Old whooping cranes keep the young ones on course, study shows

Publication:   Date: NBC News   View Article

When endangered whooping cranes fly their routes to summer breeding grounds, the old birds play a crucial role in showing the young birds where to go.

“This learning takes place over many years,” Thomas Mueller, an expert on animal migration at the University of Maryland and lead author of a study on the cranes’ migration habits, told NBC News. “It is a long-term process.”

“Walking Wetlands” Help Declining Birds, Boost Crops

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 18, 2009   View Article

The request struck Dave Hedlin, a farmer in Washington’s fertile Skagit Valley, as particularly odd: Conservationists wanted him to voluntarily flood his fields.

“Most of us have spent our entire lifetimes trying to keep water off the land,” said Hedlin, whose farmlands are nestled among inlets, bays, and estuaries in the shadow of the snowcapped Mount Baker volcano.

Great Turtle Race Mixes Competition, Conservation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 16, 2009   View Article

Eleven leatherback sea turtles virtually splashed into the chilly waters off Canada’s Atlantic coast today to start a grueling, more-than-3,700-mile (6,000-kilometer) race to the Caribbean.

The competitors are taking part in the Great Turtle Race, essentially a sped-up online replay of the actual migration, which ended in March.

New Field Could Explain How Salmon, Turtles, Find Home

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 4, 2008   View Article

Sea turtles and salmon may use their sensitivity to Earth’s magnetic field to guide them home at the end of their epic coming-of-age journeys, suggest scientists aiming to solve one of nature’s enduring mysteries.

The newly proposed theory is one of several ideas being explored under the banner of an emerging scientific field dubbed movement ecology.

NASA Tool Helps Track Whale Sharks, Polar Bears

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 25, 2008   View Article

Photos of giant whale sharks snapped by vacationing scuba divers and snorkelers are helping scientists track the elusive marine creatures across the oceans.

And the same technique may soon also help researchers track polar bears in Canada, giant Eurasian trout in Mongolia, and ocean sunfish in the Galápagos Islands.

Animals Use Chemical Compasses, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 30, 2008   View Article

The idea that some animals navigate by “seeing” Earth’s magnetic field has been shown to be feasible in laboratory tests, a new study says.

First proposed about 30 years ago, the theory suggests that sunlight absorbed by molecules in the eyes of animals such as birds and bats triggers a chemical reaction.

Eight epic animal treks

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: April 3, 2008   View Article

Some animals will travel the Earth for a good meal, others for a hot mating date or to escape the cold. Learn about eight of these epic journeys.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach