Notes in the Margin: Moonbird

By Carol Feltes For the birders among us….. Here is a good read suitable for the layman.  Moonbird  by Phillip Hoose is the story of the rufa red knot. Regional birders know that, for many migratory birds traveling the eastern flyway, areas of the New Jersey shore are important stopping places.  The red knot (subspecies rufa), a medium sized shorebird, is eagerly watched for in the spring by New Jersey birders. The Red Knot is facing severe challenges from human impacts on the environment as well as reduced food availability.  Since 1995, populations have fallen by 80%.  Moonbird examines the challenges the red knot faces around the hemisphere, and introduces us to the group of scientists and conservationists working to ameliorate the problems, and assures the future of shore birds.   These views are the work of individual authors, do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Rockefeller University, and are not approved or endorsed by The Rockefeller University.

Hatching the Birdphiles

By Michael Wheelock, @MSWheelock Northern Starling I like birds. Not in the casual “oh yeah, penguins are cute” kind of way, but in the “wow, look at the iridescent purple on that Northern Starling” kind of way (side note: Shakespeare introduced the Starling to North America. Well, sort of). Unfortunately, I’ve been caught up in the NYC hustle lately and haven’t had any time to enjoy this little hobby. Flashback to mid-January- I was in New Orleans to meet up with some friends, celebrate a birthday, and eat some alligator. On the last day of the trip, my girlfriend suggested we go for a walk in the local park. It was sunny and 75oF out (on a day when it was 20oF and snowing in NYC), so I was more than excited to soak it in. Things began normal enough, with small talk and puppy ogling (“that black lab was awesome!”). That is, until we got to the edge of a small pond and I saw this:   Domesticated Swan Goose (Photo: Michael Wheelock) What is that?! I asked my girlfriend for her iPhone and took a quick photo. She knew I liked birds so this