Wildlife

Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators
May 5, 2017 08:11 AM - USGS

How a wind energy facility is designed can influence the behavior of animal predators and their prey, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists placed motion-activated cameras facing the entrances of 46 active desert tortoise burrows in a wind energy facility near Palm Springs, California. Video recordings showed that visits to burrows from five predators -- bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes, black bears and western spotted skunks -- increased closer to dirt roads, and decreased closer to wind turbines.

Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species
May 3, 2017 08:19 AM - USGS

Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.

This information may have important implications when responding to other oil spills, when conducting damage assessment studies after spills and when considering the environmental risks associated with extracting and shipping oil.

Avian Flu Testing of Wild Ducks Informs Biosecurity and Can Reduce Economic Loss
May 2, 2017 07:49 AM - USGS

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Avian Flu Testing of Wild Ducks Informs Biosecurity and Can Reduce Economic Loss
May 2, 2017 07:49 AM - USGS

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Billions More Milkweeds Needed to Restore Monarchs
April 28, 2017 08:15 AM - USGS

As many as 1.8 billion additional stems of milkweed plants may be needed in North America to return imperiled monarch butterflies to a sustainable population size, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Time-Lapse Cameras Provide a Unique Peek at Penguins' Winter Behavior
April 19, 2017 11:26 AM - American Ornithological Society Publications Office

Not even the most intrepid researcher wants to spend winter in Antarctica, so how can you learn what penguins are doing during those cold, dark months? Simple: Leave behind some cameras. Year-round studies across the full extent of a species’ range are especially important in polar areas, where individuals within a single species may adopt a variety of different migration strategies to get by, and a new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses this unique approach to get new insights into Gentoo Penguin behavior.

Time-Lapse Cameras Provide a Unique Peek at Penguins' Winter Behavior
April 19, 2017 11:26 AM - American Ornithological Society Publications Office

Not even the most intrepid researcher wants to spend winter in Antarctica, so how can you learn what penguins are doing during those cold, dark months? Simple: Leave behind some cameras. Year-round studies across the full extent of a species’ range are especially important in polar areas, where individuals within a single species may adopt a variety of different migration strategies to get by, and a new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses this unique approach to get new insights into Gentoo Penguin behavior.

Busy city living makes some house finches more savvy than others
April 18, 2017 10:36 AM - Springer

House finches that frequent North American cities and towns are better at solving new problems than their rural counterparts. They are able to solve new problems even when humans are around, says Meghan Cook of Arizona State University in the US, lead author of a study in Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The study investigated how increased urbanization and human presence affects the behavior and foraging habits of wildlife, and how birds, in particular, cope.

Busy city living makes some house finches more savvy than others
April 18, 2017 10:36 AM - Springer

House finches that frequent North American cities and towns are better at solving new problems than their rural counterparts. They are able to solve new problems even when humans are around, says Meghan Cook of Arizona State University in the US, lead author of a study in Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The study investigated how increased urbanization and human presence affects the behavior and foraging habits of wildlife, and how birds, in particular, cope.

Cracking the code of a long-distance swimmer
April 18, 2017 08:32 AM - NOAA

Born in the Sargasso Sea, that Atlantic Ocean gyre east of Bermuda, baby European eels will travel 4,000 miles to the freshwater rivers of Europe. Now scientists might have answered a century-old question of how these young eels accomplish such vast oceanic migrations.

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