Birds & Words #7

Desert-nesting seabirds, some very hungry birds, malaria-sick birds, and more.

In search of an elusive seabird that nests in the desert
This month’s longform chronicles the quest to find a small seabird’s secret nesting site. An excellent example of how curiosity drives research and conservation.

How much do birds eat?
A lot. Insectivorous birds alone consume over 400 million tons of insects and other arthropods every year. It’s time we thanked them for their free pest control services.

How citizen science data helped validate folklore
When it rains, it pours pied cuckoos. Birdwatchers knew that the arrival of pied cuckoos on the Indian sub-continent from Africa announces that the monsoon is here. Sightings posted by the public on eBird have now helped confirm this suspicion. Keep ’em sightings coming, folks!

Birds watching us
A beautiful art installation featuring bird eyes and a lovely conversation with the artist behind it. In this Q&A, the artist shares what inspired her art, and segues into our connection with nature and the changing definition of birding.

Is it the end of the great Indian bustard?
First it was habitat loss and poaching. And now, India’s growing energy demand and the push for renewable energy are decimating the bird’s last remaining populations. Several birds have died from electrocution with power lines lately.

Malaria-carrying insects spread wings in a warming world
More than 1,100 species of birds get infected with malaria globally. Avian malaria is largely prevalent in low-elevation sites. But with global warming, this is likely to change. As the range of insects that carry malaria-causing parasites expands, birds living at high elevations become vulnerable.

Seabird sketches
Meet the biologist-turned-artist who sketches birds for a living.

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