Cornell Lab eNews May 2016

Global Big Day

Mounting evidence from fossils shows that many dinosaurs wore coats of feathers. Illustration by Zhao Chuang.

Is the World Ready to See Dinosaurs as They Really Were?

Hollywood may not realize it yet, but the science is clear: many, many dinosaurs had feathers, including the velociraptors made famous by Jurassic Park and probably even T. rex itself. Evidence from exquisitely preserved Chinese fossils has been accumulating since the 1980s. Lately, a group of visionary artists has been having fun portraying the new reality—even if the mainstream isn’t quite ready to accept it yet. Read our article and see the dinosaur artwork.

Global Big Day

This Saturday, Be Part of the Biggest Birding Day Ever

This Saturday, May 14, marks the second annual Global Big Day. Last year more than 14,000 people from 135 countries reported a staggering 6,085 species in just one day. That’s more than 60% of all the bird species on our planet! Can we surpass that total this year? We’ll need your help, that’s for sure. But what could be more delightful than going birding on a Saturday in May? Anyone can participate: Find out how to be part of Global Big Day.

Can you ID these shorebird chicks?

Colors like a collection of jewels. Photo by Stephen Parsons via Birdshare.

Which Species Is This?

These gorgeous gem-colored aerialists are at home in the American West. They often forage in flocks, catching flying insects on the wing. They breed in open woodlands, and at this time of year they collect feathers to line their nests. Do you feel swallowed up by uncertainty, or have you swiftly assessed these clues to reach the ID?  Check your answer and learn more.

Special Bonus Video: Last week, a couple of these birds visited our Bird Cams California Condor nest to gather some feathers as the condor chick looked on—how neat to think that critically endangered condor feathers are doing double duty as nest lining. Watch the highlight.

garden stocked with native plants

One YardMap participant turned his lawn in a housing development into a garden that attracts wildlife. Photo courtesy Jeremy Berger/YardMap.

Local Resources Help You Get the Most Out of Your Garden

What are the best plants to include around your home? Who can you turn to in your town or county for advice and planning? Which nurseries near you stock native plants? Our YardMap project has an online tool to answer these questions and more. Just type in your zip code and we’ll connect you with a custom list of local resources. Try it out at YardMap.

media Search tool from Maaulay and eBird

Sample search results from the Media Search tool.

New Media Search Tool Opens Up a World of Sights and Sounds

Our new tool gives you instant access to all the images, sounds, and video uploaded via eBird and archived in our Macaulay Library. Use it as an identification aid by typing in a species, location, or date to see a range of examples. Or take a peek at what others are reporting in any part of the world—either as an armchair excursion or as homework before your next birding trip. The majority of the nearly 1 million images and sounds are linked to eBird checklists, giving you access to a wealth of information about the sightings. Check out ourhow-to on using the tool or dive right in and take Media Search for a spin.

On Bird Hill, a book for 5–7-year-olds by beloved children’s author Jane Yolen, is available now.

New Books From the Cornell Lab

On Bird Hill, a new children’s book by Jane Yolen (author of the bestseller Owl Moon), is out now from the Cornell Lab Publishing Group. This charming book, written for kids age 5–7, is loosely based on the old nursery rhyme “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” It features the whimsical illustrations of Bob Marstall. In this version, a boy and his dog find the bird in a nest on a hill in a strange valley.

On Bird Hill is just one of our new spring titles. Find out what’s available and what’s coming in fall at the Cornell Lab Publishing Group website.

Black-throated Blue Warblers and Climate Change:Research finds these little warblers have surprisingly flexible breeding behavior in the face of changing temperatures.

A Who’s-Who of Warblers: With warblers flooding back into North America, it might be time to check out the innovativeWarbler Guide for some ID help with these little beauties. Here’s our review of the book.

The Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Cuba: Tim Gallagher posted a daily journal as he trekked through remote Cuba, searching for any remaining signs of this magnificent woodpecker.

Take the May eBird Challenge: Submit 5 or more complete checklists on Global Big Day, May 14, and you could win a pair of Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars from our sponsor Zeiss.

Bird Events, Near And Far: Looking for an opportunity to combine birds and travel? Choose your destination from our Bird Festivals webpage.


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