A growing body of evidence suggests that biodiversity loss increases our exposure to both new and established zoonotic pathogens. Restoring and protecting nature is essential to preventing future pandemics. So reports a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) paper that synthesizes current understanding about how biodiversity affects human health and provides recommendations for future research to guide management. [Read more…] about New Study Considers Wildlife Diversity And Zoonotic Disease
In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the latest population estimate for Bald Eagles. Some 316,000 eagles now cruise the skies in the Lower 48 — more than four times the previous estimate, from 2009. [Read more…] about Bald Eagle Numbers On The Rise
She is a slender hawk, brown above, with a dark-streaked, buff breast and a long, barred tail. A ring of light-colored feathers surrounds her face, giving her a facial disc similar to that of an owl. [Read more…] about The Northern Harrier: One Unusual Hawk
Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientists have been tracking the effects House Finch eye disease for more than 25 years. The disease causes red, swollen, watery, or crusty eyes. Afflicted birds can recover, but may die because they cannot see well enough to find food or avoid predators.
The latest analyses, based on the observations of Project FeederWatch participants from eight Northeast states, addresses the long-term impact of the disease on House Finch populations and points to the role of the finch immune system in the bird vs. bacteria battle. [Read more…] about New Study Considers Birds and Bacteria Arms Race
All along the Hudson River estuary, teachers, students, and local residents will be donning waders and venturing into tributary streams to participate in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) ongoing research on migrating juvenile American eels (Anguilla rostrata). [Read more…] about Juvenile Eel Monitoring Getting Underway
The history of achieving the 1964 Wilderness Act in the U.S. Congress is commonly seen as an eight-year legislative struggle. The first wilderness bills were introduced in Congress in 1956 — in the House of Representatives by John P. Saylor of Pennsylvania and in the Senate by Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota.
The Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3rd, 1964. My father, Howard Zahniser, primary author of the Act, had died in May 1964. My mother, Alice, attended the White House signing, and President Johnson gave her a pen he used. Three years later President Johnson sent me a letter telling me I was being drafted for two years of US Army service. [Read more…] about Ed Zahniser On American Wilderness History
On a warm, rainy April night a few years ago, I drove up our muddy, rutted dirt road through the mist, steering around the wood frogs hopping across the road. As I approached the vernal pool, there were more frogs in the road, so I parked to avoid hitting them and walked the rest of the way. [Read more…] about Salamander Mysteries: Complicated Genetics
New Yorkers may be seeing more dead fish in the water this spring than in past years. The winter of 2020-2021 created optimal conditions for winterkills, which usually occur in shallow waterbodies with aquatic plant growth. [Read more…] about Understanding Winter Fish Kills
New research reveals that a recently discovered songbird has traveled a very rare evolutionary path — a finding that challenges the typical model of how new species form. Exploration into the origins of the Iberá Seedeater of southern South America shows that a new lineage need not always arise from genetic mutations accumulated in geographic isolation over millions of years. Instead, the novel mixing and matching of existing genetic traits already found in closely related species can create something new, at a much faster pace. [Read more…] about Study Finds Genetic Shuffling Speeds Up Evolution of New Species
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a draft proposal for public comment that would update regulations governing public use of the State’s vast network of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
New York State has more than 120 WMAs containing nearly 250,000 acres, including 124,000 acres of forests and grasslands and 53,000 acres of wetlands. DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife manages an additional 38,000 acres of land, including Unique Areas and Multiple Use Areas, for a total of approximately 150 areas that thousands of New Yorkers visit and enjoy each year. [Read more…] about NYS Wildlife Management Area Regulation Changes Being Planned