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Bird news from early May: 10 important stories

Grace’s Warbler singing in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona.
Grace’s Warbler in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona, by Steve Wolfe.

In chronological order below are the 10 most important stories about birds that we came across while tracking the bird news over the past two weeks. Follow us on Twitter.

1. Colorado Big Day record: Birding in Colorado on the second annual Global Big Day, Team Sapsucker of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recorded 232 species, setting a state Big Day record. The previous state record was 204 species. May 14

2. Global Big Day: The Cornell Lab announced that more than 14,400 birders around the world had submitted over 39,000 checklists on Global Big Day. More than 5,900 species were reported, close to last year’s total of 6,158. Participants in the annual event have until the end of May 17 to submit their tallies. May 14

3. Shrinking Red Knots: According to a study published in the journal Science, global warming is causing Arctic snow to retreat earlier, causing insect populations to fall before Red Knot chicks can eat their fill. The shorebirds are shrinking physically as a result, and Red Knot populations are shrinking as well. May 12

Close-up of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, male, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, by Steven Easterbrook.

4. More room for parakeets: American Bird Conservancy announced that the Ecuadorian nonprofit Fundación Jocotoco had acquired 233 acres (94 hectares) of critically important cloud-forest habitat that is home to the endangered El Oro Parakeet. The acquisition expands the existing Buenaventura Reserve to 5,816 acres. May 10

5. Cats outdoors: Officials with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy announced a $3 million plan to protect the endangered Night Parrot and the vulnerable marsupial rat in Queensland. It is estimated that four million feral cats live in Australia’s outback. Each eats four to five native animals a week. May 9

6. Breakthrough in Florida: Captive-bred Florida Grasshopper Sparrow chicks hatched for the first time ever, making conservation history. The nonmigratory subspecies is found only in the dry prairies of south-central Florida and has been listed as endangered since 1986. Fewer than 150 sparrows are thought to survive. May 9

7. Indianapolis Prize: Welsh biologist Carl G. Jones won the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, the highest accolade in the field of animal conservation, for his 40 years of work on the tiny volcanic island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar, where he saved the endangered Mauritius Kestrel from going extinct. May 4

8. First for Ontario: A Grace’s Warbler, a small yellow-throated warbler of southwestern pine forests, was photographed in Point Pelee National Park, in Ontario. If accepted by the Ontario Bird Records Committee, the sighting would be the first record for Ontario and possibly the first record for Canada. May 4

9. New wind-power rules: The Obama administration announced it is revising a rule that allows wind-energy companies to operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years, even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected Bald and Golden Eagles. May 4

10. A grosbeak in Shetland: An American songbird, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, turned up on Shetland, an archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of the island of Great Britain. The record was a first for Shetland and the fourth for Scotland. Grosbeaks are very rare in the UK. Most records have come during autumn and mainly in southern parts of England, including the Scilly islands. May 3

Spring gallery: Seven photos of Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

The 10 most important news stories from the end of April.

Ten important stories from the beginning of April.

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