity. September 26

10. Siberian Crane tagged: A young Siberian Crane, a critically endangered species, was captured and banded in Mongolia for the first time ever. The team named the bird Mongol and fitted it with a satellite transmitter provided by the International Crane Foundation. Using it, the researchers hope to learn, finally, about the movements of young Siberian Cranes from the time they leave their parents after their first winter until they return to the remote tundra in Russia to breed. September 8

10 important news stories about birds: A late-September roundup.

News roundup: 10 stories about birds that made headlines in early September.

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