In this issue: the asteroid that reset evolution; Brazil’s tiny, scarlet-coiffed “keeper of the waters”; secrets of bird behavior revealed; and more.
Cornell Lab eNews
Araripe Manakin by Gerrit Vyn.
A Brazilian Beauty With a Message About Sharing
The Araripe Manakin is an immaculate scarlet-and-white beauty. It lives on the slopes of a single plateau in northeast Brazil, where it nests on branches that overhang flowing streams. As growing towns take a greater share of the water, the bird’s beauty is making inroads with vibrant local artists and scientists, prompting a movement to ensure there’s enough water to go around. See the full story in Living Birdmagazine.
Watch a short video about the wealth of topics covered in the new course.
New Course Gives You the Tools to Think Like a Bird
When you see a bird, do you find yourself lingering to wonder what it is doing or thinking? Our newest Bird Academy course uses video tutorials, hundreds of field clips, and expert instruction from Dr. Kevin McGowan to cover the full spectrum of bird behavior. There’s so much more to birds than just identifying them—after taking this course, you’ll be able to read body language and recognize subtleties that keep you fascinated for a lifetime. Learn more.
This month’s quiz bird is a master of the western skies. Look for it hovering far above the ground and dropping straight toward unsuspecting prey with outstretched talons, or performing spectacular aerial courtship displays. Do you know which species this is? Check your answer and learn more.
Build Your Own Quiz: The new eBird Photo and Sound Quizis free, fun, and can test you on birds from any date or location in the world. It’s great for learning birds—and possibly addictive.
Laysan Albatross by Hugh Powell.
Can This Albatross Point Us To a Fix for Plastic Pollution?
During June, the Year of the Bird is focusing on the problem of plastic in our environment. The millions of tons of plastic that end up in our oceans are a dire problem for the world’s seabirds. But we can take some encouragement from the resilience of Laysan Albatrosses, which have survived three environmental assaults in the last century—demonstrating that species can recover, as long as we take determined action in time.
After the Big Asteroid, Birds Had to Evolve From the Ground Up
The asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs 66 million years ago also leveled the world’s forests and the tree-dwelling birds that lived there, new research suggests. Only small ground-dwelling birds survived the mass extinction, profoundly changing the course of bird evolution. Read the full story.
School Grant Program Wins Gold Award. Our program awarding grants to create school gardens, sponsored by Alaska Fertilizer, won a 2018 Halo Gold Award.
Schoolkids Rap in Spanish and Mayan: Don’t miss this Yucatán school group’s self-produced hip-hop video about conservation. The school received a 2018 mini-grant from our Celebrate Urban Birds project.
The Cornell Lab’s Discovery Partners are a pillar of support for our conservation discoveries. These monthly donors provide a dependable source of funding throughout the year, enabling the Lab to budget with greater efficiency and to focus more time and energy on birds and conservation.
Monthly giving is the easiest way to support birds and the Lab—your contribution is charged automatically so you don’t need to worry about renewing your membership. If you become a Discovery Partner this month, we’ll send you a complimentary Cornell Lab journal. Start your monthly gift today!
K-12 Educators: Get Professional Development Plus Free Bird Feeders
This summer, sign up for Integrating Inquiry from BirdSleuth and complete it online at your own pace. Earn CEU credit and learn how to best scaffold outdoor science investigations. Register by June 30 and get two free bird feeders!
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at http://www.birds.cornell.edu.