Environmental Conservation

The tiny lichen Gyalectidium setiferum is spreading in central Europe on suitable evergreen plants due to global warming.

Hoping for global warming after a cold winter... and lichens as bioindicators of climate change

This month's topic is March and green. Of course, everybody by now is anxiously waiting for spring, to get rid of the polar vortex. Hopefully that will happen soon! By the way, the expanded polar vortex that affects large parts of North America with bitter cold is a direct consequence of global warming!

Demystifying Mapping: Low-Cost and Easy Tools for Mapping Natural Areas, Plus Other Fun Tech Tools

In February I was fortunate to present a talk at the 2015 Wild Things conference on mapping tools for the local conservation community.  My co-presenter, Daniel Suarez, from Audubon Chicago Region presented about the Restoration Map tool. This is a great way for local land stewards to track and monitor their work.  My part of the talk focused on how to take accurate GPS data for including in Restoration map or other mapping projects.

Things seen in the Bird Division #7 (or: Same bird, different stripes)

As long as the bird that we know as Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) has existed, they've had a charming yellow stripe across the tip of their tail. The yellow pigment actually comes from carotene in their fruit diet, and that diet has been changing as humans have brought different fruit-bearing trees into their native range. Now, a small percentage of Cedar Waxwings have orange tail tips instead of yellow, probably the result of eating certain types of non-native honeysuckle berries when their tail feathers are developing.

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