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Bird Survey Suggests If You Plant It, They Will Come

The results of last month's annual Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Bird Survey indicate that birds may colonize reforested areas much faster than experts had predicted. This year's surveyors spotted all five of the common native forest birds and four endangered forest birds within sections of the refuge that two short decades ago had been treeless areas dominated by non-native plants and animals. "I never thought I'd live to see this," said Jack Jeffrey, who coordinated this bird survey and was the refuge biologist from 1990-2008.
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The Wildfires in Hawaii Are a Loss for Our World

The wildfire created by the recent eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the Island of Hawaii has already burned some 2,000 acres in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to 23 species of endangered plants and 6 endangered birds. Because this fire now threatens a relatively pristine native rain forest that is home to Hawaii's famous happyface spiders and honeycreeper songbirds, Park officials are quite rightly doing everything they can to stop it. As a whole, Hawaii is a globally important paradise that is dying on our watch.
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Out of sight, out of time?

Here's a quiz for the birdwatchers out there: Which country has experienced the greatest loss of bird species over the past quarter century? (And by "greatest loss," I mean global extinctions). The answer is not Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, or some other developing country—it's the United States. By my calculation, nine species of birds have vanished from the US since 1980 (see Wilcove, D.S. 2005. "Rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker." Science 308: 1422-1423), by far the largest number of any nation during this time period.