Sneaky Birds, Fires, Radishes, and Inmate Ecologists

New Nooze for a Monday morning! First, we bring you two stories from Michelle Nijhuis, writing for Smithsonian.com and Nature, covering a sneaky little bird, and the long-term effects of wildfires:

What is North America's Most Mysterious Bird?

On a hot, dry July evening, a dentist named Mike Hurtado leads two biologists into a narrow, windy stretch of the St. Charles River canyon in southern Colorado. Hurtado grew up hiking around here, and he and his family still refer to this part of the canyon reverentially as “The Place.” Its high granite walls usually echo with the sound of falling water, but the river is at the lowest point Hurtado can remember, and its waterfalls have turned to mere trickles. He and the biologists hope to catch a black swift, and the conditions don’t look promising... Read more.

 

Forest Fires: Burn Out

A little after noon on Sunday 26 June 2011, strong winds toppled an aspen tree onto a power line in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico. The year had been extraordinarily dry, and the temperatures that week had soared well above normal. When a spark from the power line ignited a fire, wind gusts spread the flames into nearby dense stands of fir and pine.

Within an hour, ecologist Craig Allen, 55 kilometres away at his home in Santa Fe, learned about the fire in an e-mail from a US Forest Service fire manager. “I hope you guys catch this,” Allen wrote back. “We don't need another big fire in the Jemez.”... Read more.

 

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Next, Tom Henry talks about a helpful little vegetable (and also manages to squeeze in a shout-out to IJNR) on the Great Lakes Echo:

Radishes could protect the Great Lakes from harmful algal blooms

I’ve learned an awful lot about efforts to control Great Lakes algae during my many years of environmental coverage, most of which come back to keeping phosphorus and other algae-growing nutrients out of the ditches, streams, and rivers that flow into the lakes.

But I have to admit I’d never given much thought to radishes until this past summer while on a Maumee River watershed expedition with the Montana-based Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources.

That’s right. Radishes... Read more.

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And Phuong Le with the AP writes about an unlikely workforce in the world of conservation biology:

Prison Inmates Save Endangered Species at Cedar Creek Corrections Center

LITTLEROCK, Wash. (AP) — Taylor Davis has dedicated himself to saving endangered Oregon spotted frogs. He spends hours each day tending to eggs or doting on tadpoles, feeding, nurturing and meticulously recording their development.

He's in no hurry.

"We have nothing but time here," said the 28-year-old Davis.

He added, "It's perfect for a prison setting."

Washington state inmates such as Davis have been working as ecological research assistants, partnered in recent years with scientists doing conservation projects. Their efforts include breeding threatened butterflies and growing native flowers and prairie grasses... Read more.